Photographer and pop surrealist Dina Goldstein’s large-scale project titled Gods of Suburbia features a collection of deities and religious figures set within the context of modernity. Buddha, Mohammed, Satan, and others exist alongside technology, science, and secularism as it relates to living in the (anywhere) suburbs. Goldstein explains:
The series plays with narrative and religious iconography in order to communicate how organized belief has become twisted within a global framework driven by consumerism and greed. The project challenges the viewer — religious or secular — to embark on a journey of self-reflection as they contemplate the relevance of dogma in modernity.
Goldstein’s moody images highlight some less-than-stellar facets of our modern culture. Lack of compassion, unwillingness to learn/accept other beliefs, and bullying are just some of the themes that the photographer touches on. The series, while strange, is poignant and relatable as we read more and more bad news everyday.
Each photo in Gods of Suburbia features thoughtful and interesting explanations of how every figure relates to contemporary society. Read it on Goldstein’s website.
UK-based artist San Pierre has a slightly unorthodox method when creating his work. Instead of displaying a simple image in a frame, he draws designs over top of the print with threads that are secured with nuts and bolts. These intricate, criss-crossing strings form delicate shapes that alter how the viewer interprets the image. Depending on the depth and color of the strings, the artwork might appear diffused or distorted with geometric fragments.
Pierre’s use of thread adds not only a physical layer onto his work, but a conceptual one as well. His piece titled Discontent No. 6 (top two images) features a dark figure who looks as though they’re trying to gingerly find their way. With the technicolor strings, however, it now reads as a barrier or a wall. Instead of freedom, this being is trapped. (Via My Amp Goes to 11)
Italian illustrator Virginia Mori uses black ballpoint pen and pencil on paper to create strange, lady-centric compositions. The minimal drawings feature long-haired women in surreal situations. Heads are often seen severed or parts of the body are fused with furniture. Although they are weird, Mori’s work isn’t gruesome. Even when a umbrella handle is coming out of a character’s mouth, there’s no blood or guts. It’s simply a surreal scene.
Mori separates mind from body, in both literal and figurative ways. Heads are rolling, they exist on different levels, and are obstructed by hair. It represents the idea that we can “disconnect” our mental from our physical self, and that this separation can feel like two entities. But in Mori’s illustrations, what causes it? Mystics? Physical ailments? Lessons not learned? The sparse compositions allow for multiple interpretations.
Photographer Polly Penrose’s series A Body of Work was produced over the course of seven years. Her intention was to take pictures of strong, powerful, and interesting nude portraits. So, how did she achieve that? By using herself as a model. Penrose explains in an email to Beautiful/Decay:
…I was always available, and then because I realised something interesting was happening. I could push myself further than I could other models, and by shooting myself the pictures became a visual autobiography. The pictures are very spontaneous within the space, I never plan them I just work with what’s there, it’s like a secret conversation between myself and the space, a bit of silent theatrics which I document. Looking back I can see that my state of mind at the time of shooting definitely feeds into the imagery, my choice of pose and the general mood of the picture.
Penrose sees A Body of Work as ongoing, and that this simply marks its first seven years. “…I want to keep taking them until I can no longer move to do it – it will be interesting to see my body age and how the poses and locations will change with it.” Her photographs showcase a long time, but still relatively short in terms of an entire life span. We see just some of the changes a body goes through in that time and are intrigued with what the next seven will bring.
British set designer and artist Nicola Yeoman creates optical illusions via temporary installations. The complex arrangements use well-scoped vantage points and specifically-lit sets that conjure fantastical scenes. She uses both conventional and discarded objects in her work and places these objects in unexpected locations.
Yeoman combines moody lighting and a variety of textures to make her works appear simultaneously flat and three-dimensional. This is especially visible in her letter installations. The “D,” for instance, is crafted by negative space with chairs that occupy the foreground, middleground, and background. But, you wouldn’t necessarily realize it unless you looked closely – this photo is shot at just the right angle.
While some of Yeoman’s work is as specific as the alphabet, other installations are more mysterious. Outdoor scenes obscured by fog fill the composition, and paper planes and a silhouetted car on a journey into the unknown. Her work has the power to go in opposite directions – didactic and dreamy – and the well-thought compositions, allow her to take the viewer anywhere. (Via Yatzer)
Photographer Millicent Hailes recently completed a two-month stay in Los Angeles where she traversed some of the city’s finest strip clubs. “You can find the erotic anywhere, you just have to look for it,” Hailes told Dazed, and her journey included spots where Courtney Love danced pre-grunge era.
Hailes was on the hunt for a club that breaks away from the chauvinistic, clichéd joints that we’re used to seeing. She found a string of clubs where women hold the power, prostitution is low, and the women actually enjoyed themselves. In a place called Cheetahs, Hailes explains, “The girls each had a different style of dance and look, and each danced to a song of their choice,” she says. “It felt a lot more personal, and it was a lot of fun.”
To pay tribute to Cheetahs, Hailes began a project that mirrors the separation between dancer and customer. She placed a sheet of plastic between herself and model Nadia Lee. “The plastic sheeting is a metaphorical barrier between the model and the audience. She is pressed up against it, but you can’t fully see her or touch her,” Hailes explains to Dazed Digital. “I wanted the shoot to seem very ‘bodily’, and by having the body pressed against the plastic and capturing the breath creating a fog over the images, it feels a bit intrusive, but also has a distance because of the sheeting.” (Via Dazed)
London-based artist Jessica Dance specializes in creating handcrafted models, props, and sets that have a wide-range of commercial appeal clients include Vogue, Vanity Fair, Google, and more). Her work features a lot of conventional, everyday objects reimagined in a delightful, unconventional way. Dance knits food, toothbrushes, and even calculators on her domestic knitting machine, and it’s a playful twist on the real thing.
The knitted pieces are made from wool, and they look like something you’d want to snuggle up with. It’s an odd feeling to want to hug a giant turkey, but that’s the power of fiber arts (or any art, really). We attach associations to materials and sometimes nostalgia prompts us to touch, pet, or squeeze brussel sprouts and meatballs.
Artist Yoon Ji Seon crafts her collection of self-portraits by intricately stitching photographs with a sewing machine. It’s an ongoing series titled Rag Face, and her facial expressions change with every piece. While they appear to us as similar-looking individuals, Seon changes it up with different colors and hairstyles. Despite these idiosyncrasies, each portrait has the same features. Most notably, these are hanging threads that mimic hair or tattered rags. The multiple layers of colors and stitches give these works a painterly effect, as if they are gestural and loosely handled; Seon obscures her images by working with her materials in this way.
In 2015, the artist will have a show at the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City. They describe the her underlying concepts:
By sewing the photograph, a second image is generated on the back that is both a reflection of the front and a completely new image. The two images, combined with the original photograph as a third representation, recall the Buddhist theory that an object exists in many forms and there is no true form. Yoon Ji Seon’s work addresses Buddhist ideology deeply rooted in contemporary Korean society and confronts issues such as plastic surgery and suppression of speech. (Via My Amp Goes to 11)