Sunday, January 13, 2008

Looking at Artists

I'm going through my new issue of "Art in America". I gave it a once-over and flagged some artists that I thought looked interesting. Now it's time to look 'em up on the net and see what I think.

One that caught my eye is a Chinese artist named Yang Shewei. There was only one real hit for him: the website that features just one of his works. This one is very witty: a rather angry-looking official in authoritative uniform wearing a cheerful mask, the kind that Japanese and Chinese people use to prevent the spread of germs during cold season. How ferocious can somebody be when they've got a brightly smiling cartoon bear on their face? What a great way to disarm the suposedly powerful. This painting, and the one on page 69 in Art in America, show somebody who's a very good draftsman with a sharp wit and something to say. I just wish there was more of his work that I could look at.

Next up was a small ad for Billy Shire Fine Arts in Culver City, California. I bookmarked this gallery just now - he has quite a few artists that I really like. This painting, for example, is by Joe Sorren, who does exquisitely crafted paintings of these strangely stylized people, usually in very carefully and realistically rendered landscapes or spaces. To me, the mixture is unsettling, almost nightmarish, but very powerful. The gallery has images from its past shows on the web site, and they're all exceptional. Check out Carrie Ann Baade, Nicola Verlato, Gary Baseman (previously written up in Art in America, I believe), David Anderle ... heck, check 'em all out. This is a good gallery.

The final one I found was another Chinese artist, this one named Wei Dong. He's represented by Stefan Stux Gallery. Wei's paintings are filled with luscious, often bald, women, wearing fabulously textured clothing worthy of European royalty. They're usually in ambiguous situations that tell a story, but you can't quite figure out what ... but it's fun trying. I browsed around the gallery and there was a lot of good work there. For example, look at the "Chinese Relativity 2" exhibit, which is a group show of Chinese artists. I focused on the painters, and these guys can paint. The works are conceptually gripping, well composed, and extremely well painted. I'm in awe.

And sadly, those were about the only things I found worth looking at in this issue. I had a few other pages flagged, but after looking up the artists, I didn't care for what I saw. Seemed to me to be mixtures of poor concept, poor execution, no substance, too much hype, or any combination of those traits. So in the spirit of "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all", I'll keep quiet.

But the ones I wrote about above are good. Go take a look.

1 comment:

ky said...

One could see Yang Shewei's works at a gallery in Hong Kong called Karin Weber Gallery