Step into the world of photographer Phebe Schmidt, where everything is carefully constructed into a sickening sweet perfection. Her candy-colored world is filled with Barbie-like subjects, some even encased in plastic. Each hyperreal photograph seems almost too good to be true, like we have stepped inside a house of a Stepford wife. This draws the viewer in closer as we inspect the dark undertones of each photo that are surrounded by cheery colors. The objects in Schmidt’s photography, including her figures who look more like inanimate objects than people, are flawless and glossy, making everything seem like an advertisement. This viewpoint and concept is no doubt a comment on commodities and how contemporary culture is overcome with it. It has been said that “plasticity” is a term that defines Schmidt’s style.
Her work has a stylized plasticity and bright surface that acts as a mask that plays with ideas of self, theatrical role-playing, and what lies beneath. Plasticity is a key term Schmidt uses to describe her work and marks a contemporary obsession with homogenized, generic beauty ideals that conform to gender, social, and cultural norms.
It is true that generic beauty ideas are very apparent in Schmidt’s body of work. Each person shown in her photography seems nameless and ambiguous due to his or her impossible perfection. The figures do not look toward the camera, but out into space with a numbingly blank stare. This absence of humanity creates a futuristic atmosphere where commodity and beauty have altered our state of being. Schmidt’s seductive and incredibly intriguing photography evokes both a sci-fi future, and a mod, mid-century feel. Each photograph filled with sweetly colored backgrounds and flawless subjects keeps us curious in what lies beneath the generic beauty.
Artist Peter Kogler takes ordinary spaces and converts them into optical illusions with little more than paint and projections. His installations completely encompass the gallery room or public space in which they inhabit and cause it to appear warped, stretched, distorted and twisted. These eye-tricking spaces devour the viewer in their endless lines and pattern while they creates a disorienting effect. Each strategically placed line is created by paint, but also sometimes by a projection onto the walls. Because Kogler’s patterns and lines are often on every side of the space, including the ceiling and floor, they create a powerful and overwhelming environment. The wall-to-wall spaces are completely taken over by lined grids, tubes weaving around each other, and swirling scribbles that create funhouse walls.
The settings for Kogler’s elaborate and impressive installations vary from gallery rooms to subway tunnels. One can truly get lost in these complex compositions trailing all over each wall. Each installation is like a beautiful labyrinth that entraps and engulfs the viewer. Kogler’s work uses mostly bold colors like white and black, and sometimes red. This creates a harsh, stark contrast that allows the optical illusion to be more apparent with a highly dramatic feel. The artist’s talent does not only lie in his incredible installations, but also his sculpture and two-dimensional work. His use of geometrics and line is similar in his other work, which makes them look absolutely stunning when they are exhibited within his installations. Kogler’s multifaceted style compliments whichever medium he desires.(via Illusion.scene360)
Artist Jaroslav Wieczorkiewicz uses unlikely elements to construct his unbelievable and complex photographs of superheroes, or Splash Heroes. However, unlike normal superheroes, his heroes are not wearing ordinary uniforms, but outfits created from splashes of colored milk. Each constructed photograph contains a confident, strong superwoman posed in a capable and superior pose. Even more impressive, the liquid was not just simply digitally edited onto all of the models, but actually thrown onto them during the photo shoot. Wieczorkiewicz created this liquid clothing with splashes of milk with food coloring. Splashes are thrown in different places of the body in order to fabricate multifaceted outfits to mimic how real clothing may fit. This process demands an extreme amount of time and patience in order to create such a flawless result. In fact, each photograph is created from layering and editing together about 200 images. These many photos are layered over each other to form the finished photograph.
This is not the first series of milk-covered women that photographer Wieczorkiewicz has done. He has also created a similar series containing pin-up girls dressed in splashes of white milk. In this most recent series, Splash Heroes, Wieczorkiewicz’s work is pushed to a more dynamic level full of energy, movement, and dramatic color. The deep, glossy colors of liquid add a powerful vibe that gives the women a demanding presence. Each woman superhero is in mid-motion as their milk-suits swirl and travel around their bodies, creating a force field of milk. Wieczorkiewicz has all of his Splash Heroes available in a calendar, one for each month. (via Faith is Torment)
Photographer E.E. McCollum’s heavenly figures are both encased and exploding out of their shell in The Cocoon Series. The translucent film covering the figures in the photos transforms the bodies as it mimics that of a butterfly cocoon. McCowell’s work is both stunning and absolutely transcendent, as they seem to be not of this world. Each stretch and fold molds the figures into new shapes as they try to erupt from their form. A master of light and shadow, McCollum started in photography using traditional darkroom processes. This influence can be seen in his current series because they have a stark contrast of lights and darks, much like analogue photography.
The film cast engulfing his figures is lit so well that you we can see every fine line of the body underneath, showing the mesmerizing positions of the bodies. These majestic and elegant poses are not unlike those of dancers, who McCollum often photographs in his other work. Each figure becomes sculptural as the lighting and film engulfing it reshapes and morphs it into another state of being, just like the caterpillar changing into a butterfly. McCollum’s most dramatic and captivating photos are those in which the body is finally erupting out of its “cocoon.” The incredible movement created in these photos is as intense and magical as the transformational act of the creation of butterfly. (via artfucksme)
I love the mystery of these images; the way the material distorts our perception of the body, the layers of the images. -E.E. McCollum
Artist Bailey Henderson creates intricate sculptures depicting fantastic beasts that have been portrayed in medieval maps. Each creature is stylized and made to detail the original image accurately. The texture found in her sculptures mirror the lines in an illustration, like the mythological beings actually jumped right off the pages of a medieval map. These monstrous creatures are often hybrids of two real animals, such as a whale and an eagle, or a dragon and an iguana. Henderson is deeply interested in mythology as well as cartography, which influenced her to make her series Monstorum Marines. Each sculpture is named after its given mythological name, such as Ziphius, the creature that resembles an orca whale, and Porcus Marinus, who is a cross-breed of a boar and a fish. Henderson goes on to describe what the creatures were believed to be and even how they did to kill their victims. Her narrative of the sculpture titled Cockatrice, is both fascinating and entertaining.
A cockatrice is a mythical beast, originating in the 14th century. It the hind quarters of a serpent or dragon, and the front quarters of a chicken. It was believed to deliver a deathly stare, or kill by breathing on its victims.
Henderson’s incredible skill in sculpting is only matched in her painting talent. Cast bronze is the material used to form each claw, tail, and beak in this magnificent series. Acrylic paint and powdered pigments is used to transform the cast metal into majestic beasts full of color and life. Each layer of scales, feathery hair, and powerful wing is created with such attentive detail, that each of Henderson’s unimaginable creatures truly come to life.
The playfully colorful and innocent world of Brooklyn based photographer Amanda Jasnowski is completely irresistible. The compositions in her photography are filled with brilliant colors, clashing patterns, and minimal settings. Each one is stranger than the last. Cropped just at the right spot, hiding just enough content, her photography seems familiar to us, but leaves a strange yet lovely taste. Jasnowski is tricky in setting up compositions so intriguing and sublime, they leave you wanting more. Because her photography does not allow us to see or make sense of exactly what is going on, they create a playful suspense, similar to a film still. Not surprisingly, this whimsical artist is a big believer in fun and the importance of never taking yourself too seriously.
Because much of the focus in her works is on the meshing of pattern on clothing, Jasnowski’s photography style holds the flavor of a high fashion photo shoot. Of course, the focus is not just on the clothing worn in her photo shoots, but on the whole, wonderfully surreal compositions. Jasnowski holds an amazing power of experimentation over her creativity. She is constantly pushing and transforming her own technique to create more complex composition by combining stunning colors, busy patterns, and flattened space. Her palette is not just restrained to her beautiful, shallow backgrounds or props, but she also envelopes the models in her photographs with her signature pastels. This was done in her series titled Greetings From Utopia in collaboration with fellow artist Jimmy Marble. (via IGNANT)
Italian photographer Massimo Gammacurta takes a candy already filled with sexual innuendo, the lollipop, and takes it’s meaning to a whole new level. However, these sugary delights are not the kind of candy you would give to a child. In his humorously titled series KamaSugar, he recreates positions of the infamous Kama sutra in the form of real, edible suckers. These explicit and surprisingly graphic candies are somewhere between a funny gag gift and very impressive skill. Obviously not made for the practical purpose of eating, these lollipops have brilliant colors that are rich and dripping with passion. Each cool blue and fiery red give the strikingly vivid positions a rise to a whole different kind of vibe. To add to this humor are the sometimes unfortunately placed lollipop sticks. Because the suckers contain shapes of people in which we can see through, we can spot yet another phallic shape sticking in the lollipop.
These sweet and sexy lollipops are not the only suckers that Gammacurta creates. This master of iconography has fashioned brand logos into candy as well. Being a commercial photographer as well as sly candy man of sorts, brands play a large part in Gammacurta’s life. He regularly photographs for Italian Vogue as well as other high fashion clients. His suckers have taken the shape of a many iconic symbols such as a Nike sign, a Channel logo, and the notorious Apple logo. These delectable pieces of art are so popular, that Gammacurta even has a book published dedicated to his entire Lollipop series of work.
Bethany Taylor’s spiraling and flowing threads create ethereal drawing installations that hold a keen eye to the shocking truth of our increasing water pollution issues. Each fiber-based drawing is formed by shaping and manipulating thread from woven tapestry. What makes Taylor’s installations so captivating is the fact that each “drawing” of hers is created from one single line. This line creates an energetic movement throughout the installation. The viewer can see where the thread begins and ends, as it appears to drip down the wall. Each image of a skull, snake, and algae seems to be unraveling.
Taylor’s installations in this series use motifs such as skeletons of sea life, skulls, and green and blue algae. These represent the effect chemical pollution in our lakes and rivers having on our environment. The artist is Assistant Professor of Drawing at the University of Florida. Because the ecosystem that surrounds Taylor is so prevalent with rivers and ocean, it deeply influences her work. Toxic blue-green algae have formed because of the incredible pollution, which in turn is severely harming, or “unraveling,” the balance of our ecological system. Her work shows the consequences of the pollution by creating delicate drawing installation that seem as fragile as their counterparts that are unraveling at the seems. Taylor explains in detail the intention behind her work.
Like many other places in the world, Florida’s water is threatened each year by the poison runoff from pollution caused by inadequately treated sewage, pesticides, manure and fertilizer. The toxic algae created by these unchecked industrial and agricultural practices, is literally choking our waterways, creating dead zones in our ecology that are harmful to both humans and wildlife.