The artist known only as strng on Flickr creates technically impressive and visually compelling collages. He combines imagery from human, animal, natural, and mechanical worlds into one image. Elements that don’t seem to have much in common become a part of each other, and strng illustrates these startling images in such a way as for them to appear natural or ordinary. Part of this involves strng’s aesthetic, which is resonant with the pages of anatomy and biology textbooks.
Mikael Aldo is an Indonesian photographer who creates ambitious scenes that are both intimate and epic. In each image, the subjects appear to be engaged in moments of intensity and transition, whether it be ascending towards the heavens, transforming into a tree, or standing before a burning doorway. There often seems to be an atmosphere of darkness, or an allusion to death; one person, submerged in water, covers their face with an animal skull, and in another they lie quietly as birds pass overhead. Such scenes, however, are more serene and beautiful than they are grim. As viewers, we are never certain of what is going on (or what is about to happen), but this is Aldo’s intention: to connect with us via interpretations deriving from our own personal memories and emotions. As he wrote to Beautiful/Decay: “I hope that people feel something towards my photographs — a sense of connection between them and what I try to convey.”
Aldo’s creative process is its own dynamic transformation, arising from experiences and reflections and merging into conceptual scenes. When asked how he develops his ideas, Aldo explained: “I imagine them moving. Alive. That is how I connect one element to the others. Oftentimes I also make sketches, and write specific details on how I want something to be.” The result of this living, holistic process is a set of images that transport us on a creative journey through inner, symbolic worlds. Here, on the edge of something transformative, the photographic subjects demonstrate how to let go while embracing change.
I have to confess I am easily drawn to works of art that resemble or depict toys and other childhood objects. At face value these works are easy, as all of us have some form of relationship or pre-existing association with the referenced nostalgic icons. In other words, the works naturally engage us and draw us in. However, these works, specifically those featured here, use the familiar imagery to interject layers of conceptual content, moving far beyond catchy into heavier implications, through expert usage of scale, quantity and context.
Context is key in these pieces. Maurizio Cattelan is a conceptual master of context, as demonstrated in his piece Daddy Daddy, which features a large drowned figure of Pinocchio floating face down in a pool inside the Guggenheim. The result is ironic, tragic and flawless. As well, the practice of significantly altering scale such as Jeff Koons‘ balloon animal sculptures, Urs Fischer‘s Untitled (Lamp/Bear) and Yoram Wolberger‘s life-size sculptures of toy and trophy figurines, allows the objects to become monolithic, dwarf us and alter our sense of reality.
For those of you in the Bay Area, Guerrero Gallery is having a group show of awesome artist featuring AJ Fosik, Ben Venom, and Erin Riley. With a focus on traditional craft, a seemingly almost extinct skill in today’s highly digitized world, this exhibition aims to bring light and exposure to the hands-on work of each of these very distinct art. The show will run through until December 4th.
Artists Walter Hugo & Zoniel have created a surreal installation featuring a large-scale glowing jellyfish tank as part of the Liverpool Biennal. Located in the Toxteth district, the piece is installed in the facade of an abandoned garage. Closed during the day, it opens its shutters every evening at 10 pm and is live-streamed to the Gazelli Art House in London.
Unusual project, titled “The Physical Possibility of Inspiring Imagination in the Mind of Somebody Living”, is based on the juxtaposition between the harshness of an old derelict building and the dreamlike flow of these fragile underwater creatures. It aims to inspire local communities by showing that inspiration can happen anywhere at any time.
“We placed the work there so that it could be enjoyed outside of a gallery environment while people are just walking down the street, going to the shop or home. The response that we’ve had from people so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve seen reactions ranging from excitement to disbelief to nonchalance.”
The psychedelic display was opened almost secretly from the public. Artists chose not to promote their project through press and marketing, rather focus on the residents of the area and rely on natural word-of-mouth. What’s more interesting is the link created between Liverpool and London by streaming live footage to the virtual screen at the Gazelli Art House.
Wow wow wow, Richard Coleman’s work leans towards the magically mysterious, while exhibiting complex combinations of color and form. He’s part of an impressive list of artists included in the very first show at THIS Gallery which opened this weekend in Los Angeles, so if you are in town go check it out!
Calvin Whitehurst’s analog collages take you to a surreal world where the world twists and turns in every which way. I especially like the politically themed collages.
Photographer Amy Lombard is no stranger to the fringe cultures. Last year, she attended Bronycon in Baltimore (previously featured on B/D here), where she captured some of the festivities. During the year, she also frequented different animal shows and photographed who and what she saw there. The result comprised a series titled, Welcome to the Show. The types of animals range from cats, dogs, lizards, horses, and bugs. Lombard not only documents the animals, but their owners, and the relationship to one another.
The shows she attended are not the likes of the Westminster Kennel Club. Instead, they appear to be local and amateur. Since we don’t know what the context is of the shows, it makes the photographs all the more alluring. Some seem to double as pet shops (it’s only $5 for a painted hermit crab). Her style is candid, and her subjects not posing for the camera. Instead, they go about their business of show, looking, buying, and selling.
Welcome to the Show is the documentary of a niche interest. It’s not particularly glamorous, but is interesting and amusing. Lombard’s eye captures subtleties like small, amusing moments. A dog is wearing a skirt (or apron) with a $1 bill tucked in it. There are numerous people that look like their pets, which doesn’t seem surprising at an event like this.