Artist Jason DeMarte‘s photography juxtaposes sublime, remote landscapes and commercially produced and processed products such as Cheetos, Donuts or chips. The odd pairing can go two ways, for one, his work may spark an intriguing dialog between what’s man-made and what runs wild, second, the compositions might be alluding to our new-found pleasure in consuming these products. What once gave us so much life and inspiration (breathtaking landscapes, natural phenomena) is now second to last in our list of pleasurable things to experience.
DeMarte, however, presents this pairing in beautiful ways- ultimately making them coexist in a way that we never thought possible.
“I represent the natural world through completely unnatural elements to speak metaphorically and symbolically of our mental separation from what is ‘real’.”
With regular vinyl tape, Glasgow-based artist Jim Lambie transforms any given space into a colorful, mesmerizing landscape that often create optical illusions. There is no beginning and no end, no contraction and no expansion- in turn, Lanbie says that his construction “somehow evaporates the hard edge off and pulls you towards more of a dreamscape.” Much like the iconic, giant works of the Abstract Expressionists, its composition is hypnotic, abysmal, and sometimes spiritual, but always bit disorienting at first.
The labor intensive intallations take up to several weeks to complete, but that is no excuse to stop making them. As a former musician, the artist draws on musical references as inspiration. Often time, the titles of his pieces refer to iconic bands or songs, including The Doors, Morrison Hotel (2005), and Careless Whisper (2009). The design of his installations depend on the architecture of the space; each and every one of these are unique and transient installations that cannot be exactly reproduced anywhere else.
California-based artist Gregory Kloehn was tired of making sculptures for rich people. “It just sits there,” he said. “I kind of think that if you’re putting so much effort into something it would be nice if it actually did something.”
With the help of a close knit art community, Kloehn began his Homeless Homes Project, a collaborative endevour that provides sturdy, innovative and mobile shelters for the homeless.
They look like sculptures, but they actually serve a purpose.
Kloehn starts the process by installing beds, sinks, stoves, and storage shelves on regular old dumpsters and shipping containers. All of the ‘amenities’ are made with repurposed materials found on the streets.
To prove that his dumpster homes are fit to live, the artist put it to the test. He has actually lived in one that he built for himself, and fitted with such conveniences as granite counter topped kitchen, a microwave, a mini-stove, a fridge, and even a cushioned sofa.
With a successful run, Kloehn is a now a full-time home builder. So far he has built 10 tiny homes, some of which have already found tenants. (via Amusing Planet)
There is a reason why Amy Bennett‘s paintings look like dioramas. In fact, it is part of her process to build miniature dioramas of various scenarios before the painting process begins. When completed, these miniature constructions are used as models for the pieces you see here. The paintings, she says, are “glimpses of a scene or fragments of a narrative. Similar to a memory, they are fictional constructions of significant moments meant to elicit specific feelings.”
This arduous process is perhaps a way to reconstruct the process of memory making itself. When we construct memories, we are feeling and living that specific moment. When we are trying to reenact or recall that memory, it all feels distant, blurry, and small. In this case, the painter’s initial construction (the physical building of the diorama) and re-constrution of it (trough painting) mirrors this process.
I am interested in storytelling over time through repeated depictions of the same house or car or person, seasonal changes, and shifting vantage points. Like the disturbing difficulty of trying to put rolls of film in order several years after the pictures have been taken, my aim is for the collective images to suggest a known past that is just beyond reach.
New York based photographer Mike Mellia creates Another Day in Paradise, a series of images that capture the essence of New York City under the influence of Mellia’s father.
After the unexpected death of his dad, the photographer began creating cinematic scenes around New York that were reminiscent of his father’s life. Mellia is compelled to showcase his father’s contemplative presence and love for jazz . The many clues that reveal what his father was, and is to him even after death, are subtle but powerfully present.
Mellia’s sentimental piece works along the lines of alienation and tension, however. It not only provides a glimpse into his father’s life but it also showcases Mellia’s hardships to accept his passing.
Being on social media makes us vulnerable. Anyone can track down your present or your past; the information is there and it is available. Even by tweeting and facebooking about the most mundane of things, Google and whichever company buys information off Facebook are able to know what to sell to you. This feeling of you when you’ve had that dream about being naked in public, yeah, Facebook and Google’s privacy invasions sometimes feel the same way.
In hopes that they could provide a more visual picture of what it means to be part of this post-privacy world, Xuedi Che and Pedro Oliveira of NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program create x.pose, a “wearable, data-driven sculpture” made out of flexible, 3D-printed mesh and layers of reactive displays which are controlled via Arduino, an open source electronics prototyping platform specially made for creative interactive objects.
The dress is divided into sections, each corresponding to whatever neighborhood the wearer is tweeting or posting to Facebook from. This means that when the wearer logs onto Facebook or sends a tweet via smartphone, the dress connects via Bluetooth and becomes less opaque in the “area” where he or she is currently active, revealing a part of the wearer’s body.
The more personal data is released via smartphone, the more transparent the dress becomes. (via The Daily Dot)
With an interest in merging consumer culture and fine art practices, Norwegian photographer Vilde Rolfsen takes the most ubiquitous piece of global consumerism, a plastic grocery bag, and creates a series of photographs that, with the assistance of modified lighting and colored cardboard, showcase a an ephemeral landscape, reminiscent of snowscapes or dancing oceans. The plastic bags used for this project were all sourced from the street; this is a very minor but important fact that underlines Rolfsen’s ultimate mission:
My findings have showed me that people take everyday objects for granted, for example a plastic bag or a Brillo pad. You use them for a couple of things, carry your groceries or scrub your dishes. By removing the objects from their original function, I am forcing the viewer to look at the object as an aesthetic thing rather than a useful thing. I challenge society’s perceptions of everyday objects, because these objects are of such normality they become surreal in a photograph.
On a crowded bus ride in Beijing, Chinese artist Liu Di noticed his surroundings. “Looking out at the decrepit housing blocks”, he said, “I had a vague but strong feeling that there was something missing between the ground and the sky.” It was then that he had the idea for his 2008 series, Animal Regulation, an almost cinematic display of enlarged animals sitting amongst the ‘urban ruins’ of the city of Beijing. Using photoshop, he seamlessly embedded these wild, large animals into Beijing’s forgotten and depleted back streets, construction sites and tenement courtyards.
With the addition of the gigantic,exotic animals, Di not only tries to fill the void that he notices as he travels through the city, but most importantly, he attempts to draw attention to these spaces in a big and scandalous way. We cannot help but notice ‘the big panda in the room’, and that, I think, is the kind of reaction the artist is looking for. The metaphorical animal living amongst the city of Beijing alludes to deeper issues here–the void is filled with an unwanted visitor and in order for it to go away something must change.
Di’s political undertones cannot be missed.
“Between nature and human society, between the material world and the intellect, between obedience to and violation of the laws of nature. It is only when our preconceptions are jolted that we wake up and truly see.”
These photographs are part of Barbara Pollack’s My Generation, an exhibition that acts as the first in the U.S to focus solely on the new post-Mao generation of dissident Chinese artists. The catalogue includes works by Sun Xun, Lu Yang, Ai Wei Wei’s former assistant, Zhao Zhao and many more. The show is currently being co-presented in two venues simultaneously through a unique collaboration between Tampa Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in St.Petersburg, FL. My Generation will be on view until September 28th, 2014.