Artist Brian Adam Douglas makes use of a unique process. Before exhibiting at galleries, Douglas began his practice on the streets of Brooklyn under the name ELBOW-TOE. His distinctive style was easily spotted as he used wood cuts, charcoal, collages, and stencils throughout New York City. Douglas has since further developed his process, style, and subject matter. He has retained his painterly style that could be found in his street art and paintings. However, Douglas now applies this to a special kind of cut paper art or collage work. In fact, he prefers to call it “paper painting”. Douglas paints individual parts of paper precise colors and carefully cuts them. All of these small pieces are then often adhered to a wood panel to create one painting-like composition. While he has often focused on individual people, Douglas has now ‘zoomed out’ in a sense. His work now often encompasses entire landscapes or scenes. These scenes frequently touch on natural disaster and specifically the way people cope with them. The statement of his current exhibit at Andrew Edlin Gallery further describes this style:
“Virtually all of the works in Douglas’ new series deal with the rebuilding of life and purpose in the wake of catastrophic deconstruction brought on by natural disasters and climate change(including overt references to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy). They are not merely about the breaking down of things but about an innate capacity to cope with disaster and the rehabilitation of purpose. Spending up to half a year on a single piece, Douglas’ laborious process demands a pictorial integrity where nothing is wasted and everything serves his intensity of purpose. Forgoing the relative ease and fluidity of the brush stroke, the artist methodically builds his compositions through shards of color incised from sheets of paper he has painted, forging a novel way to combine painting and collage into a singular hybrid.”
Jesse Fillingham lives and works in Pasadena, CA. His cosmic paintings are usually framed within a geometric void. Drippy figures hover in and out of dark realms and grids. From a recent press release his work is described as “…exploring themes of myth, introspection, creation, and wizardry. A series of drawings depicts an alternate creation myth composed of trees of strife, knowledge and life, as well as ephemeral libidinous spirits – robed men ponder and wander through graphic landscapes.”
Fred Tomaselli is best known for his highly detailed paintings on wood panels, combining an array of unorthodox materials suspended in a thick layer of clear, epoxy resin. He sees his paintings and their compendium of data as windows into a surreal, hallucinatory universe. “It is my ultimate aim”, he says, “to seduce and transport the viewer in to space of these pictures while simultaneously revealing the mechanics of that seduction.”
The texture on these mixed media paintings from Canadian artist James Kirkpatrick is insane. Packed with color, the artist’s nebulous, jumbled works, which contain just the slightest hint of concrete elements here and there (is that a car? –wait– is that a face, now?), exist very close to complete abstraction. This deft “one foot in, one foot out” dance is indicative of great skill on Kirkpatrick’s part. The subtlety of these paintings is really where their greatest value is. In a culture where everything is increasingly spelled out for us ahead of time, it’s nice to preserve a little bit of mystery.
Kirkpatrick is taking part in Zaga Zow, a group show at Cooper Cole in Toronto, until August 18.
For Ruined Polaroids, William Miller uses a broken polaroid SX-70 that he stumbled upon at a yard sale; quickly discovering that its decades-old gears mangled the film and transformed the exposure, the artist submitted the the whims of the photographic relic, allowing it to form blurred and unpredictably patterned abstractions from his shots.
Within the “ruined” images, we find a surprising emotionality, with the faulty chemical process producing expressionistic renderings of a less literal kind of photographic memory. Cataloging the accidentally lovely results of mechanical happenstance, each shot enters a richly moody realm evocative of the work of mid-century abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko. As the spastic movements of gears, chemicals, and fingers become the subject of the work, the artistic process overrides a predetermined result. Rather than serving as a record of a particular instant, Ruined Polaroids poignantly archives the accidental deterioration of a camera past its time.
Ultimately, the conceptual work also serves to refute contemporary understanding of the photograph. In her seminal work On Photography, published in 1977 at the height of polaroid popularity, Susan Sontag discusses the illusion of a photographic truth, theorizing that the photographer, unlike all other artists, is capable of disguising subjectivity for objective fact. Miller’s work expertly challenges this assumed power of the photographic medium, acutely presenting each image as evidence of its failures. The immediacy of the polaroid image only accelerates this process; printed instantly and held against some imagined reality, the bleeding lights and darks veer jarringly from what we expect from the camera. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor and This Is Paper)
The stereotype of your average biker is probably not the first thing you would think of when looking at these images by London based photographer Bex Day. She manages to capture a personable, jovial and charming side to the bikers associated with the infamous 59 Club of London. Wanting to recreate scenes of the subculture from the 60s and onwards, Day cast different characters in certain poses that are endearing and humorous. She says:
I wanted to explore the renowned biker café, the Ace Café and explore the lives of the bikers who hang out there and get to know them better; but most importantly to investigate their take on the 50s/60s movement.
Trying to keep the scenes as realistic as possible, and true to the spirit of the 59 Club, it is important to Day that she captures the bikers how they really are – wrinkles, blemishes, hairy backs and all. She goes on to say:
I wanted to recreate the era to illustrate it in a timeless manner, which is what I try to do in all my photographs, but also to emphasize how the subjects viewed the era we were trying to portray and their take on it was crucial to the photographs.
Day wants to challenge our views of conventional beauty and to destroy the guidelines of what is and what isn’t aesthetically pleasing. A subject that isn’t normally seen as beautiful, in Day’s hands, is treated as something equally as attractive as a traditional fashion spread. Who would’ve thought long haired men wearing too-tight dungarees and ‘pimp’ glasses straddling motorbikes could be so appealing?
Bina Baitel is a French product designer whose takes previously distinct pieces of furniture–futons, stools, lamps– and combines them to make some wild looking objects. Like most great product design, they look more like sculptures than they do products. We could all probably use some more melting lamps in our lives. (via)
Blurring the line between fabric, film and fiction, artist Kate Nartker‘s work serves as a meditation on the most easily forgotten moments of every day life. Zero-ing in on select snippets of video, Nartker translates the static and fuzz of forgotten moments into physical textile pieces. The pieces themselves break down into a moving frame-by-frame recreation of the original video piece, provoking the viewer with questions of time, intention, physical artifact and digital interpretation of real life. Her work has most recently been shown at San Francisco’s Alter Space.