How long has Barack Obama been in office? It may seem like years considering the fact that he may not have slept since his inauguration with all the progressive advances weve made; from international relations to stem cells to releasing our beloved hostages from our torture camps. Is it really that farfetched to associate our new president with the 2002 Flaming Lips Album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots? I dont think so. Jayson Mussons investigation of President Barack Obamas International status ranges from nieve exploration to something that Al Jolson might have drawn as a child. Nonetheless, 1st amendment bro: important.
Michelle Kingdom uses thread like paint in her highly expressive embroidery of peculiar situations. Her dense embroidery builds up layers of colors and textures, using each stitch to create intricate compositions. Although small in scale, each composition seems to hold endless mystery as it illustrates captivating narratives that are somewhat dreamlike in nature. The artist embraces the use of the thread as a line, as she often connecting the figures included her in work. It is amazing how Michelle Kingdom uses a simple thread to create shadow and depth in her incredibly detailed artwork.
Michelle Kingdom’s surreal work expresses truth and illusion, feelings of expectation and loss. They are small in scale but contain a large amount of emotion and depth. Each of her pieces depicts quirky, ominous scenes full of fun and color. However, we can feel a palpable sense of uncertainty as we are left questioning what exactly happening to the subjects. Her work portrays both beauty and Michelle Kingdom explains further her impressive body of work.
“My work explores psychological landscapes, illuminating thoughts left unspoken. I create tiny worlds in thread to capture elusive yet persistent inner voices. Literary snippets, memories, personal mythologies, and art historical references inform the imagery; fused together, these influences explore relationships, domesticity and self-perception.”
Rachael Yamagata has been busy lately, she’s just about to release her new Heavyweight EP and has just embarked on a Fall Tour which will bring her back to Los Angeles next Tuesday, November 20th at the El Rey Theatre. I was lucky enough to talk with her briefly as she made her way to Vancouver for the first show of the tour.
“Sorry it’s so noisy, I’m sitting in the back of a van on the road.” Laughing, I said that I’m in an art gallery with construction going on… we make quite a pair (more laughter). She then asked me if we had met because my name sounded so familiar (oh how I wish I had the guts and split second timing to joke around and say that we had once dated). I told her that we had met at one of her past Hotel Cafe shows, but was also one of her Pledge Music supporters for Chesapeake (her last release). “That’s it! I even remember writing you a note – once I write a name down, it’s hard to forget.” Yup, she pretty much made my day. Moving on, she was excited that the first thing I brought up was the cover art for her new record. All her previous releases have photos of her, so I asked how she found the painting.
“I was just searching online and came across this artist named Jan Zoya. Her work had this feeling of sadness, nostalgia, and passion that I could relate to.” Her artist statement also made an impression. She told me it wasn’t easy though, apparently the artist didn’t believe who she was so it took a bit of going back and forth, “I finally just had to tweet at her saying, look this really is me and I’m trying to contact you.” That finally worked and now one of her paintings graces the cover with even more collaborations possible in the future. As for returning to Los Angeles, I had to mention that I always felt that she belonged to us. “I feel the same way.” She said she still has so many friends here and that it was really hard for her to move to Woodstock. As for the show, “I’m really excited to play the El Rey, I’m touring with strings this time around and really wanted to have seats to keep it intimate.” If you’re familiar with the El Rey, you know it’s usually standing room only.
If you’ve never seen her before, do yourself a favor and go to one of her upcoming shows. Her onstage banter and incredible voice makes her one of my favorite singer/songwriters. Tickets are still available for the El Rey show via Ticketmaster and you can also download a free mixtape from NoiseTrade. Also, don’t forget to buy her new EP, Heavyweight from her website. Thanks again to Rachael for taking the time to speak with me, it was a real pleasure.
Watch the video to her single Even If I Don’t after the jump.
Painter, sculpture, and all around amazing artist Brendan Monroe recently moved his operation from the bay area all the way to Stockholm, but he’s still making paintings that will stop you dead in your tracks. Blobs, trash, organic structures, and cosmic explosions are just a few of the subjects you will encounter in his hauntingly beautiful work. Monroe has been one of my favorites for a long long time, and not just because we share the name.
Out of investigating architecture, communication, and social behavior in the urban space, Jeppe Hein’sModified Social Benches was born. The bench designs borrow their basic form from normal park or garden benches seen everywhere, but are altered in various degrees to make the act of sitting on them a conscious physical endeavor. With their modification, the spaces they inhabit become active rather than places of rest and solitude; they foster exchange between the users and the passers-by, thus lending the work a social quality. Due to their alteration, the benches end up somewhere between a dysfunctional object and a functional piece of furniture and thus point out the contradiction between artwork and functional object. (via empty kingdom)
Swiss artist Tenko‘s work seems to represent a twisting, flawed humanity that we try to forget. Looking at his work I’m very conscious of the fact that my supposedly higher thoughts and feelings all rely on a system of organs, pumps, and fluids to exist and no amount of perfume is going hide the fact that we are simply beasts of flesh and bone. Maybe it’s all those perfectly modeled legs or even the grotesque facial expressions but I feel like I’m definitely gonna have to exfoliate tonight.
Hungarian photographer Bence Bakonyi‘s series Dignity is a clearly personal one. The white arctic-like landscape is contrasted against deep black fields. The inky pools seem to be light swallowing and even begin to envelop a figure in some images. Bakonyi’s photographs are intensely lonely. Referring to the series, he speaks about a distinction between the body and mind as expressed in the photos.
Speaking about struggles between the two he relates, “It’s so alluring, sometimes as if the will of the body would want to swallow me, leaving my thoughts behind, but then comes the soul to pull me back.”