Artist Ivan Puig likes for his work to surprise and amaze, and two of his series, Fed Up and Artificial Growth do just that. Using a car and chair, respectively, he gives the illusion that these very solid, massive objects have sunken into the ground, as if they are in quicksand. The preciseness of Puig’s work and the fact that he’s cut the chair backs and Volkswagen Beetle at a perfect angle add to the believability of it all. While the artist strives for his work to have humour, he wants the viewer to read it in multiple ways, and glean various metaphors from his playful execution.
His installations are not only meant to delight us, and the sinking chairs in Artificial Growth have a more serious message. This piece comments on educational doctrines and their power structures that are present in Mexico. With this series, he brings to light the idea of the artificial education – like the lies and half truths taught and passed down to students which we only realize are wrong many years later.
In her series Reno, a component of her larger project, Wandering In Place, Jennifer Garza-Cuen captures a hidden America.Through images of abandoned theaters, plastic covered casinos, dust collecting disco balls, women bound to decks of cards, and quiet, empty, almost pallid landscapes, she is able to inherently provoke an aura of nostalgia. She describes the work as a “metaphorical memoir,” pulling at the strings of what “the American dream” truly means and looks like. In a country formulated through vast histories, how does a cultural identity extensively exist? What does it mean to be an American? Her work captures a more subtle, yet convoluted portrait of identity, proving that the American identity is innately faceless and multifaceted.
Her photographs confuse cultural memory, bringing us back in time, despite depicting the present. In what she refers to as a “constructed-documentary style,” she dances around the idea of documentation versus constructed narrative, blurring the line between fact and fiction. She brings us into a dreamland where it seems time has stopped. Her photographs capture moments of silent contemplation. They are almost cinematic period pieces. Perhaps, stills of the scene directly following aclimax. Her photographs are not clear portrayals of darkness nor light; they provoke the viewer to search for an almost Lynchian meaning. She displays moments of what may be misfortune, missed opportunity, or confusion. She allows a sense of yearning and misunderstanding, getting at the very ethos of Reno. She states:
“Reno is a place that embodies ideas of Western idealism, the frontier spirit, of transience and the gambler’s impulse to risk everything for the chance at a better life. It was founded as a toll, a passage across the Truckee River, and on silver from the Comstock Lode. In Reno I attempt to come to terms with the defining force of place while returning to my own experience of being a wanderer, a state that obscures identity and embodies what it means to exist outside the codified order of the defined.”
I wanted to issue an apology for committing the ultimate blogging sin: mixing up two artists’ works (!!). So here is my attempt to correct my error.. the HARMLAND/CHARMGLAND post I made was actually composed of two Flickr accounts’ works: Hardland/Heartland and Portrait Painters. This post is about HL/HL, and the next will be Portrait Painters. Damn, the internet is a tricky business.
This description is taken straight from the horse’s mouth:
“Hardland/Heartland is an amorphous cluster of artists working to create an ongoing visual investigation of our own personal histories, cultural interactions and possible futures. Using intuition and collaboration, we have embraced multiple mediums and methods that allow us to present our findings, not as definite statements, but instead as a more pragmatic communication of ideas that can be built upon and developed over time. These results are pieced together to form a lexicon of personal symbolism that serves as an authentic record of our creative endeavors and interaction.”
Olivier Blanckart’s works are fashioned using every day materials, such as construction paper, cardboard and tape. These non-confrontational, nostalgic, children’s craft oriented materials, alongside the humorous quality of the works, are effective tools of seduction. Once Blanckart reels the viewer in, with his jovial aesthetic, it becomes clear that a darker, disturbed political commentary underlies, canonizing and raising up figures for inspection and in many cases, subversion. It is this two-pronged attack– drawing in with the a unique pop sensibility, then attacking with sharp-witted critique– that makes Blanckart’s works truly compelling.
Artist Dave McDermott’s minimalistic approach to collage is what drew me into his work. This Santa Cruz, CA native is now living in New York. McDermott has a very unique interpretation to collage, giving two dimensional black and white photography color and dimension.
You may remember Michelle Matson from the second season of Bravo TV’s Work Of Art reality series. Most of the artists work on the show was mild at best but I was pleasantly surprised when I stumbled upon Matson’s website recently while following a never ending path of artist website links.
Created out of thousands of cut pieces of paper, lots of glue, and a dose of comedy, Matson’s grotesque figures are busy shooting chains out of their behinds, having their faces melt off, hoarding animals, and hanging off disco balls in the club during a very complicated dance move. All these works and more can be seen after the jump.