“Art for art’s sake, money for God’s sake. Gimme the readys. Gimme the cash”, the band 10cc sang in the ‘70s. Kevin Godley, the band’s drummer, and Lol Creme, both former arts school students, were the creative force behind the Stockport-based art rock quartet.
British sculptor Thom Puckey creates work that interestingly treads between old aesthetic sensibilities and materials and new content. Not unlike Renaissance sculptors, Puckey’s pieces are large, constructed out of marble, and often involve female nudes. Yet at the same time the objects presented in the sculptures are fiercely contemporary – his nudes are holding AK-47s, or are donning the hoods of Abu Ghraib prisoners (edit: of which likenesses Thom went back into the future to collect as the pieces existed before Abu Ghraib).
As a child, the vegan taxidermist Nicola Jayne Hebson wandered the Blackburn, England countryside, the sight of dead animals haunting her memory long after she returned home. The indignity of remains left to rot struck a chord in her, and she finally took a pair of mating, deceased frogs home, gently placing them in a frame, forever bound mid-coitus.
The artist, now 23, taught herself taxidermy, using only roadkill and deceased pets. The decision to use any living or once-living creature for the sake of art raises ethical questions, but Hebson hopes that debate over her work will inspire viewers to consider the ethics of the meat industry.
Ultimately, Hebson’s work reads as an emphatic attempt to reanimate a being that no longer exists, and it that sense it does—perhaps unfairly— claim nonhuman remains as an expression of the inherently human will to be remembered after death. But in this case, the work itself is so painstakingly delicate that it feels surprisingly generous; her careful craft isn’t a boastful display of her own ability; instead, it recalls ancient mummifications or ritualistic burial practices.
Her creations exude a life-like pathos uncommon in taxidermy in part because of her paradoxical choice to rely upon fantasy over strict realism, appealing to a more emotionally heightened realm of poetry and make-believe. One rat appears to lay a loved one to rest, and the viewer is seduced into mournfulness, forgetting for a brief moment that both rats are in fact dead. Other, more surreal creatures exist within what we might imagine to be a sort of afterlife; her seven-headed rat quietly recalls the biblical Book of Revelations.
Hebson’s creations are dizzyingly anachronistic, seeming to draw inspiration from anywhere between the Medieval Gothic period to the Victorian age. Unified only in their deaths, her works speak across generations and inspire us to mourn for those we so often forget. (via BUST and VICE)
Carolin Reichert’s work deals with an inventory of the human memory as triggered by situations, encounters and objects referring to and rooted in the past, yet recurring and manifesting themselves anew in the present. She is interested in exploring the individual’s perception of reality and the role and capacities of memory and recollection within that process. The images portray brief moments, belonging to the past, frozen, re-framed and deliberately transported to their new context, with which they are at odds or incompatible, therefore ultimately dealing with the attempt, possibility and implications of visualizing ‘absent presence’.
German photographer Loretta Lux captures surreal portraits of children, portraying them in a way that makes them appear as if they’re porcelain dolls. Young boys and girls stare towards the camera and with expressions that you can’t get out of your head. As they look beyond or at you, their large eyes look as if they know deep, dark secrets. Pastel and faded colors contrast with the mysterious feel that these works evoke.
Lux studied painting at Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich and uses this influence in her images. Some pieces take up to a year to complete, and her process involves a combination of photography and digital manipulation. She’ll strip the background and then place her subjects into muted, minimal environments. The flatted backdrop and realistic foreground confuse your eye and help craft these strange images.
Our favorite website building platform Made With Color are here again to bring you another exclusive artist feature. Each week we join forces to bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek websites. Made With Color makes building websites easy with no coding and easy to use click and drag functionality designed specifically for artists. Each site comes with a built-in mobile site and is completely responsive for smart phones and tablets. This week we’re pleased to present the work of Yambe Tam.
Baltimore based Yambe Tam’s graphic paintings fuse Eastern and Western art into an uniquely Asian-American aesthetic to show that combining the two can create something harmonious. The work not only reconciles Tam’s own identity as an Asian-American who doesn’t completely belong to either society, but also addresses the relationship between China and the U.S.
Themes in her work speak to shared experiences between the two cultures: environmental destruction that ultimately affects all of humanity, convergent lineages (haplogroups) from prehistoric times, and folklore from various cultures that are a reminder of our shared human condition.
Often, Tam works in pairs of paintings that are informed by the Taoist concept of Dualism. This branch of philosophy particularly resonated with her as it purports that all of existence operates on opposing but complementary forces such as light and dark, heaven and earth, east and west. No one force in a pair is better than the other, but rather equal by coexisting in balance.
Self-taught artist YaYa Chou grew up in Taiwan, but has lived in Los Angeles since 1997. Her Soft Tissue series, collected here, combine glass sculptures with drawn schematics on paper, both of which strive to explore the protected anatomy of people, plants, and animals on a conceptual and figurative level.
Especially when juxtaposed, these pieces indicate an interesting study of the body: where eastern ideas of emotional organ frequencies meet western philosophies of organism functionality. Chou’s work playfully dialogues with our own creation and confinement of thought.