Multimedia artist Gavin Worth uses steel wire and rods to sculpt beautifully minimal forms and figures that look like they were sketched in the air. 3D representations of 2D conceptual drawings, each of Worth’s sculptures portray human forms and silhouettes, with careful attention paid to the details of these “illustrations.” His large scale portraits of faces that depict thirsty visages are perhaps his most detailed and deliberate constructions. For these, Worth sought to convey an emotional anxiety through the sculpted faces. Of his work, Worth writes,
By bending black wire into something of freestanding line drawings, I create sculptures that engage the viewer by involving them in their subtle changes. When the light in the room shifts, so does the mood of the piece. A breeze might softly move an arm. My wire sculptures tell stories of simple human moments: a woman adjusting her hair, a face gazing from behind tightly wrapped arms, a mother gently cradling her baby. The honest, unguarded moments are the ones that I find to be the most beautiful.
Toronto based photographer Wynne Neilly‘s self-portrait project, “Female to ‘Male’” documents the artist’s exploration into his gender identity. Neilly documented his journey from female to “male” with weekly photographs, vocal audio recordings, and other objects that represent a particular part or moment of the transition. As a trans identified queer artist who has photographed all types of people within the queer community, Neilly never had intimate access to another person’s physical transition. Once he knew he was going to start taking hormones, he decided to fully document the experience using a cheap instant camera.
With regard to the quotations used around “male”, Neilly maintains that his trans identity is a continual evolution: “I very strongly identify with being trans. My trans identity is not binary in the ways that society probably expects it to be. When heteronormative or mainstream society imagines a female born body transiting to a body that is perceived as masculine, there is an automatic reading of that person being “female to male” or FTM. This FTM experience might be very relatable and true for many trans people, but it is also completely wrong for others. I don’t identify as being male at all. Putting it in quotations challenges what it means to be a trans masculine individual. Having “male” in the title acts to eliminate some of the stigma behind thinking there is only one way to transition, and there is only one type of trans experience.” (via huffington post)
“Gay Men Draw Vaginas” is exactly the project it sounds like. Three years ago, Keith Wilson and Shannon O’Malley were eating at a restaurant with a group of homosexuals when the topic of vaginas came up. This led to O’Malley asking Wilson to draw a vagina on the table with a crayon. This inspired more conversation and more drawings from the gay men at the table. A few months later, the duo decided to explore this idea even further, setting up a “vagina collection booth” at gay establishments across San Francisco. While they were given a few sneers here and there, most of the gay men who participated were excited to dive in and contribute to the project.
O’Malley observes, “In casual conversation, at surface level, I knew asking gay guys to draw vaginas was funny because it zeroed in on what some people might have perceived as ‘opposites.’ What I kept to myself were my navel-gazing meditations on ‘queer identity’ and ideas people (and the culture) hold about women and bodies.”
The duo recognize that the drawings range anywhere from misogynistic to celebratory to puzzling and enigmatic. They hope to eventually get people like Dan Savage, Neil Patrick Harris, Perez Hilton, John Waters, and/or George Takei to participate. “Ultimately, though, we hope people do a lot of things; we hope they’ll laugh, we hope they’ll think about what it means to identify as a ‘gay man,’ we hope they’ll think about ideas our culture has about bodies and body parts. Their responses are part of the study, part of the art,” they explain.
In 2000, Belgian multimedia artist Wim Delvoye composed a series of photographs which appear to capture text and note style messages etched on the side of mountain faces. Known for his quirky sculptural style, like his elaborately carved tires, Delvoye manipulated these photographs in order to juxtapose the mundanity of the displayed messages with the sublime, natural beauty of the world’s structures. With messages like “RUDE BUT CUTE 18 YEAR OLD BABE 018 83 87 480″ and “HONEY, DON’T FORGET TO TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE. NINA,” Delvoye cleverly elevates the status of these banal declarations to a monumental scale. In Delvoye’s images, absurdities are reinforced while the overall importance of the messages – because of their ubiquity – is not entirely dismissed. Delvoye’s aesthetic is one of recontextualization and deconstruction – even the structure of website is a testament to his implementation well-known imagery in order to create an accessible and familiar user experience. (via public delivery)
In the wake of the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by a policeman, and the subsequent protests of police brutality, tensions have been high among many communities. On Saturday August 16 in Philadelphia, artist activists draped yellow CAUTION ribbon around the iconic LOVE statue in Love Park and actor Keith Wallace positioned himself face-down in front of the statue, wearing a white t-shirt that appeared to be stained with blood, as if he were shot from behind. Standing near him, two people alternated the holding of a sign that read “Call Us By Our Names.” For an hour, Wallace lay in front of the emblematic, tourist-attracting statue – all the while, tourists continued to pose in front of the statue, usually while framing Wallace out of the photo, or blocking the view of his body in some way.
For Wallace, an idea like this had been brewing for quite some time. “I just tried to think about a way I could use my spirit of activism coupled with my artistic passion to make a statement about what’s going on. So I just decided that for me, I’m a very image-driven artist. I think images speak louder than words can, most times. And so there’s some value in forcing a society to look at the most ugly parts of itself and just putting it out there for them to examine and discussed, and to be disgusted by, in the hopes of provoking some sort of dialogue or provoking some social change in an effort to eradicate some social ill, whatever that is.”
The phrase “Call Us By Our Names” was born from the knowledge that though we know the names of victims like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, there are countless other victims of police brutality whose faces go unrecognized and unnamed. “I was tired,” Wallace says. “No, we’re NOT thugs, we’re not this, we’re not that. We’re unarmed citizens, so call us who we are. Call us by our names. Say ‘Michael Brown’ instead of ‘unarmed robbery suspect.’ When you give a face and a name to a victim, the public becomes socially responsible in a different way.”
According to Lee Edward Colston, a theater student who was helping with the protest, visitors to the statue expressed a variety of feelings and opinions. “There was an older white couple that wanted to take a picture in front of the LOVE statue,” recounts Colston. “The older white gentleman said, ‘Why do they have to shove their politics down our throats?’ The woman replied, ‘They’re black kids, honey. They don’t have anything better to do.’” In another account, Colston says, “There was one group of white guys who wanted to take a picture in front of the statue, but one of the guys in the group couldn’t take his eyes off of Keith’s body. His friends were trying to convince him to get in the picture. He told his friends, ‘Something about this doesn’t feel right, guys. I don’t think we should.’ One of his friends replied, ‘Dude, come on … he’s already dead.’ Then they all laughed.” Additionally, “There was a guy who yelled at us… ‘We need more dead like them. Yay for the white man!’
Colston did relate two more positive reactions to the performance. Recounting one, he says, “One young guy just cried and then gave me a hug and said ‘thank you. It’s nice to know SOMEBODY sees me.’” And in another, “There was a Latina woman with two young boys. She held her boys’ hands and said to them, ‘I want you to see this. This is important. Never be afraid to tell the truth.’”
Accompanying the silent protest, a sheet of paper was handed out that included information about rights and responsibilities, and a statement that partially reads, “I am racially charged not because I want to be, but because I have to be. I am racially charged because in certain instances, that hyper awareness may ensure that I make it home to my family at the end of the day. I am racially charged because I am not afforded the luxury to wander through life with my head in the (nonexistent) ‘post-racial America’ clouds. I see color because my color is seen, dismissed, devalued, and implicated as a threat everywhere I go. I am racially charged and if I make you uncomfortable by speaking out about it and calling attention to it, then I implore you to eradicate the ugliness I see every day in the world.” (via ra’s al ghul is dead, thinkprogress, philadelphia magazine)
After stumbling across a photograph on the internet depicting people posed in a dwarf theme park, Belgian photographer Sanne De Wilde conducted a little research and discovered that the Dwarf Empire, or Kingdom of the Little People, is a real theme park that operates in the Yunnan province of China. In this park, dwarfs provide entertainment – singing, dancing, and various other forms of amusement – for tourists who visit the park. De Wilde eventually contacted the park’s manager and was invited to take photographs of the park and its 77 little people for a project she calls “The Dwarf Empire.” As soon as she arrived, she immediately felt compelled to consider questions regarding the morality of the park’s existence, namely if the workers were happy there, or if they felt more like they were being put on display and exploited. Additionally, “For me, it’s about how this kind of place can exist,” De Wilde says. “What does it tell you about a person who starts this and creates it? What are his intentions?” Founded by a tall, rich man who wanted to “do something good” for the little people, this park is a “Chinese charity dressed in commercial attire.” Much of the park appears run-down, but seems to have a solid foundation.
While she partook in the project of documenting the park, De Wilde, a tall blonde woman, found that she stood out in the park – for the tourists, she became a character in the show created at the park, something she found exhausting. She would even hide with the little people “to be free of the claws of the tourists…they want to touch you and have a part of you.” After she got home, De Wilde spent about a year culling through her images; during this time, she even received letters from some of the people claiming they’re happy and thankful to be working at the park, something that De Wilde viewed as a bit suspect.
From her statement, De Wilde writes,
“I embarked on an adventure with a handful of ethical questions about commercializing social care. Every story has two sides but in this place every question and every answer seemed contradictory. My adventure ended up as a modern anti-fairytale, a collection of images of my making, and theirs. My own trick forced upon myself.” (via lens culture and slate)
New York based interior designer Pari Ehsan marries high fashion and high art by posing in outfits that thoughtfully complement artworks, installations, and architecture, posting the results to Instagram and her website. Ehsan’s project began when she was taking a personal portrait in front of an art piece and noticed that her fur coat created an interesting juxtaposition. Ehsan then decided to begin this fashion-art project in order to explore a creative outlet outside of her job as an interior designer. Her background in architecture – she studied it at both USC and UCLA before moving to NYC – helps inform her approach to the project, with some of her fashion looks complementing building and interior designs. Every Saturday, Ehsan hops around New York City’s galleries, looking for inspiration. “It’s very intuitive when I see something I like and get a good feeling about,” Ehsan says. “At that point, if I’m really compelled to do an outfit pairing, I find the look and do the styling.”
Ehsan’s Instagram account was recently nominated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) for a Fashion Instagrammer of the Year Award, alongside other stand-out fashion-related accounts. Though she didn’t win, Ehsan’s account is still impressive, especially considering that fact that most of the other nominees – including the winner – work in fashion or media. Clearly, Ehsan’s lack of insider status has not hurt her project’s success. (via blanton museum of art)
United Kingdom based photographer Tony Hammond takes beautifully minimal photographs using only his iPhone and bit of editing before posting the images to Instagram. Each image features a simple object or subject framed by a brilliant, soft, pastel color palette. Most of Hammond’s compositions include an artful use of negative space that minimizes the objects or scenes he’s capturing. The enormity of this tinted negative space informs each captured moment by revealing its quaintness. Some of Hammond’s images feature particular shapes and lines – birds circling overhead or jet streams crossing each other’s paths. Hammond’s photography breathes soft ethereal life into simple scenes, creating moments of poetry that we recognize in our everyday experience.