Nick Farrell is a photographer with the ability to capture the essence of sex. And while he primarily shoots naked or next-to-naked girls for his personal projects, he has a diversity and range that has allowed him to work on everything from editorials with Mickey Avalon, short films for fashion brands like Han Cholo, to even the occasional shower shot of pornstar Jessie Andrews. But his real skillset is in his ability to make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable while they’re on set. That’s why there’s still this genuine quality to his nudes and his models look naturally flirtatious, rather than aggressive and overly posed. WARNING: This post contains images that are NSFW.
Ellen Schinderman curated the first part of her contemporary needlepoint exhibit Home is Where The Needle Marks at (Sub)Urban Home, with a second round of art to follow on Saturday, June 16th at PopTART gallery. After building a network of artists working within the medium via personal interactions and social media sites like Flickr, Ellen assembled a group that is really pushing the boundaries of concept and subject matter. For example, Mark Bieraugel presented several pieces that featured the titles of porno mags he used to keep hidden in his room as a teenager, which were hand sewn onto camouflage patterns – in essence, still keeping them hidden. There was also Robert Marbury who took pictures of graffiti in bathroom stalls and turned them into circular pieces that you’d expect to see in a wonderful little old lady’s house, except for the fact they say things like “I heart boobs” and “I heart dicks for din-din.”
Almost a year ago, David Abir installed a sculpture in the LA Mart’s basement that forever rattled my experience on Earth. And now, after some time has passed, he has constructed several more structures that have only gone on to further enhance the feeling I grasped onto when I initially saw them. Sadly, it’s pretty much impossible to photograph the pieces correctly, since part of their mystique is the low ambient light surrounding the room. And when the flash goes off on your camera, you’re basically voiding yourself the enjoyment of seeing the greatest magic trick performed correctly.
I felt like I was peering into Debra Scacco’s personal journals as I walked around her exhibit BIRDS OF PASSAGE at Marine Contemporary. Her large and small works on paper feature her solid penmanship, which she glides across the surface into geographical formations like States and Countries. “I Cannot Reach You” and “Hold Me” are just a couple of the repeated lines running throughout their corresponding paintings and although this may sound strange, there is almost a psychic connection between the viewer and the work that gives off the feeling of the syntax without actually having to read it. So, even if Debra wrote them in Itallian and I don’t speak or read Itallian, I would still be able to grasp the emotion trying to reach out for me. These are elegant and beautiful works that can take months and months to complete, especially the installation in the center of the room where she had to glue over 1000 golden pins together to form what looks like a map of all the pieces in the show combined onto one plane.
In the current state of Reality TV and backstage blogs, we as a world have lost our sense of wonder. And it’s because of one brave artist, Jon Bernad, that we will get it back. He was part of the Venice Art Walk AUCTION, not just as himself, but as an offer for an experiential possibility that attendees could bid on for a good cause, since the money would go directly to The Venice Family Clinic. What that means was that he fearlessly walked up to strangers with a bid sheet around his neck, as opposed to on a table or wall like the other artworks in the auction, and pitched to each new person a different adventure he felt they would want to go on. Everything from skydiving to dinner came up and during his time there he was offered to join unfamiliar faces on white water rafting trips and treks in the Amazonian Rain Forest. I like to say that Jon takes people on Art Adventures, but it’s really so much more than that. He is the only artist that embodies the ultimate truth. For he is only but himself, but his self is great.
When I walked into KAI’s solo show at Guetta Gallery I was taken back by the magnificent frames surrounding his pieces. Not to distract away from his paintings, but it’s just rare to see frames like the ones in his show on contemporary works. However, it was also fitting that they were around them at the same time, since the aesthetic of his exhibit “Now Royalty” is a mash-up of rappers and classical portraiture.
KAI has demonstrated a mastery of technique throughout all of his paintings. Whether it was Will Smith and his wife or of Biggie Smalls in the most elaborate of fashions, they all retained the subject’s signatures. It’s especially incredible to see, considering that KAI is better known as a street artist in the Los Angeles area – whose MORONS parodies of Marlborough ads and stop sign stickers literally cover all of Hollywood.
Shaun Berke is one of the most skilled artists I’ve ever met. And when I saw a Rembrandt master-copy he created for a group show, I instinctively knew that he must have had some really insane pieces hiding out in his studio. So, I took the trip out to his place, where he pulled out one amazing print after another. He had woodcuts that were as masterful as anything by Albert Dürer as well as an entire book he made for his thesis project at Art Center that was full of pop culture references you wouldn’t realize he was initially inspired by. The fact that he can execute everything from a classical painting to graphic design work is kind of unheard of. There are those who can do one or the other, but very rarely anyone who can do it all, and do it all remarkably well. In particular though, I really wish Shaun continues to make some more woodcuts, since I haven’t seen an artist do anything close to what he’s doing with the medium due to his level of detail and depth of narrative. I mean, some of his pieces have entire books that go along with them featuring mythologies he’s created based upon heavy research.
Robert Fontenot’s sculptures, made out of bread dough, present the viewer with extremely humorous, yet severely violent worlds. He’s the author and designer of three books. Two of which are about the histories of ancient mythologies and the other of which is an illustrated history of performance art – that is, in my opinion, far more entertaining than Roselee Goldberg’s classic Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present. However, skillfully sculpting the human form’s most revealing gestures is not Robert Fontenot’s only mastered practice. He also has an ongoing series, where he embroiders textiles, as well as another project entitled Recycle LACMA – in which he buys deaccessioned items from the museum at auction and then turns them into items of use. For example, he transformed a Brocade evening dress into a fully functional fanny pack. If you have your wits about you, then it won’t take long to recognize the awesomeness of Robert Fontenot’s work.