Upperplayground News

POP SURREALISM BY MARK RYDEN

by Ariadna Zierold

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Blending themes of pop culture with techniques reminiscent of the old masters, Mark Ryden has created a singular style that blurs the traditional boundaries between high and low art. His work first garnered attention in the 1990s when he ushered in a new genre of painting, “Pop Surrealism”, dragging a host of followers in his wake. Ryden’s aesthetic is developed from subtle amalgams of many sources, from Ingres, David and other French classicists to Little Golden Books. Ryden also draws his inspiration from anything that will evoke mystery: old toys, anatomical models, stuffed animals, skeletons and religious ephemera found in flea markets.

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Ryden’s vocabulary ranges from cryptic to cute, treading a fine line between nostalgic cliché and disturbing archetype. Seduced by his infinitely detailed and meticulously glazed surfaces, the viewer is confronted with the juxtaposition of the childhood innocence and the mysterious recesses of the soul.

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MODERN-DAY FOSSILS BY DORA BUDOR

by Ariadna Zierold

dora budor, sculpture, installation, cinema, film, props, movies, objectsreanimation, recontextualization, upper playground

New York-based Croatian artist Dora Budor creates sculptures and films that expose the technical and otherwise overlooked elements of movies. Budor most regularly engages with movie props—objects which are inherently fake or flawed, yet appear real and perfect on-screen—in order to “reanimate” them and give them a second life through recontextualization.

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A series of sculptures built around discarded movie props with artificial weathering, rust, and dust positions the objects as modern-day fossils. Budor views cinema through an anthropological lens, seeking to explore how people interact with films and the way that fictional characters become part of a collective emotional reality.

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SHIFTING SENTIMENTS BY JULES DE BALINCOURT

by Ariadna Zierold

jules de balincourt, landscape, painting, abstract, atmosphere, saturated, colorful, upper playground, brooklyn

Brooklyn-based artist Jules de Balincourt paints the social, political and economic landscape of the United States, where the Paris-born artist has lived since childhood, is subject to satirical analysis and exuberant reimagining. He is best known for his abstract, atmospheric paintings with saturated colors, blurring the line between fantasy and reality.

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Working from the position of an outsider, the artist questions structures of power and influence, laying bare injustices and hypocrisies while maintaining an amused attachment to the myths through which identity – individual and national – is constructed.

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TEXTILE BLOBS BY SERENA GARCIA DALLA VENEZIA

by Ariadna Zierold

serena garcia dalla venezia, blob, orb, textile, fabric, installation, colorful, gradiations, texture, upper playground

Chilean artist Serena Garcia Dalla Venezia creates stunning textile art from small handmade fabric balls that she then groups together. Growth and accumulation, order and chaos are the driving inspiration behind her work. The effect is somewhat pixelated in the end, full of thoughtful gradations in color and contrast.

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EMOTIONAL NARRATIVES BY ANDREA JOYCE HEIMER

by Ariadna Zierold

andrea joyce heimer, emotional, illustration, narrative, figurative, symbolism, scenes, flat, upper playground

The focus of Andrea Joyce Heimer‘s work is narrative painting. Much of the work speaks from her status as an adult adoptee whose records are sealed, meaning she have no access to her own biographical, birth, and heritage information. The narratives represent different perspectives of her experience as an adoptee: first-person autobiographical, the outsider-looking-in neighborhood observer, the archetypal orphan (the charming tramp). Self-authored mythologies of her own origins as well as mythologies of her home state, Montana, are interwoven with these themes.

andrea joyce heimer, emotional, illustration, narrative, figurative, symbolism, scenes, flat, upper playground

The figurative elements focus on the interactions between human beings in moments of disconnection or detachment. Emotional themes of loneliness, anger, and longing are performed in symbol-laden environments including houses, yards, forests, and bodies of water. The distinctive flatness with which the scenes are rendered recall the flattened perspective of medieval art and speak to the “flattened” experience of the adoptee, whose lack of background knowledge represents a deficiency of depth to one’s selfhood.

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