The internet is currently swarming with stories, tributes, and memorials to the late, great Robin Williams who passed 3 days ago. Some people may not know that in addition to being an actor, comedian, activist, and improv performer, Williams was also an unabashed lover of video games, comic books, and graphic novels, and that this loss resonates throughout these communities as well. Yesterday, Nick Gazin over at Vice posted crowd-sourced illustrations that pay tribute to the performer, his characters, and his life. (via vice)
Combining photography and painting, Polish-based artist Michał Mozolewski creates intriguing portraits of mysterious-looking subjects. Pictures of pictures of people are scanned into the computer and later remixed and using a variety of methods. They are set against dark backgrounds and the black and white base images have gestural strokes painted over top of them. The hues of white, cyan, and red don’t evenly cover the photographs and Mozolewski uses varying pressure that adds a sculptural element to the work by emphasizing certain features of the face or body.
The effect that the artist’s technique has on the mood of the work is dramatic. Diffused and distorted photographs combined with Mozolewski’s erratic marks make for a haunting and grotesque portraits that are dreamlike at the same time. There’s a lot left to the imagination with these works, and they communicate sadness but at the same time are provocative and overall very visceral.
Stockholm-based Anders Krisár is interested in exploring issues surrounding the human body. Employing realistic casts of body parts Krisár then modifies them. He imbues typical torsos, arms or faces with atypical assets and surreal qualities that are at once quiet and horrific, striking and bizarre.
Evoking a sense of how fragile the human body is, Krisár’s forms stir up feelings of discomfort. Unnatural, ridiculous and sometimes even violent, the sculptures are so successfully disturbing because they are so meticulously executed. Rendered exactly and simply—skin looks like skin, body parts almost appear to be moving and breathing— Krisár’s works are convincing. But at second glance there is always something distinctly wrong. Torsos are freakishly imprinted, headless or morphed. Bodies are severed, separated or broken. Krisár’s works thus become visual representations of the unfeasible. This un-reality gives the pieces a psychological edge.
Beyond the challenge of confronting the bizarre so perfectly portrayed Krisár incorporates ideas of splitting, mirroring and twinning, which are frequent themes in psychoanalysis. Erie yet captivating this psychological aspect gives Krisár’s work the ability to be emotional. Though the work has a quiet quality, its effects are powerful. A viewer’s sense of certainty is challenged and replaced with insecurity, question and an overall awareness that what we know only scratches the surface of what is possible.
Photo retouching, specifically in magazines, permeates our culture and projects unhealthy and unattainable body image ideals. Writer and illustrator Jen Lewis has her own take on this controversial topic and sends Disney Princesses through the proverbial ringer by exposing what work they’ve had done. Like other individuals and news organizations before her, Lewis shares both the “unaltered image” and the drastically manipulated final in her series that’s touted as “Disney Princesses that Disney didn’t want you to see.“
This is series is all fictitious, of course (especially when you see Pocahontas’ transformation), but the satirized images are a witty way to get back at Disney for promoting princesses over real people and perpetuating gender stereotypes towards people at a very young and impressionable age. (Via Lost At E Minor and Buzzfeed)
Sebastian Wickeroth lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany. He constructs and partially destroys large imposing sculptures. Some of his installations look as if the structures are buckling under the pressure of an entire room while others look like monoliths that have fallen from the sky. Utilizing color and intriguing geometric shapes Wickeroth commands space with dilapidated forms that explore beauty in decay and comment on man-made structures that are built and inevitably destroyed.
Chloe Newman is a London-based photographer whose bright, surrealist imagery juxtaposes body parts with objects in the creation of uncanny visual puzzles that are rich with analyses of popular culture and consumerism. Two of her series are featured here: Visual Conflicts and Black Tropicana (in collaboration with Rebecca Scheinberg). The former — characterized by hands and feet interacting strangely with edible materials — triggers curiosity and also challenges the way we see food, giving it a commodified (and sometimes an oddly fetishized) object-status. Black Tropicana, which was “inspired by pop culture, 70s glam disco, and artificial worlds” (Source), similarly turns glamorized objects — acrylic nails, jewelry, and cocktails — into attractive but superficial representations of themselves.
With simple compositions and eye-grabbing colors, Newman’s works initially resemble the fashion advertisements you’d find in a magazine. But such staged product marketing is the very thing she seeks to critique in her work, and she does so by confronting us with their constructed absurdity; whether it is acid-bright nails clinging a fistful of jewels, syrup being poured over a bouquet of white roses, or a lobster about to be devoured over gold satin sheets, her unusual images unveil such magazine ads as contrived, hyper-real depictions of objects that have been attributed a certain “status” in our consumer culture. Critical analysis aside, the power of Newman’s photography lies in the fact that it simply intrigues us — we are attracted to the image, but also unsettled by it, unsure of what it is supposed to represent. An encounter with her work becomes an enjoyable mental interrogation.
Melanie Bonajo’s work is stunning. Her work are like bizarre living effigies to household self-bondage via the bric-a-brac of every day life that so literally and metaphorically “tie us down.” On the one hand hilarious in their absurdity, and on the other depressing in their attempt to lay bare self, domesticity and the modern world, Bonajo’s works are impossible, sexual, beautiful and seductive. Her show opens this May 14th, at PPOW gallery.
Hailing from Amsterdam, 24 year old multi instrumentalist Jacco Gardner was the perfect opener for fellow psych-rock band, Allah-Las the other night at the Troubadour in Los Angeles. Jacco released his debut LP, “Cabinet Of Curiosities” earlier this year on Trouble In Mind Records and was in great spirits performing for the first time in Los Angeles.
The short, but sweet set featured songs from his debut LP including “The One Eyed King”, “Chameleon”, “The Ballad of Little Jean”, and my personal favorite, “Clear The Air”. The show echoed the album’s fuzzy, but highly psychedelic feel that had the crowd swaying from the very first beat. I’ll be looking forward to hearing what he has up his sleeve for the next record, but in the meantime NPR just released a video for his newest single, “The End Of August” that you can watch here.
Jacco is currently on tour with the Allah-Las and you can catch both bands at The Chapel in San Francisco tomorrow night, Saturday October 5th. Enjoy the video for his song, “Clear The Air” and check out dates for the rest of his US tour as well as his jaunt across Europe that will last through the end of the year.