Over the past six years, Stephen Dupont has traveled to Papua New Guinea, photographically documenting its changing face and the powerful impact of globalisation on the fabric of Melanesian society. From the effects of violence and lawlessness in Port Moresby to the westernization of traditional society in the Highlands, Raskols and Sing-Sing is an in-depth study of cultural erosion as well as a celebration of an ancient people.
Originally from South Korea, artist Stella Im Hultberg has lived and worked in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and California. After studying industrial design, she worked as a designer of toys, among other products, for several years. In 2005, Hultberg turned her attentions to painting and began practicing her craft more extensively. Since making this transition, her works in ink, oils, and watercolor have been shown at galleries throughout the country. Most recently, the artist contributed a piece to Copro Gallery‘s group show celebrating the 20th anniversary of David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks.” You can catch the show in Santa Monica, CA now through May 12th.
Life is an inextricable combination of beauty and awfulness, good and evil, and Japanese artist Daisuke Ichiba captures these dichotomies in his highly detailed, densely populated drawings. Drawing is just one of the media that Ichiba has mastered — he is also a painter, filmmaker, and photographer. No matter the form, though, his content grapples with the reality of life and its grotesqueries.
“Choosing to create work that is only beautiful feels artificial. Thus I paint both. You cannot sever the two. The expression that results is a natural chaos. In my work I project chaos, anarchy, anxiety, the grotesque, the absurd, and the irrational. By doing so I attain harmony. This is my art. Put simply, I paint humanity (the spirit).”
At first glance it’s possible to miss the disturbing elements of Ichiba’s work. The Indian ink compositions are dense and unusual for Japanese art, which tends toward clean lines and minimalism, although they do include Japanese iconography such as the schoolgirl and cherry blossoms. Influenced by his early admiration of comic book art and manga as well as the loss of his mother at age 8, his works fuse vile, often many-eyed, monsters into domestic scenes. Figures are missing features—an eye here, a mouth there—and the occasional introduction of color feels threatening, reminiscent of spreading blood.
He meditates on sexuality and death and the intangible cord that ties them together. Ichiba’s haunting tableaus are a type of contemporary shunga (Edo-period erotic scrolls), in which beauty navigates chaos with one eye closed. (Source)
The impassivity of the deformed figures is striking in the work. Both human and monster accept their fates. The faceless children and severed heads represent the darkness in all of us, ubiquitous and unquestioned.
Today I was perusing the website of Proyectos Ultravioleta, a Guatemala based gallery, and found the work by Radames “Juni” Figueroa. Besides a sweet painting of a mustachiod Dracula rocking a cape and a Misfits shirt (dream babe, hello!) I found the above readymade installation. Lo and behold, I discovered a Beautiful/Decay apparel shirt we did with Rob Thom shirt we did from four years ago! Sweet! While we’ve since sold out of that shirt, Radames, if you’re listening, we did a re-make of the Bad Brains classic cover art work (now re-christened Decayed Brains) which is for sale on our online shop. If you care to make another installation work out of our T-shirts. Really great work….check out more after the jump!
In a rather intense bit of wordplay, artist Vik Muniz (whose fantastic illusory work has previously featured several times here) has teamed up with Marcelo Coelho to create intricate and near-impossibly detailed sandcastles. Taking a single grain of scan, the duo has spent four years perfecting a process of microscopically etching fortress-like castles into single grains of sand. Each piece of sand measures less than one half of a single millimeter are created using an incredibly focused ion beam (FIB – typically used to create microchips) and documented with a scanning electron microscope, later enlarged to show the incredibly fine detail of the the project.
Muniz explains why the duo uses sand, as opposed to post-photographic editing (such as photoshop), “When someone tells you it’s a grain of sand, there’s a moment where your reality falls apart and you have to reconstruct it. You have to step back and ask what the image is and what it means.’” Adds Coelho, “I think photography is just re-starting. There’s a whole new kind of photography emerging now. A lot of it is happening because of this combination between computers and cameras, and story telling and narratives can emerge as a result.”
Alexey Titarenko sees dead people. When he has a camera in his hand, he conjures spirits from other dimensions. I love his ghostly imagery. He started summoning apparitions via photographs in the early 70’s. In 1978, he became a member of Leningrad photographic club, Zerkalo. Since Alexey’s work did not conform to the Communist agenda, he was not able to publicly declare himself an artist until 1989. Now his photographs are featured in museums around the world. Alexey is currently represented exclusively by Nailya Alexander Gallery in NY.