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Paul Kaptein Tricks The Eye With His Exquisite Handcrafted Wooden Sculptures

Kaptein, Sculpture
      Kaptein, Sculpture

Kaptein, Sculpture

Kaptein, Sculpture

Australian sculptor Paul Kaptein handcrafts laminated wood into exquisitely seamless sculptures. Interested in materialism and inspired by both nature and the concept of time, Kaptein creates works that are realistic yet surreal, rooted simultaneously in real life and in fantasy.

To Kaptein, the use of laminated wood is central to his practice. Representative of the dialogue between expansion and contraction and the relationship between interconnection and incompleteness, “the panels slip and slide, creating their own holes which exasperate the gaps in the fabric of the universe.”

While his wooden works vary in subject matter—a common motif being hooded, faceless busts—they all convey Kaptein’s innate interest in portraying of “the immaterial as an expression of the overt reliance (and ignorance of the composition) of materialism as a somewhat naive description of reality.” In one of his most recent works, And in the endless sounds there came a pause, the artist tackles reality through illusion: while the meditative figure is clearly distorted by the river-like grooves of his robe’s drapery when observed from the front or back, he appears perfectly normal when viewed from either side.

Ultimately, with its deceptive composition and well-crafted aesthetic, And in the endless sounds there came a pause merges two qualities characteristic of the artist: his interest in fabricating new realities and, of course, his undeniably superb woodworking skills.

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Striking Celebrity Portraits By Frank Bauer

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German photographer Frank Bauer takes celebrity portraits. It’s an interesting conundrum, capturing a famous face on film. The picture is taken because the audience wants to see that well-known (if not loved) face, but the resulting image is of a sight we’re used to seeing. How, then, to make the ubiquitous new again?

In Bauer’s skilled hands, the celebrities seem to relax. The inner sanctum opens a bit, and the person behind the celebrity peeks out. Actress Tilda Swinton, known for her androgynous fierceness, softens. Cool, coture-wearer Cate Blanchette smolders. Clearly not camera ready, director Steve McQueen stifles a yawn. Musician Iggy Pop looks stripped of artifice in his rear-view mirror shot.

For all the personal exposures in his work, Bauer is remarkably hard to find. His website is neatly organized, with a news section that documents his recent work, but there’s no “I” there, no personal commentary or gossip. Same with his Facebook page: friendly-seeming and public and absolutely impersonal. Perhaps it’s his way of creating a void, one that these performers will want to fill. Maybe he’s seen what it means to reveal oneself. It could be a business decision, an unconscious choice, a cautious reticence. Whatever the reason, Frank Bauer, unlike his famous subjects, is a bit of a cipher, one who lets his intimate and beautiful work speak for him. (Via It’s Nice That)

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Aeschleah deMartino

San Francisco based Aeschleah deMartino takes beautiful photos of beautiful people. See more of her work after the jump.

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Is the Imagination more Active in Darkness than Light?

Alexander Brodsky, "Settlement"

Alexander Brodsky, "Settlement"

Kant, in “The End of All Things,” suggested that the imagination is more active in the dark than in the light. The current exhibition at Matthew Bown gallery explores this concept for its current group exhibition. Taking its title from Baudelaire’s description of his Creole lover, “noire et pourtant lumineuse,” (black and yet luminous), Matthew Bown literally “turns the lights off” in the gallery, shrouding it in total darkness, to present a group of artists who explore concepts of lightness/darkness within their work. Alexander Brodsky, above, creates an organ griding machine that plays the Beatles, and encases a lit-up city in the murky depths of an tank aquarium tank. Gunda Forster’s work consists of  a wedge of intensely bright light, shining through a crack between the door and the floor- referencing the great divine mystery of that which lies beyond. The exhibition runs until May 25 in Berlin.

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Sophia Chang’s Architectural Boundary Blending Installation ‘Suspense’

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The work of architect and designer Sophia Chang, Suspense is a site-specific installation that blends the inner and outer environments of a gallery space. A recent graduate with distinction at Harvard Graduate School of Design, Chang created Suspense at Invivia Gallery in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

By pulling large sheets of Lycra between rectangular frames, her work creates an interactive, suspended environment which both blurs yet highlights the building’s pre-existing architectural features. Some rooms are completely explorable, while others remain visible yet restricted by the installation. Says Chang, “The whole piece holds itself in shape under the tensile forces of being stretched without any extra pneumatic input – except perhaps the breeze flowing in and out of the two doors!” (via designboom)

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Frank Höhne’s Grungy LSD Drawings

What do you get when you combine the playfulness of a child’s drawing, the grunginess of a zine, the general awesomeness of MS Paint, and perhaps just a drop of LSD? You get the work of Berlin-based illustrator, Frank Höhne. Frank’s drawings are delightfully messy – there are endless stories woven into the varying typefaces, characters, and shapes. Even better – Gestalten just released a book on Frank this month. It was really hard to pick, but we have a few of our favorites from Frank’s endless portfolio after the jump.

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Facundo Arganaraz’s Reinvigorated Images

Facundo Arganaraz lives and work in San Francisco. Using entirely found imagery and a crisp design sensibility Arganaraz alters and skews in order to create a modern dialogue with vintage visuals. His subject matter and acrylic with screen print technique is reminiscent of Christopher Wool and Andy Warhol as he too utilizes a design based aesthetic in which he incorporates text, multiples of the same imagery, and washed out color fields. In his own words: “Living among the vestiges of cultural entropy, I am using anachronistic elements and discarded images not for their nostalgic value but as remains (debris, waste, etc.) of 20th century utopias on the making. Mostly comprised of found photographs, photocopies, and pages from vintage books depicting modern designs and/or environments, I recruit this imagery (retro esthetics) as a mark-making tool, already packed and charged (ready-made?) with pictorial formal elements. Their core forms serve only to organize visual fields into dynamic, constructed compositions that hold a structural relation to the surface they organize.”

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Ana Maraž

Ana Maraž
Ana Maraž has captured and lulled out of me (and into) the warmth of a late summer’s afternoon. I love that simplicity in the composition of these photographs still holds expressive qualities. They just make me so happy and dreamy…(I’m also listening to Nina Simone.)

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