Just In Time For Winter, Tony Tasset And Three Other Artists Who Create Snowmen Not Out Of Snow

Tony Tasset

Tony Tasset

Todd Hebert

Todd Hebert

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Gary Hume, Back of a Snoman

Kristina Solomoukha, Discoba

Kristina Solomoukha, Discoba

Winter is coming!  Well, not so much in Los Angeles (although it did get down into the 40s last week), but across the country it seems to be looking a lot like Christmas.  One of any creative-minded individual’s favorite winter pastimes is making snowmen.  The four artists listed below take the art form to another level, incorporating the usually ephemeral figures into their art oeuvre in unique and intriguing ways.

Tony Tasset’s snowmen are partly funny, partly sad and partly just amazing sculptures.  Made from glass, resin, brass, enamel paint, poly-styrene, stainless steel and bronze the snow replicas are surprisingly convincing.  Catching a viewer off guard in a gallery setting, the snowmen freeze (pun intended) in time a phenomenon that is never the same—unlike in real life, Tasset’s snow personalities might last forever.

Kristina Solomoukha lives and works in Paris, France.  Her process is a reflection on urban space.  She pulls from codes and vocabulary from urban environments, combining them with her personal ideological view to create individual works and installations.  Playing with words and the absurd, her works, such as Discobaba, magnify and exaggerate existing aberrations.

Identified as a Young British Artist, Gary Hume, now 51, creates his snowmen images and sculptures by reducing them to their simplest forms.  Stacked spheres, the shapes are mere implications of a snowman, allowing a viewer’s mind to complete the association.   Titling the series “Back of a Snowman,” Hume’s works take on a melancholic mood.  We suddenly picture the snowman contemplating his own mortality, which in turn, might make us reflect upon our own.

Described as a pseudo Pop artist Todd Hebert’s meditative paintings apply airbrushed acrylic and super-realistic renderings to common holiday imagery.  The effects are narrative in a way that allows a viewer to be reflective about life at the various points of the year marked by the holidays.

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Berta Fischer And Mitra Fabian Transform Industrial Material Into Organic Unearthly Shapes

Berta Fischer

Berta Fischer

Berta Fischer

Berta Fischer

Metra Fabian

Mitra Fabian

Metra Fabian

Mitra Fabian

Berta Fischer is a Berlin-based artist.  Her sculptures and installations feel as though they’re sophisticated set decorations for a play that takes place under the sea.  Her colorful sculptures interact with their surrounding architecture, transforming a space into an otherworldly local.

Despite the use of materials that are mainly synthetic, such as PVC and acrylic glass, Fischer’s works maintain an organic quality.  This dialogue between the natural and the artificial generates an appearance that has a fragility and a tension to it.  Drawing a viewer’s attention the effects seem to be alive or moving.

Mitra Fabian lives and works in Los Angeles.  Like Fischer, she is also interested in transforming atypical materials into organic, unearthly shapes and forms that seem to come to life as you look at them.  Interested in mimicking the appearance of tumors, magnified cells or mold Fabian strives for an effect that plays tricks on the eye.  Fabian explains, “My artwork is a reflection of local human industry. I am a sculptor and installation artist working almost exclusively with manufactured materials- the leftovers, the by products, the remnants of human activity. My material use serves as a commentary on the increasingly modified condition of humans, which pits nature against culture and blurs the line between organic and manufactured.”

Both of these artists are interested in transforming the manmade into something that appears to be organic.  The effects allow a viewer to reflect upon our increasingly artificial surroundings and to appreciate the beauty and intricacy of our natural environment.

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Vik Muniz And Three Other Artists Who Use Unusual Materials To Create Stunning Portraits

Vik Muniz

Vik Muniz

Andrew Myers

Andrew Myers

Ben Durham

Ben Durham

Christian Faur

Christian Faur

A highly traditional artistic activity, portraiture is given new perspective through the eyes of the four artists below.  Each of these artists seeks unconventional means to create a subject’s likeness.

Vik Muniz incorporates quotidian objects and materials, such as diamonds, sugar, thread, chocolate syrup and garbage into his works to create unique portraits.  Often the medium will imply something about the subject, as with his iconic portraits of catadores, self-designated pickers of recyclable materials.  Muniz photographed the catadores in Jardim Gramacho, which is the largest garbage dump in the world, located just outside Rio de Janerio.  He photographed them and then re-created their portraits out of garbage. This process is documented in the film Waste Land

Ben Durham creates portraits of alleged criminals, all of whom attended the same high school as him in Lexington, Kentucky.  Knowing none of the subjects personally, Durham ignites a viewer’s imagination by offering no clue as to their alleged crimes.  The images, sketched on paper Durham handmade, are composed of text and titled after the subject’s name.  Streams of gibberish, the text captures contours and texture impeccably.

Laguna Beach-based artist Andrew Myers creates distinct, expressive and tactile portraits made of mixed media, mainly screws.  In the displayed portrait, Andrew depicts filmmaker Benjamin Pitts using approximately 8,000 screws, oil paint, and phonebook pages. The piece was an experiment in expressing movement with static objects.

Christian Faur’s interest with art lies in the idea that the medium can become the message.  Intertwining form and function Faur’s more recent work incorporates crayons to create mesmerizing portraits.  Three-dimensional and abstract up close, the portraits flatten and emerge the further away from them a viewer gets.

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Emilie Halpern’s Three-Part Exhibition Coincides With The Autumn And Winter quinox

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A collaboration (of sorts) between Mother Nature and Los Angeles-based artist Emilie Halpern, Shōka, Halpern’s current show at Peppin Moore, has been on view since the autumnal equinox on September 22nd, and it closes on the upcoming winter solstice on December 21st.  The exhibition has three stages, which is a concept derived in part from the shōka style of ikebana, the traditional Japanese art of floral composition. The shōka style, cultivated in the Ikenobō school in the 15th century, is a minimal description of the universe in three parts: the earth (地), the heavens (天), and humanity (人).

The first part of her exhibition titled 地 (pronounced chi, meaning ‘earth’) consists of fluorescent rocks set up in a rectangle according to the proportions of the gallery.  In the day, the lights appear to be minimal earthwork.  At night when exposed to black light they become fluorescent.

Part two was titled Shōka 天 (pronounced ten, meaning ‘heaven’) and it documented the sunlight in the gallery on the first day of the show.  Gold leaf marks the gallery space at the time when diret sunlight hit the interior on October 26, 2013.

The final part of the show is 人 (pronounced jin, meaning ‘human’) and it consists of a collection of Halpern’s pottery works.  Representative of the human interaction and manipulation of the two prior elements, pottery is an apt culminating medium.

Halpern’s exhibitions are the final for Pepin Moore Gallery.

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Joel Shapiro’s Gravity Defying Installation

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Joel_Shapiro8

Interested in the floor, the wall, their flatness and the way his sculptures engage with both of them, artist Joel Shapiro’s installations and sculptures are dynamic and engaging.   Suspending sculptures at various points and angles throughout a space, Shapiro seeks to create a sense of movement that depends on the forms and their relationships to one another.  Though not site-specific, his installations are in direct dialogue with architecture.  Shapiro is compelled by what he refers to as that “capricious” moment where forms come together to become something else.

Born in Sunnyside, Queens to a physician and microbiologist Shapiro tried to follow his parents into science, but realized that he had to become an artist.  Of the need to make art he says, “You have to have some real drive and deep belief, a combination of ego and humility, so it’s difficult. You have to have some sense of self and have to have some doubting sense of self in order to externalize your interior, so it’s a peculiar combination of factors, at least in my case, that you sort of, in retrospect, allow. I’m always surprised that the work looks good!”

The extreme structural and architectural nature of Shapiro’s work, however, perhaps begs at that scientific inclination.  There is a precision to his abstraction that is challenging in the way it defies gravity and logic.  Catch his show currently up at LA Louver through January 14th.

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Malerie Marder’s Powerful Photographs Of Sex Workers

Malerie Marder - photograph

Copyright Malerie Marder, Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

Malerie Marder - photograph

Copyright Malerie Marder, Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

Malerie Marder - photograph

Copyright Malerie Marder, Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

Malerie Marder - photograph

Copyright Malerie Marder, Courtesy Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, New York

Malerie Marder’s powerful images of nude women become that much more provocative when a viewer learns that the subjects are sex workers.  Made over the past five years in Amsterdam and Rotterdam Marder sought to capture the diverse population of women in The Netherlands who support themselves and their families through legal prostitution.

The women are, in her words:

“part hallucinatory and part real, [they] intrinsically have a different relationship to their bodies…Women’s bodies hide as much as they reveal.  I thought of Aphrodite, working single mothers, odalisques, adulterers and enigmas…The thought of how they got there was deeply troubling.  My camera was a passport into a gray, hidden world; the result of a liberal society where free will is a question mark.”

Anatomy
is currently on view at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects in New YorkClearly referencing the physicality of the work the exhibition title also plays off Oxford scholar Robert Burton’s encyclopedic tome that was inspired by his recurring bouts of depression, The Anatomy of Melancholy.

With this body of work Marder manages to capture her female subjects as simultaneously objectified and exposed, as well as individualized and empowered, albeit in a unique way.  Their stories are written in their expressions, which are equally as compelling as the fact that they are nude.  Hung salon style, the show should not be missed and runs through December 21.

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Five Sculptors Who Create Amazing Artist Dolls

Freya Jobbins  Artist Dolls

Freya Jobbins

Amy Salvador Artist Dolls

Amy Salvador

Marina Bychkova Artist Dolls

Marina Bychkova

Artist Dolls Dorote Zaukaite

Dorote Zaukaite 

Dolls are an appealing motif for artists because, as artist/ doll-maker Marina Bychkoya says, “I’m not content working in just one medium such as painting or sculpture, and dolls offer me a very diverse and satisfying tactile experience. To create a doll I get to do it all: sculpture, industrial design, painting, engraving, mold-making, drawing, metalwork, fashion and jewelry design.”  Combining multiple interests and talents, these five artists create some of the most fascinating, bizarre, beautiful and awesome, in the truest sense of the word, dolls I’ve ever seen.

Freya Jobbins says that she is inspired by Guiseppe Archimboldo and his fruit and vegetable paintings; Penny Byrne’s ceramic creations,  Ron Muek’s giant people, Gunther Von Hagen’s plastinated corpses,  and of course the Toy Story Trilogy.  Combining these inspirations with a technique that incorporates plastic doll parts and toys, she creates assemblages of faces, heads and larger busts.  Provocative, humorous and perhaps slightly disturbing Jobbins’ assemblages explore the relationship between consumerist fetishism and the emerging recycling culture.

Ana Salvador was born in Barreiro, which is a small town in Portugal.  She now lives in Amsterdam and has a passion for sculpture, drawing and painting.  Inspired by the human body, antiques, ornaments, fabrics and laces Salvador creates fantastical sculpted figures with distinct personalities.

Marina Bychkova is a Russian-Canadian figurative artist who founded Enchanted Doll so that she could devote her time to creating exquisite porcelain dolls.  An artist through and through Bychkova is concerned with each detail on her dolls, from their costumes to their facial expressions.

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Rocks And Crystals As Inspiration For Carly Waito And Three Other Artists

Amy Brener

Amy Brener

Carly Waito

Carly Waito

Jonathan Latiano

Jonathan Latiano

Debra Baxter, You have to believe we are magic, (barf bag)

Debra Baxter, You have to believe we are magic, (barf bag)

These four artists are interested in exploring nature through crystals, minerals and natural stones.  Toronto-based Carly Waito makes small oil paintings (about 5×6 inches) of crystals and minerals.  Inspired by the natural world Waito is interested in geology, geometry and light.  With a sense of wonder and curiosity, Waito explores via paint tiny mineral specimens, revealing the beauty and magic nature is capable of creating.

Seattle-based Debra Baxter uses stones and minerals, and their contrasts or relationships to investigate human interactions.  To address notions such as human power plays, vulnerability and gender differences, Baxter plays titles like You have to believe we are magic (barf bag), 2010 off visual displays of ceramic, minerals and reflective acrylic.  Her sculptures become small visual metaphors replete with symbols and juxtapositions that form ideas and narrative.

Amy Brener works by layering resin, glass and Fresnel lens to create light sensitive sculptures that resemble large crystals or minerals.  Brener’s process involves mixing and pouring pigmented resin into wooden frameworks.  Only able to control certain aspects of the process, Brener embraces the surprises that happen along the way.  The process gives her sculptures a quality that exists between the geological and the man-made.

Jonathan Latiano’s Points of Contention, 2011, was an installation at School 33 Art Center in Baltimore.  The piece was made out of plastics, resins and polymers and appeared to be exploding out of the floor.  Meant to address the effects the sculpture’s materials have on the geological landscape, Latiano’s work is a visual reminder of our impact on nature.

 

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