Organic life is almost completely absent from Tomasso Sartori’s photographs. Instead, we’re left with sparse, apocalyptic images washed in glaring red and stifling shadow. The people-less landscapes remain defiantly intact, as if to say “we existed before you, and we’ll keep going long after you’re gone”. A nice reminder of the strength and majesty of our natural surroundings. Too often, we lapse into a flawed impression that we are the most important force in the world. Sartori’s pictures correct that mistake pretty quickly. (via)
Artist Ivan Puig likes for his work to surprise and amaze, and two of his series, Fed Up and Artificial Growth do just that. Using a car and chair, respectively, he gives the illusion that these very solid, massive objects have sunken into the ground, as if they are in quicksand. The preciseness of Puig’s work and the fact that he’s cut the chair backs and Volkswagen Beetle at a perfect angle add to the believability of it all. While the artist strives for his work to have humour, he wants the viewer to read it in multiple ways, and glean various metaphors from his playful execution.
His installations are not only meant to delight us, and the sinking chairs in Artificial Growth have a more serious message. This piece comments on educational doctrines and their power structures that are present in Mexico. With this series, he brings to light the idea of the artificial education – like the lies and half truths taught and passed down to students which we only realize are wrong many years later.
In an incredible series of photographs titled Surreal Stormchasing Portraits, photographer Benjamin Von Wong visually connects the ferocity of a storm with the growing threat of climate change. To capture these images, Von Wong spent two weeks traveling across seven states, bringing along models and a collection of household objects. He staged people doing ordinary things, such as ironing cloths, lounging in a chair, and playing video games. In each scene, the models act as if they are oblivious to the storm behind them, even as the wind rips at their hair and clothing.
“We live in a rapidly changing world, and whether we admit it or not, our lifestyle is pretty unsustainable for the environment around us,” Von Wong states in the above video. He wanted to use his photography skills to comment on “it’s-not-happening” attitudes towards environmental disaster, and storms became the perfect symbol. He quickly learned of the challenges and dangers of storm photography, however; working alongside Kelly DeLay, the two photographers had to remain alert to developing storms, and when they arrived (all the while navigating dangerous roads), they had no more than 10-15 minutes to set up and tear down the scenes.
For Von Wong, these epic photos are justified by the responses they inspire. “The intent of the series is really just to get people to think—think about the world, think about what’s happening around us, be aware of it,” he says. “And if I can ignite that conversation regardless of the reaction on the series, then I think project will have been a success” (Source). Blending together powerful backdrops and images of ordinary life, Von Wong’s call to attention is clear, unsettling, and ultimately motivating.
This is a huge disco ball. The hugest, actually. Michel De Broin‘s newest site specific installation One Thousand Speculations was created for Toronoto’s Luminato Festival. The piece consists of disco ball over 25 feet in diameter hoisted 80 feet into the air, spun and spotlit each night of the festival. The ‘thousand’ of the piece’s title likely refers to the ball’s mirrors – a thousand of which reflect on David Pecaut Square below. Each of the individual mirrors reflect a large swath of light that travels over the yards and buildings each evening. The surrounds, perhaps unavoidably, seem to feel just a little more lighthearted.
Miami-born but aptly based in both New York City and Venice, artist Judi Harvest creates intricate and fanciful glass sculptures. Ranging from gnarled bears to purple martians, her work varies in both subject matter and style. However, since 2013, Harvest has paid special attention to the natural realm, creating delicate and wispy glass beehives.
Comprised of Murano glass and wire, each hive sculpture is naturalistic in color and realistically rendered. Like the pieces themselves, the process behind the work is extremely intricate and requires a great deal of skill:
Each vessel begins with a hand-rolled cylinder of chicken wire, wire found in Venice and characterized by a finer module than that of the hive sculptures made in New York. Glass is blown into the cylinder, protrudes between the wires, and balloons delicately above the top. Some vessels retain wire embedded in their surfaces. Amber glass is the base color in which Harvest mixes gold or silver leaf and other additives that affect opacity, reflectivity, and hue. Sprinkling the hot surface with powdered glass pigment and reinserting the vessel into the furnace creates a rough yet dainty texture that resembles a dusting of pollen. (Denatured: Honeybees + Murano catalogue, Venice, 2013)
In addition to the exquisite aesthetic of the sculptures, a personal interest in honeybees also contributed to the creation of this series. On top of her artistic career, Harvest is a beekeeper, finding inspiration “in the form and behavior of the honeybee, the hexagonal wax cells of the honeycomb, and the rounded volume of hives in nature”—influences that are undeniably present in the ornate detail and beautiful composition present in her Bee Series. (Via Sweet Station)
Melbourne based artist Casey Jenkins is a self-described “craftivist” who founded Craft Cartel, an organization that seeks to combine crafting and political activism, in 2007. “Craft imbues you with power because you’re forced to contemplate the issue you’re addressing. It’s very reflective in a sense of when you put that message out into the world, people know you must really care because you’ve devoted that much time to it,” Jenkins says.
Jenkins’ most recent performance project, “Casting Off My Womb” (Aussie TV calls it “Vaginal Knitting”) involves the artist spending 28 days (the average length of a menstrual cycle) knitting from a new skein of wool that she has placed inside of her vagina each day. Jenkins explains that her performance would not be a performance if she didn’t include menstruation. While she is menstruating, Jenkins says it becomes more difficult to knit because the wool is wet, and she has to tug on the thread a bit harder. Overall, though, she claims the process is slightly uncomfortable, but can also be arousing at times. For Jenkins, she enjoys that her performance associates the vulva – something that can be found offensive or vulgar or invoke a level of fear – with the comfort and warmth that knitting provides and evokes.
“The fact that [cunt’s] considered the most offensive word in the English language is a real marker of the time that we’re living and of the society’s attitude towards woman. There’s nothing possibly negative about it. It’s just a deep, warm and delightful part of the female anatomy.”