Francesco LoCastro must have had a lot on his mind when he constructed the paintings that comprise his recently opened “Advent” show at the Art and Culture Center. Enormous, larger-than-life, unquantifiable themes percolate from the artist’s colorful and exhilarating work, which reinterprets geometric abstraction for the 21st century through inventive bursts of epoxy resin. There are sometimes subtle, sometimes vast differences between the paintings, but they all embody a clutter of soft-hued, three-dimensional shapes that suggest no less than the very creation of our world.
Francesco Lo Castro creates hallucinatory landscapes composed of abstract shapes, layering spray paint, acrylic and screen-printed images between coats of resin. Submerged in the clear substance, the faint, pastel colors become translucent, creating a vivid illusion of three-dimensional space. When we first covered Lo Castro on the blog in2010, portraiture was his focus. But since then, his work has shed its figurative elements, only evoking them occasionally in works that are still heavily doused in abstraction. Take a look at some of his recent work below.
When gallery-goers stop in front of photographs from Nathan Sawaya and Dean West’s In Pieces series, they often fail to spot a secret hidden in plain sight. Take the Edward Hopper-esque image above, Bus, shot on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. It looks like a naturalistic street scene. But look closer, and you’ll see the dog is made out of Lego. Oh, and the mannequin in the left-hand window? Lego, too. In fact every one of the compositions involves at least one Lego component: Sawaya handles the bricks, West the camera.
It is best not to look too closely at Edvard Munch’s screamer at the exhibition “The Art of the Brick,” which opened this week at Discovery Times Square. Because then you would see that the head is pieced together out of beige and white Lego blocks, their studs protruding. Leonardo’s “Mona Lisa,” on display nearby, has a smoother surface, composed of 4,573 “bricks” (as they are called by aficionados), but you’d never mistake it for the original — the overall effect is more allusion than illusion.
It’s not often an artist creates work so new it nearly defies explanation and challenges the viewer’s instinct to name, categorize and reference. While Ron Agam is not without his artistic forebears, his paintings are very uniquely his own.
In Breakout, his latest exhibition at Vered Gallery in East Hampton, Agam presents a series of kinetic works that capture space and time, and actual movement, in a way few have created outside of film and video. Each piece uses innovative digital lenticular technology to bringAgam’s abstract and colorful vision to life, literally.
Jessica Lichtenstein, a lawyer-turned-artist, seeks to start discussion with her work.
Her new show, PEEP SHOW, opened on Saturday, May 25 and will continue to Monday, June 17 at the Vered Gallery in East Hampton. The show uses Japanese anime figures and what Lichtenstein calls “word sculptures” to examine female sexuality and pornography.
Jessica Lichtenstein was never obsessed with the world of Japanese animation or its X-rated hentai subgenre, but something attracted her to the small, titillating figurines of its female characters and they have since become central to her body of work. That series has since expanded into a series of wall sculptures, which will be among the work on display in Peep Show, her latest exhibition opening at Vered Gallery in East Hampton on Saturday, May 25.
This week’s cover (“Winter on Long Beach”) by Grant Haffner is intriguing, especially the subject matter and the artist’s signature style and tone. We can’t help but remember Haffner’s works that feature open road where vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines meet, and candy-stripe colors enhance the Magic Realism. We also can’t forget their themes of desolation, which are counterbalanced by the theatrical environment. As a film lover, this art critic recalls movies that evoke similar “on-the-road” themes that suggest desolation as well as alienation and isolation: consider Easy Rider and Into the Wild.
Dean West is an emerging artist from Australia whose highly conceptual, stylized photography combines hundreds of different elements that are photographed explicitly for a specific scene and place. Bordering on the surreal, Dean’s colorful portraits and enactments reveal, upon close inspection, layers of complexity behind the apparent straightforwardness of their composition.