Paintings by Hiro Kurata
On view at 837 Washington Street through April 4th, 2014
We’re particularly fond of Emilia Olsen’s paintings of plants, which feature soft colors and thick layers of oil. “I’m really inspired by layering,” Emilia told The World’s Best Ever, “thick paint application, patterns, repetition—actions that evoke tedium. I’ll start a painting by using a blank canvas as a palette for another work, and build on top of the palette canvas until I feel ready to begin the actual painting.” The South Africa-born New York-based artist is also inspired by peers like Jonas Wood, Yayoi Kusama, Allison Schulnik, Daniel Heidkamp, Ellen Altfest, Wes Lang and Mat Brinkman.
Emilia started painting plants as an escape from her previous work, and as part of her obsession with gardening and houseplants. “I paint from life, photos, and from my imagination,” she says. “It’s not necessary for my plants to be fully representative of the real thing, but succulents can be so strange that it’s nice to get ideas from them. It’s also important to me that the painting plants keep a sense of reality, in terms of how they grow, how leaves reach towards light, or hang. It gives the more unrealistic parts of my paintings something to grip on to.”
The “unrealistic parts” include the addition of eyes, which keep in line with her previous, more whimsical work. “I like thinking of plants as having their own personalities and I like the idea of them bearing silent witness to our lives,” Emilia says. “The eyes are playful, shifty, judgmental, creepy, and perhaps even anxiety-inducing. They remind me of the kind of silly things I would worry about as a child—that my toys would feel neglected if I didn’t play with them enough, or that they were judging my embarrassing moments.”
Dude makes killer work
For his series Pastel Deaths, photographer Emir Özşahin humanizes dead animals by showing them as if they were sleeping.
AMERICAN HANDMADE PAINTINGS
March 29, 2014 – May 3, 2014
Opening March 29, 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Galerie Thaddeus Ropac
7 Rue Debelleyme
By Steve Powers
Hoard d’Oeuvres by Rhonda Lieberman
Art collecting is the most esteemed form of shopping in our culture today
When I first met Sasha Kurmaz, I had never thought of his home base of Kiev, Ukraine, as a hotbed for civil unrest and upheaval. His photographs certainly didn’t change my mind. Sure, there was a certain air of Eastern European military industrial sadness, but the colors were too bright and the kids were too naked and drunk to be in any real danger. Sasha’s work is simultaneously funny and confusing, sexy and weird. He works with ideas of youth, sexuality, and how those things exist outside of our western world. When I heard about the turmoil in Kiev, I immediately thought of Sasha, my friend who signs every email with “Hugs!” and who is always eager to share his specific brand of oddness with the world. I emailed him to find out how he was coping and what it’s like to be an artist in the midst of a revolution.
Christian: First off, how are you? Are you safe?
Sasha: The situation in Ukraine is really tense. Kiev is calm right now, no shots fired or people dying, but the situation in Crimea and eastern Ukraine is very complicated. I find it difficult to talk about the “regime change,” mostly because the regime has not really changed. One gangster regime is gone, but this new one we have has gotten their hands dirty too.
Do you see yourself as more of a European or a Russian, or are those divides not as important as the news media makes them seem?
In my ideal view, I see a world without borders and states, where there is no distinction of race and nation.
What’s it like to be an artist in Kiev right now?
Being an artist is very difficult in Ukraine. No artist, myself included, can think about art when people are dying. But you have no choice; you either stand by and watch, or act in the protest. I’ve shifted my focus. I’ve painted political graffiti on the walls of the city and glued posters. At the same time, I’m trying to create a photo archive of the conflict. The situation here has a direct impact on everything. I think art acts as a mirror for what is happening in society. In Ukraine, after what’s happening in the Maidan, art will be more political and radical.
Curated by Darren Aronofsky in anticipation of his upcoming film NOAH.
On view at 462 West Broadway through Saturday, March 29, 2014
by Miguel Jiron
Photographs by Tim Barber in this 2013 book made from a project commissioned by WACKO MARIA
For our series, “Flash Us,” we ask some of our favorite tattoo artists to create a design based on a classic theme—naked ladies. This week, Fernando Lions sent us the above. Fernando tattoos out of Flyrite Tattoo in Brooklyn, and you can follow him here.
On view at Sandra Gering Inc. through March 29th