Animals of Translucent Botanics Center in Molly Devlin’s Ethereal Portraits
November 29, 2022

In her exquisitely rendered portraits in acrylic, artist Molly Devlin instills an aura of dreamlike mystery. She shapes the likeness of a deer or snail from layers of translucent florals and foliage: stacked leaves splay outward like the fur of a cat’s face, fronds and wispy tendrils billow from the bulbous head of a jellyfish, and mycelium cloaks a small bird in delicate webbing. Through the fantastical, gossamer compositions, Devlin prods the ephemeral nature of existence and explores various facets of the unknown.  More

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Imposing Wild Animals Emerge from Layers of Cardboard in Scott Fife’s Sculptures
November 23, 2022

Armed with glue and screws, artist Scott Fife fashions large-scale creatures from a humble material in an exploration of the relationship between humans and our animal counterparts, particularly those we associate with myth and folklore. The beastly creations emerge in his aptly named solo show Cardboard Kingdom, which is on view now at Traver Gallery in Seattle.
Comprised of fringed layers and patchwork, the animals are wild and expressive, with drowsy, drooping eyes or snarling teeth. More

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Artist Harmonia Rosales Reinterprets Genesis through a Stunning Subversion of the Sistine Chapel
November 21, 2022

At the heart of Garden of Eve, Harmonia Rosales’ comprehensive exhibition at UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills, is the power of narrative. The show spans years of Rosales’ career, featuring dozens of portraits in oil and perhaps the grandest work she’s produced thus far: encircled with lights, an upturned ship towers over the gallery, allowing viewers to pass underneath and peer upwards at the frescoed expanse.
Referencing the vessels utilized in the transatlantic slave trade, the lofty structure re-envisions the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and uses Michaelangelo’s Renaissance works as a blueprint to recast Genesis through the lens of female empowerment and Orishas, deities in religions of the African diaspora. More

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The Denizens of ‘Submersia’ Breathe New Life into Ancient Artifacts in Oil Portraits by Kajahl
November 18, 2022

From his studio overlooking Monterey Bay, California, Kajahl has created a new series of paintings that draw inspiration from the sea and ancient heritage, continuing a practice that employs portraiture to subvert white, European historical narratives. The artist merges classical motifs and mythical realms in Submersia, a fictional underwater world where artifacts take on new life.
Greek and Roman vessels like glass balsamarii, wine jugs known as oinochoes, and conical rhyton vases often depicted figures or were fashioned in the shape of human or animal heads. More

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Photographer Levon Biss Illuminates the Strange, Otherworldly Chrysalises of Butterfly Pupae
November 4, 2022

A photographer known for using the macro to investigate the micro, Levon Biss (previously) continues his explorations into the vast world of entomology. His recent butterfly pupae series centers on “the diversity of design and form” through illuminating portraits of approximately 30 specimens as they undergo metamorphosis and complete the final, most vulnerable stage of the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Otherworldly and bordering on the bizarre, many of the chrysalises have evolved to be deceptive in appearance, acting as necessary camouflage from potential predators by impersonating nearby plants and surroundings: some mimic the natural, like those that imitate a rotting plantain or mossy hunk of bark, while others are more artful, like those spotted with Kusama-esque dots or cloaked in a mirrored gold coating. More

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In Bold Self-Portraits, Fantastical Masks Camouflage Noah Harders in Flora and Fauna
October 27, 2022

Native Hawaiian artist Noah Harders takes a whimsical approach to style in Moemoeā, his first institutional exhibition opening next week at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Translating to dream or fantasy, the show’s title offers a conceptual, political, and aesthetic foundation for Harders’ vast array of works that transform crustacean shells, skeletal remains, lush jade flowers, and other organic matter into sculptural wearables. The fashions are intricately constructed and mask most of the artist’s face as he captures their sprawling forms through bold self-portraiture, which he describes as fostering a connection between himself and the found objects. More Continue reading

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Vintage Illustrations of Flora and Fauna Are Superimposed into Surreal Portraits by MUMI
October 19, 2022

Feathers, flowers, leaves, and the human muscular system are spliced into an eclectic camouflage in MUMI’s surreal portraits. From vintage encyclopedias, magazines, and art historical paintings, the Argentinian artist cuts and layers images into compositions that vacillate between the whimsical and the bizarre. Led by a larger narrative, the collages commingle styles, eras, colors, and textures into disorienting portraits, all spurred by the artist’s desire to experiment. “I truly enjoy the organic process in which I let myself go freely,” MUMI shares. More Continue reading

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Hyperrealistic Portraits by Arinze Stanley Glorify the Resiliency of Nigeria’s Next Generation
September 13, 2022

In Deconstruct, Lagos-based artist Arinze Stanley (previously) acknowledges the children and teens who will come to define Nigeria’s politics and culture in the next few years. “I believe the youths are the building blocks of every nation,” he says. “I feel most compelled to project the positive image of our youths through this body of work in my attempt to dismantle the stereotype around the Nigerian youth. More Continue reading

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Photographer Zanele Muholi Finds Empowerment Through Bold Black-and-White Portraiture
September 12, 2022

The striking portraits of South African photographer and activist Zanele Muholi (previously) are easily recognizable. Shot in stark black-and-white, the images utilize heavy contrast and center on single subjects dressed in elaborate garments. These wearables are sculptural in construction and made from commonplace objects: clothespins are strung together as a necklace, dried grasses splay outward like the brim of a hat, and rolls of toilet paper cascade over a figure’s shoulders. More Continue reading

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In Bold Self-Portraits, Atong Atem Vividly Frames Relationships Between Identity and Culture
September 9, 2022

Since its inception, photography has dominated the way we visually remember and describe the world around us and where we are within it. It has tapped into desire, joy, grief, and superstition, such as in the Victorian era, when some believed it could be a channel between people and spirits in the afterlife. In portraiture, photography immortalizes its subjects and has transformed artists’ ability to express themselves and tell stories. For Ethiopia-born, South Sudanese photographer Atong Atem, who is based in Melbourne, the medium enables a salient exploration of the African diaspora and migrant narratives by focusing on the relationship between figures and the interior spaces they inhabit. More Continue reading

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Photographer Stéphan Gladieu Documents the Congolese Street Children Turning Waste into Wonder
September 2, 2022

“So dramatic, so strong, so visual,” artist Stéphan Gladieu said of his first encounter with the revival of an ancestral folk art movement in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. Kinshasa is the capital of Congo but also one of the many places American and European countries send their waste. Though doing so is illegal, wealthier nations still export tons of debris with the knowledge that these places do not have the resources to treat or recycle it. More Continue reading

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Black Women Photographers Is a Global Community at the Forefront of a Changing Industry
August 19, 2022

In June of 2020, Polly Irungu launched Black Women Photographers with about 100 members and the hope that more Black women would receive commissions and greater recognition for their work. “I didn’t really know that photography was a space for me to be in, as I didn’t see myself in the world of photography or really any art spaces for that reason,” Irungu said about the impetus for the organization in a recent interview. More Continue reading

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Devoid of Surroundings, Grainy Colored Pencil Portraits by Uli Knörzer Emphasize a Subject’s Distinct Demeanor
August 17, 2022

Berlin-based artist Uli Knörzer (previously) highlights the signature grainy texture of colored pencils in his faithful portraiture. Whether for personal projects or commissions from fashion labels and publications—many of the pieces shown here are part of a recent project for Tommy Hilfiger—the richly illustrated works hone in on the emotions of the subject. By positioning the figures against monochromatic backdrops devoid of setting, he accentuates the minute details of their facial expressions and body language. More Continue reading

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Find the Best Oil Pastels for Landscapes, Still Lifes, and Portraits
July 22, 2022

Made from pigment mixed with nondrying oil and a wax binder, the first oil pastels were invented by the Osaka-based company Sakura in 1924 for use in Japanese schools. While oil pastels never caught on with Japan’s educators, they interested artists—including Pablo Picasso, who collaborated with the French manufacturer of art supplies Sennelier to develop […] Continue reading

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Energetic Markings in Charcoal Delineate Nelson Makamo’s Candid Portraits of Childhood Joy
July 21, 2022

On view at Rise Art is a new body of work from South African artist Nelson Makamo, who continues his charismatic portraits rendered in lively, gestural lines of charcoal. Whether on paper or canvas, the mixed-media pieces depict children and teens, and the artist’s quick, sometimes chaotic markings echo the unfiltered immediacy of the sitters’ cheerful and contemplative emotions—prior to each portrait, he spends time learning about his subjects’ lives, their joys, and worries, a practice he finds essential for capturing such candid, honest expressions. More Continue reading

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A New Collection of Works by Collin van der Sluijs Channels a Dreamlike Collision of Emotion
July 6, 2022

In one of his most ambitious bodies of work to date, artist Collin van der Sluijs (previously) references two forces being incidentally forced together. “These strange times have caused a collision between me as a person and my work,” he shares, “I want to be free and not a puppet on strings directed by anybody.”
This sentiment pervades the Dutch artist’s latest collection opening this week at both Vertical Gallery and Vertical Project Space in Chicago. More Continue reading

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