When Do Ho Suh first proposed “Fallen Star” to UC San Diego’s Stuart Collection, he “never thought it would be realized.” A cottage built from scratch and permanently joined to an existing campus building – several stories up in the air? Right, mm-hm.
“Fallen Star” is hard to miss. The 18th addition to the renowned collection of site-specific sculptures at UC San Diego is in a central campus location. It sits atop Jacobs Hall, also known as Engineering Building 1 – cantilevered at an angle from a corner of the seventh floor.
The house was built during the fall of 2011. On Nov. 15, it was gently hoisted 100 feet and then attached to Jacobs Hall.
It has since been furnished and accessorized. Its garden is growing: There’s a plum tree, a wisteria vine, tomatoes and more. Lights flicker on at night; a TV, too. And steam, simulating smoke, sometimes rises from the chimney.
To some, imagining Oz, it might look like a tornado-tossed interloper from Kansas. To others, more biologically minded, perhaps like a small blue creature living in symbiosis with its much larger host. Either way, it can be seen from multiple vantage points on campus and off. (Watch a video about the installation after the jump)
In the Mexican city of Monterrey, where the over development of newly built suburbs affect peoples daily lives and customs, there is a large bridge spanning Highway 85. On that bridge Alejandro Cartagena pointed his camera down at the morning traffic. He was seeking and peeking into the backs of open trucks, where construction workers often pile together on their way to earn a living. Like commuters everywhere, they sleep, eat, read and talk on their way to work. Often they look up, and maybe they notice someone taking their picture.
The shape of the tall, narrow pictures mimics a long stretch of highway, and conjures up the journey’s forward motion. Lined up in rows, each pictures a different vehicle, a different load of human cargo, and truck after truck; they suggest the relentless drive to stay alive.
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When you take a look at Jazmin Berahka’s work you’re transported back to a time where craft was key. Her intricate embroidery drawings are flawlessly made, full of pattern, detail and distinct personality. You can clearly see how much thought and care she puts into each of her pieces. Her series range from shy girls with delicately patterned garments, to more abstract works showcasing her embroidery skills. Whichever you prefer, her work is definitely worth a good long look.
In a series of eerie, 3D printed dioramas, Canadian artist Guillaume Lachapelle expands miniature scenes into voids of seemingly infinite space. Entitled Visions, this series depicts ordinary spaces we see every day, such as a suburban neighborhood, parking lot, corridor, and library. However, when compressed, cast in shadows, and stretched into infinity, these rooms and urban landscapes take on a different emotional significance; the familiar becomes uncanny, instilling the imagination with both excitement and fear of the unknown. Where does the neighborhood end? And where does the hallway lead? As the exhibition description for Visions intriguingly states, “Lachapelle’s miniatures act as a threshold between what is seen and not seen” (Source).
During their exhibition, each of the tiny scenes were positioned atop solitary pillars. Seeing them from the outside almost lends the viewer a god-like perspective — we can perceive everything the mirrored spaces contain, including their hidden symbolism. The effect is somewhat alienating, as the illusory vastness intensifies an uncomfortable sense of loneliness; the parking lot, for example, becomes a dead zone of concrete and pale light that stretches on forever. However, on this existential plane, the universe is not entirely uncaring: there are signs of life and comfort, such as the lights from within the houses, and the books containing all the marks of human history. Looking past our dread of infinitude and emptiness, there is a greater, warmer, symbolic core in Lachapelle’s dioramas, and with the mirrors providing infinite space, the meaning we can pour into them is limitless.
It is very bad that I am writing about PES today, going into his website, watching his very entertaining and creative videos.. while I am at work here at B/D. It is all very distracting. I love how he finds use for any random object into something recognizable – yet not immediately obvious. I would have never thought of clown cake decorations to stand in for explosions. I could watch these all day.
Panni Malekzadeh’s paintings of young girls juxtaposed with sex store neon signage deal with human vulnerability, boredom, fragility and the imprisonment of oneself. Her work has always been about things in herself that she felt incredibly uncomfortable and embarrassed by. Suggesting ideas of beauty vs. despair, shame, embarrassment and vulnerability that woman many times experience in their lives, Malekzadeh exploits what’s dangerous and what scares her about herself.
I headed over to Brooklyn to check out what Ryan Schneider had cooking after not seeing his work for a year. He was painting when I got there; mixing a fleshly color on the big glass palette in the center of the room. Canvases lined the walls, some were finished and some were in progress. He paints all the nouns: people, places and things; and does so in a thoughtful way that reflects life. Still lifes which range from bathtubs to bookshelves, and landscapes which seem to suggest an alternate, more romantic reality.
The paintings are populated with figures, and he had interesting things to say about figure painting. In person, the paintings are very obviously physical. They combine juicy paint, carved-in-words, bold colors, and a funky sense of space. This makes for paintings which flip between pattern and illusion. His new paintings were confident, and maybe even more colorful and spatially complex than his previous work. Schneider recently left Priska C Juschka, his gallery of several years. Besides being a painter, Schneider is also a curator and has organized high profile group shows in locations near and far, and he was at it again. He is behind a show which just opened in Austin, at Champion Contemporary, called “Wild Beasts.” He included a group of artists who share a love of color and admiration for Matisse and the French Fauves. Read some of our discussion after the jump.