Zeroing by Andrey Nepomnyasochev makes me think: What if the entire world was a crumpled sheet of paper sitting tightly in someones hand waiting to be torn apart.
Jalal Abuthina is a photographer with a history as varied as his work. He was born in Dublin but grew up all over the world, drifting between Libya, Greece, Tasmania, Australia, and Dubai. His jet-setting youth and current day job as a real estate consultant in Dubai have obviously informed his culturally charged imagery as well as his interest in clean, architectural lines.
Aartjan Venema is a Dutch illustrator with some really crazy ideas. Venema uses a lot of digital elements in his work but maintains a really nice aesthetic that evokes some of the brushwork characters and text elements of Raymond Pettibon’s drawings. He also packs a whole lot of narrative into one image. Nazi dinosaurs? Stonehenge murder mysteries? I’ll take it. (via)
The owner of anthillart.com has been turning ant extermination into a controversial art form by creating aluminum casts of expired colonies. After locating an anthill — mostly, those of the fire ant and carpenter ant species — he pours boiling, liquid metal into the entranceway, solidifying the tunnels and killing anything inside. The cast of the ant nest is then dug out, sprayed off, and mounted on a wooden base for display. Many of them are then sold on eBay to schools and collectors.
There is no doubt that Anthill Art’s pieces are deeply fascinating. By extracting the colonies from their molten graves, he allows us to appreciate the intricacy and alien-like beauty of the various tunnels and chambers. The species have markedly different construction strategies: the fire ants’ patterns are dense and labyrinth-like, resembling coral formations and Christmas trees. Some of them have long tunnels reaching out to isolated chambers. The carpenter ants’ structures, on the other hand, are very linear, resembling fungi growths as they extend into the earth with central chambers branching off.
Unsurprisingly, Anthill Art has provoked ethical questions surrounding the destruction of life in the names of art and education. On his YouTube channel, the owner has explained that fire ants and carpenter arts are nuisance species, the former being an imported pest that is “harmful to the environment,” destroying crops and preying on bees and other beneficial pollinators (Source). And ant extermination is a common, ongoing practice — so does it make a difference if we turn their annihilation into art or learning tools? Defending his work against an onslaught of criticism, the owner has claimed that with the less-invasive carpenter ants he tries his best to find abandoned colonies (Source). At the intersection of art, education, and ethics, Anthill Art’s ant-tombs are topics of debate.
Turning to our readers: what do you think? Is it okay to cast ant colonies for the purposes of education and art, so long as the ant species are deemed “pests”? We’re curious to hear your responses. Learn more at anthillart.com as well as the website’s Facebook page.
The photographer Sarolta Bán’s new series of images of abandoned and sheltered animals stays true to its touchingly simple title: Help Dogs with Images. For homeless animals, visibility is often a dream; far too many go unseen and unrecognized, and through her vivid imaginings in Photoshop—brought to life by the dignified warmth and wisdom of furry faces—Bán, previously featured here, hopes to change all that. With a support network of over 105,000 followers, she invites people around the world to submit photographs, transforming them into complex and poignant works of art and activism.
What stands out in Help Dogs with Images is the artist’s honest and humane representations of animal yearning. A photograph of a white dog becomes a symbol of hope and light; his playful and expectant glance upwards illuminates a single white butterfly amidst a dark nighttime landscape. As a child might wish upon a shooting star, a dappled dog implores a bright moon, a celestial beacon of recognition that movingly shares his own black and white spots.
Bán’s work is so successful because its soulfulness never veers into saccharine or cutesy territory; each image is hopeful yet serious, its emotionality heightened by stark contrasts and high resolutions. In one desperately heartrending photograph, a dog and cat watch an hourglass begin to count down; each knows the gravity of his situation, and they are left within a darkly tinted frame, anticipating uncertain futures. Shining canine coats and piercing feline eyes entreat the viewer to consider the dignity, humanity, and thoughtfulness that each creature possesses. To get involved, be sure to visit the project’s Facebook page. (via My Modern Metropolis)
Jay Davis makes paintings which recombine everyday things into elegant assemblages. A single painting might combine corporate logos with the food we eat, alongside expressive abstract paintings, placing all these separate symbols side-by-side inside one larger painting that retains a semi-abstract composition. I was briefly in Jay’s studio, and he talked to me about Doritos logos, MasterCard colors, and the way an orange unfolds when you cut it and press it flat on a table, and while he was talking I had the feeling of a deep rustling in my subconscious, like he was talking to my id, or hypnotizing me with corporate jargon. If you are in Montgomery, Alabama you can see a solo shows of Davis’ work at Triumph and Disaster Gallery until December 31st ’14. You can also pick up the Exquisite Corpse catalog from Mass Gallery in Austin, Texas, which has a nice spread of his paintings.
Some beautiful digital illustrations and graphics are being served up by Costa Rica based Bosco Mattel.