When you think of fine art, one of the last places you’d probably consider finding it is in the laundromat. Photographer Yvette Meltzer, long fascinated with the transformation of soiled to clean clothes, first sought to explore her fascination by visiting many different laundromats in Chicago. During these visits, she documented various aspects of the laundromat experience, but it wasn’t until she saw the images of dryers tumbling clothes on her computer that she knew she had captured something beautiful – animal and human forms were revealed to her through the compositions of color and texture being tossed around in the machines. Thus, Meltzer’s “Revolution” series was born, a series that transforms an everyday, mundane image into an experience of abstract mystery. Meltzer says, “What I see is not what someone else does. But people do seem mesmerized by the images and attempt to discern what it is they are looking for. People seem to have such a need for definition and tend to be uncomfortable with the ambiguous.” (via slate)
Cuban-American artist Cesar Santos thoughtfully blends disparate styles and elements in a series he calls “Syncretism.” Santos’ amalgamations present representations from Renaissance, Modern, Classic, and Contemporary work, all blended together to create a pastiche of imagery. While combining genres, forms, and time periods is not a necessarily unique approach, it is Santos’ execution that is most impressive. Skilled technically in multiple painting styles, Santos is able to render images that appear uncannily similar to their references. Recontextualizing these images demonstrates the evolution of painting techniques while maintaining the universality and persistence of particular themes.
“I develop a painting by first working on an idea in a sketchbook, a simple drawing. Then I go to Photoshop and start composing the painting. In a way it’s [how] a classical artist would do it: constructing a color study. Once I have everything composed, tweaking the colors, it will almost look like the final piece. Using oils on linen, I go about painting that image. During the process things change. When I start applying the colors, I start with a raw umber underpainting, and block it in with local color. Even though I’m using modern tools, the process is very classical.” (via juxtapoz)
French photographer William Farges‘ series “White Line” features surreal reflections of body angles, parts, and positions. Farges creates new shapes and figures by placing the reflections of nude bodies side by side, representing a continuity of form that is both startling and elegant. The series is, of course, named for the white line that dissects his diptychs – an element that emphasizes the new forms’ symmetry as a product of an inversion. These forms reach and pull into each other, appearing as if each could disappear into the other. Farges’ images are Rorschach-like deconstructions that are smooth and round and contained. “White Line” is the result of another series of Farges that similarly deconstructs and reimagines the human form, “Chimera.” (via feature shoot)
Artist Ron English is best known for his bright and playful pop culture aesthetic, and a blending of high and low art cultures, something he refers to as “popaganda.” A multitude of characters and references populate his works, and it’s this accessibility that lends his work its effectiveness. One particular painting – Picasso’s Guernica – represents a modern template for English that he has interpreted over 50 times, and English approaches each interpretation aware and reverent of the original’s cultural significance.
English writes, “[Guernica] is a visual shorthand for the overwhelming and gratuitous horror of modern war. But I argue that the cultural takeaway of Guernica is actually the opposite. It transforms incomprehensible tragedy into a cartoon narrative, something we can more easily absorb. This is part of the human process, to distance ourselves from the immediacy of undiluted, overwhelming emotions by overlaying a narrative that simplifies, and in effect, takes us down from three to two dimensions. And this is the underlying concept that I grapple with in all my many versions of Guernica.”
English’s approach to the Guernica template resonates throughout much of his work; the artist often interprets our visually-saturated cultures, recontextualixing familiar imagery in order to critique or present ideas that can be more easily absorbed. In order to capture particular lighting and angles, English constructs 3D models of some his concepts before painting them. While each interpretation is unique in its imagery, English admits he’s “…always riffing on the same basic message — that cultural bias is embedded in our narrative. [His] Guernicas call attention to the product placement of global corporate culture, using war as entertainment and entertainment as war.” (via huffington post)
German photographer Thomas Kellner‘s contact sheet photo montages deconstruct iconic architectural landmarks and cityscapes. Each of Kellner’s frames are shot sequentially, then printed in the film’s exact order – no cut/paste or digital manipulation – before strips are cut and then placed together. Each final contact sheet montage’s size depends on how much film Kellner uses for his subject – with one roll of film, the montages are only 20 x 24 cm. Kellner first began descontructing architecture using the contact sheet method in 1997, and since 2003, has been photographing and decontructing buildings around the world.
Of his work, Kellner says, “I think I am more of an artist than a photographer. At the moment I am working on architecture, but it is not classic architectural photography. There are definitions in art about ‘construction/deconstruction’ or ‘collage/decollage,’ but I don’t think any of it really fits what I am doing right now, maybe my work is closer to conceptual art or conceptual photography. Many have said it is ‘very Germany,’ and that might be closer.” (via art chipel)
In 2011, Google launched Art Project in order to provide comprehensive, virtual tours of the spaces and artifacts of the world’s art museums and galleries. This requires Google’s robotic camera trolleys to roam museums taking 360 degree panoramic shots of every room they’re documenting. Since May, Barcelona-based artist Mario Santamaría has been collecting striking images of these cameras’ mirror selfies via a Tumblr page. In some of the images, the cameras don silvery-white blankets – this effect, combined with our culture’s immersion in selfies, renders these cameras almost familiar and comfortable, but startling in its reflection of itself and selfie culture. These museums and galleries are, for the most part, emptied of people, the camera eerily alone in its self-documentation. (via booooooom)
Martin Klimas is no stranger to meticulously timed photography. From his speaker-induced dancing paint splatters to his shattered blooms and vases, Klimas’ work captures moments in time that record a disruption of order. Klimas’ porcelain action figures are dropped from a height of about 10 feet, and it’s the sound of the figurines crashing that triggers the high-speed camera’s shutter release. This methodology results in images that represent a temporary, dynamic moment in time that becomes a permanent, static image through the art of photography. Klimas’ figurines appear to be engaged in aggresive battle, each shattering figure creating a narrative made possible from a singular image. Mid-destruction, these figurines convey a strong power and energy that couldn’t be perceived pre- or post-destruction. (via juxtapoz)