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.
Korean artist Wookjae Maeng works with ceramics, focusing on the relationships between humans and animals. The ghostly pieces often resemble commemorative busts or mounted heads reminiscent of big game trophies.
“I concentrate on art as a vehicle to communicate contemporary social and environmental problems to the viewer by stimulating, not just emotion, but sensibilities and memories. In this regard, ‘stimulus’ plays an import role in the expression of my work and in its perception by the viewer. Visually or sensually appropriate stimuli evoke curiosity in the viewer and their desire to grasp the inner meanings of the work. Within this process the viewer not only intellectually comprehends the work but also viscerally appreciates it if their preconceptions are challenged or senses other than sight are stimulated. This three dimensional appreciation-which engages the viewer both physically and sensually-I believe conveys the message of a work on a deeper level.” Wookjae Maeng
Adrian Arleo is a ceramic sculptor living outside Missoula, Montana. She studied Art and Anthropology at Pitzer College and received her M.F.A. in ceramics from Rhode Island School of Design.
“For over thirty years, my sculpture has combined human, animal and natural imagery to create a kind of emotional and poetic power. Often there’s a suggestion of a vital interconnection between the human and non-human realms; the imagery arises from associations, concerns and obsessions that are at once intimate and universal. The work frequently references mythology and archetypes in addressing our vulnerability amid changing personal, environmental and political realities. By focussing on older, more mysterious ways of seeing the world, edges of consciousness and deeper levels of awareness suggest themselves.” Adrian Arleo
Edoardo Tresoldi is an Italian sculptor. He makes near-transparent sculptures using wire mesh, and often positions them in public places. Using his signature wire mesh material, Tresoldi has sculpts landscapes of monumental architectural objects that engage with natural elements. Classical typologies — like colossal columns and dramatic domes — interact with modernist geometries, blending two worlds that exist in both harmony and contrast.
Ryan Lauderdale is a Brooklyn-based artist who was born in Cushing, Oklahoma, and graduated from Hunter College in 2012 with an MFA in Combined Media. His work slips between associations of Modernist furniture and architecture into other realms where similar codes have been borrowed and particularized such as the aspirational marketing of exercise equipment, transcendental meditation, and the faux-fancy gaudiness common to cheap casinos and strip clubs. His combination of design nostalgia with minimal art just works. It amounts to a precisely observed American Mannerism that is simultaneously earnest and cheeky.
“What we think of as a tidy and linear historical timeline becomes wholly strange and interconnected when looking at specific visual historical threads such as car design or mall architecture. We see how hopes and dreams were passed from one source only to be modulated to different aims by another. The Internet, with all of its archiving potential, further establishes this rhizomatic worldview as reality. Nodes of information collide, mix and hybridize. It is here that the potential for new cultural material can grow.”
Stockholm, Sweden based artist Joakim Ojanen aims to make work that is timeless. Joakim’s approach to timelessness is unconventional: His woozy characters are intended to be both 8 and 30 years old at the same time.
There’s something undeniably grotesque about the lumpy sculptural works of Ojanen, though this is balanced with a sense of humor and a child-like naivety which, in all, creates a confusing feeling for the viewer.
David Altmejd is a sculptor that lives and works in New York. Altmejd creates highly detailed sculptures that often blur the distinction between interior and exterior, surface and structure, representation and abstraction. For Altmejd, the process of making is paramount – he is interested in how the act of constructing an object and defying traditional material conventions generates meaning.
Motivated by the invisible worlds that often exist just beneath the surface of things, the artist reveals the hidden structures in his own works through negative spaces: gaps, holes, fissures and crystal filled orifices are a recurring motif. In contrast, the reflective surfaces of his mirrored sculptures are impenetrable and both define and destabilize, as well as multiply, the spaces around them.
Drawn to art at a young age, but raised in rural South Texas with very little access to any art education, Roberto Benavidez followed a secondary interest into a BFA in acting at Texas State University. After a few years of moderate acting success in the Texas market, Benavidez found himself drawn back to sculpture and headed west to California. He reorientated himself with art classes at Pasadena City College in sculpting, drawing and painting, extending into bronze casting where he initially worked in an abstract, figurative style and exhibited in group shows. He and now specializes in sculpturally elegant and fantastical piñatas.
Lucy Sparrow hails from Bath, in the West Country of England and works mainly in felt to create art that evokes delight and emotional responses from nearly everyone who sees it. Her world is very much about having an emotional response to the work she produces and to bring people closer to her creations. Lucy’s work has often been described as childlike because of the bright primary colors that she uses and the quirky little touches that she adds to almost everything she makes.All ages delight in the ingenious way she subverts everyday objects and turns household objects to life with playful faces and a joie de vivre that is totally infectious.
Already, Lucy Sparrow’s Feltism has caused quite a stir on the urban art scene and this culminated in 2014 with her audacious and fabulously inventive Cornershop. For the entire month of August, Lucy took over a rundown corner shop in Bethnal Green, East London, and filled it with more than 4000 hand-stitched felt replicas of everyday items that you’d normally find in a local shop. Tins of tomato soup jostled for shelf-space alongside felt cat litter and a freezer-full of felt ice pops.
Portland based artist AJ Fosik (previously featured here) creates intricate, vividly colored three-dimensional pieces that reference folk art, taxidermy, and cultural ritual. Fosik’s wall pieces and freestanding sculptures of anthropomorphized animals are carefully crafted from hundreds of pieces of wood that he cuts and paints individually by hand. Once the basic forms are complete, he adds threatening teeth, claws, and eyes to give the objects an intimidating presence. Totems and fetishes, as well as the “random, chaotic and arbitrary nature of existence,” fascinate Fosik.