There are some really great years out there, and then,
It’s hard to read a giant painting of a single brushstroke. Some people need more than highly conceptual art to feel appreciative of the artist. The following four modern day geniuses aren’t exhaustive, but offer a glimpse of what grandiose treasures a creative mind can create. Whether or not you can spend the entire day in a museum, the mind-boggling work of these contemporary artists will gladly take as much of your time as you give it.
Cai Guo-Qiang is a Chinese installation, video, and performance artist. His large-scale installation pieces, Heritage and Head on, were featured as part of his first solo exhibition, Falling Back to Earth, in Australia. Both pieces of extraordinary size and detail presented life-size replicas of wild animals. Heritage consisted of 99 animals, including giraffes, pandas, and lions, drinking unanimously from a small lake, which took hundreds of excavated cubic meters of concrete, steel, and soil from the gallery’s foundations. Head on featured 99 eerily realistic wolves, each with their own idiosyncrasies, in a continuous cycle of launching themselves in the air and crashing into a glass plane in the other end of the gallery space. Cai Guo-Qiang’s exhibitions are open to various interpretations, but his work promises to come across as “spectacular and meditative.”
For London-born sculptor Kendra Haste, animals have been a lifelong obsessive fascination and the sole focus of her work. She claims wire and wire mesh as the unparalleled material that suggests natural movement, life, contour, volume, weight, lightness, solidity, and transparency found in her subjects. Her longest lasting exhibition is currently on display in the Tower of London until 2021. Featuring three tigers, baboons, an elephant, and a polar bear, the installation brings back the exotic pets of the monarchy, the “royal beasts” that lived at the tower for over 600 years. The unique portraits are results of Kendra’s expeditions, tracking, and following of wild animals that have left a deep impression on her.
There is no greater attention to detail than Ron Mueck’s. His jarring sculptures reproduce the most meticulous details of the human body, while also playing with scale, always being either huge or miniature, stirring an unsettling sense of perspective on the viewer. Molded from layers of plaster, rubber, and shellac, the sculptures are painstakingly realistic. In his solo exhibition for the Fondation Cartier in Paris, the Australian sculptor revealed three new works, including the very striking “Couple Under An Umbrella.” The Couple’s sheer scale makes their impression that much substantial. The affection, contemplation, and peace that the elderly lovers frozen in time can feel are uncanny.
Keng Lye may not specialize in installation art, but while in the realm of hyperrealism, his works are invaluable of recognition. Keng’s realistic paintings take a step ahead of the “goldfish artist” as they emerge from the surface and become 3D instead of just seem to be so. His complex process consists of an incomprehensible layering of resin and very meticulous painting. The illusion he creates results in beautiful sculpture-like replicas rich in depth and color.