Myoung Ho Lee, with the aid of assistants, cranes, and ropes, places blank white canvases behind trees in various natural settings throughout South Korea– in order to bring a part of the background into the foreground. According to The New York Times, the artist only digitally retouches “the trace of his own hand” because “If the mechanics of the artwork were visible, it would be easier for people to recognize the scale and the method . . . I want to hide them, to infuse a magical and vague aspect to my work, so that viewers may question and try to find answers themselves.”
Photographer Joe Maloney revisits the art of summer slumming along the east coast in his retrospective show “Asbury Park and The Jersey Shore, c. 1979” at Rick Wester Fine Arts. Maloney, according to The New Yorker, chose Asbury Park specifically because the area was “distinctly working-class, non-affluent, semi-urban, slightly run-down beach town, with a music culture and a vibrant street life.”
Most striking about this collection, however, is not just the “Darkness On The Edge of Town” vibe meshed with beach resort kitsch, but even more so, the intense level of isolation that vacation culture embodied before cell phones, Wi-Fi, and the Internet at large. Each portrait seems quiet somehow: subjects full of secrets and aspirations. Its a trapped or estranged sort of quiet that I strangely miss . . . and maybe long to reclaim.
Living and working in Budapest, Alexander Tinei originally hails from Caushani, Moldova, and his work seems to reflect the historical and current climate of these two places– a certain transition into post communism mainstream. That said, however, I would avoid labeling his work as something political. It feels more personal or social, examining identity as it relates or responds to its fluid environment. The darkness in each image is a certain type of natural blooming that slowly corrodes. Emphasis is not on reckless destruction alone, but the cultivation and freedom to pursue it.
Megan Van Groll paints women– mediating on the fine line between nakedness and nudity, or how these two concepts relate to freedom or identity. Likewise, from bathing in cocoa puffs to sensually brawling at a donut shop, her food motif is an interesting one, often working in tandem with the female form– provoking thoughts of fetish from the outside, but also, a much more personal and complicated binging ceremony.
Of her own craft, Groll states, “My narrative portraits of women are, at their core, a painted attempt to understand and portray how modern women create identity and meaning from the world around them. I am interested in exploring the way we perform our projected ideal personas, for ourselves and for others.”
Maybe it’s because I live in Los Angeles where rain is seldom and driving culture is strong, but these oil paintings by Tom Birkner make me want to dig through my tape collection– yup, tapes– and pop a little Tom Waits in before heading out onto the highway. I would extrapolate on this connection, but I think the actual lyrics from “Diamonds On My Windshield” illustrate it best–
Blazing through this midnight jungle
Remember someone that you met
One more block; the engine talks
And whispers ‘home at last’
It whispers, whispers, whispers
‘home at last’, home at last
We are comparable to moths. This is what I think Bernardi Roig is doing with his mixed media pieces: allowing us to see our own attractions to the glowing lights brought forth with the Information Age. From computers to iPhones to tablets– our desire is instinctual or . . . mindlessly animalistic. I’m thinking here also about near death experiences: going towards the light. Remember that iconic scene from Poltergeist? Carol Ann. This too. It’s not about where our bodies gravitate or evolve, but how we speak to the light and what we leave behind as we travel towards it.
Blending the natural with the artificial world is Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s bread and butter in photography, and this applies not only to his staged documentary subject matter, but also his lighting. Whether it’s incorporating neon signage, cheesy ballroom glowing fixtures, another camera’s flash, or even a hidden light in the pavement, each technique helps shine a light on the ordinary as extraordinary from business men to hustlers– the majestic glow does not discriminate.
So, before the day gets too stressful, let’s relax with a little meditation on each powerful mesh of light. Feel free to share your own favorite lighting tips or tricks in the comments as well.
From setting hipster traps to designing tourist lanes on sidewalks, Jeff Greenspan’s work consistently employs a certain playful cleverness that questions our social norms in relation to spaces, New York City in particular. The Statue Experiment (pictured above) is no exception. Examining our own reality as far as engaging with art and its contextual expectations is concerned, Greenspan adds a little bowl of change in front of Frank Benson’s statue for a whole new effect. In fact, it just might be the best street performance art performed by an actual object . . . or maybe it’s the audience members who are the real performers? Click on the video after the jump to see what we mean.