Isolated Fauna by Lara Nickel

Category: Fine Arts

Hyperrealism is painting and sculptures answer to photography. Similar to photorealism, the realm of hyperrealism often contains a focused investigation on the subject, presenting it as more tangible and living. On first seeing Lara Nickel’s hyperreal paintings I was intrigued, not only by the impressive technical ability that she showcases through her method, but also by her ability to cross pollinate the hyperreal style with a conversation about paintings illusionistic fallacies.

Lara Nickel is a graduate from Santa Fe University of Art and Design, one of our partnering universities. I came across her work on the SFUAD website that featured her life-sized portraits of zebras and wolves. Her work, situated on the floor, intrigued me in it’s blatancy of declaring that this was a painting, and nothing more. The plants above are from Nickels most recent body of work and these too declare the same. Cut out from the natural desert environment, and placed instead on a stark gallery-white background, her paintings speak more to the subject of painting as object than painting as illusion. This is where it’s interesting though, as the subjects and their super-real renderings are all about illusion. But here Nickel flips illusion on it’s head through the way the work interacts with the space. More installation than hanging, the placement of canvases resting on the floor or projecting out from the wall talk honestly to the structure of the grounds on which she works and clearly remove the concept of the painting as a window. It all adds up for a wonderfully confusing conversation that perfectly talks to the heritage of what painting was – illusion, and what painting is now is – object.

Apart from creating an interesting discussion, I’m also a total fan of the aesthetic. The bold, lush greens against this modern white make for some stunning imagery, and although she’d probably hate to hear me say it, would look great propped up against a wall of my imaginary studio apartment.

Lara Nickel is represented by Ernesto Mayans Gallery and Nedra Matteucci Galleries in Santa Fe and seems to exhibit regularly. Look out for her installations if you’re in the area, or click here to discover more of her life size work.

Logan Bradley

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts

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Relating – It’s All About Ya

Category: Film / Multimedia, Fine Arts, Installation

I have just spent a week visiting Melbourne and during that time I was fortunate enough to stumble upon one of the best exhibitions I have seen in a very long time. Currently showing at the National Gallery of Victoria are three video installations by Chinese artist Wang Gongxin. I have seen one of Gongxin’s video installations before, but otherwise am a complete novice on his work.

Gongxin comes out of the conservative Chinese art world. Having studied social realism, a form of propaganda art that was endorsed during and continued after the end of the cultural revolution, Gongxin’s practice swiftly shifted to video installation after a stint teaching in New York. The exhibit at the NGV in Melbourne showcases three works, two of which I have shown above. All three are incredible but Relating – It’s All About Ya  2010 (top set), is probably one of the most affronting and immersive video installations I have seen. Documenting the fast paced existence of humanity in China’s Beijing, the frenetic film is projected across 11 giant screens, timed and choreographed to create an encapsulating and exciting sequence. Beginning with the sound Ya, the film starts with a traditional chinese warrior. This quickly moves through to a teapot, floating fabric, vibrating coins, wobbling flabby bellies, jittering high heels and finally, a pulsating white wigged head banging dancer that morphs into trancing older woman. The installation is incredibly captivating, I watched it fully through four times, and likewise did the young kids who were running from screen to screen around the gallery.

The second work (bottom set), Basic Colour 2010 uses five elongated projected screens, each with a detail of the human body. A hand, an ear, the contours of an arched back, are all set against a soft grey background. These bodies become almost like abstract landscapes, only to be made more so by the covering and then unveiling by colour pigment and water. Unlike Ya, Basic Colour is slow and hypnotic. The colour and detail of this piece is incredibly beautiful and allows you to draw into the work in a completely different manner to the rooms either side.

Wang Gongxin’s training in social realism built a foundation of art making around the elevation of the ordinary working man. His work since the regime fell continues on this same path but without the confounds of the idealized propaganda aesthetic. The fake-ness has gone and what’s left is a body of work that deals with this subject in a truly honest and beautiful way.

If you’re in Melbourne, or are there before the 28th September, make sure you take the time to see this one. Wang Gongxin at the NGV, get in there asap. But if you’re not and want to see the full installation video, click here and head under ‘selected works’. Gongxin graciously allows you to watch the full video under the title of each work.

Logan Bradley

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)

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Ed Atkins at Serpentine Sackler Gallery

Category: 3D Animation, Film / Multimedia, Fine Arts

High definition CGI is not a common presence in the fine art world, and I was surprised to see images of a digitally rendered human figure so prominently displayed at one of the the most important contemporary art galleries in Britain. The troublesome looking young man is an avatar modeled on Ed Atkins, the artist himself. Ed Atkins had somehow slipped my radar, but the more I’ve learned about him the more intrigued I’ve become with his work. His multi-channel installation Ribbons (2014) occupies several spaces and screens in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery until 25 August. The video follows the protagonist as he drinks, smokes, swears, mutters, gets naked, tries his luck with a glory hole. It is accompanied by large boards bearing blocks of texts with scribbled-in margins, and disturbingly realistic human skins, or UV maps of the avatar, on display like scientific specimens or conquests.

Atkins is skilled in coding, and creating 3D animation, though he did solicit the help of an expert to produce elements like the astoundingly hyper-real render of a whiskey glass that appears in the video. He pushes CGI far enough to remind the viewer that its’ most prized achievement, hyper-realism, undoes itself as, no matter how close the image gets to looking real, it will forever fall short of life. The avatar is so meticulously rendered, and yet so vapid, vacant—he is but a shell of code, stretched over an artificial structure.We see ourselves reflected in him, and but that which becomes apparent is our comparative physicality, flesh and mortality.

Ed Atkins is heavily influenced by literature and poetry and the written word play an important part in his creative process. Here is a beautiful performance of a piece called Depression from last year. If you happen to be in London definitely check out the exhibition, and I’d recommend reading some interviews with him, he is a fascinating artist. Here is a good audio interview recorded at Chisenhale Gallery in 2012.

Anna Tokareva

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art in Painting and Visual Arts
Bachelor of Art in Media Design and Multimedia Arts
Masters of Art in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies
Masters of Art in Film and New Media

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts
Bachelor of Arts in Animation

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IRÉEL by Flóra Borsi

Category: Fine Arts, Photography

Exceptionally talented Hungarian photographer Flóra Borsi is exploring the physically impossible through clever photo manipulation. Doing mostly self portraits, concept art and fashion editorials, Borsi edits her images with impeccable taste and restraint. Her aim is to create images that first of all look ‘real’.

Her latest fine art photography series IRÉEL features beautiful and intimate self portraits behind a transparent screen that is smudged with paint strokes. Her shape interacts with the abstract strokes obscure, hide and reveal her body at the same time. The colours — faded blue, clay like red and the colour of her skin — work incredibly well together giving a sense of depth and contrast, a pale, eerie atmosphere to the images.

As she describes: ‘A hyperrealist painter aims to achieve a result which looks like a real photographic picture. A pictorialist photographer’s desired result is visually equivalent to a painting.’

These are all real life shots, Borsi only adjusted the tones and contrast, with a bit of skin retouching here and there. Have a look at some other beautiful projects from Flóra Borsi on her website, or on Behance.

Kyle Glass

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Photography
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Photography

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Masters in Photography and Visual Design

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James Surls @ SFUAD

Category: Fine Arts, sculpture

It may be summer break in the U.S at the moment, but that hasn’t stop Santa Fe University of Art and Design hosting a range of exciting creative events. Along with ARTFEST, which Frontier always looks forward to, SFAUD have opened up their campus as a free range exhibition space for American modernist James Surls.

Surls is known for his large scale monotone sculptures, drawings and prints. Originally focusing on natural and human images and forms, of recent years his wooden and metal works have adopted a more abstract presence with the recognizable elements being paired back in favour for spiky dangerous forms. His use of natural, twisted wood is what interests me. The last shot from one of his annual studio exhibitions looks like dangerous viewing, large heavy wooden structures are hung precariously above, with the thorny spikes heightening the sculptures menacing aesthetic.

At SFUAD, Surls’ sculptures have been placed around campus like aliens landed in the dry desert landscape. It’s an fantastic juxtaposition. From what I can tell, James Surls’ sculptures are up all summer long, if you’re in the neighbourhood then make sure you stop in for this intriguing free show.

Logan Bradley

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Study options

Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts

Get in touch now: