Kevin Hayes is a Los Angeles based photographer with some really interesting and compelling imagery. What I find most interesting about his work it’s the way he captures and unveils the many characters in the photographs. Playing with the muted colors, lighting and backgrounds there’s is the sensation that time has stopped and a tension of what would have happened next after the shot was taken.
The hourglass is an object of antiquity, and while it has been replaced by alarm clocks and other more reliable timepieces, its symbolism remains buried in our imaginations: it reminds us of the seemingly linear passage of time as it seeps away, grain-by-grain.
Turning this symbolism (and its concurrent anxieties) on its head, Japanese designer Norihiko Terayama has redesigned the hourglass to inspire a sense of reflection and peace. Called “Awaglass” (“awa” meaning “bubble” in Japanese), bubbles take the place of sand, appearing to float upwards at varying speeds for approximately three minutes. Its soothing, hypnotic movements encourage you to enjoy the present moment, rather than anticipating the end. Watch the video above for a demonstration.
This post goes out to all the 9-5ers stuck behind a desk, staring at the white office walls and pretending to be busy, whenever the boss walks by. If there was no boss to check up on you, what would you do inside that office? I see you looking at your nearest stapler. Baptiste Debombourg has lived out your fantasy. Baptiste created these large scale figures with over 35,000 staples. Now someone needs to follow in Baptiste’s footsteps and make a paper clip tapestry.
Ted Lawson’s figurative work actualizes difficult concepts of physical identity. His work both strips individuality from his subjects while simultaneously forcing character through implications of the viewer, and therefore, complicating the very meaning of identity.
For example, in his piece titled, Eve, referring to the bible’s first woman, he depicts the cycle of a mutating female figure based on her weight. In this work, Lawson juxtaposes bodies with hanging flesh riddled with cellulite against ones simply constructed of skin and bone. The piece forces the viewer to formulate his or her own opinion of which body is the correct body. Or rather, which body correlates to which type of identity. When reflecting on this piece, the viewer is faced with his or her own interpretations of the same woman. It is then that a more interesting question is posed; does this piece prove that physical appearance identifies who we are, or, does it question the importance of the body— is our physical appearance, perhaps, arbitrary to who we are? Is this woman not the same woman in each representation?
The same questions are raised in his piece The Death of Narrative. There we find a naked woman laying, as if posing for a Renaissance painting, perhaps a Venus. However, instead of being surrounded in objects, hues, and sentiments that would then create allegory, this figure is encompassed with a pastiche of plastic objects. She is not grounded in space or time. She has no history, no narrative, and therefore, no implemented meaning. When observing a subjectless subject, one cannot help but to create purpose; it is human nature to understand through vehicles of narrative and history. Thus, by placing a being in a certain trajectory of non-meaning (the artist describes his work as existential), meaning is then inevitably created due to the human brain’s need for association.
Ted Lawson’s work constantly plays with identity not only through narrative, but also through the its relation to art history. His titles are always referential, if not playful. Even in the means by which he makes his work, sculpting through digital technology, is a manipulation of the tradition of his medium. Lawson’s work is a contemporary interpretation of classic quandaries, however, perhaps his work poses more questions, rather than attempting to answer. (via Empty Kingdom)
At the intersection of fashion, photography, film, stagecraft, and design, artist Marina Fini creates hallucinatory, alternative worlds. Based in California, she collaborates with friends and artists alike in the staging of these otherworldly scenes, using colorful costumes and her own handmade, plexiglass jewelry to turn her photographic subjects into ethereal cyber goddesses. When asked how she builds these characters, Fini remarked, “there’s something about transforming someone into someone they wouldn’t normally be … that is, creating an extension of themselves that I see in them.” All of her characters exude a captivating power, like the whimsical and intangible figures seen through a psychedelic dream. By exploring alternative selves in familiar contexts – a convenience store, or the Californian seaside, for example – Fini explores how subjecthood is fluid, and how such creative “shape-shifting” can alter they way we perceive our immediate reality.
While beautiful, there are also darker and more satirical elements in Fini’s work; in her own words, there’s something compelling about “juxtaposing what we associate as innocent with something horrific or insane.” In her short film Tree Temple, for example, a group of forest sprites — their faces eerily obscured by their colorful hair — dance feverishly around an altar made of Apple computers. Shortly after destroying the altar in their frenzy, they fade into mourning and death. As this film exemplifies, integrated throughout Fini’s scenes are emblems of our contemporary cyber culture — the Apple logo, wifi symbol, hand cursor, and so on. Speaking to this, Fini says that the use of such icons “specifically pokes fun at our internet-obsessed culture,” thereby producing a playful — and sometimes dark — cultural critique of our digitized existences.
In addition to her photographs and videos, Fini is well-known for her aforementioned jewelry, as seen on many of the models in these photos. In pursuit of new projects, she has recently announced that she will be phasing out her jewelry, but her Etsy shop will remain open until mid-January 2015. If you enjoy immersive art and playful reconfigurations of reality, check out the surreal worlds she has created on her website and Tumblr pages.
Ubu Gallery is pleased to present GEORGES HUGNET: THE LOVE LIFE OF THE SPUMIFERS, an exhibition of hand-painted photographic postcards by the eminent Surrealist artist, poet, bookbinding designer and critic. These bizarre, lusciously painted images illustrate Hugnet’s work, The Love Life of the Spumifers, where each accompanying text poetically and humorously catalogues the mating habits of a fantastical creature or Spumifer.
The Love Life of the Spumifers, or La Vie Amoureuse des Spumifères, combines Surrealist poetry’s fascination with l’amour and Dada’s tendency towards deliberate grammatical spontaneity and absurdity. Made-up words, like bowoodling, friskadoodling and alabamaraminating, are concocted to describe the seductive strategies of his imaginary creatures. Each text is dedicated to a different creature, describing how it woos, teases, gropes and molests its intended love conquest. Each Spumifer is illustrated by a gouache “beast,” which is added to an early Twentieth Century vintage “French” photo postcard. The mellifluously painted monsters slyly slither around the bare flesh of the pictured “mademoiselle,” nibbling and tickling, arousing her sexual desire. Hugnet’s illustrations seduce the viewer, parodying the human pursuit of love and lovemaking through these adorable grotesques.
Hugnet realized the series The Love Life of the Spumifers during 1947–48 and wrote the accompanying texts in the early 1960s. The whereabouts of four of the 40 original Spumifers intended to complete the series are at present unknown. Hugnet composed only 33 texts and one of those texts accompanied a missing work. He created a number of additional Spumifers, maybe as many as 20, which were not part of the final 40 which he had intended to publish as a book. The show is on view until January 28th, 2012.
Dylan Rabe is a fellow artist and friend and colleague of mine. His illustrative works contain all things one could hope to see in a painting. Executed with bold colors and painstaking attention to detail, they fuse together theatrical narratives with assemblages of eccentric subjects, symbolic props, aged furniture, and elaborate décor; he successfully fits all such things into a single painting, typically creating medium to large-scale works. Dylan derives influence from a variety of sources such as 1950’s pulp art, soap operas, science fiction and romance novels. His work is enigmatic and enchanting, and I hope to see Dylan’s work gain further recognition in the future.