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Art

Contrasting Shades of Gray with Vibrant Color, Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe Paints Bold, Subversive Portraits of Black Subjects

December 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

“David Theodore” (2021), oil on canvas, 144 x 108 inches. All images © Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe, courtesy of Roberts Projects Gallery, shared with permission

Ghanaian artist Otis Kwame Kye Quaicoe has a proclivity for contrast. In his striking portraits of Black people, he gravitates toward shades of gray to render the skin tone of single figures or small groups, who sport patterned garments, hats of textured fabrics, and generally vibrant fashions that are in direct opposition to their physical features. The bright, bold color palette is the artist’s preferred method for translating emotional states, inner lives, and idiosyncrasies, one he emulates with the richly textured impasto backdrops surrounding his subjects.

Quaicoe is currently a resident at Rubell Museum, where he’s created a trio of monumental works that consider the trope of the American cowboy. “Rainyanni,” “Moses Adomah” and “David Theodore” stand 12 feet high and are reminiscent of the bandana-wearing figures the artist painted earlier this year. Similarly subversive is “The American Dreamer” (shown below), which centers on a younger figure—the subject’s skin is covered in a swirling pattern of lines, a recurring trait in some of the artist’s most recent pieces—who wears a hat printed with stars and strips.

A few of Quaicoe’s portraits are on view through January 27, 2022, at Green Family Art Foundation in Dallas and at LACMA through April 17, 2022, and you can explore more of his oil-based works on Artsy and Instagram.

 

“Rainyanni (Cowgirl)” (2021), oil on canvas,144 x 108 inches. Courtesy of Roberts Projects Gallery

“Dapper III” (2020), oil on canvas, 84 x 54 inches. Courtesy of Roberts Projects Gallery, photo by Alan Shaffer

“The American Dreamer” (2021), oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches. Courtesy of Roberts Projects Gallery, photo by Alan Shaffer

“Blue Turtle Neck” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches. Courtesy of the aritst and Almine Rech

“Allure” (2020), oil on canvas, 40 x 30 inches. Courtesy of Roberts Projects Gallery, photo by Alan Shaffer

“Moses Adomah” (2021), oil on canvas, 144 x 108 inches. Courtesy of Roberts Projects Gallery

“Shelcy and Christy” (2020), oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches. Courtesy of Roberts Projects Gallery, photo by Alan Shaffer

 

 



Art

Comprised of Thin Panes of Glass, Illusory Sculptures Layer Fantastic Paintings into 3D-Forms

December 20, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images by Norbert Heyl, © Wilfried Grootens, shared with permission

German artist Wilfried Grootens (previously) suspends vibrant, textured paintings evocative of minuscule organisms, bacteria, and other microscopic creatures within sleek sculptures made of glass. He renders lines and geometric shapes on dozens of thin panes that, when pressed together into a larger composite, produce the appearance of three-dimensional forms encased within the transparent material. The resulting works are striking illusions that morph into different, otherworldly creatures depending on the viewers’ perspective, sometimes vanishing entirely depending on the angle. “It is these paintings within their special layered space that create a world unto itself, quite apart from the reality outside it,” the artist tells Colossal.

Grootens’s impeccably precise sculptures will be on view with Habatat Galleries in January and April. Until then, see more of his works on his site.

 

 

 



Art

Absurdly Flexible Chicks Lunge, Twist, and Stretch into Perfect Yoga Poses

December 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Lucia Heffernan, shared with permission

Calm, flexible, and undeniably adorable, Lucia Heffernan’s brood of chicks would likely be the star students of any yoga class. The fluffy creatures curl into backends, contort into triangles, and stretch their feathered little bodies into warriors and dancers in perfect alignment. Heffernan is showing the lunging and twisting characters through December 15 at CODA Gallery in Palm Desert, California, and even though all originals are sold, you can still shop prints on Etsy and see the entire troupe on Instagram. You also might enjoy Bruno Pontiroli’s backache-inducing wildlife.

 

 

 



Art

Parallel Fields of Color Align in Daniel Mullen's Precise Mathematical Paintings

December 7, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Future Monuments 10.” All images © Daniel Mullen, shared with permission

What are the visual impacts of converging planes of color? This question is central to Scottish artist Daniel Mullen’s most recent series of paintings, which displays stacks of thin, rectangular sheets in exacting, abstract structures. “I am looking more at Rothko’s body of work and studying the vibrations of color and the almost alchemic effect that his work has on the sense,” the Rotterdam-based artist tells Colossal.

Comprised of meticulous angles and lines on linen, the acrylic paintings are studies of precision, geometry, and perception, allowing each element to collide in a mathematically aligned composition. Mullen’s process involves measuring and taping the individual planes before laying the slight, translucent marks. “In this way, the work is built up slowly over time, incorporating irregularities, brush strokes, and bleeding paint into a work that breathes, floats, and expands through the energy of color,” he says, explaining further:

The forms might seem to reference glass panels or other architectural configurations but that is only the scaffolding for the viewer to locate themselves within. Beyond that initial shape is an attempt to move towards a perception of ekstasis; or the vibrant energy of the universe, imaginary and unmapped. One that questions the symbols of power and place in today’s fast-paced, heavily digitized environments.

The pieces shown here follow Mullen’s collaborative synesthesia series that translates non-visual senses to the canvas—he and artist Lucy Cordes Engelman will be working more on this concept during a residency in upstate New York early next year. You can follow updates to that body of work and explore more of his recent paintings on Instagram.

 

“Future Monuments 16”

“Synesthesia 85”

“Future Monuments 21”

“Synesthesia 64”

“Future Monuments 37”

“Future Monuments 43”

 

 



Art Illustration

Miniature Watercolor Works by Ruby Silvious Are Painted on Stained Teabags

November 26, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ruby Silvious, shared with permission

Ruby Silvious’s quaint seaside scenes and bucolic landscapes nestle between the torn edges and wrinkled folds of a used teabag. The Coxsackie, New York-based artist (previously) paints miniature scenes of everyday life on the stained paper pouches, leaving the string and tags intact as a reminder of the repurposed material’s origin. Silvious sells prints of her watercolor pieces on her site, and you can follow her latest projects and news about upcoming exhibitions—she will be showing her upcycled works in France and Japan in 2022—on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Reality and Imagined Meditative States Converge in Tomás Sánchez's Tranquil Landscapes

November 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Light: Outside, Inside” (2021), acrylic on linen, 100 x 80 centimeters. All images © Tomás Sánchez, shared with permission

Through serene, idyllic landscapes, Tomás Sánchez visualizes his long-harbored fascination with meditation. The practice, the Cuban painter says, is “where I find many of the answers to questions that transcend from the personal to the universal. Meditation is not always a fleeting time. Meditation is not a punctual exercise; it is a constant practice.”

Rather than conceptualize the exercise as a temporary state, Sánchez views mediation as a lens to interpret the world, a recurring theme that has foregrounded much of his work during the last few decades. His acrylic paintings and hazy graphite drawings, which take months if not years to complete, highlight the immensity and awe-inspiring qualities of a forest thick with vegetation or a nearby waterfall and offer perspective through a lone, nondescript figure often found amongst the trees. Distinct and heavily detailed, the realistic landscapes aren’t based on a specific place but rather are imagined spaces available only through a ruminative state.

If you’re in New York, stop by Marlborough Gallery to see Sánchez’s solo show, which is on view from November 18 to January 22. Titled Inner Landscape, the exhibition encompasses multiple pieces never shown before, including the pristine scenes shown here. Until then, explore more of his works on Instagram.

 

“Inner Lagoon…Thought-Cloud” (2016), acrylic on canvas, 200 x 199.3 centimeters

“La batalla” (2015), acrylic on linen, 200 x 250 centimeters

“El río va” (2020), acrylic on linen, 121.3 x 99.1 centimeters

“Aislado” (2015), acrylic on canvas, 199.7 x 249.9 centimeters

“Diagonales” (2018), conté crayon on paper, 30.5 x 40.6 centimeters

 

 

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