The multitalented, Berlin-based artist James Reka uses striking colors and organic shapes to create his unique style of painting. Known as “REKA” as a street artist, his large-scale murals steal the spotlight in any setting, whether it be the railway lines of Melbourne, where he is originally, from, or the alleyways of Berlin. Heavily influenced by pop-culture, cartoons, and illustration, his work possesses a pulsating rhythm that brings the streets alive. His abstracted figures take on new shape and form in psychedelic waves that weave back and forth. With a palette reminiscent of the 70’s, Reka’s curved lines swirl around his compositions, creating a sense of depth that is both flattened and rounded, forming incredibly unique aesthetics.
Reka uses influence from his logo design background, integrating a pop-surrealist style into his murals and paintings. The sharp style of shapes and design used in his work creates a harsh contrast to the gritty walls and abandon buildings where his artwork often lives. His smaller paintings can be found in a more traditional environment, like on gallery walls, or in an even more unconventional place, on discarded, found objects. Reka’s newest body of work can be found at Avant Garden Gallery, located in Milan, Italy. The solo exhibition of the artist’s work, titled Olympus, exhibits paintings of Reka’s that pulls inspiration from ancient Greece. While still using his signature style, Reka renders scenes of bathhouses and Greek columns. This exhibition is on view now until July 10th.
Sometimes reflection is more powerful than projection. In Shirin Abedinirad’s mirror installations reflection means seeing the sky change into something else or enhancing an ancient setting by expanding scale and perspective. By showing these in a different light an alternate reality is born. In “Evocation” Shirin fills the barren desert with round mirror discs reflecting the sky which become reflected pools of imaginary water. The precious commodity is shown with laser like precision in its alien environment. As the light and environment change at different times so does the liquid mirage depending on how the sand and wind blow over the mirrors.
In “Heaven on Earth” ancient architecture provides impetus to another reflection. It prompts the viewer to recognize shape and its relation to space. The reflective material is placed on a staircase which makes something grander than what it already is. It turns an already spiritual place into more using the mirror’s ability to expand and see upward as a symbol for the great unknown.
Shirin can be considered a conceptual artist since most if not all of her work is steeped in ideas that transport and transform. She’s also a great illusionist by how she uses the real to create something ethereal and imaginary. (via bored panda)
Israeli-Dutch artist Itamar Gilboa has taken every morsel of food he consumed over a one year period and made an art piece out of it. Tagged “The Food Chain Project” Gilboa documented his intake over 365 days. Most of what he consumed consisted of normal diet items such as apples, burgers, cheese, coffee and soda. In the end he consumed 8,000 products.
After three years, he turned the lengthy documentation into an art piece. Each food item was replicated in white plaster. These became inventory in Gilboa’s traveling supermarket and eventually materialized into exhibits and commentary about hunger around the world. The objects look generic and could stand for any product which could end hunger for one person for a day in a starving country. Using white gives the items an anonymous nature but also prompts you to think about who can be the next to help by buying and filling in the blank so to speak.
Gilboa’s impetus for the project was to bring awareness to hunger and show the amount of food westerners consume and waste. He called it the food chain because of the cycle which occurred by his consumption, art making, selling then donating the money to charity.
The creative geniuses at Architectural Elements (AE) have created a torturous-looking metal cage that will give its “prisoners” a taste of near-death. Known as a Faraday cage, the device is used in conjunction with Tesla coils to channel 4 million volts of electricity. Locked in the trap, participants are forced to stand still while the glowing current strikes the barrier inches away from their face. The stamped steel mesh allows the electricity to flow harmlessly around the cage. Even though the device is engineered to be safe, such a close encounter with a lethal force is sure to spike the adrenaline.
Several celebrity magicians — such as David Blaine, Chris Angel, and Penn & Teller — have used Faraday cages in their suspense-filled performances. AE, however, has put their own creative spin on the apparatus, invoking the gothic, “mad scientist” aesthetic of Frankenstein: complete with gears, leather, and aged-looking metal, the cage looks cold and sinister. Below is a further description of the imagination that went into this creepy creation:
“Solid head rivets, accurate involute gear tooth geometry, 3D printed bronze logo and specifically designed brass details, manually distressed reclaimed fir, sculpted hexagonal mesh, expert patination, hand crafted leather work and a thousand other details went into the creation of this masterpiece. These details taken individually are insignificant but as a package turn heads and demand distinction in any setting.
‘It was great to have a project where our staff was able to flex their design and fabrication muscles and make it exactly the way we wanted it,’ said AE owner Joe Clark.” (Source)
The video above shows the construction of the cage, concluding with a brief visual of the electric bolt. It is scheduled for installation at the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention located in Bellingham, Washington, so be sure to check it out. Read more about AE’s Faraday cage here.
Zachari Logan is a Saskatoon-based artist who creates stunningly detailed drawings, installations, and ceramic works that explore representations of masculinity and queer identities. Proliferating throughout his works are thick amalgams of nature; beards and hair sprout into lush habitats for various animals (see the “Wild-Man” series); ceramic petals cluster together like piles of delicate, bleached bones (“Fountain 1″); and elsewhere, a mythological body composed entirely of flora and fauna melds with the surrounding forest (“Leshy 2″). Interestingly, the plants depicted are of diverse origins, sourced from images collected by Logan in North America and Europe. These beautifully-woven hybrid landscapes represent the liminal spaces inhabited by queer identities — that is, those vital spaces between “here” and “there” that unsettle the restrictive binaries of heteronormative gender and sexuality.
Many of these works are interpretative self-portraits of Logan, created in the exploration of his own body, memories, and sense of place. However, in his more recent works, Logan has portrayed the body more as a “catalyst,” thereby allowing him to “re-wild his body as a queer embodiment of nature” (Source). One of his most spectacular and ongoing works, the Eunuch Tapestry Series, exemplifies this shift from self-portraiture to a more objective exploration of identity, both corporeal and incorporeal. Based on the fourteenth-century FlemishUnicorn Tapestries, the Eunuch Tapestries feature camouflaged bodies (self-representations of Logan) crouching and searching amidst walls of dense, dark foliage. The newest work, “Tapestry 5″ (shown above), features a nude, shadowy figure moving quietly through the hybridized forest. Whereas the Unicorn Tapestries represent a search for a mythical creature, Logan’s works metaphorically explore the liminal terrain of queerness, discovering new bodily narratives infused with history, myth, and presence.
Always investigating and expanding the boundaries between the physical and metaphysical, Logan’s ceramic works draw these two realms together. “Fountain 1,” for example, is a time-based installation whose bone-like flowers accumulate every time it is shown, proliferating like a living thing despite its sterile, ceramic composition. The Root Series also represents a philosophical blending of physical body and metaphysical time, place, and memory; detached body parts surrealistically sprout flourishing weeds. In these works, the body is both the adornment and the catalyst, the tangible and intangible vessel through which we derive personal meaning and identity.
Playing with human size dolls and dressing them up with colorful garments and crazy accessories to contemplate today’s identity is the medium Yinka Shonibare has chosen to express his vision. The mix of Victorian style dresses, tutus and adire; a textile made by Nigerian women creates an intriguing and marvellous symphony, pleasant to the eyes but disturbing for consciousness. ‘You will undergo environmental doom” the graceful and sarcastic Greek gods disguised as ballerinas seem to be announcing. ‘What is my identity?’ seem to be screaming the headless characters.
The dolls represent the rebellion that humans deserve for soiling the planet. It is a charming, fantastical staging operated by Yinka Shonibare to condemn agressive and violent acts with a clear message: he hopes to provoke the “psychic unity of mankind’.
Caught in an unceasing dichotomy: colony and metropolis, white and black, poor and rich, progress and destruction of the earth, traditional and contemporary society are subjects approached by the artist via atypical sculptures.
The subject touches directly Yinka Shonibare who considers himself as a “post-colonial” hybrid. He was born in Nigeria and raised in England, that explains his concern towards colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation. He flirts with intense subjects such as money, empire, conflict and environement. He questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions and he asks what constitutes our collective contemporary identity today while condemning the excess of destruction due to the humans excess violence against the Earth.
Yinka Shonibare will be showing his work at the following locations: Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York until August 2015 Daegu Art Museum in South Korea until October 2015
Contemporary African art Museo Afro in Brazil until September 2015
A tent made out of elephant skin as a large scale art installation. This does sounds like a shocking and provocative piece. Douglas White rips off our hearts and makes us angry before we even realize that he brilliantly fooled us. We are actually looking at an interpretation of what he encountered himself: an elephant’s deflated skin, draped and folded next to its bones like a collapsed tent. “Here was a body become landscape, a body both present and absent in which the distinction between the inner and outer had evaporated in the heat and decay. It was a body you could walk through…” said the artist. “Of all those objects that I ever encountered, this is the one I wanted most to possess…” Douglas White creates shapes, in between figuration and abstraction. Through his sculptures he is looking to get us sensitive on current problems like the environment, mass consumption and industrial products waste.
Ten years after his trip to East Africa and after numerous attempts in his London studio, the artist discovered a new way to work with clay. He conceived a thick and cracked texture close to a pachyderm’s skin. From there he developed a work of art around wood and clay. The result is bluffing: over 2500 lbs of wet clay suspended by a strange system of ropes, pulleys and wooden poles. By collecting thrown away or lost objects, Douglas White prefers to work with used materials to create spectacular and strange sculptures. Carbonized tires, containers, decomposed trees on a metal structure; through his art, Douglas White gives a second life to these abandoned materials.
If we makes analogies and dig into our primal instinct we can clearly see the reference to the structure of a circus big top. And if we dive even more deeper we can allow ourselves to link the song from Disney’s Dumbo soundtrack, “Song of the Roustabouts” to the name of the piece and we would be right to do so.
The pollution crisis in China is reaching an all time high. With over 500,000 people dying each year from diseases related to the air quality, it’s a time for action. A company in China called Xiao Zhu has decided to educate the public on just how serious the matter is. They have literally shone a light on the culprits – by projecting images of crying children’s faces onto the guilty factories’ billowing towers of smoke and pollution. As most of the victims of air pollution are children, this artistic protest has a hard hitting message. Stop now, or the future generations will continue to suffer.
The faces themselves are quite hard to stomach. Twisted and contorted faces fade in and out of the smoke clouds. Young boys are covering their mouths with masks trying to breathe without pain. It is an emotionally charged subject, and the company normally responsible for selling air filters have tapped into the drama of the situation. Their creative approach to such a huge environmental problem is working – people are noticing and spreading the word.
Xiao Zhu write this statement to accompany their video on Youtube:
We decided to put a spotlight on air pollution’s biggest culprits—the factories—by using the actual pollution from the factories as a medium…. Clean the air, let the future breathe again. (Source)
Not only is this a message for the whole nation, and world, but most specifically for the industry that is causing the damage. And I’m sure they won’t be able to avoid looking up at their own factories and see the mess they are creating. (Via The Creator’s Project)