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The Ghosts of Bonfires Past Become this Artist’s Medium

All smoke, no mirrors.

by Diana Shi
12 November 2016, 12:50pm

All images courtesy the artist

With wispy tendrils of smoke that dissipate into the sky, Steven Spazuk leaves no lit candle unturned by using carbon residue left from burnt wicks to form his masterful paintings. The artist uses feathers and brushes to coax out and discipline his images from residuals of a dead flame. His latest exhibit of paintings, titled Smoke Signals, opens at Nuart Gallery in Stavanger, Norway.

Spazuk writes in a show descriptor how “spontaneity and chance are the heart and soul of this creative process. He does not censor. He does not direct. He opens himself to the experience. This in-the-moment creative practice couples with the fluidity of soot merges to form highly-detailed and freewheeling imagery.”

The hulking beauty of each of his works comes down to the uncompromisingly realistic tone. Spazuk has harnessed an unexpected, alternative, and temporal medium of smoke, and evolved it into something spectacular. Soothing washes of black and white take over numerous blocks of blank paper, culling out the familiar faces of Ai Weiwei and Chuck Close with artistic sorcery. It is from smoke's ellusiveness that the artist imparts an untouchable and airy quality to his painting.

See a few of the images from Smoke Signals here:

Ai Wei Wei

Golden Tusks

Monoculture (Corn = Gold)

Chuck Close

Tiger

See how the artist crafts his unique paintings in an intimate video inside his studio, titled Spazuk:

Follow the artist and view more of this artwork, on his website, here. Spazak's solo show, Smoke Signals is on view November 10–December 10, 2015 at Nuart Gallery in Stavanger, Norway. Visit the gallery's website for more information, here

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Tagged:
Ai Wei Wei
portraits
paintings
Chuck Close
smoke signals
monochromatic
Steven Spazak
material art