Kehinde Wiley‘s impressive painting career is being celebrated at the Brooklyn Museum in a grand exhibition that is open right now. For fourteen years, he has been painting bold, decorative oil paintings that are reconfiguring the way African American culture is portrayed in art. He takes the techniques from the old European portraiture masters and turns them into modern and fresh images, relevant to a post-colonial culture. Old stuffy aristocrats and patrons wearing flouncy blouses and ridiculous wigs from centuries gone by, are replaced by black subjects with a certain street style to them.
Wiley asks different people – most of whom are regular passer-bys on the streets in Harlem, to sit for his portraits. They are given different art history books full of ornate backgrounds to choose from to complement their portrait. Wiley then paints them reenacting certain poses, imitating the European subjects and places the chosen embellishments behind and over their image. His style is a fusion of many different elements – French Rococo and the High Renaissance, Islamic architecture, West African textile design and urban hip hop, and is a result of his own mixed heritage.
Wiley later went on to create a series called The World Stage, where he traveled to Mumbai, Senegal, Dakar and Rio de Janeiro to portray different cultures and traditions in his work. He explains more:
One of the reasons I chose Brazil, Nigeria, India and China is that these are all the points of anxiety and curiosity and production that are going on in the world that are changing the way we see empire. As I’ve been traveling, I started to notice that the way many people in other parts of the world interact with American culture is through black American expression. It’s an interesting phenomenon. (Source)
“First tree” represents the awareness of our existence, one that sits upon us like the world on our shoulders.
The Blue Tree questions who and what we are.
The Tree of Man, we are all connected.
The erotic art of Sydney Australia based Garth Knight entails a series of six suspended ‘trees’ ( in order: first, blue,heart, man, lost, and red) all which are made out of rocks and ropes. Each individual “tree” is created over one or two naked bodies, often posing in very sensual positions. If the ‘trees’ are observed in order, they create a linear narrative- one that tells, through stunning and innovative imagery, the story of human existence. The artists accompanies his images with text; the words further narrate the story he is trying to tell.
Knights multi-disciplinary practice covers various areas including installation, sculpture, and photo media. As you can acknowledge from the photos shown here, his works often (almost always) include the use of rope bondage, amongst other erotic elements that mesh with ideas of strength, pleasure, and sexuality. You can check out more of his works on here.(via Beautiful.Bizzare Magazine)
Photographer Mariell Amélie‘s self-portraits are a bit like playing with an imaginary friend on the borderlands of fantasy and reality. They transport her to a dreamy limbo state, each looking like a snapshot from some noir-ish modern fairy tale. Some are haunting, others playful, but all have a sheen of melancholy, an icy veneer. This sensibility is perhaps explained partially by Amélie’s biography, which places her childhood on “a small island above the arctic circle.” A wind-blown isolation permeates her photography, no matter if the backdrop is breath-taking iceberg mountains or bright dollhouse interiors.
Her self-portraits are enigmatic. They are, to borrow a phrase from science, a bit of “spooky action at a distance” — in one, she contemplates her skates on a puddle-sized ice rink; in another, she pays no heed to the warnings of Narcissus, leaning down to kiss the marsh waters. The latter photograph is called “Part Time Lover.” All of Amélie’s photographs have similarly suggestive names: “She Had Just Left for Heaven, They Said,” is the name of one; “Alone and Unaware” is the name of another. As she tumbles from the driver’s seat of a car, vacant-eyed, the photograph’s name comments, “Someone Will Be Waiting at the Station.” These names, paired with the in media res nature of her photographs, give the unshakable feeling that there’s more to the story than meets the eye. If only it were possible to look beyond the veil.
Lukasz Wierzbowski is a freelance photographer from Wroclaw, Poland. His photographs exude youthful energy and a sense of humor. With a keen eye for composition and a love for nature his work often features a figure playfully interacting with an environment. The result is a body of work that serves as pictorial allegories involving our relationship with the world around us.
Who knew skull chairs were a thing? Here is a small collection of our favorite chairs that resemble the most iconic part of the human anatomy. Pictured above is the Skull Chair from the Vanitas collection by Vladi Rapaport.
I’ve been dealing with food poisoning all morning but I mustered enough energy to post this lil trippy video. Not much info on this other than “Experiments in ovine geometry” but it’s pretty funny and well worth a look. Watch the full video after the jump!
Using both printmaking and embroidery in his work, artist Max Colby explores themes of death and transformation in his series Role Play. He first prints on handmade paper, creating a collograph. This type of printmaking applies materials to a rigid board. Things with a lot of texture like sandpaper, leaves, cardboard are inked and printed. Colby has controlled the shape of the print, manipulating it in a very deliberate way. Once printing is done, he then adorns it with hand-sewn embroidery.
In a short statement about his work, Colby refers to his the imagery in his work as “figures,” which I take to mean as beings. Not necessarily human, but some other living force. Their “body” is made out from printing, while the embroidery acts as embellishment for the figure. Colby writes that Role Play features “sculptural ‘skins’ which showcase fragility and temporality in conjunction with highly embellished and extravagant applications using notions of death and transformation as a catalyst.” I imagine that these could be armor or headdresses, with pieces that have spikes sewn-in or tactile objects like beads and buttons.
There is a stark difference between the delicate collograph printing and the visually-heavy embroidery. At times, it engulfs the figures, which I think is the point. Garments last a lot longer than we do. Items are passed down from generation to generation, and evidence of what a jacket looked like will be surpass our lifetime.
Roxanne Clifford from Veronica Falls performs at the Troubadour on March 29, 2013. Photo by Saunter Lee
“I’m Broken Hearted, Dearly Departed”, sang Roxanne Clifford as Veronica Falls played their very first single, ‘Found Love in a Graveyard‘ to a very happy crowd at the Troubadour in West Hollywood this past Friday night. Their new album, Waiting for Something to Happen released this past February on Slumberland Records is definitely a step in the right direction. A lot more polished and confident then their first release, the band had plenty to celebrate on this second to last show of their US tour.
“We’re not used to the heat, it’s pretty crazy”, said drummer Patrick Doyle as they launched into ‘Bad Feeling‘, another song from their self-titled debut. Funny enough, I don’t think it topped more than 70 degrees on the day of the show, but I guess living in the UK, every day in LA seems like a hot one. The band played a mix of new and old songs that kept everyone dancing and head-bopping through their 50+ minute short set. Standouts from there new record were the title track, ‘Waiting for Something to Happen’ as well as their new single, ‘Teenage’. Closing the show with their cover of Roky Erickson’s ‘Starry Eyes’, the band immediately left the stage and almost instantly came back out to chat and take photos with the crowd.
Check out their new video for ‘Teenage’ shot entirely on 8mm film and be sure to catch them when they tour Europe this month and next.