Jolene Lai: Caught somewhere between dream and dread

Jolene Lai has her third solo exhibition with the gallery, Beside You. Known for her narrative paintings in which characters are caught somewhere between dream and dread, Lai reimagines archetypal stories drawn from myth, Chinese folklore, and fairytale and transforms them into surreal compositions. By combining the uncanny with familiar scenes and contexts from the every day, Lai arrests our imaginations in a state of suspended disbelief. Her world is full of contrasts, extended metaphors, disorienting manifestations of fantasy, and hallucinatory dreamscapes weaved into otherwise familiar settings. In Beside You, Lai explores a progression of childhood scenes gone strangely awry, where the imagery is both whimsical and increasingly phobic. The playful naiveté of the children’s story ebbs into an ever encroaching sense of darkness and ends, entangled, in shadowy linings.

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Kamile Lukosiute creates street art and fashion illustration

Watercolour, acrylic, missing eyes, and raw talent. Meet Kamile Lukosiute, who goes by the alias, KLL, a young illustrator from Lithuania, with an eye so sickening, you wouldn’t believe she’s only 18 years old.

This street art, fashion illustration cross-bred hybrid works of art, are sure to make you wonder what’s going on in her head, and maybe even your own. Vibrant colours, seductive subjects, and a hell of a lot of attitudes, KLL really brings a mood and message to her pieces.

 

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Ute Rathmann: The reincarnation of Klimt, Shiele and Toulouse-Lautrec

Ute Rathmann is inspired by old masters such as Klimt, Schiele, Toulouse-Lautrec and Goya, this graduate of the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee works from life models, dressing her subjects according to a particular theme, in order to explore the human body and how it relates to clothes, costume, fashion and fabric.”

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How 101-Year-Old Artist Carmen Herrera Handles Sexist Double Standards

She sold her first painting when she was 89 years old. And she has no time for patriarchal bulls**t.

At 101 years old, abstract painter Carmen Herrera is beyond over the art world’s misogynist double standards.

The prolific artist, whose work is currently on view in New York at The Whitney, didn’t sell her first painting until she was 89 years old, in part a consequence of an artistic climate that underestimated and overlooked women. Nonetheless, she’s worked in a minimal yet incisive style since the 1940s, creating combinations of sharp-edged forms that overlap and intermingle. Most of her paintings feature only two or three colors, taking the shapes of triangles, rectangles and ovals that vibrate at the seams.

In the mid-20th century, Herrera has recalled, it was difficult for any woman artist to make a name for herself ― and nearly impossible for one whose work registered as stylistically masculine. Herrera, whose work was reminiscent of artists like Ellsworth Kelly and Ad Reinhardt, fell into this category.

In a recent interview with The Guardian’s Simon Hattenstone, Herrera recalled a particular conversation with avant-garde gallery owner Rose Fried, who gave a succinct and wholly infuriating explanation for why, despite her abundant talent, Herrera couldn’t land herself a show.

“She said, ‘You know, Carmen, you can paint rings around the men artists I have, but I’m not going to give you a show because you’re a woman,’” Herrera recalled. “I felt as if someone had slapped me on the face. I felt for the first time what discrimination was. It’s a terrible thing. I just walked out.”

Fried apparently went on to explain that male artists were in greater need of exhibitions because they had families to support, reasoning Herrera called out as a “lame excuse.” As to whether or not anyone had a right to know why Herrera didn’t have a family to support herself? “That is my business, not yours,” she told Fried.

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Carmen Herrera, “Wednesday,” 1978, acrylic on canvas, 66 x 42 in. (167.6 x 106.7 cm).

Despite the misogynistic habits of the art world she was enmeshed in, Herrera kept painting. Today, around 70 years later, despite using a wheelchair and being arthritic, Herrera is still creating work.

And finally, although it took far, far too long, Herrera is receiving the artistic acclaim she’s long deserved. As The New York Times’ Holland Cotter wrote, Herrera is “finally getting the show the art world should have given her 40 or 50 years ago.

Yet, even now, the art world has far from outgrown its gender biases. While Herrera has finally scored a retrospective, its scope pales in comparison to other exhibitions by men recently on view.

“Why didn’t the Whitney give Ms. Herrera not just the show she ought to have received some decades ago, but also the show that she deserves today?” Cotter asked. “Meaning a full retrospective on the big stage of the fifth floor, like those the museum bestowed on Frank Stella last fall, or even a slightly more focused look at her oeuvre from maturity on, as in the Stuart Davis survey that’s now in its final weeks. Well-intentioned as it is, ‘Lines of Sight’ gives us just a narrow slice of a career that’s seven decades strong and still going.”

It is clear that there is still much work to be done in terms of gender parity in the creative realm, but Herrera’s resilient style and determined spirit serve as an example of what is possible with hard work and a fierce antipathy for sexism.

Go see Herrera’s “Lines of Sight” before it closes on January 9, 2017 at The Whitney.

MATTHEW CARASELLA
Carmen Herrera at the Whitney Museum of Art on September 14, 2016.

 

Mathematic equations in between the pencil strokes

The Dutch artist Daan Noppen lives and works in Amsterdam but he represents the international art mainstream. He is well known for his realistic larger than life drawings of portraits and bodies. A closer look at his artworks will reveal mathematic equations in between the pencil strokes that relate to our reality. He creates a parallel reality of all moments that we normally cannot see with naked eye.

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