Reality is a Constant Becoming

Luis Cortés, a sculptor from Zaragoza who lives in Barcelona, has spent years investigating movement through his articulated sculptures, a series made up mostly of small minimalist sculptures with pure shapes, representing different animals, such as the horse, the elephant, or the whale. However, he has also studied the human figure and the hand. In Luis Cortés’ sculptures, you can observe a part of scientific research, and the artist investigates movement carefully. Each of his sculptures is made with a different number of wooden pieces, all of them with geometric shapes. These pieces are linked together through pivot points, thus allowing movement.

In Barcelona, Spain, the presence of exceptional creativity and imagination is around every corner, where artists like Gaudi, Picasso, Miro, and Dali once resided. I was lucky enough to visit Luis Cortes’ art studio, where I wandered around like a child in a Toyland. I was fascinated by his geometrical jigsaw puzzles that turn into motion sculptures.

Animals, plants and ultimately all living beings are important examples of morphological changes, their displacement, and relationships with other beings, based on their intentions, instinct, and intelligence.

– Luis Cortez

“Horse”, wood, 15 in | 40 cm tall, 2019

Luis Cortes went to school at Facultat de Belles Arts, Universitat de Barcelona (The Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona) and was initially trained as a filmmaker. Throughout his career, he has made a living as a special effects maker for motion pictures and commercials. Eventually, the evolution of sculptures made with kinetic chains captured his mind. He devoted his focus to it as he became a full-time artist. Over the last ten years, he has applied polygons’ continuous lines and rigid elements to create various figures through endless detailed calculations of multiple pivot … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Matthias van Arkel

Matthias van Arkel has become known for his unique expression of merging painting and sculpture in his works made of silicone. Over the past few decades van Arkel has consequently investigated painterly ideas, his practice has emerged out of a conceptual approach. In his three-dimensional works meaning is achieved through density, sensuality and energy. There is a performative dimension involved in the creation process, as the artist balances intuition versus control through the special technique that he has developed. The sculptural shapes move like enlarged brush strokes forming abstract landscapes. Van Arkel challenges our perception of what defines a painting and invites us to see it from a new perspective.

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

That’s a difficult question. Probably Edvard Munch. I’m so interested in everything about him as an artist and a person–how he found ideas for his paintings. His graphic prints, especially, have a very strong impact on me. 

“Gobelin (F.A.S)”, silicone rubber, 106 x 137 in | 270 x 348 cm, 2012. Photo credit: Erik Lefvander.

How did you become a professional artist?

It all started because it was natural in my family: my father was an artist. But the one who took me further with the thought of being an artist was my 9th-grade art teacher, who inspired me in all ways and stood as a model for me after school hours. She also gave me pep talks about my ability to be an artist, that I had the talent for it, and she told me to apply to art school–my dad didn’t do that. He thought it was a difficult life to be an artist; he wanted me to choose something else. But this teacher encouraged me at that young age to go for it. … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Lin Shih Pao

Lin Shih Pao is a New York contemporary artist born in Pingtung County, Taiwan. A child from the rural countryside of Taiwan, he has been creating with his hands since he was young. And his hand-making skill has led to this extraordinary life as a legendary artist in a social movement. Taiwan’s Times Press compiled his story into two books:” A Penny Story” and “The Legend Continues.” Taiwan’s public television also produced an episode for him: An Artist’s Story.

You may be as curious as I am, how his work resulted in a thousand-person social movement? How he demonstrates love in interpersonal relationships has brought tears to the eyes of many, both participants in his creation and viewers. And his volunteers rally to him with exuberance and passion. Let us hear his views on art creation from the following interview.

“Love Ring 1”, PVC, gold foil, 13 x 13 x 10 in | 33 x 33 x 25 cm, 2020

Who are your most admired artists?

I like Van Gogh’s wild, enthusiastic, and reckless personality. I think that’s the spirit that an artist should have, regardless of the consequences to make art, live in the moment, and do whatever you want to do at the moment for the art’s sake. I have visited the painting site of Van Gogh in the south of France, and I can feel the momentum. In addition, I also like Picasso’s willful little urchin personality, but Picasso is very good at doing art business. Unlike Van Gogh, Picasso’s life is the sum of reason and sensibility. As for American artists, I like Jackson Pollock. His action painting in Abstract Expressionism has an invisible coincidence with my painting creation. I often use a similar technique as he does to flick … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with William Bradley

William Bradley graduated with a Masters degree from Wimbledon College of the University of the Arts London in 2008, selling out his end of year show. He has since been selected for FutureMap 08 and the Catlin Art prize 2009 and 2011 and Baker’s Dozen at Torrance Art Museum in 2020. His work is included in several major collections. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

“Wild, Wild Wood”, acrylic on canvas on board, 52.5 x 48 x 3.5 in | 133 x 122 x 9 cm, 2022

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

I’ll give you a different answer every time. There are however a few touchstones: John Hoyland, Hans Hofman, Howard Hogkin, and Sandra Blow. There was an incredible show of Eduardo Chillida at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park when I was a teenager–it’s stayed with me ever since. Then there is Matisse.

How did you become a professional artist?

When you’re consumed by something it can be difficult to resist; so it was always the plan. It’s my mum’s fault–she gave me the bug. Then throw in a couple of influential tutors and you’re pretty much screwed. I worked practically full time during my BA to save the money to move to London and continue my studies. My time in London working towards my MA in Painting was pivotal. It was challenging in so many ways and taught me that I was going to question what the fuck I’m doing everyday–several times a day, but like I said, difficult to resist. I was incredibly fortunate to sell out my degree show and meet a couple of key people who set me on the path, including me in UAL’s Future Map and then the Catlin Art Prize–Cheers Medeia and Justin!

What are the influences and inspirations

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Artist Q&A with Kathleen Shaver

Kathleen Shaver is an abstract painter who studied at Moore College of Art & Design and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) with teachers and mentors including Bill Richards, Chuck Fahlen, and Thomas Chimes. Her work has been included in a major survey of contemporary Philadelphia artists at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and in exhibits at PAFA, Woodmere Art Museum, the James A. Michener Art Museum, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, the Attleboro Arts Museum and Moore. In addition to the Rodger LaPelle Galleries and 3rd Street Gallery in Philadelphia, Shaver has exhibited in galleries located in Delaware, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C. and Texas. Her work is included in both private and corporate collections.

“Just Human”, oil on canvas, 56 x 48 in | 142 x 122 cm, 2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

That’s a tough question because time is speeding along and nothing remains the same. I remember seeing paintings by Goya and Velasquez in a book as a kid. I grew up loving the magic of Walt Disney movies. As an art student, Jasper Johns had a huge impact on me as did Eva Hesse, Robert Rauschenberg, George Segal, Marisol, Jim Dine, Joseph Cornell, and Lucas Samaras. The first time I saw works of Van Gogh in the flesh I was blown away by the physical presence of his paint. Today, I’d walk a mile to see work by Angel Ortiz, Rachel Jones, Rita Ackermann, or Daniel Crews Chubb.  I feel that Willem de Kooning is in my bones so he must be my favorite.

How did you become a professional artist?

By overcoming a deep conflict. I started out in art college after high school. After figuring out I did not want to study … Click here to read more

Artist Q&A with Edward Giordano

Ed Giordano is a sculptor living and working in New York. He recently completed an artist residency at The Blue Mountain Center. In 2013, he was awarded a residency in New Orleans from The Joan Mitchell Center. He has been the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Delfina Studio Trust in London and The Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation in New York City. Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design and Pratt Institute in 1985, he has had two fellowships in theoretical and critical studies at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and been in numerous group exhibitions in USA and Canada. As a sculptor, he works with common materials from Home Depot such as wood, plaster, and nails.

“Red Reign”, plaster, terracotta, and steel, 24 x 7 x 7 in | 61 x 18 x 18 cm, 2019-2021

Who is your favorite artist of all time?

Michelangelo. I was living in Rome would visit my relatives in Genoa. My great aunt insisted that I understand what the Italians had done with Sculpture. So, it started with a visit to the cemetery to put flowers on my family’s graves. The cemetery was replete with funereal sculpture and monuments. I was not impressed. Maybe, disrespectful until I went to the Vatican and saw the tombs designed by architects and sculptors including the Pieta by Michelangelo.I visited Florence and the unfinished slaves at the Academy di Belle Arti. Later, the unfinished work at in Milan, the Rondannini Pieta. It was the unfinished work that interest me the most. Unfinished but complete and psychological. Like modernism, about procedure and materials. Every mark that Michaelangelo made with his chisel left a view of his process in making art. 

How did you become a professional artist?

I … Click here to read more

Nigerian-born artist and architect Peju Alatise on her back-to-back Venice Biennales, Yoruba influences, and giving back to Africa

We recently sat down with Nigerian-born artist and architect Peju Alatise at her new Glasgow studio to find out more about her back-to-back Venice Biennales, how she juxtaposes being a contemporary architect and fine artist, and how Yoruba culture has helped her work stand out in today’s global art world.

“You need a little bit of luck, as we know arduous work isn’t everything. Do what you do because you love it, and because you can’t live without it.” 
– Peju Alatise
“Alagemo” sculpture, part of “Alasiri” installation at the Arsenale of the Venice Biennale of Architecture 2021. Photo credit: Adeyemo Shokunbi 

Alatise is an interdisciplinary artist, architect, and author of two novels. She started her professional career as an architect while running a private art studio. These days, she is a leading voice in contemporary art on the African continent. Her practice is relentlessly experimental and labor-intensive. She produces works across a variety of mediums, techniques, and materials, including but not limited to paintings, film, installations, sculptures. Her work is also pointedly political, often asking damning questions, and provoking reflections about the times, the state of affairs at home and abroad. The artist’s work has, in the past, explored exploitative labor practices in Nigeria, child rights with a focus on young girls, state-sanctioned violence against citizens, migration and the policies that ensure that many die at sea, seeking a better life. Alatise now produces through the lens of spirituality and Yoruba cosmology, leaning into ancient storytelling traditions and crafting alternative social imageries.

When asked about some of her favorite artists, Alatise hesitated for a moment, and eventually offered the answer that it changes from season to season. Right now, she is looking at Mexican sculptor Javier Marín and continues to be impressed Chiharu Shiota whose work she first discovered at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Marin’s … Click here to read more

The Future of Art: Willie Cole, a contemporary artist creating unique work and positive change.

Willie Cole has been ­­­making innovative work with unique iconography for over half a century, but talking to him, he sounds like a friendly, smart colleague or neighbor next store. Perhaps that’s why his work is so accessible and inspirational.

The artist, who lives in Mine Hill, NJ, has been the subject of shows at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1998), Bronx Museum of the Arts (2001), and Miami Art Museum (2001). These institutions, some of the biggest in the world, along with private collectors from New York to Los Angeles, see something provocative in his work.

When Art Review City caught up with him, the artist invited us to a visit his home studio where he was finishing the works for the collective exhibition “There’s There There,” curated by renowned American artist Rashid Johnson at blue-chip gallery Hauser and Wirth’s Southampton location. This show invites visitors to reflect upon the pleasures and complex histories of the shapes, movements, and objects that permeate the everyday, and Cole’s ironing board works are clearly the stars of the show. 

Installation view, ‘There’s There There’, Hauser & Wirth Southampton, 2021. © Hauser & Wirth. Courtesy Hauser & Wirth. Photo: Thomas Barratt.

The artist has spent a lifetime working to look at thing differently than most artists. He is most concerned with recycling, green energy, and living a healthy and spiritual life to live at one with Mother Earth. He spent many of his early days in a pew at Sunday School, and later studied Buddhism in high school and college, but today he says he is a “no-frills nature worshipper” which explains a lot about him as a man and as an artist. “Nature, no matter what you call it, is powerful, and it deserves to be admired … Click here to read more

Bonnie Richards Becker sat down with artist David Kastner and spoke with him about growing up in the Midwest, his constant experimentations of materials of the course of his life’s work, and his current phase that has a renewed focus on color and the process of painting.

“Finding that moment when the human mind is free, but before conscious activity develops consecutive thought, was a difficult mental space to understand, exist in, and use for the creative moment of expression..”
– David Kastner
David Kastner, photo by Gale Richards.

My first real recollection of art came from the Art Institute in Chicago. My mother took me to the Museum when I was about five years old. Seeing the various paintings, sculptures, and other media left a deep impression that persists in my life today. Before that, I only knew of my own love for making and building things. But there I first felt the effects of the many great artists who left their ideas for others to see. Without really knowing what the creative process meant, I knew I wanted to create.

While it is possible to reflect on early childhood development, attempting to identify when and how the creative process came into being in one person’s life, it is likely there is a more general creative essence in that person’s life, rather than a singular epiphany. For me, I knew early on that I liked making things. This meant piling sticks, digging, and making marks in mud, etc. These early renderings were a precursor for more complex mark making that became the pursuit of my life’s work to date.

In elementary school we had art class with pencils, paints, and clay – and all the other materials a small child needs to build their first artistic masterpieces. Inspired by … Click here to read more