Paul Kooiker’s Awkward And Erotic Nudes In The Garden

Paul Kooiker - Photography

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Dutch photographer Paul Kooiker‘s latest exhibition, “Sunday,” takes erotic portraiture out for a new spin. His subject, an anonymous pale woman, stretches and contorts herself in the nude against a lush background, at once reminiscent of classical cherubs as well as modern pin-ups. The result is suggestive and sexually charged, yet also awkward and voyeuristic. Without a glimpse of her face or expression, viewers are left wondering what emotional state she’s in. Is this a peepshow for one? Or is she showing off for a paramour?

Kooiker describes the series of erotic nudes as “robustly built women with flesh so palpably rendered that their bodies attain an artless poetic grandeur.” Duality is ever-present in the series. The words “flesh” and “grandeur”; the contrast of “artless” and “poetic”; and the fact that the series seems to be many women yet one woman at once. The bright colors and sumptuous shades of burnt autumn reds and oranges in the background only serves to highlight the dreaminess of the photos, as though the woman is being viewed at a distance, various emotions roused but suppressed at once.

“Sunday” can be viewed at the Steven Kasher Gallery in New York City until October 25th. For more details, visit the website. (via Feature Shoot)

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Cuneyt Akeroglu’s Red Room: Nudity, Sex, And Love Through The Fashion Lens

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Cuneyt Akeroglu’s Red Room series is a polished exploration of love and sex through the lens of fashion. Akeroglu enlisted top models like Lara Stone, Anja Rubik, Natasha Polly, and many more to enact scenes meant to convey the many facets of love through nude portraiture. The photographs are each stunning in their own right. Nude women (except for one male model) with ideal figures set in front of a striking red backdrops with sometimes extremely suggestive props, like Natasha Polly’s red rose spilling white liquid – read semen – down her leg, or Lily McMenamy entangled in a snake.

I’m particularly drawn to the photo of Anja Rubik where she squats on top of a mirror looking down at herself with curiosity/rapture, and holds her breast while covering the portion of the mirror that would (presumably) reflect her vagina. Akeroglu captures a moment of discovery for Rubik’s character in the photo, as well as demonstrates the complexities of being able to reach out and touch someone or oneself, and the confusion and excitement that comes from the attempt.

The only problem I have with the series is Akeroglu’s approach to the male portrait. I acknowledge right off the bat that the precedent for the subjects of nude portraiture in both fashion and art history is predominantly female, and so it’s entirely expected that his subjects would be a majority of women. What I find strange is that every woman is on full display with her entire body in the frame, where the male model, Arthur Grosse, is taken only from the shoulders up, not even baring a nipple. It’s barely a nude portrait, and only addresses the themes of sex and love using tiny beads of sweat that could indicate physical activity of a sexual nature. Although I enjoy the subtle tones of the photo in contrast to the overt sexuality of some of the female portraits, I question the decision to include a male portrait where the subject is treated with such hesitation.

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Danny Ghitis Delves Deep Into The BDSM World With His Camera

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Photographer Danny Ghitis started to take these photos of the BDSM and fetish subculture in New York City with a particular goal in mind. He wanted to know more about his own sexual identity, preferences, gender, and social norms by contrasting them with those of his subjects. He decided to seek out and connect with people on a social network called Fetlife. Described as being “similar to Facebook and MySpace but run by kinksters like you and me”, Ghitis found himself meeting people through this site he normally wouldn’t get the chance to encounter.

He became familiar with the world of transgenders, dominatrixes, submissives, and kinksters, and proceeded not to exoticize or eroticize them, but rather to familiarize his viewers with them. Ghitis says:

“Something I accomplished through meeting these people and getting invited to their homes was seeing them as real people living in New York and not as stereotyped 2-D caricatures that I think are often portrayed. I wanted to contribute to a positive dialogue about the complexities of sexual and gender identity. I felt somewhat a sense of a responsibility as a journalist to do that, though it was sort of secondary to the primary goal of wanting to learn about this for myself.”

He wanted to accurately document the sexual preferences of these usually very alienated people and to normalize them. He was very inspired by these everyday people accepting themselves fully and truly for who they are and what they want, and aims to live his own life in a similiar, honest and unhindered way. Ghitis tends to hunt out individuals with complex and fascinating histories and documents them for the benefit of us all. “He believes that challenging social norms with self-aware imagery can spark the curiosity needed for open dialogue in the average person.”

(Via Slate)

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Furry Cats And Naked Girls Star In Martin Eder’s Kitschy Erotic Paintings

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Martin Eder combines two common subjects in his oil paintings and comes up with something surprisingly seductive, erotic, even perverse. Painting naked girls mostly in domestic scenes, accompanied by over sized fluffy cats, his work has a surreal kitschy feel, like some sort of illustrative pornographic fairy tale book. Eder places these women in a magical dreamlike setting, with the cats either looking on disdainfully, or not interested at all in the situation happening around them.

Quite often the girls are in some sort of intimate activity – perhaps in a sorority room during down time. Surrounded by these adorable cats it seems as if the ladies have a special bond with their pets, there’s something quite secretive happening. They seem to mimic each other, or at least share an understanding of one another.

Eder manages to paint in a cute and sexually suggestive way at the same time, and this has confused some people, even created a bit of controversy. He is surprised about some reactions people have to his art:

“I don’t know what’s provocative about my work. I’m painting things that are absolutely ordinary, like a naked human or a house pet. Where’s the problem? What’s provocative about these things? If I were painting a bunch of hanged people, people wouldn’t be interested. But a pet, yes a pet, is apparently provocative.”

Also working with the same subject in watercolors, Eder has quite the impressive fascination with girls, cats, girls and cats, and cats and girls.

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Sally Hewett Fills Embroidery Hoops with Butts, Breasts, and More (NSFW)

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Sally Hewett is a UK-based embroider who gives new meaning to a sculptural approach to the craft. Instead of stitching subject matter like flowers, puppies, and generally happy scenes, she fills embroidery hoops with butts, breasts, and genatalia. The circular compositions rise from the surface and Hewett uses well-placed stitches to give form to these bulbous shapes. In addition, she’ll use dangling threads to simulate public hair, both trimmed and natural.

In her artist statement, Hewett states that she’s interested in ideas of beauty and the things that people do because of it. She writes:

Men and women almost ritualistically shave and remove hair from their bodies – beards, underarm hair, pubic hair, leg hair etc, whereas other hair – hair on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes – are valued and encouraged to flourish. But there is other hair which not everyone has. Sometimes this special hair seems to be reason to feel ashamed. A large number of women and men submit their bodies to extraordinary procedures in the name of convention or beauty – liposuction, implants, scarification, surgery, laser treatment, electrolysis etc.

Embroidery is often see as an innocuous craft, and part of the reason that Hewett works this way is to see how the medium affects how the content is seen. Is it more shocking, amusing, or beautiful simply because it’s portrayed with a needle and thread?

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Holly Stewart, Kansas City Grandmother, Loves Crafting Penises

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Kansas City grandmother Holly Stewart is arousing lots of love and laughs over her current art show at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, featuring intricately crafted penises. Some beaded, some quilted, they range in size and shape, as do those which they are modeled after. Using Kickstarter to fund this show, which is titled “Local Grandmother Quilts Giant Penises,” she has had no trouble drawing in a crowd. Her impetus to create these sorts of pieces came from a past job working in a sex toy factory, where Stewart de-molded dildos. As a painter, she was exploring penis themes when one day she randomly had an impulse to put pins into some foam core in a certain assortment, which her professor told her “looked like a dildo.” And thus craft penis-ing was born.

“Local Grandmother Quilts Giant Penises,” is up now until September 19th at the UMKC Gallery of Art. One reporter spoke very highly of the show, saying:

“Now that the exhibition is up and running, we can officially report that the massive, quilted man parts are more wondrous than we ever imagined. The works are as feminist as they are hilarious, as affirmative as they are transgressive. Sparkly, colorful, big and small, hard and soft, the penises on display truly capture the manifold possibilities of a phallic shape when separated from the shackling confines of human flesh.” (Source)

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“It’s Not Milk” – Ivan Alifan Entices Us With Sexually Charged Portraiture

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Ivan Alifan - Oil on Canvas

Looking at Ivan Alifan‘s sexually charged paintings is like watching a private orgasmic moment that we haven’t asked permission to see. His series “It’s not Milk” is a very intimate look at desire, allure, the gaze, and the underlying sexual subtexts of images. His models are captured in the middle of a blissful state and are all covered in what looks like semen, or some sort of bodily fluid. Alifan deliberately paints his subjects with their eyes closed, lips slightly ajar, heads tilted away from the viewer’s gaze, turning them into a submissive object of desire. Alifan says of his intent:

“To have a painting that can exist as an alluring object and shift into an eroticized figure disarms and naturalizes the modern gaze; decriminalizing sex in art. Whether an individual sexualizes the figure, or becomes embarrassed and nervous by the mere suggestion, this is all a process which occurs independently from the painting.”

He says he is less interested in accurately portraying physical characteristics, but rather creating a certain physiological effect from these visceral paintings. He wishes to capture an ambiguous figure where the focus is on how the viewer reacts to viewing them.

Other than his intimate portrait series, he also dowses full bodies in this goo and places them within a surreal setting. Naked male bodies are carrying out sexually suggestive actions, poised in either a pre, or post-coital state. Surrounded by quite childlike, or non-threatening objects (miniature tress, toy cows and tiny houses) these figures try to entice the viewer into entering their world. Alifan is definitely a master of temptation and seduction, and all we have to decide is how we feel about it.

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Davis Ayer’s Dreamy And Nostalgic Photographs Of Women In Desolate Lands

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Davis Ayer is an LA based photographer who shoots on a Mamiya RZ, has mastered the art of the double exposure, and has an unbending attraction toward what is beautiful. A true nostalgist, Ayer’s work features a dreamy host of colors and moods. His photos have a hauntingly droney saturation about them. His work comes forth through the precision of technicality but ultimately breaks most every rule there is with stunning alacrity. Light leaks, double exposures, solar flare, and other manipulations make the colors in his film bleed so majestically and form the spine of his work. Sometimes I see Mapplethorpe, sometimes I see old film stills, sometimes I see another dimension, sometimes I see Gregory Crewdson. He often photographs women in desolate places and there lingers a level of timelessness that none of the other kids working with distressed film seem to get. The timelessness is essential because it allows the viewer to insert their own subconscious desires into the narrative. The timelessness keeps it relevant. If it’s not dated then it can’t go out of style. He knows the angle to work, and because of that his photographs will always be interesting and beautiful to look at, even after Urban Outfitters stops selling Holga’s and the trend has surpassed. In many ways, that is the mark of a work of art: you can see it hundreds of times and still find something beautiful and new within it each time you look. When I see his work, I hear music, and I see it all play out. Imagine the wind whipping through your hair as My Bloody Valentine blasts through the speakers of the 1969 Chevy Camaro, matte black, that you’re driving like a bat out of hell, and as you meander through the New Mexican landscape, nightfall casts across the desert a meandering series of pinks, purples and blues. This is his world you’ve driven into, come ready to dress in the richness of dreams.

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