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Jan Fabre’s Macabre Remake Of The Pieta By Michelangelo

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I’m sure you recognize the reference here. In case you were in doubt, the Belgian artist Jan Fabre is reinterpreting the most iconic work of the renaissance, Michelangelo’s Pietà.

Michelangelo’s famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion.

Fabre’s interpretation gets personal, a little macabre, and a bit controversial…

In his rendition, Fabre places himself as Jesus with a butterfly perched on the side of his mouth. The heavy, dead-looking body wears a crisp, classy but torn suite. A closer look reveals a scarab at the edge of his cuff that is slowly drifting off towards the artist’s lifeless hand, which is tenuously holding on to a human brain.

The Virgin Mary’s face is replaced by a skull, which many would say is a reference to the Vanitas, the universal symbol of death.

The work was shown in Venice in 2011. This was in close relation to, but not a part of the 54th edition of the Venice Biennale. Given the place and the country (a very religious one) in which it was shown, you can image the controversy it created. The artist commented on the matter:

“is not to convey a blasphemous or even merely or provocative message. This work represents a “performance sculpture” that illustrates a mother’s real feelings when she yearns to take the place of her dead son.”

(via Exhibitionism and Flanders News)

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Craig Damrauer’s New Math

Craig Damrauer’s New Math series quantifies the world in simple  and funny mathematical equations that we can all understand and relate to. If they only taught math like this when I was in high school I would have gotten straight A’s instead of riding the C- mathematical highway.

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Lorena Garcia Mateu’s Obstructed Portraits

Lorena Garcia Mateu has created a series of stunning portraits of young women, but almost all of them have their faces obscured. Mateu’s warm colors and thick paint strokes create a soft ambience to his paintings, without hard lines or defined edges. But in these beautiful, soft settings, his figures are twisted and mutated, with obstructions growing out of their faces. The obstructions themselves are organic and natural things, like coral or flowers, but are growing in unnatural places. These figures leave the viewer wondering: are we supposed to find these images beautiful or horrifying? Are these harmonious mixtures of women and the natural world, or monsters?

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Ramon Todo Seamlessly Embeds Layers Of Glass Into Stones, Fossils And Books

Ramon Todo - glass, stone

Ramon Todo - glass, stone

Ramon Todo - glass, stone

Ramon Todo - glass, stone

Tokyo born artist Ramon Todo splices pieces of stone, volcanic rock, obsidian, fossils, books and even pieces of the Berlin Wall with translucent layers of glass. Taking raw chunks of natural material and adding highly polished bits of glass, he creates sculptures that are unstated and surprising. The juxtaposition of the sharp hard glass surface wedged in between crumbling porous rock, or forced into obsidian, or slotted into an old frayed book cover is a quiet commentary on the nature of material. By combining these distinctly different materials, Todo is talking about fragility and stability. He questions the very nature of the objects he is working with, and exploits the properties that we understand them by having. He asks us: what makes a rock a rock?

Todo collects the original stones and fossils while out walking (he is based in Dusseldorf), and initially is drawn to them as artifacts of the culture and the land they come from. By inserting something alien into these pieces, Todo is effectively rewriting their history, and the place that these objects hold in the world. With titles like Artificial Stone of Paris; Bois de Boulogne Paris 2007 #4, and o.T. – Spitz, these art works are like something from the shelves of The Natural History Museum, or the Geology Department at a university. They are definitely objects of curiosity, and you can see more of them after the jump.

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Ollie Lucas’ Technicolor World Inspired By Graffiti, Glitch, And Design

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Melbourne-based artist Ollie Lucas creates works where colors swirl together with an almost preternatural smoothness, like oil diffusing in water, with more jagged and hard-line separation. Lucas says, My work has always had graphical and clean elements to it. A past life as a graphic designer is to blame there’. Creating works that span painting on enormous wooden spools, to digital works on print and more recent explorations in glitch animations, Lucas explains his influences, ‘Exposure to the graffiti scene in Melbourne has made me question harmony in my work, I have a love for filthy, dirty and weathered paint splattered surfaces, but at the same time I crave clean, modern, hardline geometrics…This is what drives my practice, combining two visual elements that are polar opposites in search for a harmony that i may never obtain.

Lucas work has often confronts two seemingly-opposing forces, graffiti and graphic design, painting and printmaking, natural landscapes with digital glitches, and blends them together. When asked how his work has changed leading up to his solo exhibition Digital Landscapes, at Pierre Peeters Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, Lucas explains his more recent explorations and realizations in printmaking and digital creation. “It’s the first show I’ve done that is 100% digitally created. I’ve always used digital processes as a starting point in my work, however I felt a finished work needed the element of ‘hand-made’ to make it unique, to separate it from the mass produced. Since creating hundreds of drafts and moving through the paper choice/proofing and printing process I’ve come to realize a print can be just as unique as a painting.”

Though many see printmaking and painting differing in both result and creative impulse, the artist explains the harmony and connection between the two, giving value to both,“Although I have worked with many mediums in the past I still consider myself a painter, mainly because I still think like one and approach my work like a painter would. I think my work reads like a painting also.”

Ollie Lucas’ current exhibition, Digital Landscapes is on view at Pierre Peeters Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, from now through March 5th, 2014.

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Sex, Murder, And Satan!

Hide yo kids, hide yo wife!

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Jonathan Collin Trousseau

jonathan collin trousseauJonathan Collin Trousseau currently reside in “No Culture,” California (otherwise known as Sacramento). Luckily for him, Jonathan will be moving to Chicago, IL in six weeks were he plans to attend the Art Institute of Chicago. keep it up!

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Exit Through The Gift Shop

Last night I was invited to attend a preview of Exit Through The Gift Shop, the much hyped documentary by the street artist Banksy. By now, you all know that I’m an avid documentary junkie. I’ll watch a documentary about paint drying on a wall if it’s well made. I’ll admit, I went into the screening room expecting to hate it- so was Banksy able to win me over?

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