Lucien Smith was born in Los Angeles, California in 1989. He graduated with a BFA from Cooper Union, New York in 2011. Smith’s art explores various processes of painterly abstraction.
In a number of series, Smith has captured memories of the natural world. His Rain Paintings, an early series created in upstate New York with a paint-filled fire extinguisher, are elegant abstractions of the weather.
While in Tigris, his most recent body of work, Smith’s interest in nature has evolved to include loose brushstrokes fluttering across canvases as if to evoke the movement of rivers. Named after an ancient body of water, the works in Tigris convey an organic sensibility. Smith’s process of pouring paint onto the canvas is reminiscent of pouring water, evoking the movement of rivers and rain.
Smith creates work that traverses a spectrum of styles and concerns, from chance to purpose, spare to saturated, sublime to familiar. These visual approaches, or conceptual directives, may combine and overlap in one piece, or spread individually through a body of work – each idea originally segregated, fully integrates when understood as an oeuvre.
Mariana Fantich and Dominic Young are East London based artists that started collaborating together in 2008 and have since then been known as Fantich & Young.
Their work entails a conceptual approach to the manipulation and juxtaposition of symbolic ready-made materials. Their work addresses parallels between social evolution and evolution in the natural world: Nature as model or nature as threat.
Their latest work Darwinian Voodoo creates art that subverts Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection with the belief system of supernatural ceremonial ritual. The concepts of nature and super-nature are explored in the work.
Illustrator and designer Lisel Ashlock had the very unique opportunity working with Tracey Stewart, Rachel Filler and the team at Artisan Books conceptualizing, designing, and building this book from the ground up.
Working extremely close with the team at Artisan and author Tracey Stewart, this was truly a labor of love and an absolute dream for an illustrator.
“The more we know about the animals in our world and the better we care for them, the better our lives will be. Former veterinary technician and animal advocate Tracey Stewart understands this better than most—and she’s on a mission to change how we interact with animals. Through hundreds of charming illustrations, a few homemade projects, and her humorous, knowledgeable voice, Stewart provides insight into the secret lives of animals and the kindest ways to live with and alongside them.” Lisel Ashlock
Painting on birch panel, drawing with pencil and watercolor or working digitally, each of Lisel’s projects is executed with a sensitivity and celebration of the natural world. When she’s not busy on an illustration project, Lisel can be found designing, photographing, styling, hand-crafting and creative directing for Moomah the Magazine.
More details of the book to come as the release date of October 6th, 2015 gets closer.
Artist Javier Rocabado has been working on this series for the last year and a half “Nature for Sale”. Often times he combines themes into installations that feature real US currency alongside human figures or icons and real objects. These icons are then embellished with 22 k Gold Leaf halos, cultured pearls, semi-precious stones, 18k gold and silver jewelry, the vials of used injectable HIV medications filled with holy water or olive oils.
“Through this new series of works, I want to point out the ridiculous concept of “Economics is First”, a universally accepted axiom under Capitalism. I strive to create images (in this case animals) that allow the viewers to experience the false pride in a civilization that conquers nature in order to profit from it. I Use imagery of animals in sorrow as a metaphor of the economic system founded on fossil fuel and on the plunder of resources under Capitalism’s unlimited pursuit of perpetual growth. A growth which in order to be maintained requires the exploitation of the most of the world’s peoples and natural resources.
When looking at nature, one can’t help but see its destruction at the hands of humans. Our planet’s ecological balance has been severely compromised. Phenomena such as global warming and the deterioration of the ozone layer has effected the health of the planet. Oil spills in the Amazon in Ecuador by Chevron, or by British Petroleum in the Gulf of Mexico or many other disasters caused by corporations and their greed of money and total disdain for our environment.
I employ visual language to address these issues with the goal of awakening interest and inspiring viewers to action.” Javier Rocabado
During July 17th through the 26th, 2015 artists from around the world participated in Sea Walls: Murals for Oceans, a project by ocean conservationists PangeaSeed. The festival, held in Cozumel, Mexico this year, saw 35 large scale murals painted around the island city to help bring awareness to the need to save our oceans and the wildlife that inhabits them.
In addition to the realization of the murals, the artists had the opportunity to immerse themselves into and experience the various marine ecosystems of Cozumel Island, and learn from local experts about environmental challenges they are facing.
Mexican artist Jesús “Dhear” Benítez finished mural addressing drilling for oil in the Arctic, which is a dangerous, high-risk enterprise that could have a catastrophic impact on one of the most pristine, unique and beautiful landscapes on earth.
Via the Sea Walls project, the artist aims to beautify communities and inspire individuals to become proactive stewards for their natural resource.
Finnish artist Antti Laitinen’s works begin with a plan, but the final pieces are usually the result of circumstances and outcomes beyond his control. Laitinen, who has a background in photography and multimedia art, primarily stages performances that he then documents or records. Many of his projects involve open-ended, experimental, or durational activities; previous undertakings have included a photographic series produced while Laitinen lived in a forest without clothes, food, or water; rowing across bodies of water in various self-fashioned vessels; and drawings made by pressing his sweaty body on a surface. Disparate as his works are, they explore recurring themes of chance, endurance, communion with nature, absurd humor, and the passage of time.
Many of Laitinen’s works deal directly with fundamental issues of Finnish identity and cultural imagery – they are pictures of masculinity set in a context of nature and culture. And yet, Laitinen is not just a humorist playing around with cultural meanings – his work attests to the presence and attitude of an author who is aware of the tradition of experimental performance art. Often we see Laitinen pushing the boundaries of his physical endurance and comfort in order to engage with the world and thus creating a dialogue between the artist’s exploration of his own identity and the wilderness.
In Laitinen’s case, the term work needs be defined with care. Many of his works are actually composed of various stages in the process of its making, when he moves from one medium and semantic context to the next. The switch produces a new, independent work, which then becomes part of the overall piece and thus incorporating different temporal stages.
FIFTY24PDX Gallery and Upper Playground Portland are excited to present Blasphemous Nature: a solo show featuring new works by San Francisco based artist Robert Bowen.
“BLASPHEMOUS NATURE” is a collection of new paintings chronicling a bizarre place where the line between Mother Nature and the mechanical world has been blurred and broken. The show will be on display at Portland’s Upper Playground Gallery, opening on August 7th from 6-9 PM.
“With this new body of work I am continuing to focus on my fascination with animal/machinery hybrids. There are so many unanswered questions I have about them. Is this a not so distant future reality? A terrible road we should never go down? How do I make the Killer Whale a more efficient killer? Can the marlin and shark be even faster hunters, more dangerous to their only predators, man? If the bees continue to disappear, should we design a replacement to pick up where they left off? Or do we accept our fate and stop toying with Mother Nature since that is what got us into trouble in the first place. I’m continuing to play mad scientist in a lab that should never really exist. Oh, and there’s a few fire breathing cats in there, because…why not.” -R. Bowen
ROBERT BOWEN: Blashpehmous Nature
23 NW. 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97209
August 7 – September 27, 2014
Gallery open Monday through Saturday 11:00 AM – 8:00 PM and Sunday 12:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Opening Reception August 7 at 6:00 PM
A record player that plays slices of wood. Bartholomäus Traubeck has found how Year ring data on a tree can be translated into music. Modified turntable, computer, vvvv, camera, acrylic glass, veneer, approx. 90x50x50 cm.
From the artist:
“A tree’s year rings are analysed for their strength, thickness and rate of growth. This data serves as basis for a generative process that outputs piano music. It is mapped to a scale which is again defined by the overall appearance of the wood (ranging from dark to light and from strong texture to light texture). The foundation for the music is certainly found in the defined ruleset of programming and hardware setup, but the data acquired from every tree interprets this ruleset very differently.”
Check out these striking photographs from a series titled, “We Are Nature” by Christoffer Relander. These photographs were created using in camera, double and triple exposure techniques with minor digital editing.