Tomás Saraceno is an Argentine artist who creates pieces that explore alternative, sustainable ways of viewing and interacting with the environment. Previous works include floating iridescent and geometric installations that affect the way we perceive the relationship between the earth and sky. In this project, titled “Becoming Aerosolar,” Saraceno has woven together a patchwork of plastic bags into a massive hot air balloon. Trapping the heat of the sun in a greenhouse-like effect, the plastic canvas lifts majestically into the sky, transforming stigmatized, non-biodegradable waste into a work of liberating beauty.
Exploring the creative crossover between environmentalism, history, art, and human perception, Saraceno notes how the hot air balloon “came about as a means of escape and protection in the late 18th century, during the time of the French Revolution. It is significant that during these times of uncertainty, people looked to the sky to escape the reality on earth” (Source). As an innovation deriving from crisis and a longing for freedom, the plastic bag balloon takes on a contemporary significance: in an age of environmental turmoil, when the planet we inhabit verges on irreparable damage, the sky (and beyond that, outer space) becomes the frontier of hope. However, beyond signifying that upward glance of salvation and survival, “Becoming Aerosolar” optimistically reminds us how repurposing our materials and shifting our perspectives could lead to changing our trajectory on Earth.
“The Astounding Problem of Andrew Novick features the overwhelming and unusual collections of an eccentric individual who does not consider himself an artist. In total, Andrew Novick estimates he has over a hundred collections: Barbie dolls of every variety, Chihuahua figurines, clown paintings, anything related to teeth or braces. The truth is he has far more things than will or can ever be organized into a “collection.” Inside his home and in his rented storage space he has stacks, piles and boxes of answering machine cassette tapes full of incoming phone messages, more answering machine cassette tapes with recordings of recording almost every conversation he has ever had with a telemarketer, jars ripe with formaldehyde-free dead animals, uncommon foods and more.
Faig Ahmed, a visual artist from Baku, Azerbaijan, reworks the aesthetic of carpets, an “indestructible symbol of the Eastern tradition”, by weaving digital patterns onto the already conventional recurring patterns of the traditional Azerbaijani rug.
“Tradition is the main factor creating the society as a self regulated system. Changes in the non-written rule happen under influence of global modern culture.”
Ahmed’s interest in extending this traditional practice to one that alludes to today’s relevant digital imagery is his way of creating new boundaries. By mixing and matching two different aesthetics, Ahmed creates a rekindling of tradition and progress.
In order to create the illusions of glitchy carpet bits, Ahmed superimposes digital patterns onto traditional weaving compositions, these combinations either create rugs with bold optical illusions and/or generate transformations that leave carpets looking like unconventional sculptures.
“To be honest, things I do are not always right and beautiful. I do things without thinking- it’s my instantaneous expression. Changes in the world are instantaneous as well, and that is what I am channeling-ideas that have been formed for ages are being changed in moments- that is what I hope to do with me work. I just make bold experiments, putting them into the art scene, trusting myself and the viewers of my art.”
Los Angeles-based Tanya Anguiniga’s work belies her upbringing in Tijuana, Mexico with it’s use of textile and color. Her vibrant work often uses materials over existing furniture, forcing the onlooker to reconsider the beauty in these every day objects.
It is difficult not to imagine a narrative when seeing the work of Terrence Payne. The Minneapolis-based artist uses elements of design, iconography, typography, pattern and figure, all rendered in a decorative style and soft pallete but with subject matter that is anything but. While the artist occasionally focuses on a central word or scrawled text behind the animals and repeating, archetypical figures, Payne’s paintings use loaded narratives that combine believable earnestness and well-intentioned antagonism.
To achieve the softness in the work, Payne first uses colored pencils to enhance the quality of light and jewel tones, then applies layers oil pastels which allows the the under-drawings show through. Payne says:
“I want you (the viewer) to see the mechanism of it. The idea is just how can I reinforce the sense of this being artificial, that these people aren’t real. They are just representations of what I am thinking about“
Terrence’s recent work has been concerned with “cataloging the human effects of trying to keep your head afloat in an increasingly polarized world of haves and have-nots” and “examining a person’s perceived place in society” and how that affects the way the work is perceived. This most recent work will be collected in an exhibition alongside Nick Howard (previously here) called Cake, at the artist-collective space Payne helped found, Rosalux Gallery in Northeast Minneapolis (which was named Twin Cities’ Best Gallery in 2013). Cake opens October 12th and runs through October 31st.
Lauren Utter, a New Jersey native, documents her punk rock inspired, pan-handling, train-hopping adventure filled life through her aggressive yet delicately drafted drawings. Lauren briefly attended the School of Visual Arts, but decided that her experiences outside of the institution’s walls were what truly inspired her.
Every little mark on the surface is stark, rigid, and untamed. Lauren isn’t interested in dressing up her subject for the purpose of comfort or aesthetic. She wants to bring to the audience her encounters exactly as how she found it. Yet upon closer inspection, you are guided to notice the underlying beauty, and appreciate the aggressive approach of Lauren’s work. This is where the irony in her work is present. It is the moment, confrontation, and/ or eye contact captured. The kind of transient situation most of us rarely have the time or guts to pay closer attention to.