Fashion photographery duo Sofia Sanchez & Mauro Mongiello have many projects for clients both big and small but I’m most interested in these still life and portraits from their personal work that have a dark and mysterious twist to them.
Canadian brothers and collaborators Carlos and Jason Sanchez‘s dramatic photographs have moved cinematic photography into a new, much darker realm. Staging each piece takes months of production, from constructing sets to casting characters; the result however, is worth the painstaking attention to detail with bold images that explore the underside of society and human desire. Want to see more work from the Sanchez brothers? Why not check out their exclusive article in Beautiful/Decay Issue: N!
I considered Doug Aitken to be a big thinker when I read about his Song 1, a huge sound and video installation enveloping the Hirshorn Museum, or his Mirror, a video project that consists of an L.E.D screen that’s wrapped around the facade of the Seattle Art Museum.
With his latest project, Station to Station: A Nomadic Happening, Aitken has taken “installation” to a whole other level. For three weeks this September a train decked out with L.E.D lights will travel from New York City to San Francisco making 10 stops along the way (next stop St. Paul, Minneapolis on Sept 12). Aitken designed the train as a kind of kinetic sculpture, or studio. At each stop artists, musicians, writers, filmmakers and other creatives will participate in site-specific happenings.
Aitken’s goal with the project is to address some big questions, such as “Who are we? Where are we going? And, at this moment, how can we express ourselves?” In an effort to create this “modern cultural manifesto,” Aitkin invited individuals such as Olaf Breuning, Urs Fischer, Christian Jankowski, Lawrence Weiner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Dan Deacon and Dave Hickey (and many others) to participate. Everyone involved was asked to reconsider the way they create. Ed Ruscha, for instance, thought up a cactus omelet that will be made and served to participants in Winslow, Arizona.
The project, made possible by Levi’s, will also raise funds for various cultural institutions across the country through ticket sales (yes you can get tickets if they are still available for the happening in a city near you) and donations from partners, institutions and the public.
The concept of Station to Station confronts and challenges the system whereby art is, all to often in today’s society, created solely for museums and galleries. Station to Station embraces the key components of a 1960s happening, especially spontaneity and audience engagement, but the enormity of scale raises the stakes. I admire Aitkin’s ambition particularly because, in the spirit of a true happening, Station to Station could go off without a hitch, or could go completely awry. Whose to say though which would be worse?
Bozena Rydlewska (aka Bozka) is a Polish artist who creates enchanting nature illustrations blooming with life. Her works resemble dream-like visions of a fairytale forest: ornate plants burst and divide across the paper, creating patterns and symmetry; animals from different habitats (frogs, birds, and tropical fish) intermingle harmoniously. Bozka has turned some of her illustrations into mesmerizing 3D pop-ups, intricately layered and rich with illustrated texture. From bright, buzzing jungles to mysterious gardens at dusk, the vibrant color schemes give each ecosystem a unique energy.
For many of us, Bozka’s works may be attached to a sense of nostalgia; they remind us of those children’s books that engrossed our imaginations by springing to life as we turned the pages. Bozka has taken this art a bit further, of course, in the divine complexity of each piece. Some of her pop-ups resemble theater sets, like elaborate stagings celebrating the harmony and geometry of nature; we expect at any moment for the birds and butterflies to explode into a synchronous movement. Check out Bokza’s website and Facebook page for more imaginative creations. (Via Hi-Fructose)
Chicago based artist Oak Thitayarak is a graphic designer, illustrator, and photographer; a “jack of all trades” . He recently created a gritty series of street portraits documenting the homeless.
Fabienne Verdier paints with unconventionally large tools. She creates her own brushes, made from substances like sheep hair, duck down, or horse hair, sometimes reaching 6 feet long and over 150 pounds. The brushes are suspended with rope, and then handled physically, or with the help of a pair of bicycle handlebars. Trained under a Chinese painting tradition, Verdier frequently uses black to create her paintings, but will often transgress this tradition by using bright, earthy colors. Preparing ascetically before each piece and practicing the art of spontaneous expression form the basis of her work.
Finders Keepers, a group exhibition curated by An Hoang including Joseph Hart, Todd Knopke, Blaze Lamper, Andy Ness, and Justin Valdes featuring drawings, collages, and photographic prints. This show brings together artists who engage in a creative process which allows for discovery through the act of making. What is found by the artists remains to be discovered by the viewer. Whether it is an edge, a gesture or the way the figure is revealed, all the works provide for the experience of uncovering the hidden.
Joseph Hart’s works on paper examine compositional tension through an elegant balance of spontaneous and deliberate marks, heavy and delicate forms, and subtle gestures confined by thick layers of graphite. The detailed, constructed fabric pieces and photographic prints by
Todd Knopke, incorporate the textures, patterns and seams inherent in the material to form dreamlike compositions which transcend the original story of the clothing. Blaze Lamper’s enigmatic graphite drawings feature mysterious figures whose faces remain veiled while in plain sight. The watercolors and pencil drawings by Andy Ness explore personal themes of searching and wandering using recurring imagery of ships, airplanes, teeth, and the reconstructed body to form newly defined narratives. Incorporating airbrush, acrylic and pencil, the still-life drawings by Justin Valdes investigate the relationship between object and frame.