Giuseppe Colarusso‘s photographs and their clever manipulations betray a certain sense of humor. His simple images of everyday objects are modified in such a way that they are rendered useless. He portrays flimsy handled silverware, cyclops sunglasses, bottle sans top. A commodity with out a use has no value – a sort of capitalist existentialism. On the other hand, perhaps its just funny.
Megan Van Groll paints women– mediating on the fine line between nakedness and nudity, or how these two concepts relate to freedom or identity. Likewise, from bathing in cocoa puffs to sensually brawling at a donut shop, her food motif is an interesting one, often working in tandem with the female form– provoking thoughts of fetish from the outside, but also, a much more personal and complicated binging ceremony.
Of her own craft, Groll states, “My narrative portraits of women are, at their core, a painted attempt to understand and portray how modern women create identity and meaning from the world around them. I am interested in exploring the way we perform our projected ideal personas, for ourselves and for others.”
Maybe it’s because I live in Los Angeles where rain is seldom and driving culture is strong, but these oil paintings by Tom Birkner make me want to dig through my tape collection– yup, tapes– and pop a little Tom Waits in before heading out onto the highway. I would extrapolate on this connection, but I think the actual lyrics from “Diamonds On My Windshield” illustrate it best–
Blazing through this midnight jungle Remember someone that you met One more block; the engine talks And whispers ‘home at last’ It whispers, whispers, whispers ‘home at last’, home at last
With his paintings, Adam Miller recontextualizes baroque and Hellenistic style elements by placing them within a modern futuristic landscape. Miller implements mythological, ecological, and humanistic themes in order to address ideas of technology and progress and “the struggle to find meaning in a world poised between expansion and decay.” His dreamy and angelic compositions reflect contemporary concerns with a classic and realist style. Imagery that might at first appear dated and inaccessible becomes relatable and modern upon closer inspection.
This week’s images bring us surprising works of beauty, detail, and wit. Sam3 brings a silhouette mural with an innovate use of the fence posts (I’m guessing located in rural Spain) – the piece references the expulsion of the Moors from the Ricote valley in the 16th century. We also have a giant new mural in Poland from Sainer of the ETAM crew. Alexis Diaz also give a new mural, an elephant/octopus creature a week in the making comprised of thousands of detailed brushstrokes. Stenciler DS smartly rebuffs the buffer – after one of his stencils was painted over DS replaces it with a portrait of the “remover man”. David de la Mano‘s is a poetic and carefully detailed mandala-esque piece. Ludo expounds on his theme of contrasting technology and nature with an impressive tulip-rifle mural. Nychos new piece in San Francisco finds a tiger literally jumping out of its skin. Finally, we have an awesome collaboration between artists POSE and Revok that followed their dual exhibit at the Jonathan Levine Gallery.
We are comparable to moths. This is what I think Bernardi Roig is doing with his mixed media pieces: allowing us to see our own attractions to the glowing lights brought forth with the Information Age. From computers to iPhones to tablets– our desire is instinctual or . . . mindlessly animalistic. I’m thinking here also about near death experiences: going towards the light. Remember that iconic scene from Poltergeist? Carol Ann. This too. It’s not about where our bodies gravitate or evolve, but how we speak to the light and what we leave behind as we travel towards it.
Katya Grokhovsky‘s series Untitled Heroic is deeply complex and familiarly conflicted. For the series Grokhovsky makes use any medium necessary – photography, performance, video, and even a cardboard cut-out installation. The artist seems to attract and repel. The series is at once confrontational, seductive, and wonderfully volatile. By way of her statement, Grokhovsky says that Untitled Heroic is, “A series of performances for photography and video, culminating in a large-scale cutboard cutout installation, whereby a female artist is dealing with frustrating desire to both attract and reject the notion of a male gaze.” Grokohovsky’s work is also the subject of an upcoming solo exhibit at New York’s Galerie Protégé.
What may be most affecting about Richard Renaldi‘s series Touching Strangers is how clearly he captures something that can’t even be seen. For the series Renaldi posed strangers together to be photographed in poses with an intimacy typically reserved for families or friends. Arms around shoulders and waists, hands on hands, fingers interlocked are subtle gestures. Between strangers, though, they reveal a powerful privacy we carry around with us, a sacred space rarely breached. Once a viewer discovers the subjects are strangers, these otherwise banal photographs suddenly become intensely unsettling.