C. Owen Lavoie’s (better know as C. Owen) series of photographs entitled Trophies captures the emergence of exotic creatures out of darkness. Because they are shrouded in so much darkness, these portraits at first seem to be taken in close proximity to live animals, but Lavoie is able to get so close to these beasts because they are taxidermied. This creates a haunting and mysterious effect that reflects on ideas about preservation, death, and hunting. The lens captures the preserved expressions of the creatures’ vulnerability, creating a sort of double preservation of the dead animal that stares right back at us. Lavoie says that she considers the series ”a way of bringing the animals back to life for the public eye. It’s sort of like a third generation; first the animal was born, then hunted and handed over to a taxidermist so it can be displayed and finally in the end, modified by my lens.”
Spencer Tunick designs and installs nude human bodies into landscapes and photographs or films them. The blending of the color and texture of human skin with industrial or natural landscapes is stark and effective; the bodies themselves become their own landscape. Tunick has traveled the world staging photographs and videos of these large nude installations, and uses anywhere from a handful of voluntary participants to tens of thousands of them. The end result is a beautiful combination of art forms, including design, sculpture, performance, photography, and video. According to his website, Tunick has been arrested 5 times since 1992 while performing in New York City, and has gone to court to defend his First Amendment rights, which he won, but was still denied a permit from the city to practice his art. As a result, he creates his work abroad and has not performed in New York City in over 10 years.
Mark Manders‘ sculptures seem to be driven by a poetic narrative, and the fact the he used to practice the linguistic form of poetry should then come as no surprise. His meticulously constructed figures are assemblages of furniture, metal, human and animal shapes, and other ephemera. Engaged in an ongoing project since 1986 entitled “Self-Portrait as a Building” that has come to define his practice, the form of language mediates his work in that his pieces are structured in a manner that replicates sentences. In this way, he creates physical spaces that mirror his mental spaces. At once fragmented, balanced, poignant, and resonant with the ineffable, Manders’ work evokes a personal poetic sentiment that is meant to provoke the viewer.
Angelika Arendt creates her vivid sculptures out of a variety of materials. Arendt often twists and shapes polymer clay to form dripping and swirling patterns, but also uses foam, wood, and acrylic paint to fashion similar forms that are rich in texture and movement. These intricate patterns lend her work an organic touch, something psychedelically oceanic, perhaps. A quick look at her illustrations reveals her incredible ability to transform intricate two-dimensional designs into three-dimensional models. Arendt lives and works in Berlin.
Oakland-based artist Milena Korolczuk is best known for her work in film, but has recently turned to the medium of Wonder Bread. With the bread and water, she forms a malleable entity, and using precise instruments, she fashions tiny sculptures of iconic historical, pop culture, literature, and art images. Her renditions of these figures are impressively accurate and faithful. Figures pictured are Walt Disney, Vladimir Lenin, Plato, Claude Levi-Strauss, Prometheus, John Malkovich, Andy Warhol, Jay-Z, Jean-Paul Sartre, Stonehenge, Earth, and Marina Abramović.
For Lucas Simões‘ Quasi-Cinema series, he stitches folded photographs together in the form of a wave and fixes them onto a support of wood and cloth to create the appearance of cinema. He uses personal photographs that he magnifies before bending them in this wave form. The construction of these photographs evokes movement through each successive image, sort of a physical representation of stop motion. Simões’ architecture and design background has influenced this and other works, some of which we’ve featured in the past. He lives and works in São Paulo.
Yis “Nosego” Goodwin creates whimsical illustrations composed of various styles and references. His work is almost collagist, combining elements not only of realism and cartoonish abstraction, but also contrasting technical skills. Some of the figures he portrays are drawn with fine detail, while others appearing in the same illustration are more fluid conceptions. He creates fascinating characters out of a pastiche of pop culture, folklore, and mythology. Aside from illustrating, he also creates public murals. Nosego is currently collaborating with Converse, the Cartoon Network series Adventure Time, as well as Nickelodeon. He will also be featured in Streetosphere, an upcoming documentary about street art. Nosego lives in Philadelphia.
Mike Carr, aka China Mike, has previously been known for his photorealistic paintings, but has since ventured into the realm of abstraction. Using a variety of media such as spray paint, acrylics, oil pastels, and charcoal, Carr’s work captures a particular lack of constraint and fluidity that seems to spill out of the canvas, evoking a whimsical energy. Carr started out as a graphic designer, but embraced the medium of paint to escape the limitations of digital based media. “Process is as important as the end result. I don’t really feel a pressure to create realistically defined images these days. I want there to be a playfulness in my work, to not get bogged down in mechanical routines”. Carr is based in Bristol, England.