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Miranda Skoczek: Fragments and Fantasy

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

These large-scale paintings are by Melbourne-based artist Miranda Skoczek from her new show Fragments and Fantasy at Arthouse. Contrary to popular belief abstract art is tough to crack. In lieu of subjects or themes, abstract art often relies on the viewer’s familiarity of the canon of Art That Has Come Before, and that can make it a real effort to approach. Furthermore when seemingly everything has already been done or said, the question is, how can artists make abstract art their own?

I love what Arthouse had to say about Miranda’s work: “Skoczek’s paintings are not preoccupied with the web of politics or conceptualism that mires so much contemporary art; rather, they center on the pure physicality and alchemy of painting… ‘Fragments and Fantasy’ represents a fusion of everyday life with whimsy, decoration and symbolism, the works metonymically acting as material fragments of the artist’s mind.”

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BSDA Artist Interview with Jem Magbanua

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Today we have a new show on Buy Some Damn Art of art made by Jem Magbanua who also participated in BSDA’s “Young Artists” show a few years back. Jem lives in Singapore where she also earned her BFA from LASALLE College of the Arts. Magbanua’s work explores ideas of the nature of place, of human beings in place, and of the organic and built structures that shape such being. She feels that the act of drawing allows her to reflect on these ideas, collapsing elements from the physical and imagined into one another.

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And here’s what Jem told us about her art:

Could you tell us about this series?

This body of work comes from two different series from 2014 and 2015.

The Interiors series stemmed out from my interest in domestic spaces as places of refuge. These drawings attempt to capture the various elements that give meaning to a space. It may be in the form of a row of potted plants that line a balcony or the familiar afternoon light that casts a shadow against one’s glass door.

The rest of the works (The Move, (Some) Fragments / I, (Some) Fragments / IV) were inspired by my trip to Kyoto, Japan in 2015. I was drawn to how nature is intrinsic to the Japanese’s everyday existence. Their architecture seamlessly weaves into the natural surroundings as if it, too, sprung from the ground. These drawings contemplate one’s contemporary relationship to landscape and attempt to find a grammar of visual impressions that enable one to understand it.

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Do the landscapes and houses in your work exist in a particular location? 

Yes, the landscape and interior spaces I paint are personal to me for each one is a place I have had the chance to experience, whether it be through simply walking past it or by living in it for a certain period of time. The experience of these spaces becomes intensified in memory when I translate them into drawings.

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How do photography and architecture figure into your work? 

My own practice has always probed and mimicked photographs, not life. I have always appropriated directly from images that move me to create. There’s nothing spectacular about the way I take photographs. I have amassed a collection of haphazardly shot digital photos from my various walks. Yet, however photographically mundane a landscape or interior may be, it has the potential to carry some sort of peculiar charm to it when drawn or painted.

My fascination with urban architecture arose in Singapore when I began to question what it is that influence our notions of “home” and how our cities affect the way we orient ourselves, both physically and in our minds.

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Do you also work as a commercial illustrator? 

Yes, I do. I’m one of the illustrators for a creative digital agency based in Copenhagen, called Spokespeople. At the same time, I do my own freelance illustration projects.

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 What are your favorite sources of inspiration? 

Growing-up in cities such as Singapore and the Philippines, two bustling megalopolises, deeply influence my work. I usually soak up most of my inspiration by simply meandering through these spaces. Additionally, reading through books on landscape architecture, gardens, writings on urban life, and poetry help me piece together new drawings.

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Miju Lee

Monday, April 11, 2016

Miju Lee is an artist based in Barcelona. Her style of representation is super unique. In the case of these portraits she has somehow shaped faces out of circles with the tiniest of mouths and hairdos that pool like liquid.

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Artist Crush: Jessica Cannon

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Jessica Cannon was born in Brooklyn, where she lives and works today. Her work caught my eye in the latest New American Paintings which features artists from the Northeast. Jessica’s work plays in faded but still vibrant colors. It carries a very low-key, vacationy feel while some of these works seamlessly work in elements of urban life and technology without losing the sense of peace.

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Laylah Ali

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Laylah Ali is a very well-known artist based in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Her Acephalous Series, which exhibited last year at Paul Kasmin Gallery, centers on her signature cartoon-like characters. Like all of Laylah Ali’s work, the simplicity and sense of innocence fades upon closer look. As the name suggests some of her characters are missing a head; like the villian Krang in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles they have a head, or a brain, attached to the trunk of their body. The exchanges taking place in these paintings are unsettling, like something from a recurring dream.

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All photos from Paul Kasmin Gallery.

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