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When life keeps throwing the unexpected at you, sometimes the best way to cope is to throw the unexpected right back at it. It’s how InLiquid member Melissa Maddonni Haims dealt with a continual onslaught of personal loss. She worked through her mourning in the manual process of knitting, yarnbombing memorial stones for lost loved ones, or counting out gun violence deaths in fabric bullets.

In person, Melissa is a Joan Jett Mama Bear: caring and determined center topped with a fierce haircut and hip demeanor. This determination carried her all the way to PULSE Contemporary Art Fair in New York earlier this March, where she wowed visitors to the InLiquid booth with her stories, her work, and ten straight hours of knitting on site every day.

That determination also got her a shout-out as one of 32 not-to-be-missed artists featured during Armory Arts Week on artnet News. While Melissa’s work put Philadelphia on the radar for this fair circuit, we also caught a few other national and international artists taking a swing at the unexpected. Check out a few of our favorites below:

also at PULSE

IMAG1482Moby, Emmanuel Fremin Gallery, NYC

At once disturbing and magnetic, Moby’s photography series cut off visitors to the Emmanuel Fremin Gallery booth in a Twilight Zone universe that existed separately from the larger fair going on around it. Once caught up in a staring contest with the masked and robed figures in his pieces, it’s almost impossible to look away. You have entered his post-apocalyptic reality, where curiosity eternally struggles with fear of the unknown. Just be sure not to dive too deeply, where only future-earth Charlton Heston will hear your screams.

Christian Rex Van Minnen, Gallery Poulsen, Copenhagen, Denmark

A mix of the kind of blobby cellular formations you might find under a microscope, and the meaty remains you might find in Dexter’s kill room, the paintings of Christian Rex Van Minnen are equal parts revolting and beautiful. The torn flesh is so realistic you can almost watch the canvas bleeding.

VOLTA NY

IMAG1559Hiroshi Shinno, YOD Gallery, Osaka, Japan

It’s not quite Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Yes, the plants have taken on a new invasive life form, but luckily they’re not bent on destroying anything except your preconceived notions. Hiroshi Shinno takes petals, seeds, and other organic elements and sculpts them into incredibly realistic-looking bugs. Beetles, mantises, and more bloom into pale delicacy.

IMAG1534Nobuaki Onishi, MA2 Gallery, Tokyo, Japan

A high heel. An arrow. A butcher’s cleaver. It’s hard to tell at first how a series of props could warrant Nobuaki Onishi a place at Volta. Until you look closer and realize that the objects themselves aren’t real – they’re simply mockups made of transparent resin and painted to look like their originals. Household artifacts have never been so exciting.

IMAG1502Dustin Yellin, Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles

Dustin Yellin‘s 3D collages scream their way through layers of glass. Miniature clippings of tigers and tidbits swim into human-like formations, a chaos that presses its hands against the glass in existential crisis. Two-headed and exponentially divided, the series presents a colorful character conundrum.

Robert Solomon

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