Los Angeles-based artist Karl Haendel leverages his practice of large-scale, exquisitely executed pencil drawings to highlight the achievements of individuals overcoming immense physical hurdles. Some of the individuals pictured are professional athletes and others are relatable figures simply enjoying their freedom to move. All have used the loss of limbs not as a limitation but as a stepping stone for greater physical achievement, asking us to reexamine our customary understanding of athletic prowess and corporal perfection. The artist writes about his work:
My practice revolves around the appropriation of visual signifiers and their recontextualization through drawing. I use drawing to symbolically align myself with labor, while also invoking a basic human impulse to leave a mark. I remove images and texts from their original contexts and reconfigure them through graphite, scale and juxtaposition into a new form of visual language. I use this language to explore how our culture uses images to produce opinions, values, and beliefs and how the images we produce reflexively re-shape these frameworks.