Kirk Fanelly’s collage and oil paintings are a great reminder that you can create gorgeous works of art, have a sense of humor, and make the viewer laugh and be disturbed all at once. Fanelly completed his BA from Brown University in 1999.
His work is part grounded in the solidity of the day to day and the objects and people that surround him. From those points, he flushes out narratives, humor, and dimensions that are either hidden or obscure. His desire is to be influenced by his studio space at McColl Center – introducing new interiors, people, light and ideas to his work.
Check out the new work by Vancouver-based artist Rebecca Chaperon. Chaperon’s paintings act as a means of storytelling, as landscapes meet flat geometry and emotive undercurrents. Born in England in 1978, Rebecca attended Emily Carr University in Vancouver, BC where she studied fine arts until graduation in 2002. Her work is exhibited/collected internationally and recently shown (2014) in Vancouver, LA and San Francisco.
Her process often begins with the idea of place. We see paintings of dark landscapes that seem to stretch infinitely, a doomed place invented by the artist as a theatrical stage where various protagonists bravely live out mysterious vignettes. The setting becomes a representation of the internal landscape of the artist, or more specifically the small brilliant garden of creativity that exists within. On the visual journey through Chaperon’s work we are immersed in surreal versions of the world, places that waver just outside of our perception.
Memphis-based Alex Paulus’ paintings reflect the denial of a shitty existence. Paulus has created a crowded installation of grotesque figurative paintings that are unapologetically in your face and ridiculously successful. He combines acrylic, oil and paint marker to create a variety of textures, which also add depth to his works.
A variety of misshapen and jumbled characters inhabit Alex’s canvases, and his figures are depicted trying out VR headsets, swimming with dolphins and windsurfing on a Papa John slice of pizza. Alex’s work is surreal, yet the topical and pop culture references he includes not only add humor but also keeps them grounded in a familiar sort of reality.
Louise Zhang is a Chinese-Australian artist based in Sydney, Australia. Spanning painting, sculpture and installation, her work negates the space between the attractive and repulsive. With an interest in horror cinema, particularly body horror, Zhang investigates the idea of the visceral as medium, method and symbol in negotiating horror as art form.
Nianhua (年画) is a popular kind of print in China adorning people’s doors to celebrate the new year and to act as a sign of good will that says goodbye to the past and hello to the future. A great portion of these print depict pudgy babies in states of low-key glee as they recline on giant flowers, rid fish or cuddle peaches; it’s a concoction of sweetness that just makes you want to spew up all over the place.
‘New Year Rot!’ brings together this Nianhua imagery with the visual language of the realm of purgatory known in Chinese mythology as Diyu (地獄). This project is a continuation of the artist’s recent research into how situating her desire to attract and repulse her audience is a consequence of the kinds of feelings the horror film genre, and particularly body-horror, generates.
Levi David Van Gelder (1816-1878) produced the earliest examples of his distinctive micrographic artistry, during the 1840s, while working as a printer and lithographer in his native Amsterdam. By imaginatively combining minuscule words and letters and integrating them with oversize decorative word panels, some accomplished by the application of collage elements, Van Gelder achieved his uniquely characteristic style of calligraphy and while still in Netherlands produced at least four separate exemplars of these engraved mizrah plaques. In 1864 Van Gelder, along with his wife and children, relocated to the United States where he settled in Chicago.
Tokyo based Fuco Ueda is a Japanese artist who paints with acrylic achieving a watercolor effect and powdered mineral pigments on paper, cloth, and on wood. Ueda’s work has a memorizing effect on the viewer. Most of her work centers on surrealistic scenes and young women. Her paintings describe a bizzare world with various nature elements such as animals, marine fauna, flowers, bees, mushrooms, etc..
Alexis E. Mabry‘s assemblage paintings, mixed-media collages, and jewelry mix the macabre and the whimsical into a potpourri of lighthearted chaos. Wholesome American families from the 50s laugh while catching on fire, an eager young boy’s head flies off his body like a bloody rocket while opening Christmas presents, a lamb smiles wryly while getting stabbed by a dozen steak knives.
Her sources of reference and artistic material for her collages come from the same types of Christian books of older American life that she was forced to read in elementary school. A change of facial expression or of background scenery could easily transform these works into gruesome horror, but instead they become emblems of humor.
Dutch artist Eric Basstein started painting on an early age and at the age of 19 he went to art school. Although he didn’t had the right degree the school decided to take him in by judging his work. After two years he decided to quit school and start focussing on one of his other passions, music.
After 10 years in the music scene he felt that the need to paint again got bigger and bigger. In 2015 Eric decided to switch back to painting and this time with full focus. He took his experience from his musical background with him, and used that for his paintings. The use of multiple layers and all sorts of existing samples to create a new song inspired him. This is how Eric came up with the idea to make collages with samples of old paintings, comic books and fashion magazines. These collages are sketches for his paintings.
Eric’s blend of the historical and modern is sublime. His paintings blends realist figurative work inspired by old masters with abstractions taken from comic books and fashion. His work combines contemporary and classical references to create an astonishingly resonant dialogue with the viewer.
Matt Hansel’s work (previously featured here) wrestles with the concept of the self and the human desire to be seen and remembered. He brings the Renaissance into the 21st century through image manipulation and decontextualization, combining the rigor of traditional European painting with the conceits of 20th century conceptual art.