Four women artists to watch using Digital Art in various disciplines.

Sophia Harris  |  Ed Francesca Gransden  |  27 July 2020

Digital art, although a relatively young art form, is by its nature ever-evolving. From digital illustration to virtual reality this new media champions crossing boundaries and opening hitherto unopened doors. Perhaps this sentiment is most apparent when looked at through the lens of emerging and established female digital artists across the globe, whose works not only break convention in terms of form but also carve out new, overdue, spaces for diverse voices across the art industry.  

© First image. Ojima Abalaka. Courtesy of the artist.
© Illustration by Ojima Abalaka for The New Yorker. Courtesy of the artist.

Ojima Abalaka is digital illustrator from Nigeria, her most recent group exhibition was ‘Last Image Show’ in September 2018 at KokoTEN Studio, Dar es Salaam.

 

In Abalaka’s words, her works ‘explore rest, people and identity in the context of everyday life’. There is something unmistakably fresh and vibrant about Abalaka’s digital palette. Her idiosyncratic modern style and clean shapes make her art truly of its time and the subject matter under Abalaka’s keen gaze – the realities of everyday life in Africa – feels apt today, in a time where many long for the normalities of familial and sisterhood connection.

Abalaka too, throws a spotlight on issues of equality and race through her work, with her honest and contemporary digital illustrations providing the pitch-perfect drop-back for discussions on the realities of the current impact of slavery and identity in this The New Yorker piece.

Website
©  Inspiring women — Bruna Tenorio, Pilar Torcal.  Courtesy of the Artist

Hailing from Barcelona Pilar Torcal is a force in new art media, her work is an unapologetically bold amalgamation of digital illustration, typography, iconography and animation. Torcal has a prolific career having worked with media giants such as The New York Times and exhibited at numerous galleries.

Her art work takes on themes across cultural and humanitarian movements from self-love and the female form to immigration. Particularly striking is her work in her ‘Inspiring women’ series where she immortalises women who inspire her on her electrifying digital canvas, through reconfiguring animated shapes and striking photography which seems to reimagine her subjects’ female power.

Website
© The House of the Insomnia, Han Yajuan Courtesy of the Artist

Han Yajuan  is a Chinese contemporary artist whose work oozes innovation, futurism and contemporary surrealism – she covers a variety of media including oil painting, video and virtual reality. Her earlier work focuses on the realities of life of the younger Chinese generation and the impact of globalization in China.

In contrast, her post-2015 projects toe the line between the real world and the virtual world providing societal commentary on human ecology, creating an unsettling and almost dystopian interpretation of the future fate of humanity as technology advances. In her 2018 virtual reality series ‘The House of the InsomniaYaiuan provides a tactile and unsettling interface for exploration of the possibilities of a post-human world through her use of imposing 3D shapes, eerie barren landscapes and androgynous humanoid figures.

Website
© Under The Same Sky We Dream, Erika Harrsch. Courtesy of the Artist

Mexican multimedia artist Erika Harrsch creates, along with traditional media pieces, visceral multi-media experiences which question the status quo on national identities, humanitarian aid, immigration reform and self.

 Her sound installation in collaboration with singer Magos Herrera.

 ‘Under the Same Sky… We Dream is a particularly moving, interactive, digital art installation. This piece is intended to immortalise the journeys of immigrant Mexican children as they migrate to America seeking solace, and to question why they are often imprisoned whilst on their search for safety.

 In this installation a continuous 24-hour time lapse of the sky crafted by Harrsch from 35,000 photographs plays on a screen that mimics the Mexican-American border, while a haunting sung soundtrack of the Dream Act Bill of Congress plays. Around the room mattresses and metallic refugee blankets are haphazardly placed along with copies of Harrsch’s book Dream.

 The whole effect of this scene is contemplative, jarring and vital; Harrsch urges exhibition visitors to confront the bleak realities faced by these ‘dreamers’ who despite their youth, and faced with mounting hostility and uncertainty as they hope for a new life across the border.

Website

Who would be your #artiststowatch2020?

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