“Art for art’s sake, money for God’s sake. Gimme the readys. Gimme the cash”, the band 10cc sang in the ‘70s. Kevin Godley, the band’s drummer, and Lol Creme, both former arts school students, were the creative force behind the Stockport-based art rock quartet.
Brian Steinhoff amusingly attempts to turn porn rated-G in his series of collages titled Porn For the Whole Family. He trades human flesh for floral patterns, silhouetting the once-bodies with kitsch designs. Now, we see abstracted shapes on top of beds, in the tub, and against countertops. Steinhoff is more conspicuous about some images than others, and will choose to leave in various sex toys with the masked subjects.
This series raises some interesting observations about censorship. How effective is Steinhoff’s censoring? In some of these images, the mixture of patterns and shapes is confusing and hard to decipher. But other times, the artist’s floral designs do little to shield us from what’s really going on in these photos. He’s keeping us from actually seeing the acts, but we still know what’s taking place and have some idea of what that looks like.
This is reminiscent of bleeping out “bad words” from television shows. Sure, it keeps viewers from hearing these phrases (which they most likely know, anyways), but it doesn’t change the fact that people are cursing and that you can probably guess what they said.
We recently posted the work of Von Brandis, another artist whose project Obscene Interiors reinterprets sexual content. Instead of patterned bodies, silhouettes replace the figures with a vacant, white shape. Where Steinhoff’s handiwork blends in with the photographs, Von Brandis’ erotic activities are in stark contrast to the rest of the image. This makes them differ in application, but also in context. Steinhoff’s use of these kitschy patterns conveys a homey feeling, whereas the other Obscene Interiors removes this association. (Via Flavorwire)
In a powerful series by artist and curator Rachel Graves, she interprets the catcalls and street harassment that’s thrown at her and her friends when in public places. Menagerie is a collection of self portraits that liken this lewd and unwanted treatment to the way that animals are prey.
“The project came about as a way for me to take control of what was happening and find a way to answer back and gain ownership over myself again,” Graves explained to The Huffington Post. “For me it was important to do more than simply dress up and paint my face to represent some of the names and insults being thrown at me. I didn’t want to just turn myself into the object that the harassers saw me as. I wanted to find a way to get my sense of self back, to be able to throw the words away and take back control.”
“Bird,” “fox,” and “bitch,” are all references to animals (and ones that women are called) that dehumanize people, and are all costumes that Graves wears. She paints ghoulish-looking makeup and fashions snouts that reflect the identity of what she is to her taunters. Afterwards, she washes herself of these oppressive masks.
“Being a woman in a public space can be a scary thing. Some men perceive women’s bodies as being public property, and act in ways that are intimidating and sexually aggressive. When I experience street harassment, my autonomy and control over my own body is taken away from me,” Graves says, again to The Huffington Post. “A similar thing can be seen in the industrialization of farming practices. Animals and women are objectified in similar ways: seen merely as pieces of meat for public consumption.”
By washing away the paint and taking off the noses, Graves regains her own identity. (via The Huffington Post)
Jenna Gribbon’s paintings parse and reorganize images “not (into) natural spaces, or dream space, but waking brain space.” Psychologically loaded, I find it hard to figure out what is going on, but I can’t look away either. Jenna worked as an assistant to Jeff Koons, maybe laboring on some of his billboard sized photorealist paintings is where she got some of her chops.
Fredrik Odman’sComposed Animals series combines some of my favorite animals into super animal combinations. Imagine how graceful a swan jackrabbit could be. He would be fast as lightening but as smooth as butter!
Helen Warner’s photography is jarringly beautiful: part Tim Burton gothica, part carnivale, part Shakespeare; looking through her photos is an invitation to a secret séance. With dramatic use and manipulation of negative space, many of the figures photographed appear to be drifting out from nowhere, candidly caught in the act of being mysterious. Having studied cinema and modernism at The Queen’s University of Belfast, she is currently living and working in Northern Ireland. Warner’s work has a flair for the histrionic, and her photographs carry the weight of a Shakespearian scene. “Death, where is thy sing?” rings through these women, skin caked in white, their faces shrouded, sometimes bound, encased by winter’s wood, cast in autumnal hues. The women are caged by items of beauty, while being items of beauty themselves. A glass cube in the forest, a white plastic sheet encircling forest trees, or even a head locked under the bell jar, buoyed by flowers. There is an underlying juxtaposition between being out in the remote wilderness, the wild, and being bound by external forces, which extends to even the elaborate costuming. There is the ongoing implication that movement is not fluid, it is stifled, both by internal and external circumstances, but the faces photographed certainly aren’t giving any hints away.
Jean-Pierre Roy is a New York-based artist who paints surreal scenes that deconstruct the known world. His work is often associated with science fiction, depicting alien wastelands inhabited by colossal humanoid beings, their bodies laden with geometric shapes, holographic projections, and mirrored panes. Their behaviors are likewise strange; wearing modern clothing, they loom against empty horizons, their faces splintered into expressionless shapes. Many of them appear contemplative, or even violent, pulling the clothes off prone bodies and engaged in silent feuds.
Rather than ascribing to science fiction specifically, however, Roy is more interested in fostering a critical, creative space that allows us to examine the systems of knowledge that construct reality. He strives to explore what he identifies as “the pull of the fantastical”—that moment when “your existential understanding of the nature of things will be questioned.” (Source) By making the earth unearthly, by depicting the self in unexplained contexts, and by crossing the beautiful with the unknown, Roy’s work provides fascinating visions of immaterial and cosmic worlds. (Via Trendland)
Australian photographer Greg Briggs‘ new photoseries Melbourne Cleaners highlights the often nameless faces that clean and restore the seemingly untouched galleries, theaters and museums. By focusing on the people who keep these spaces pristine, Briggs not only acknowledges the work of these people, but also takes the viewer behind the scenes to an even more quite, contemplative place, rarely seen by most museum-goers.
Taking place via a virtual tour of important architecture and places throughout Melbourne, Australia, Briggs’ photoseries was captured over six months. Capturing these workers who generally work alone, they are seemingly oblivious to the camera, and are caught in intensely private moments alone with their work. One cannot help but notice how these abandoned, quiet, spaces might be a better way to actually appreciate all the works of art we often walk right by during busy open hours.
Katie Hosmer at My Modern Met writes, “The artist captures what seem like voyeuristic moments as cleaners go about their work in some of the city’s important and iconic buildings including St Paul’s Cathedral and The Queens Hall, Parliament House. Surrounded by classic architecture andfamous artwork, each individual concentrates on the task at hand and seems completely unaware of the camera’s presence. Viewers can almost hear the low hum of polishing machines, the soft whoosh of feathers dusting across the nooks of a picture frame, and the splatter of bottle spraying cleaner along the surface of glass.” (via mymodernmet)