Tyler Orehek’s photographic interest lies in vintage-style photography, which he creates with his young son, also Tyler, as the subject of his portraits. Each scene is meticulously planned as Orehek selects the environment and props beside which he casts his son. It’s really enjoyable to see his son inhabit each character, and he does it well. Tyler looks like a shrunken man from the 1900s on, as a bookie, a boxer, a police officer, and more. It’s obvious that Orehek has done his research.
Orehek speaks about his love of vintage photography, and his reasoning for his approach in his artist statement:
My intent was not and is not to replicate existing vintage photographs but to capture the mood, feel and the visceral emotion of that period. Having a child in lieu of an adult in my work allows the viewer to focus on the “essence” of those past environments and professions with greater clarity through juxtaposition.
He’s right on that by including Tyler instead of a full-grown man, the scene seems fresher. The images are drenched in nostalgia, but they seem living because of the naïve air of his son, who is really making the part his own, while trying to emulate the moods his father strives for.
Browsing through Keith Allen Phillips’ website, I found many sexy portraits of nude women, but with his series Messy, he takes his photography in a different direction. Phillips covers his models with a variety of foods from chocolate to Cheetos to sprinkles and icing sugar, and the results are pretty unexpected. Although some are still quite sexual, like when the model looks out at you from below a layer of creamy and chocolate while licking a finger, most don’t have that ‘food sex’ kind of vibe. By the time I reached the ones with a pink marshmallow mohawk, I realized I was barely processing the food as food, anymore.
Recently I wrote an article about Will Cotton, and Phillips feels like the anti-Cotton. Whereas Cotton’s world of food and women is soft, beautiful, and delectable, Messy has a harder edge, and one that I find more appealing. Once again, I’m drawn to the marshmallow mohawk woman, this time screaming out. She looks like a very intimidating alien. I find that although I have some difficulty with the idea of Phillips smearing food all over these women, the women rock it with a powerful presence, which is more than I can say of Cotton’s work. Each artist is experimenting with food, and beauty and sexuality in women. Phillips takes the viewer somewhere they didn’t expect to go. (Via Lost at E Minor)
Sarah Hallacher’s gifs explore the different opportunities for pangs of heartbreak that exist in social media and technology. She uses texts, instagram, facebook, linkedin, googlechat, and email, to demonstrate the difficulties of the remnants of a relationship that linger in the age of the Internet. Each gif is set in the format of each platform, to show how the different type of information and notifications can have effect on you. They’re all pretty familiar, even probably to people who haven’t gone through a tough break up. For instance, the text message notification buildup when none is from the person you wish they were could even extend outside the realm of a romantic relationship; Everyone’s experienced disappointment or annoyance in not receiving a response from someone. Others are very specific to relationships, like the Facebook relationship status.
Hallacher presents these everyday difficulties in the most straightforward way, allowing the viewer to understand the significance of the aspects of a relationship that echoes through the Internet. Of the project Hallacher states:
“My goal was to pinpoint the exact place where something might feel painful for a moment,” she says. “I was trying to capture both the technology and the experience of it. If you’re not speaking to a person, you don’t know why they are taking these actions online. The online version of their action is very dry and cold, without context. I just wanted to highlight that. The computer is just a computer, and it doesn’t feel sorry for you.” (Via Co Exist)
Tyler Spangler’s digital collages rehash old portraits to uncanny effect. He mixes faces like batter or melts them like wax. Of course this would be much more gruesome were it not for the joyful neon colours he employs. His artwork has the distinct aesthetic of the internet age. Wild patterns and powerful colours are overload for the eye, providing a high level of stimulation pretty much required, now, to incite a strong reaction in the viewer.
In some cases, the overabundance of pattern and colour has the viewer process less, or otherwise require us to take much more time to do it. When there is so much to take in, the options are either to skim over it, or take much more time to engage with it. Spangler has a great range of intensity. Some of his works have 5 or less elements, where other have 20 or more different textures.
Spangler works digitally, and creates all of his graphics himself. Whereas in aesthetic the works can be called collage, he uses a minimum of recycled imagery. In this way, Spangler is more like a painter than a collage artist, creating his own imagined imagery. He is a digital painter easily able manipulate familiar imagery. (Via Hi Fructose)
Carolyn Lefley uses photoshop to superimposes her photos of the outdoors on her photos of the indoors, creating hybrid images that combine our constructed environments with our natural environment. Lefley’s artist statement reads:
I make photographs that depict a world that floats between reality and fantasy, between believable spaces and sites of make believe. I am interested in the relationship between literary fiction and fantasy stories and the inherent make-believe qualities of a photograph. Photographs are windows to another world and as such have a magical quality to them. In my new work ‘Realm’ I have created digitally altered photographs, where the familiar place of the home becomes a portal into mythical realm. This fascinated authors such as C S Lewis and George MacDonald. The realm of Narnia is entered through a wardrobe and the layers of fur coats inside which become trees.
Although she doesn’t state it herself, her images seem to be searching for the link between our place in nature and our feeling of belonging in our home. At this point, humanity has all but detached itself from our natural habitat, fighting to block out the chaos of the natural world with walls, ceilings, and floors. As she states, her photographs act as a window to a fantasy where we can feel at home in the natural realm, and reconcile our longing for reassurance in a world that is in reality, beyond our control. (Via I Need a Guide)
James Viscardi’s current painting series at The Sunday Painter gallery has art engage with fashion in a way rarely seen. Art and fashion overlap on so many levels, whether it is a designer creating preliminary drawings for a dress or an artist incorporating the style of an era into their portraiture to record that point in time. Fashion is a form of visual expression as painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. Even the commodification of fashion can barely differentiate it from art, as portions of the art community become increasingly concerned with haute brand name artists like Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst that can easily be compared as the Karl Lagerfelds and Marc Jacobs’ of the art world.
It can’t be denied that art and fashion go hand in hand, though often it is fashion photography that will take on themes relating to art rather than artists referencing fashion. Viscardi’s artwork recognizes the expressive potential of a piece of clothing, as well as its affinities with painting materials. After all, canvas is cotton, as is your shirt. In an interesting reversal, Viscardi literally stretches the fashion element over an art structure, to repurpose fashion for art. Fashion is much more present in the general public consciousness than art is. Every person has some opinion on fashion, not every person has engaged with art. Viscardi uses both art and fashion elements to inform each other, and the result is a seamless union (pardon the pun). (Via i-D)
Although the clothing and other aesthetic aspects can easily reveal the era the photos were taken, the scenes of Sage Sohier’s series “At Home With Themselves: Same-Sex Couples in 1980’s America” are strikingly honest and ever relevant. Sohier photographed female and male gay couples, sometimes with their family members and sometimes alone, in their homes. It is important to remember the context of these photographs, because of the time they were taken. As Sohier stated in an interview for Slate:
“My ambition was to make pictures that challenged and moved people and that were interesting both visually and psychologically…In the 1980s, many same-sex relationships were still discreet, or a bit hidden. It was a time when many gay men were dying of AIDS, which made a particularly poignant backdrop for the project.”
The general public very harshly rejected the gay community in America. There was a deep stigma attached to the community because of the rampant spread of aids. Sohier’s photographs provide portraits that demonstrate the humanity of the men and women who often felt ostracized or persecuted because of their sexual orientation. In media even today, there is limited representation of gay people. A list of stereotypes might include the overly flamboyant gay man, or the bull dyke. Sohier’s photographs are relevant today because they help to counteract an outsiders limited understanding of the dynamics of a gay household.
Borondo is an unconventional street artist, using a broad variety of materials to make his murals that are mostly portraits. Both his technique and choice of situ are excitingly unexpected. In a few of his works, he has used the smoke from candles to create the markings of the images. Though it would be safe to assume that this is a difficult technique to have control over, he is able to mold the forms into recognizable imagery.
Another strategy he employs is using reflections in water to be a part of his images, and sometimes even as the main event. In one, he creates the image of half a face on bails of hay – something he had done at an even larger scale beforehand – and planted grass in a pool of water to complete the second half of the face. It’s a nice contrast between the dried hay that looks as if it was burnt, and the living grass in the pool of water. Although in this one, the reflection completes the image, in the upside down mural portrait, the artwork is meant to be viewed right side up in the water, at least considered at an equal importance to the painted image. (Via I Need a Guide)