The women in Ewa Juszkiewicz‘s portraits have experienced a decapitation of an unusual sort: their heads replaced by a series of inanimate object from plants to mollusks.
“In my paintings I take critical view on the way women have been pictured in history of painting and other visual media up to today,” Juszkiewicz explains in her artist’s statement. “I work mostly in the field of portrait, which I intend to approach from a different angle that avoids focusing on the appearance.”
Her paintings, which are based on real historical portraits, seem to draw on some sort of surreal symbolism, perhaps meaningful partly because of their inscrutability. “I am interested in how the replacement of the face by different forms changes the perception of the human figure,” Juszkiewicz says.
In pursuit of that, she erases the identities of the women she portrays, completing their objectification literally. Her subjects are robbed of any sort of expression, instead gazing out at the viewer with an impassive beetle’s head or a shroud of cloth. (via Artnau)
Fluid, pliable, and sleek—Guido Argentini’s models are not only painted silver, they look to be made of the molten metal. In his series “Argentum,” Argentini has gathered over 100 of his images of women covered in shiny silver makeup, which he began shooting in 1995. The collection is printed in his book, also called Argentum, published by teNeues.
Evoking the luminous polished planes of the work of Brancusi and the verve of Degas’ ballet sketches, these photographs endow the human body with both the solidity of sculpture and the vivid energy of dance.
Using geometrical props Guido Argentini created a contrast between the human body and the archetypal forms of geometry: triangles, circles and squares.
The metallic full-body paint is reminiscent of Pussy Galore’s iconic murder scene in the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger, as well as more recent images such as Kim Kardashian’s photo spreads in W. In Argentini’s feminine images the silver paint is used as an effect toward an artistic goal, not as the point of the photo, which is why they’re successful and memorable. “The skin, covered with silver paint, becomes an even, shiny surface and the human figure becomes more abstract,” Argentini writes. Without the distraction of skin tone and pores and body hair, the eye is captured by the models’ elegance and athleticism, their strong, contorted bodies juxtaposed against simple forms. The metallic sheen also heightens the contrast between highlights and darkness; we’re captivated by their agility and the sensuality of light and shadow moving across their bodies. (Via Scene 360′s Illusion)
Joseph McVetty must think it’s Halloween every day. His subtle pencil drawings are littered with groups of scantily clad people carrying out strange ceremonies and rituals. He sketches masked girls sitting on top of a circle of mushrooms, assisting a floating diamond deity. We see gatherings of people holding skulls above their heads in formation, trying to harness their collective power. There are also Shamans wearing skulls who seem to be about to begin some sort of exorcism or are absorbing energy from the people wearing skulls circling them. No matter the scenario, McVetty’s work is rooted in new-age spiritualism, occult ritual, and psychedelic culture.
Living in Portland, Oregon, McVetty’s work draws on his own experiences with rituals of being in the woods on the east coast. He talks of the powerful effect nature has on him:
I remember going to the Bagby Hot Springs with my wife soon after we relocated here and having a really magical experience. The very existence of these hot springs is a lovely idea to me, but being out in that old growth forest with all of the accompanying sights and smells was overwhelming. Then to come upon a group of strangers, naked, getting high, filling up those old log tubs and laying in that steaming water blew my mind. (Source)
He says even though his work is connected to these personal stories and memories, his drawings also are concerned with events from the wider world:
A perfect example is the recent wave of civil resistance movements central to the successes of the Arab Spring. These sustained campaigns involving strikes, demonstrations, marches and rallies are exactly the kind of energy gathering rituals that inspire me. (Source)
Hopefully you all are inspired to go and create your own energy gatherings this very night. Happy Halloween!
These stunning images come from photographer Mallory Morrison‘s latest series, FOG, and combine the unearthly nature of life underwater with the beauty of the human form. An experienced underwater photographer, Morrison works with models to push the limits of what is possible.
Poetic and succinct, her artist statement provides further explanation in the impetus behind her work on this series:
Our path is not always clear. Finding our way through life, figuring out what we what and how to get it can be like searching aimlessly through a foggy abyss. In FOG, Morrison captures feelings of uncertainty, desperation, and ultimate release throughout a journey to the water’s surface. These feelings also reflect Morrison’s artistic process of holding her breath underwater to capture each submerged form. The series tells the story of accepting the unknown: that which is on the other side of the surface and beyond the frame.
Her dive into underwater photography began when she was photographing dancers, and found herself constantly pondering how to eliminate gravity as the barrier keeping her from the shots she wanted. After trying trampolines and other tricks in the air, Morrison decided to try water instead. Seen underwater, the figures have an otherworldly mysticism about them. The reflective underside of the water’s surface shows a warped mirror image, and infuses each photograph with an intriguing symmetry. The colors are muted and few, but beautiful, nearly translucent.
Melbourne-based artist The Black Math (TBM) changes the meaning of portraits by adding simple line art to the subjects of the photographs. This fusion results in a unique style where parts of a model’s face is completely obscured by black or white shapes and different symbols and markings are drawn over top. It shifts the emphasis from fashion and lifestyle and to something that has an entirely new narrative. Now, there’s something mystical and mysterious as we try to make sense of what TBM has drawn.
All of the photos that the artist altered are of conventionally “beautiful” people, and he transforms them into something we don’t recognize. They’re made especially eerie when the pupils are removed from the eyes. At one point these people’s aesthetically-pleasing appearance probably sold some sort of product. Now, given an entirely new voice and meaning, they are saying something entirely different, which doesn’t necessarily pertain to consumerism.
Browsing through Keith Allen Phillips’ website, I found many sexy portraits of nude women, but with his series Messy, he takes his photography in a different direction. Phillips covers his models with a variety of foods from chocolate to Cheetos to sprinkles and icing sugar, and the results are pretty unexpected. Although some are still quite sexual, like when the model looks out at you from below a layer of creamy and chocolate while licking a finger, most don’t have that ‘food sex’ kind of vibe. By the time I reached the ones with a pink marshmallow mohawk, I realized I was barely processing the food as food, anymore.
Recently I wrote an article about Will Cotton, and Phillips feels like the anti-Cotton. Whereas Cotton’s world of food and women is soft, beautiful, and delectable, Messy has a harder edge, and one that I find more appealing. Once again, I’m drawn to the marshmallow mohawk woman, this time screaming out. She looks like a very intimidating alien. I find that although I have some difficulty with the idea of Phillips smearing food all over these women, the women rock it with a powerful presence, which is more than I can say of Cotton’s work. Each artist is experimenting with food, and beauty and sexuality in women. Phillips takes the viewer somewhere they didn’t expect to go. (Via Lost at E Minor)
In his new show “My God” Qiu Minye presents us with a new way of seeing. Well, he at least offers us a new way of experiencing objects and the recording of those 3-dimensional things with photography. By painting with light, Minye has suggested different forms of objects that could be real, and then photographed them, resulting in haunting, iridescent, airy images. Whether it is an outline of several figures huddled together watching something in the distance, or an ambiguous geological shape, mythological creatures or floating forms of babies, these snapshots all belong to another space and time.
Minye’s playful images all have a gracefulness to them, and more than most photographs seem to have successfully frozen a moment in time. By removing any fussy details (whether it is light, shadow or color) that may anchor an object in the mundane, he has elevated the idea of the object/subject to something majestic and mystical. The fish for example seems to spitting sparks of fire and is caught in an ethereal state – in a way we don’t see our everyday fish. Minye has managed to capture some sort of life force or see-able movable energy and it is a very calming thing to witness. He has a very existential approach to his art. He poses numerous questions when speaking about his past photographic projects:
What part of humanity is lost in time? How can we transform these moments into eternity? There are always two worlds, the world of yesteryear that has collapsed and the real world. Here, it is to travel between the two. (Source)
Minye seems to be coercing a particular response out of his audience – suggesting we look at the things surrounding us in an abstract, philosophical way – where it’s more about the idea of the thing rather than the tangibility of it. (Via Designboom)
At just 24 years old, Ontario-born and Brooklyn-based artist Joey L. boasts an impressive portfolio. Renowned for his diverse collection of portraits ranging from well-known celebrities to tribes encountered during his travels in Ethiopia, his work demonstrates “proof of an artist equally comfortable with the familiar and the exotic.” In his annual “Halloween in Brooklyn” series, Joey L. documents the familiar—locals in Bushwick, Brooklyn—as they don their halloween costumes and transform into a different kind of exotic.
Capturing masquerading adults and trick-or-treating children alike, Joey began this series as a way to “view this local annual tradition through the eyes of a foreigner.” Having heavily traveled and, thus, experienced the unfamiliarity of other cultures’ festivals and celebrations, Joey sought to engage with Halloween in a unique way. Shooting each image in dreamy black and white and setting most of his subjects against a solid, black background, the eerie photographs are simultaneously dripping with drama and laced with playfulness—achieving the photograph’s objective to get “lost in a childish sugar rush of both home-made and store-bought pop-culture costumes of the year.”