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.
Bradley Eastman aka Beastman is an multidisciplinary artist from Sydney, Australia. Influenced by the biodiversity, symbolism and design aesthetics behind nature’s repetitive geometric growth patterns and organic landscapes, Beastman’s paintings, digital illustration, commercial projects and public murals explore a unique visual language, depicting future environments of abstracted landscapes, potential new life forms and human intervention.
New Zealand-born photographer based in Sydney, Australia Simon Davidson has been photographing the sub-culture of burnout competitions in Australia. Davidson has become recognized as one of Australia’s leading photographers. Self-taught, he has created a successful career photographing a wide variety of subjects, creating content in both the advertising and editorial environments internationally.
With his Burnout series he recognizes beauty where it’s not immediately obvious. He finds expression in a car spinning its rear wheels with the single purpose of destruction. His images are superbly composed contemplations of the moment. Slices in time that hold the gaze with car, driver and movement balanced in an ideal expression of a sublime modernity.
“The guys and girls who compete in the various competitions across Australia are a passionate bunch. As a photographer I enjoy the visual feast of a superb and powerful car on the black of the burnout pad juxtaposed against the softness of the tire smoke. In reality a burnout is extremely loud and aggressive but in the photos there is a sense of calm… poetic in a way.” Simon Davidson
Not having come from a formal fine arts background, Sydney based Marc Etherington (previously featured here) is a self-taught artist with a practice that is driven by an inner compulsion to make art. Etherington’s works make very obvious nods to popular culture. Referencing contemporary icons like the Kardashian’s, McDonald’s and Justin Bieber, he also gives a slow and deliberate wink to pop culture of the past.
Andrew Fairclough is a Sydney based Illustrator, Designer and Art Director. After completing a Business Degree, Andrew moved on to designing skate and snowboard graphics in between self-instruction and full time work in a design agency.
Andrew’s work is inspired by mid-century spot illustrations and design as well as vintage sci-fi, comics, surrealism, DIY art culture, and the textural wonders of degraded print. Often working with a restricted color palette Andrew’s work seeks to hint at the nostalgia and tactility of found art, whilst also creating something completely new.
George Raftopoulos was born in Sydney in 1972, the son of Greek parents. In the 1970s, the Raftopouloses found themselves to be the only Greek family in the New South Wales town of Grenfell. George had questions of cultural identity in his youth and continues to do so in his paintings today.
Raftopoulos’s paintings have always possessed an expressionist fierceness. He describes his method of painting as an “interactive process”, in that it is undertaken without the safety net of preliminary studies. His work of the mid-1990s was full of human/animal hybrids, inhabiting a world that combined playfulness with anxiety and apprehension.
Line plays a key role in his current painting, and his line is both economical and swift. It is as firm and elastic as cartilage. Most of Raftopoulos’s works of the last couple of years have turned on a single color, which sets the temper of the painting. Recently that sole color has often been a primary color.
Sydney, Australia based artist Ben Smith’s paintings are an attempt to combine the beautiful and the unsettling, the humorous and the sincere, the banal and the uncanny in order to reflect his experience of life. Recurring themes in his work are doubt, divergence within a personality and the search for comfort and solace. These themes are explored through multi-layered allegory, using various expressive possibilities of paint.
Gunjan Aylawadi is a self taught visual artist and a qualified computer science engineer and industrial designer. Born in New Delhi, India, she now lives and works in Sydney. Through her unique and intricate, paper tapestry technique, she explores the intersection between craft traditions, sensory pleasures she experienced growing up and the new culture she finds herself in now.
Crafting thoughtful mosaics out of personal reflections, she creates works with simple materials and processes that are as important as the end result – illustrating the quiet power of slowing down and a thoughtful absorption of our environments.
Sydney-based painter and sculptor Trent Whitehead works predominantly in ink and acrylic on wood. Whitehead’s latest body of work centers around a series of hand crafted 3d wooden masks. Each character seems about to burst with some intense expression of anger, frustration or joy. The intensity of the masks captures the effervescence of the artist himself, pooling the experiences of his existence to breathe life into inanimate wood. Trent’s exquisitely patterned and highly narrative works explore the effects of extinction in a fantastical world of horned creatures and bearded villains.
Sydney-based artist Max Prentis’ style is based upon detail and a strong emphasis on visual storytelling. Machines, isolated figures and not to distant wastelands are a common reoccurring subject in Max’s work.
Prentis’ technique is unique in the way he can apply his style to a variety of tones. His body of work is one that varies from playful to aggressive, and realistic to fantastical.