A myriad of cut-out patterns invading a newspaper layout. Myriam Dion creates intricate motifs using a scalpel and newspapers she chooses according to their images. This French-Canadian talented student has already been acclaimed for her work. The art pieces she designs are airy reconstructed poems.
Myriam Dion picks front covers from the Herald Tribune, Le Devoir, Cape Cod Times or FT Weekend and selects images which speaks to her. She then creates negative space by hand cutting minuscule patterns. The entire page is cut-out. Generating a halo of waves and starbursts. The ornaments she designs at the edges and around the original shape of the newspaper mimic Arabic patterns and add fantasy to the layout.
The artist has invented her own organic way of transforming a simple medium into an art piece. By cutting and perforating the thin and fragile papers, Myriam Dion is making the rendering even more delicate than it originally was. The colors, thanks to the placement of the cut-outs, twirl and whirl sporadically on the surface. The pieces, placed on a white background and revealing the negative spaces are treasures meant to be contemplated and used as a mean for evasion. (Via The Jealous Curator)
Texas born artist, Teri Haven, documents a collective of outsiders in her series, The Last Free Place. Her photographs seem to capture moments from another era, or perhaps, where time in of itself has ceased to exist. Haven spent three years, 2006 – 2008, living part-time in a squatters community in southern California known as Slab City. Beautifully cinematic, her images draw parallels to Harmony Korine’s Gummo, acting as the aesthetic truth behind his fiction. The carnival-reminiscent, dream land of Slab City is a barren landscape located in between the Salton Sea (a man-made lake accidentally created in 1905) and an active bombing site. Beginning shortly after World War II, Slab City became a safe haven for “drifters, dropouts, artists, outlaws and other cultural dissidents who settle alongside the addicted and the elderly.” During her time spent amongst the Slab City dwellers, Haven set out to document the struggle that exists between the boundaries of freedom and isolation. Each portrait reflects its own unique identity, as the inhabitants of Slab City seem to have created personal selfhood through means alien to societal norms. She states:
“Slab City is a collection of fiercely independent, utterly original individuals. Cast out of, or just drifting away from, the “American Dream,” they come here seeking freedom from rules, rent, and the assaults of a society often unsympathetic to the underclass. Some are victims of poverty, of bad choices and bad luck. Others have renounced the “material world,” refusing to trade their time for money; many simply yearn for the sense of freedom that comes from vast open spaces. And though desert life can be extremely harsh, and in truth there is little freedom in poverty, here they find love and strength within a community that accepts and nurtures the individuality of its members.”
Gil Batle is an American artist who spent over 20 years in Californian prisons for fraud and forgery. He endured some of the state’s most infamous facilities, including San Quentin, Chuckawalla, and Jamestown, living in racially segregated conditions under the constant threat of gang violence. During that time, Gil’s astounding ability to draw and tattoo with extreme precision gave him an esteemed reputation among the inmates, thus protecting him from harm and intimidation.
In an exhibition titled “Hatched in Prison,” which will be featured at the Ricco/Maresca gallery in New York from November 5th–January 9th, 2016, Batle presents viewers with a fascinating, sensitive, and detailed glimpse into the hardship and abuse endured in prison by carving these experiences onto the surfaces of ostrich eggs. Brutal images of isolation, beatings from security guards, and chain gangs cover the delicate, ivory-colored surfaces. Barbed wire, gang symbols, and shivs create an ominous symmetry.
In this unique medium, Batle reveals scenes that are usually hidden away from the public eye. There is a special significance to carving trauma onto an egg—an object which Ricco/Maresca’s press release describes as “nature’s most perfect creation and manifestation of life and birth” (Source); Batle’s creations seem to convey vulnerability as well as a sense of hope, renewal, and redemption.
Wookjae Maeng creates ceramic sculptures exclusively representing animals. Most of the time hung off the wall like trophies or mixed with human body parts. His purpose is to not only to trigger a feeling but also a reaction when facing the pieces. Environment, nature and human kind are themes the artist wants to support. He is choosing ceramics to do so.
The animals Wookjae Maeng designs are perfect depictions. Deers, rhinoceroses, mice, pigs and rams, the variety is large. The details of the features are flawlessly imitated. The artist chooses to apply neutral colors to the body of the animals. A dominant of white with a touch of grey, black and brown. The eyes are the part that’s always rendered in shiny gold no exception.
The relationship between the animals and human kind is the focus here. The artist wants to create a 3 way conversation. ‘Within this process the viewer not only intellectually comprehends the work but also viscerally appreciates it if their preconceptions are challenged or senses other than sight are stimulated.’ The presence of nature and its creatures needs nurturing and special care. In an elegant and optimistic way, Wookjae Maeng is suggesting that we all take care of each other, however small and insignificant we may appear to each other. (Via Trendland).
Colorado based artist, Ashley Eliza Williams, creates paintings of geological phenomenons. At first glance, her images appear to be the findings of a microscope, or perhaps, the photographic documentation of some obscure landscape. Her paintings are vibrantly alien, yet convincingly recognizable. Through a “lifelong curiosity about the patterns and biological systems that organize the natural world” she has created a body of work that seems to exist between the realms of science fiction and genuine morphology.
Her choice of titles lift her paintings out of a solely biological and ecological fueled quandary and shift them into a metaphorical, self-reflective, meditative space. The series itself is titled Sentient, directly opening up the work to a channel of emotional conversation, each piece taking the sentiment a little further. For example; The Inner Balance of Things, which features a delicately faded pink rock floating through a soft clouded sky; The Appearance of Quiet Restraint, which focuses on a triumphant looking boulder with small, seemingly measly mountains in the background; or Maybe We Look Like This Inside, which displays a fleshy, internal-organ-esque looking rock hovering over an empty, gray landscape. These titles add a very honest, almost painfully personal aspect to the work, hinting that these pieces act as depictions of an internal space; it is as if she is allowing the viewer into her most personal contemplative thoughts. Through pairing each painting to titles such as these, Ashley Eliza Williams proves her work to be a genuine thoughtful reflection on being human. (Via Booooooom)
Jean-Pierre Roy is a New York-based artist who paints surreal scenes that deconstruct the known world. His work is often associated with science fiction, depicting alien wastelands inhabited by colossal humanoid beings, their bodies laden with geometric shapes, holographic projections, and mirrored panes. Their behaviors are likewise strange; wearing modern clothing, they loom against empty horizons, their faces splintered into expressionless shapes. Many of them appear contemplative, or even violent, pulling the clothes off prone bodies and engaged in silent feuds.
Rather than ascribing to science fiction specifically, however, Roy is more interested in fostering a critical, creative space that allows us to examine the systems of knowledge that construct reality. He strives to explore what he identifies as “the pull of the fantastical”—that moment when “your existential understanding of the nature of things will be questioned.” (Source) By making the earth unearthly, by depicting the self in unexplained contexts, and by crossing the beautiful with the unknown, Roy’s work provides fascinating visions of immaterial and cosmic worlds. (Via Trendland)
Women at different stages of their lives posing in seductive, awkward and humorous poses. Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen, in her series ‘Seduced and Abandoned’, creates photo collages with singular elements and wide close ups of skin and hair. Using her own method, she depicts the theme of abandonment. A testimonial of events from her past and feelings left from a traumatic up-bringing.
Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen collects 1970’s National Geographics. She is influenced by the unusual lay out of the ads. She also uses poses from 1980’s magazines archives as inspiration for her shootings. The exaggerated close ups and the appearance of elements such as medical supplies, a doll and a set of false teeth attract the viewer despite the oddity of the pictures. Most of the props were used by the artist’s grandmother and evoke fragility and mortality. One of the major component of the work is the use of a plastic mask and a wig. Generating an unsettling feeling, it increases the viewer’s curiosity of knowing more about the person hiding behind the mask. The grouped images, piled up in one area of the frame creates a claustrophobic feeling.
It is of course all orchestrated by the artist. Her purpose is to trigger an introspection. By displaying domestic activities in her work blended with flesh and enticing poses, Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen narrates her story as an abandoned child and her reality at home at that time. Wanting to say it all through the collages, the artist seems to install a distance between herself and the viewer. The mask and the wig are a way to progress incognito while she is telling her story. The grandmother, used a symbol of death and mortality combined to a bright contrasted background blurs the lines of the artist’s intentions to reveal it all through her art. “creating photographs where it is unclear if the subject is reflecting on her own past, looking forward to the future, or trapped somewhere in between.”
Since October 2014, photographer Chris Forsyth has been capturing the architectural beauty and sophistication of Montreal’s metro stations. The city’s underground network is massive, with four lines, 68 stations, and over a million daily passengers. Forsyth’s vibrant, long-exposure shots accentuate an impressive side to the Metro, beyond its functionality: a creative and brightly bold character, which is both a hallmark of modernism and architectural design.
Construction on the Metro began in the 1960s, during the tenure of Mayor Jean Drapeau. Each station was assigned to a different Canadian architect in order to create unique designs for the spaces. For passengers today, it may sometimes be challenging to appreciate these artistic, historical nuances while in the midst of urban mayhem, but as Forsyth’s project description points out, “architectural portraits show that beautiful design is all around, even when we don’t have the time to slow down and notice.” Forsyth’s contemplative images reveal there are signs of human expression and ingenuity embedded in the very foundations of Montreal.
Visit Forsyth’s Instagram page to follow his ongoing project. For readers living in or visiting Montreal, be sure to share your photos of the Metro using the hashtag #mtlmetroproject.