Martin Feijoo’s drawings are inspired by what he imagines the clouds in the sky to look like. His blog offers an image of his own artwork alone, as well as a comparison between the original photograph of the clouds. It’s fun, if you can manage not to peak, to look at the clouds first and see what you see before looking at Faijoo’s images. His style is illustrative and bold, which helps to see his images quite clearly in the clouds on their own. He might pursue more play between the cloud and his image as he continues with this series, to blur the lines more between reality and his imagination.
Feijoo speaks about his inspiration to start the series on his website:
When I was a child I was told that clouds’ shapes were created by expert balloon twister clowns who live in the sky, so that they can keep entertaining children. On my last trip to Mexico I remembered this and I started to photograph clouds on the road. The result is Shaping Clouds, a series of illustrations where I drew the first thing that came into my mind when I saw these clouds that I imagine someone made for me.
These images are probably not what you think. Derek Paul Boyle‘s latest project is called “Drag Paintings”, and are a result of the artist weaving through traffic, holding a stretched canvas under-foot and allowing the different textures and surfaces of the roads to create the image. What results is a very visceral, tangible account of a temporary action that has been frozen in time. Boyle says about them:
The drags are performance that result in a painting – the physical becomes an imprint of the gestural.
The drag paintings are events as objects – abstracts of the physical grittiness and intensity of Los Angeles’s traffic infrastructure.
These paintings have an ominous feel, a beauty that emerges despite first appearances. They are a violent action made light and somewhat graceful. Boyle’s work always contains a sense of playfulness and humor. He enjoys challenging the expected state of something. Either by juxtaposing the use of an object, or the context in which it is used. The Drag Series is definitely a challenge to the tradition of mark making and action painting. He surprises us by producing something elegant through the act of destruction. Boyle goes on to say:
I am interested in the power of contradiction, objects as events, and incompatible states of the self – what was once bound is made free, the known made unknown.
Artist Seth Alverson paints the body in a realistic fashion, but not in a way that looks aesthetically appealing. Severed hands, bizarre contortions, and skin linked together like a sausage casing are just some of the ways he’s depicted the figure. It stands in stark contrast to the Old Masters traditions of life-like renderings, which are all about idealizing and hiding flaws. Instead they’re in-your-face in a way that it’s hard to look away from.
There’s a range of grotesqueness, from detached body parts (bloody ends and all) to oversized hands, and finally to things that aren’t shameful, but our society dictates they are. This includes cellulite on thick legs or sagging breasts. They seem to mock the airbrushed media and when compared with Alverson’s other more ghastly alternatives, definitely aren’t as bad. (Via Hi Fructose)
Amanda Manitach’s drawings of skinny girls in t-shirts plays with gender roles and feminism in a thought-provoking way. The sparse style of these ink drawings, sometimes painted over with watercolor, offers an intriguing aesthetic.
Fair haired women standing, sitting, or walking their pet unicorns with nonchalance and a hint of lethargy. Their faces wear little more than ennui, but their black t-shirts, adorned with sardonic statements, pack a punch. There is one thing they all have in common: PENIS. Ranging from wanting penis to not wanting penis, having a penis, the problems with penis, and boner jokes, she has it all covered with wry humor. Seattle-based artist Amanda Manitach is well known for these figures, which almost remind you of Henry Darger’s Vivian Girls, on a heavy dose of xanax. Some of the girls have male genitals, which in combination with the t-shirt sayings, seems to imply a sort of hermaphroditic independence, or is it just a wet dream?
Either way, these women sure don’t seem to give a damn about having a man.
Portland based Meredith Dittmar draws on the world around her as inspiration for her delicately formed compositions. Made entirely from polymer clay, she twists, squeezes, slices and weaves different shades together to form her distinctive artworks. Reminiscent of fantasy computer games, scientific drawings and algorithms, and including organic forms of vines, leaves and trees, Dittmar’s work is a beautiful combination of science and art; man and nature; patterns and rhythms.
She cites her influences as:
“the mushrooms found in our forest, Eames power of 10, and the visualizations of complex math, science, and especially theoretical physics.”
The idea of a “Cosmic Zoom” that Dittmar displays in her work is very evident. She simultaneously depicts the Universe at a large scale, including cities, forests and planets; while also focusing in on it at a minute scale – including quarks, atoms and molecule structures.
She often includes some sort of figures in her work to add a human scale. These can be anything from human hands holding a form, or body parts being split open by triangles. Known also for designing different characters in polymer, Dittmar sculpts these into her landscapes. Alien-like creatures with big eyes bring a strange sense of humanity to her work. They make you feel like you are viewing your own world, and something quite different. Dittmar and her creations definitely bring a new sense of wonder to the simple things around us. She points out, that maybe things aren’t that simple, after all.
Dita Pepe, a Czech photographer, has made an amazing photographic series centered around imaginary lives with different men. The project started off when Pepe posed with various men she knew, conjuring a real image to the “What if?” that we sometimes ask ourselves. As her work developed, she began approaching strangers and incorporating them into her work. Sometimes she even had her daughter in the portraits. This series, titled “Self Portraits With Men,” features a hundred of these shots, which are candid family portraits of families that never existed.
The most impressive aspect is how well she fits into each scenario. She looks the part: of wife and sometimes mother, visually unfettered by the vast array of socio economic scenarios, she casually goes from childless to mother of four, to upper class, to being a hippie, all with such a light step you would hardly think it’s the same person in each portrait.
“Though obviously comparable to the work of Cindy Sherman, Pepe’s chameleon talents focus more on how relationships can utterly transform an individual than embodying specific female identities. Questions of origin, influence, and choice all come into play, the ‘what-if’ manifesting in a sometimes comical, sometimes surreal interpretation of different paths we all could have taken.”
Svetlana Karel is a Ukranian artist who molds plasticine into old masterpieces. She works as an economist at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy in Kiev, but finds her work uninspiring. Having gone through a divorce that sent her into intense depression, she used her creations to keep herself focused on something outside of her problems. Plasticine being an unconventional medium associated with child’s play, Karel hasn’t been received too enthusiastically in her local art community. She lies in the realm of outsider artist. At one point she tried to set up an exhibition, but was unable to get it off the ground. Although her artwork isn’t too popular, she is constantly creating.
Karel speaks about how she began creating her plasticine art:
“Once, about 9 years ago, while I was playing with my kids (I have 2 daughters) I found that plasticine really helped me to forget about my problems. I touched it, started to create something and, during this process, felt myself becoming calm. So then I started to make more and more figures from plasticine and place them in to a single picture. The result was unexpectedly successful, so I continued to create pictures on childish theme for my daughters.”
The style of her creations is beautiful and a bit naïve. The figures can seem extremely realistic, or a bit caricature-like. It creates a new perspective on artworks that you’ve already seen again and again. They becomes less epic, more approachable, and certainly unintimidating. Which of her works can you recognize? (Quote and artist via Lost at E Minor)
Modeled after the iconic Terracotta Warriors, artist Prune Nourry’s series Terracotta Daughters is an installation featuring eight life-size sculptures modeled after eight Chinese orphan girls. It’s meant to reflect upon gender preference in China through the familiar symbolism of the soldiers, and Nourry created an army of 116 figures using the same clay that was dug up over 2,000 years ago for the original warriors. In this project, the artist also learned the local copyists’ technique based off the ancient practice.
Together, India and China represent ⅓ of the world population and both have a similar gender imbalance. This is because of the preference that parents give to having a son; the number of single men has been increasing since the 1980’s as well as the misuse of ultrasounds to choose the sex of the child. This has detrimental consequences for the women in Asia including kidnappings of children and women, forced marriages, prostitution, and more.
Nourry met the 8 orphan Chinese girls that inspired the artworks through the non-profit organization The Children of Madaifu. She photographed the girls during her visit to their villages in August 2012 and used the portraits as models for the sculptures. Nourry series that go beyond the sculptures and does good, too:
With the idea of continuity in mind, Prune works hand-in-hand with The Children of Madaifu to support the education of the 8 little girls for a minimum of 3 years thanks to the sale of the 8 original sculptures. In addition, each one of the little girls will be invited to the exhibition in Beijing in order to meet their terracotta double. The girls will also receive a 30 cm artist proof of Prune’s Mini Terracotta Daughter.
Thus, each collector who acquires one of the 8 unique original terracotta sculptures supports the project, as well as 3 years of the education of the little girl depicted in the Artwork.
Terracotta Daughters has travelled the world, and now they are in New York City. From September 11 to October 4, you can find them at China Institute.