Detailed craftsmanship and elegant artistic pieces by talented artists are something to look out for, and it's high time the world needs a fresh bout of inspiration. Be it intricate woodwork, or high-quality and pristine photographs, these artists are definitely on the lookout in 2023. Keep reading on to discover these top talents, find out what drives their desire to innovate, and what equipment they use to create their marvelous work.
1) Przemek Pyszczek
Originally from Poland, Pyszczek works in Berlin. His paintings capture the graphically decorated external walls and whacky window bars of communist housing blocks in suburban Warsaw, and “Playground Structure” sculptures.
His sculptures, paintings, and installations are on the theme of utopian aspects of Polish architecture in the post-communist era.
Following his family’s emigration from Poland to Canada during his childhood and his studies in the field of architecture in Winnipeg, Pyszczek laid the focus of his contemporary artistic work on the phenomenon of mass-produced residential blocks extending into the surrounding environment.
With his works, he makes references to colors, forms, specific visually appealing features, ornaments, graphic structures, and material situations, that he recombines, condenses, and overlaps to create new connections and contexts.
2) Thiago Rocha Pitta
Thiago Rocha Pitta is best known for his relationship with nature, and outdoor interventions that harness its forces, processes, and splendid beauty. Rocha Pitta is particularly interested in transformation and decay, and even in his static paintings, he seeks to express the essential energy of natural cycles, whether in the dissipation of smoke or the descent of fog.
Thiago Rocha Pitta began displaying his works in 2001, with outdoor interventions. Since the beginning, his work seeks an intimate relationship with nature which is evident in works such as “Homage to William Turner”, a video from a small boat on fire, or in the mirror built on a cliff, where the public is invited to walk on the reflection of the sky. Through watercolors, photographs, sculptures, and video, Rocha Pitta focuses on small yet emotive elements of the natural world that are simultaneously ominous and melancholic, always searching in the language for the poetic state of the matter and its mutation. Driven by a preoccupation with the passage of time with the theme of nature, he often manipulates his work, confronting his audience with open-ended inquisitiveness.
3) Guan Xiao
"The documentary - Geocentric Puncture, 2012"/ New York Museum
Guan Xiao employs contemporary technology to wear her cultural and physical environment and personal thought processes. Her work shuns linear time and instead considers diverse cultures and artefacts in a holistic manner.
Her artistic work stands as a puzzle that the observer is meant to solve. She takes a playful approach to making sculptures, videos, and installations and pinpointing disparate relationships between unexpected materials to create a visual language that breaks historical and cultural boundaries. She often positions physical objects alongside images reserved from scrolling through the infinite universe of desktop and laptop screens.
Xiao has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions worldwide including Bonner Kunstverein, Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2019) and Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2016). Guan Xiao currently works in Beijing.
4) Lauren Keeley
In a year/ Frutta, Rome, Italy
Lauren Keeley is an outstanding photographer who loves to plays tricks on her viewers through a variety of media, including intricate wooden cut-outs, fabric, paper, and photographic printing processes. She manipulates each material and its relationship to the neighbouring composition to create optical illusions in both two and three dimensions.
Each powerful image she takes resonates with a sense of contemplative mystery cast by her use of starkly contrasting colors and lighting. With parts of their scenes often extending beyond the frame, each work comes to feel like a single moment within a larger chronology.
5) Aude Pariset
“Pasta Hostis II”/ Palais de Tokyo, Paris
Berlin-based photographer Aude Pariset uses photography, sculpture, and installation tactics to challenge the conventions of image production in the digital age. By culling images and objects from advertising, consumer products like cosmetics, technological gadgets, and the fashion industry, Pariset creates digital collages that emphasize the manipulative nature of media and subvert it.
Pariset often extends beyond two-dimensional representation. Whatever material she uses, Pariset works to disrupt the premeditated function of commercial images.
6) Angus Scott aka Gussi
Angus Scott, also professionally known as Gussi, is a Melbourne-based photographer who studies land and culture based on musings on identity and place. Working with both stills and video, his outstanding work is proof of familial narratives and connection to the landscape and oscillates between poetic and observational layouts of documentary storytelling.
7) Anna Neubauer
Anna Neubauer is a fine art portrait photographer and visual artist from Austria who is currently based in London. Her artistic work is centered on people with visible differences, as she considers the less diversity people see in their everyday lives, the more disconcerting they might find it. She likes to capture moments with tension, inspiration, and emotion without actually using words. Her artistic work is considered hazy, surreal and magnificent.
In interviews earlier, she has mentioned that she doesn’t use multiple equipments, and mostly shoots with her Canon EOS 5D Mark II, a 50mm and a 28-200mm lens, with natural light. She also owns a softbox and some LED lights.
8) Raisa Pardini
Italian artist Raissa Pardini uses her creative practice to bring awareness to issues that matter to heart and industry, crafting posters as a form of protest. Italian-born, UK-based visual artist Pardini works mainly with music and culture and creates striking, often saturated and playful, work that is a treat to eyes. Some of her prominent poster work was later added to the V&A’s permanent collection as part of a documentation of the British music scene, and her clients to date have included Apple Music, MTV, Sony, New York Times, WeTransfer, and an array of high-profile artists and musicians.
9) Annika Hansteen-Izora
Hansteen-Izora is a popular UI, product brand designer, art director, and artist based in Brooklyn, NY. She heads up design at Somewhere Good, a soon-to-launch social media startup founded by Naj Austin, which we featured in our Winter 2021 issue. Hansteen-Izora has also worked with Austin at Ethel’s Club, which is a community of physical and digital spaces that celebrate people of color, where they designed and led the visual identity in the world.
10) Quentin Swenke
Swenke is a visual and graphic artist who is based in New York City and the founder of Futura Free. He describes his visual style as a ‘convergence of supernatural dreamscapes and experimentation with color and typeface’.
11) Alexandra Kehayoglou
"Pastizal DVN"/ Paris, France
During the Paris Fashion Week, models for designer Dries Van Noten walked down a ramp that looked like an enchanting forest path. Rather than being real moss and undergrowth, it was actually a remarkable carpet crafted by Alexandra Kehayoglou, an Argentine artist who spent over two weeks tenaciously stitching it together, before it was shipped off to the 2015 Spring/Summer collection show. This soon took off as the talk of the town. These woven artistic pieces have become Kehayoglou's signature style. She started creating them shortly after graduating from art school in 2008, creating everything from mossy ponds and stony outcrops to pure white glaciers and fields.
Today, her family owns El Espartano which is one of South America's largest carpet manufacturers. Based in her own huge workshop, Kehayoglou hangs rugs vertically from the large scaffolds to work on her masterpieces. On an average, it takes her up to two months to create carpets that look like paintings or art installations. She even crafts mossy-covered stools and carpeted deckchairs, so her artistic pieces aren't just limited to the floor.
12) Rachel Beach
Rachel Beach’s work often references the ways and means of architecture, and she’s particularly interested in transitional elements in the built environment. The references in her current work of architecture are broad-ranging, from ancient armor and shields to symbolic languages such as hieroglyphs, flags, and typography.
In her human-scaled, geometric sculptures, you will find angles, patterns, and vibrant colors reminiscent of Memphis furniture, and incised shapes that suggest minimalist totem poles or modern skyscrapers. For her, this affinity with the built environment is also conceptual in nature.
13) María Paula and Diego Álvarez
MANGLE is a collaboration between Colombian artists María Paula Alvarez and Diego Fernando Alvarez, who met as woodworking students at the Fundación Escuela de Artes y Oficios (School of Arts and Crafts) in Santo Domingo. The group takes its name from the Latin classification for mangrove tree, a plant that is commonly known for its twisty, tangled shapes that reflects their inquisitiveness in complex forms in the natural world.
Although the duo is trained in carpentry, several sculptures aren’t immediately recognizable as woodcraft. They love to create the illusion that wood can conduct just like textiles, rubber, or even living plants. Among their recent subjects are tangled extension cords, ferns rendered in wood and concrete, and delicate plywood lattices inspired by the ironwork and craftsmanship of Bogotá.
14) Bhuvanesh Gowda
Residing in Mumbai, India, Gowda credits his interest in wood to his childhood. Raised on the slopes of the Western Ghats, Gowda has a knowledgeable connection to the material by way of his community. His recent work investigates the relationship between new developments in physics and Eastern philosophy. Some of his wooden elements are finely carved, while others are left in their original state. A few are burned black, while others are painted, suggesting a confluence of opposing forces or a psychological narrative. Antarmukhi I (2016), which means introverted or inward-facing, is a carved sculpture that unfolds both above and below its steel plinth.
Gowda’s primary artistic material is salvaged wood, either purchased second-hand or sent to him by friends.
Written by Sara Ayoob