San Francisco basked photographer Kelly Nicolaisen’s boldly colored images splash electric colors into everyday scenes and mundane situations. Creating quirky narratives that range from the playful to the absurd, Nicholaisen’s fresh takes on life create a sense of irony and humor by reversing the usual gestalt expectation that the figure is always at the foreground.
Don Porcella is best known for his awesome figurative sculptures made using pipe cleaners. He also makes very tactile and colorful paintings. I love how the flatness of a messy drip painting can transform into the immensity of a sky which is back-dropping a space opera on an alien planet. Check out Don’s blog for updates and shows, he’s been in a bunch of cool shows over the last couple of months.
In a startling critique of the ways in which images of women’s bodies are consumed, the artist Jessica Ledwich presents “The Fanciful, Monstrous Feminine,” a collection of surreal photographs documenting the psychological consequences of contemporary beauty standards and practices. For Ledwich, female sexuality is viewed as “threatening” and is therefore oppressed; here, she exaggerates the femme fatale image, showing her red-lipped, square-nailed protagonist engaging in violence with her own body.
The female form, shiny and lacquered, appears like a hybrid, part human and part domestic cyborg; her youthful flesh is overtaken by the mechanics of beauty. In one image, severed and still-wriggling fingers are replaced with tweezers, and in another, she uses a vacuum cleaner to suction fat from her thighs, injecting it into her lips.
Improvements to the home and domestic realm take a literal toll on the female body and self; after awkwardly sculpting a just-budding lemon tree, a matriarch forces her own natural body into an hourglass with restrictive garments. The monotony of the daily grooming routine turns brutal and dehumanizing, and with each ritual, our subject sacrifices a bit of her identity until, like slabs of lifeless meat, her limbs, brains, and heart are sold off at a butcher shop cleverly referred to as “Limbsons.”
Tied to this endless pursuit of female perfection is the idea of motherhood, presented without an ounce of warmth or sentimentality. A C-section yields only an endless stream of identical plastic dolls, each removed with the same sterile, unfeeling determination that we see with the surgical implantation of breasts. The mother, robbed of her sexuality, is shown inserting biohazards material into a cooked egg, an uncomfortable action we might presume to represent her own impregnation. This bleak, unromantic portrayal of female beauty and fertility serves to remind us of the physically and psychologically painful demands placed on modern women’s bodies, leaving viewers yearning for a more humane world. (via Lost at E Minor and Design Taxi)
Artist Tomás Saraceno just opened his newest installation on June 21 at K21 Staendehaus (see his work previously here). He is known for creating sprawling interactive installations. However, In Orbit is his largest and most complex piece to date. Saraceno’s newest work is situated 65 feet over a piazza. It consists of multi-tiered netting which visitors can wander through. The installation is scattered with clear and metallic orbs, some nearly 30 feet in diameter, resembling planets floating in space. [via]
Imagine using your wildest imagination to create your dream fortress. What would it have inside? Scott Hove has taken a fairy-tale, dream-world created entirely out of what appears to be pastel sweets and turned it into an reality. His sickening sweet installation, titled Cakeland, uses sculpture, installation, and paint to construct a dramatic scene of cake-like decoration with a rococo flair, only instead of stucco molding, this sugary paradise is composed of delicately placed oranges, strawberries, and swirling, white icing. His elaborate work completely fills the building that holds it, which is labeled with an appropriate bright, neon sign displaying the word “Cakeland.” I cannot decide if Hove’s work is so alluring because of its fluffy, pastel details or the fact that it looks exactly like it is made up entirely of delicious, edible cake!
Hove explains that his process involves taking dark undertones and transforming them into something inviting and beautiful…and what is more pleasant than a place that surrounds and engulfs you in this never-ending, candy-colored comfort food? Hove’s artistic process uses endless imagination and creativity to allow his ideas of Cakeland to come to fruition.
I walk around my house, and see imaginary pieces on my wall, and then pick out the ones that I would most like to actually see hanging on the wall. Then I use every and any type of material to scratch the piece into existence. So much about making a piece of art is creating problems and solving them.
Kathy Klein is a devout lover of plants, and she translates this admiration into a series of natural mandalas. They are called danmalas, which means “the giver of flowers” in vedic sanskrit. The colorful arrangements are comprised of different blooms, leaves, and even some vegetables such as peppers. She layers a variety of textures and shapes into circular patterns that converge in the center.
Klein describes how she crafts these pieces, and it’s about around being in the right state of mind. First, she situates herself in a meditative devotional space. Next, she gathers flowers and other natural objects while her mind continues to be still. She finds inspiration from the golden sound that resides in silence. “These offerings are reflections of the inexpressible, a gesture which points towards life’s abundance, an unspoken verse of Love,” Klein writes. “The danmalas remind us all to listen to the unheard voice of nature, creation, and the eternal mystery.”
If you too are a plant lover (or mandala lover), Klein has many, many more danmalas on her website. (Via Faith is Torment)
Cam Floyd has a talent for producing dream-like images. He covers the canvas with detail, color, and washed out textures. Southern born and raised, Floyd attended the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. He now relocated to LA where he works as a studio assistant to prestigious illustrator James Jean.