About Stephanie Chan

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

Tim Walker Photographs Of Fairy Queen Tilda Swinton

Tim Walker - Photography

Tim Walker - Photography

Tim Walker - Photography

Tim Walker - Photography

If you weren’t already convinced that Tilda Swinton is a dream-walking faerie queen, then Tim Walker‘s photography will certainly dispel all doubt. Whether she’s mingling with surreal objets in the home of Dominique and John de Menil (a series aptly named “The Surreal World“) or resurrecting lush jungle dreams (“Las Pozas“), Swinton punctuates each scene with a piercing gaze and an incandescent question mark.

Walker plays up Swinton’s otherworldliness with a deft hand and eye for stark contrast and color. In one photograph, it’s Swinton versus Swinton against a backdrop of surrealist paintings. In another, staring out from beneath a veil of gauze, Swinton poses like a bust in virginal white.

The description of Walker’s work from his biography — “extravagant staging and romantic motifs” — is certainly apt. From one stage to the next, Walker coaxes out a variety of subtle expressions from his subject: severe, pensive, and — just a hint — inviting. His photographs are transportive, giving viewers a brief glimpse of what it’s like to be an oneironaut circling the psychic deep. (via  Dark Silence in Suburbia)

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Juuke Schoorl’s Photos Of Temporary Perforations And Artificial Patterns On Human Skin

Juuke Schoorl - Photography

Juuke Schoorl - Photography Juuke Schoorl - Photography

Photographer Juuke Schoorl‘s collection is called “Rek,” which means “stretch” in Dutch. It’s a fitting name for both the act observed as well as that demanded of viewers as they are asked to consider all manner of textures both natural and unnatural. In her artist’s statement, Schoorl says that she “[explores] aesthetic possibilities of the human skin through a mixture of image capturing techniques.”

Using nylon fishing rope and cello tape, she creates temporary perforations and artificial patterns on what she calls “this curious stretchable material.” Some of her experiments look natural, almost like scarification. Others approach alien, such as one that tugs the side of a woman’s neck into what look similar to gills or another kind of grittier protrusion.

Interestingly, Schoorl’s subjects all look composed, serene even as viewers might flinch back on instinct. Perhaps that is the point; Schoorl invites viewers to be curious, to wonder at these new patterns and human landscapes. She wants us to consider our “biological upholstery that aside from it’s [sic] protective capabilities could also serve as a medium for aesthetic expression.” (via Juxtapoz)

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Sacha Goldberger’s “Super Flemish” Portrays 17th Century Superheroes

Sacha Goldberger - Photography Sacha Goldberger - PhotographySacha Goldberger - Photography Sacha Goldberger - Photography

Sacha Goldberger‘s done it again, capturing the spark of magic realism in a world similar to his Super Grandma series. This time, his photographs look like snapshots from an alternate super-history: one where Captain America poses for a 17th Flemish painter, the Hulk is super fancy, and Wolverine struggles mightily to dress himself in the morning. The series, called “Super Flemish,” shows a softer side of iconic childhood heroes and villains. Rather than valiant, Batman strikes a contemplative pose; beside him is a stoically dignified Robin. Alice of Wonderland fame seems grown up and wiser, perhaps having taken some of her own advice. Hands folded modestly, Wonderwoman looks almost docile.

“The collection demonstrates the use of 17 century techniques counterpointing light and shadow to illustrate nobility and fragility of the super powerful of all times,” reads the artist’s statement. “… The superheroes often live their lives cloaked in anonymity. These portraits give them a chance to ‘fix’ their narcissism denied.”

Goldberger’s photo series reframes modern heroes in a way that’s almost mundane but still removed enough by a handful of centuries so as to seem magical. Instead of fighting world-eaters and galactic villains, one could imagines them instead taking tea in the garden and brooding over their eighth praline — or whatever it is that’s hip in the county of Flanders.

He also pulls back the mask to show something undeniably human. “As science fiction meets history of art,” Goldberger says, “time meets an inexhaustible desire for mythology which is within each of us.”

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Bruce Riley’s Resin Paintings Look Like Psychedelic X-Rays

Bruce Riley - Painting

psychedelic Painting

Bruce Riley - Painting

Like stunning x-rays from an alien world, Bruce Riley‘s resin paintings seem to be lit from within. His playful shapes and psychedelic colors blossom in suspended animation, humming with as much electrical energy as any other multicellular organism.

Riley describes his process as intuitive and organic, saying, “I’m not really trying to define any ideas, I’m just letting it flow.” Watching him work is certainly hypnotizing as fluorescent greens and ozone blues blossom and blend into each other. The paintings can be appreciated from afar as well as up close, each brimming with meditative detail.
“You’re always investigating,” Riley says of his process. “It’s not about an end result. [You’re] trying to use techniques that you remember but also looking for things you’ve never seen before.”

Part of the beauty of Riley’s work is that it can be appreciated on various levels. Open to interpretation, one could call it the secret life of lava lamps . It could also be described with a narrative, a foray into extraterrestrial forensics. Or you could just take it as it is: the stream of conscious of a man who certainly knows his way around a paint brush. (via This Is Colossal)

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Sandro Giodarno’s Photos Of Comedic Existential Angst

Sandro Giordano - Photography

Sandro Giordano - Photography

Sandro Giordano - Photography

Sandro Giordano - Photography

Sandro Giodarno‘s photographs are like Saturday morning crime scenes. The victim? Dignity, mostly. His carefully choreographed pictures show a snapshot of cartoonish tragedy.

According to Designboom, Giodarno says of his photos, “The instinctive reaction is bewilderment and awkwardness towards the unlucky fate of the character, but then that same awkwardness breaks into a liberating laugh. This is the effect I want to recreate through my photographs: tell tragedy through irony.”

While the photos are at times baffling, they’re also increasingly absurd and comedic. One woman’s grocery trip ended in a gruesome mishap with a tomato sauce blood splatter. Another is wearing a halo of pottery shards instead of flowers. The body count reads five in one photo of a dinner party that went down like the TItanic. Truly, Giodarno’s characters are a series of unfortunate people.

“My photographs are short stories about a falling-down world,” Giodarno says, describing each scene as a “black-out” moment where each character simply gives into an existential malaise and flops down, unable or maybe unwilling to go on. They just lie there, clutching whatever material possessions they happen to have with them, that happens to define them whether deliberately or through happenstance.

On first glance, it might seem a little sad. But the name of the collection, “In Extremis (Bodies with No Regret),” is reassuring, like maybe they’ll get up again — or maybe they are fine just where they are. (h/t Designboom)

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Mandy Roos Reimagines Retro Sci-Fi Footwear

Mandy Roos - Design

Mandy Roos - Design

Mandy Roos - Design

Mandy Roos - Design

Designer Mandy Roos injects psychedelic playfulness into her series, “Invasion of the Foot Carrier.” Calling upon the specters of miniature foam spaceships, Shatneresque choreography, and gold lamé, Roos’s conceptual line of footwear is a Technicolor tumble into the days of past future.

In some of her designs, Roos plays with gelatinous gloop and gel; in others, she draws inspiration of extraterrestrial explorers and their iconic caterpillar treads. Though the whole collection could be described as whimsical, there’s also a sense of optimism: Roos describes the project as “an inspirational vision meant for the footwear industry.” Her designs are imbued the kind of lighthearted curiosity that defined the years when people still thought the World of Tomorrow was a light on the horizon.

With names like “Aurora Glow,” “Stargazer,” and “Moon Crawler,” Roos embraces the neon cheesiness of retro sci-fi glory. Her designs might not be realistic, but they’re not meant to be. And after so many dystopian futures, both imagined and predicted, it’s refreshing to see such bold cheerfulness. (via Flavorwire)

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Adam Mars Creates All-Caps Slogans For The Lost MTV Generation

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Adam Mars

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gusford gallery

In “Once Upon a Time, We Weren’t Stalkers,” artist Adam Mars creates all-caps slogans for the lost MTV generation. Spraypainted in boldface, each piece could be read any number of ways. Is it tragic? Judgmental? Ironic? How many different ways can you read a phrase like “Gluten Free Cunnilingus”?

In the past, Mars has taken online concerns offline, painting “000,000,001 Views” on a brick wall. The meaning there is clear: The virtual has no context in the real life. A clipped “Good Lay Bad Texter” highlights skewed priorities, and “Your Sex Tapes Need Some Sriracha” is absurdity writ large.

Mars’s latest exhibit seems to take on a different tenor. Though just as cheeky as before, there’s also an underlying nostalgia and a critical eye toward modern predilections. “I Stand By My Uninformed Opinions,” one says mockingly, starkly painted in black on white. Another pronounces, “The Last Offline Lovers” on a speckled candy orange background. In blue, almost sadly: “Longing For Your Divorce.”

Written out in so many words, Mars’s words are a declaration. He’s the man holding cardboard next to the subway, saying, “Apocalypse Tomorrow – 3 PM!” It’s also hard to argue with his sharp-eyed truth. After all, some of us were the last offline lovers.

“Once Upon a Time, We Weren’t Stalkers” is on display until December 20, 2014 at Gusford Gallery in Los Angeles.

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Sculptor Monica Piloni Creates Architectural Body Horror

Monica Piloni - Sculpture

surreal body

surreal body

 

Sculptor Monica Piloni takes body horror and gives it an acid bath in the surreal. Remember how traumatizing Labyrinth was? Specifically, the scene with the “helping hands”? Now imagine that times a million — sans David Bowie, but plus whatever Ziggy Stardust was on.

In one piece, named “Opium,” a constellation of body parts melt and fuse with each other. Hands, faces, genitalia, and everything in between are carved out perfectly from a chalky resin. A series of acrylic and vinyl fruits are shown bisected with gory ribs instead of the usual innocuous white pith.

Though of course the body horror is a highlight of Piloni’s work, there something more to it. Her art explores identity and otherness. “Triptych Self-Portrait,” is a sculpture of a woman as seen through a kaleidoscope. It’s a grotesque play of symmetry and perspective. Similarly, “Ballerina” is a woman deconstructed, each part of her isolated from the others in a clear box, as though she were some kind of pre-packaged Barbie doll.

There is something architectural about Piloni’s work, the way she calls your attention to the angles, negative spaces, and repeated motifs, like those many body parts are only building blocks. If anything, that makes it all the more disturbing. (via Hi-Fructose)

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