About Stephanie Chan

Stephanie is a writer, editor, and general optimist. She lives online at http://stephchan.com/ .

Seung-Hwan Oh Fuses Art With Microbiology In Bacteria Manipulated Photographs

bacteria  Photography bacteria  Photography

bacteria  Photography Seung-Hwan Oh - Photography

Using homegrown bacteria, photographer Seung-Hwan Oh warps and manipulates his photographs, surrendering his art to a higher ecological order. Oh, who also goes by the name Tonio Oh, explains that his intention is to “explore the impermanence of matter as well as the material limitations of photography.” It brings the artist’s studio into the laboratory, marvelously blending the organic and the artificial.

Oh’s website describes the process:

“As the microbes consume light-sensitive chemical over the course of months or years, the silver halides destabilize, obfuscating the legibility of foreground, background, and scale.”

It’s an interesting approach to photography that takes a normally still medium and adds a dimension of something active, live, and dynamic. When you view Oh’s photographs, the question is no longer the significance of what is depicted; instead, what catches your eye is the tension between what is shown and what is already lost. Though art is naturally created to be consumed, in this case, the art itself is the act of consumption, the parts of the photographs that have been literally eaten away by a relentless force of nature. The result, in Oh’s word, can be witnessed as something that is “entangled creation and destruction that inevitably is ephemeral”.

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Sabato Visconti’s Glitch Art

Sabato Visconti - Photography

Sabato Visconti - Photography

Sabato Visconti - Photography

Sabato Visconti - Photography

Sabato Visconti is a photographer, visual artist, and digital puppeteer. He fine-tunes his art on an atomic level by using a number of techniques that manipulate code and scramble pixels into what is often surprising results. “Glitch art,” as the aesthetic is called, uses a palette of static, snow, and other shadowy artifacts to create art that is, despite its hi-tech nature, exceedingly organic.

The intense colors and bio-rhythmic patterns that emerge from Visconti’s glitched-out photographs are raw and still retain an emotional connection to their subjects. Some are more abstract, emerging like clouds of texture that seem by turns woven and crumpled and, when it gets particularly noisy, crunchy. Though it might be counterintuitive, it makes sense that glitch art is organic; after all, artifacts in old-school photographs and film footage have always occurred spontaneously. Now, artists are harnessing that force of microcosmic nature and using it creatively.

“You’re trying to find this really fine balance where something doesn’t break fully, but breaks just to the point that you can see it breaking,” Visconti explains. The tension between form and disintegration is palpable in his work; at times, it’s like staring into a digital void or a watching a snapshot of an identity crisis. He takes it one step further in a collection called, “Vertigo by Alfred Glitchcock,” which takes stills and remixes them into evocative visual mayhem.

Do androids dream of electric sheep? If they do, then this is what they see when they close their eyes.

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Killer Heels Exhibit Shows 400 Years Of High Heel Evolution

Chau Har Lee. “Blade Heel,” 2010. Perspex, stainless steel, leather. Courtesy of Chau Har Lee. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

Chau Har Lee. “Blade Heel,” 2010. Perspex, stainless steel, leather. Courtesy of Chau Har Lee. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

Noritaka Tatehana. “Atom,” 2012–13. Faux leather. Courtesy of Noritaka Tatehana. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

Noritaka Tatehana. “Atom,” 2012–13. Faux leather. Courtesy of Noritaka Tatehana. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

Winde Rienstra. “Bamboo Heel,” 2012. Bamboo, glue, plastic cable ties. Courtesy of Winde Rienstra. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

Winde Rienstra. “Bamboo Heel,” 2012. Bamboo, glue, plastic cable ties. Courtesy of Winde Rienstra. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

Iris van Herpen X United Nude. “Beyond Wilderness,” 2013. Courtesy of United Nude. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

Iris van Herpen X United Nude. “Beyond Wilderness,” 2013. Courtesy of United Nude. Photo: Jay Zukerkorn

Killer Heels,” a new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum, traverses the decades from the 17th century up to now, displaying iconic shoes such as Marilyn Monroe’s stilettos alongside modern 3D-printed heels by designer Iris van Herpen. Needless to say, these heels put the “haute” in “haute couture,” one of them featuring 8-inch stilettos that forces the wearer on her toes. Another, a pair of Manchu platform shoes, look almost like jeweled music boxes set on pedestals.

Over the years, high heels have become a complex and controversial symbol, by turns fetishized and reviled. To explore this complexity, the 160 pairs in the exhibit are diverse. On the classical end of the spectrum, French shoes from the late 17th century are modest, with muted colors and crafted from silk and leather. Some heels are more whimsical, like the bright red “Eamz” by Rem D. Koolhaas, which brings to mind the plush vinyl of stools at a soda fountain. The Block Heel from Balenciaga strikes a more classic pose, looking infinitely wearable next to the elegant but tortured lines of Walter Steiger’s “Unicorn Tayss.”

According to Lisa Small, who organized and curated the exhibit, the heels are “difficult aesthetically or meant to be making different kinds of statements rather than the prototypical sexy stiletto.”

Killer Heels elevates the high heel to something more than an accessory. Museum-goers will contemplate its cultural identity, form, and function. They will marvel at the various incarnations from pump to peeptoe. And, upon leaving the exhibit, they will breathe a sigh of relief and thank the powers that be for the invention of the humble sneaker.

The exhibit will be on display until February 15, 2015. Visit the Brooklyn Museum online for directions and details regarding admission and museum hours.

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The Death And Decay Of Disco

Antonio La Grotta - Photography

Antonio La Grotta - Photography

Antonio La Grotta - Photography

Antonio La Grotta - Photography

In a country with literally dozens of celebrated historical monuments, photographer Antonio La Grotta pays tribute to a different sort of relic: discotheques, abandoned and decaying. In their repose, there is an otherworldliness quality about them, looking as though they are the remains of crash-landed disco spaceships.

Mostly built in the 1980s, the buildings are sometimes daring with the occasional swooping bold line here and a vaguely extraterrestrial silhouette there. However, the design borrows more from chintzy Las Vegas glamour. One discotheque — fittingly named “Last Empire” — is decorated with reclining Greek statues and columns. Another takes the form of a giant boat, marooned on land and in time. Some are a little more abstract, such as the “Woodpecker,” which is comprised of a system of round covered pavilions in a marshy swamp.

Why photograph these places now that the glitz has turned to dust? La Grotta said in an interview, “I like to photograph what you cannot see, the suggestions a place can give you, even if it doesn’t declare it in a clear and open way.” He describes the discotheques as “inhabited by echo,” something that is certainly true in a number of ways. The dance halls are optimistically spacious, and the occasional pop of neon color is a reminder that this, too, had its heyday.

These discotheques are neither disco World Heritage Sites nor astounding feats of engineering, but they are nevertheless time capsules from life in the not-too-distant past.

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Noa Raviv’s 3D-Printed Dresses Make Math Look Good

Noa Raviv -3D-Printed Dresses

Noa Raviv - 3D-Printed Dresses

Noa Raviv - Design

Noa Raviv - Design

Designer Noa Raviv‘s “Hard Copy” collection has been bending space-time as well as turning heads all over the fashion world. Raviv revs fashion up into high tech: She uses 3D printing technology to create the vectors, grids, and curved polygons that act as the centerpieces of her futuristic dresses.

At first glance, her collection looks like something Escher would come up with if he had gone into outer space — and learned to put the pedal to the metal on a sewing machine. Raviv’s 3D-printed dresses utilize negative space and evocative bold lines that abruptly end, a trajectory to nowhere. Some mark outlines around the stoic models, almost reminiscent of cut-out paper dolls.

If you were to describe Raviv’s designs as purely brainy, though, that wouldn’t be entirely correct either. Her pieces are mash-ups of the classical and the plugged-in modern, organic yet precisely calculated. The recurring hollow grid pattern seems to inevitably draw a comparison to wire frame mannequins, perhaps implying that the work is incomplete with the wearer, who — in this case — gazes archly from amidst blossoming toruses and geometric anemones.

According to Raviv, she wanted to explore “the tension between the real and the virtual, between 2D and 3D.” After having won the 2014 Finy Leitersdorf Prize for her creative efforts, it would seem that her experiment was certainly a triumph.

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Unreal Holographic Wire Sculptures By Seung Mo Park

Seung Mo Park - Sculpturewire Sculpturewire Sculpture wire Sculpture

South Korean artist Seung Mo Park crafts wire into sculpture and the two-dimensional into the three-dimensional. With his Maya series, he painstakingly recreates photographs into holographic wire sculptures with downright ethereal results.
Using stainless steel wire mesh, Park creates his sculptures layer by layer, snipping away to create the illusion of depth and shading. In some cases, it looks as though an artist’s doodle has popped out of his sketchbook. Park shows his versatility in creating boldly three-dimensional sculptures as well as pieces that perfectly imitate the graininess of a black-and-white photo.

His work is stunningly photorealistic.

Though many of his sculptures are hauntingly evocative, his subjects caught mid-despair or appearing like vengeful steely-eyed angels, Park also has a playful side. In a work called “MAYA MONA LIZA,” he pays homage to the most mysterious smile in the world. In his Object series, he recreates known objects such as a contrabass and famous sculptures like “The Thinker.” With his treatment, they almost seem to emerge out of the static, in some cases only merely suggesting form and function. A piece called “Buddha,” created with bronze wire and fiber glass, looks as though a person is being buried in a sand dune of time. In other works, from his Human series, his subjects spring to life fully formed.

If you gaze at Park’s work for long enough, it almost seems as though he has dialed into some special channel caught between realities. A slight turn to the right and maybe his subject will become a real boy once and for all. A slight turn to the left and these ghostly figures might be subsumed forever.

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