Yang Maoyuan is a Beijing, China-based multidisciplinary artist noted for his shaping and misshaping of the human form. Born in Dalian, China in 1966, the artist has been witness to one of the most massive cultural shifts ever to occur in human history, so it is not surprising that historical relics and remnants, loaded with archaeological connotations, become source material for Yang.
In a series of work created in 2009, replicas of classical sculptural busts are created in bronze, and systematically sanded, smoothed and rounded out, giving the once easily recognizable faces a new and updated quality. The mirrored effect of these bronzes contemporarizes the pieces, but also forces viewers to see their own reflection in history. Some of the series became Look Inside, while other replicas took their titles from their original source inspirations.
When photographed in their installation environments, the resulting images look similar to 2-Dimensional collages, with smooth cut lines and rounded edges. It is this new verbal language that not only consumes classical sculptural, but also affects the way contemporary audiences will continue to consume culture. (via notshakingthegrass)
Dan Attoe’s newest paintings are set against the northwestern Pacific landscape. It is a place where winding streams run into surfing beaches. The sand skinny dips into dark water that is laced with rolling white foam. The foamy tidal beaches are framed by rocky cliffs, and all those rocks, and that moving water, is surrounded by antediluvian forest. The trees in Washington State can make you feel very small because they are preposterously tall. Some varieties grow to be over 200 feet, pushing outside of the boundaries of a normal tree into something that feels supernatural, or maybe übernatürlich. The forest has the fairy tale effect of making you feel very small in comparison. The beaches, rocky cliffs, streams, and over-sized forests in Attoe’s paintings create spaces that are reminiscent of David Lynch’s television masterpiece Twin Peaks; both literally, because of geographical overlap, and psychologically, because the natural world, by bubbling with life, moving water, and impossible trees, begins to take on symbolic resonance. If you were an explorer on a quest for an enchanted forest, Northern Oregon and southern Washington State are very strong candidates for any enterprising search parties you are leading. When you go you may run into Dan climbing rocks or taking pictures of the moon through his telescope. Dan grew up in the woods, his father was a forest ranger. He is at home there. These paintings seem to take place at dusk, when the sun is just over the horizon. Like that quiet time of evening, there is something quieter in this new group of paintings. The miniature figures in Dan’s paintings seem to be dealing with mistakes of love, faulty desires, friendship, and being part of the natural world with its drumbeat of sun and tides.
You can see Dan Attoe’s new paintings in his show Landscapes with Water at Peres Projects on Karl-Marx-Allee 82 in Berlin. The show is up from March 1st to April 19th 2014. The photos in this interview are courtesy of Peres Projects.
Digital artist and graphic designer Kode Logic (aka Boss Logic) is used to taking existing imagery and adapting, changing and repurposing it. With his newest series, Playing With History, the Melbourne, Australia artist samples some of the most recognizable photos in the history of the medium, and either subtly or blatantly alters them by including superheroes and villains.
Ranging from the construction workers who built New York’s skyscrapers palling around with Spiderman, or an alternate history where Mortal Kombat’s four-armed boss Goro menacingly watches over Ellis Island on the Statue of Liberty’s plinth, Kode Logic plays with both humor and irreverence (exemplified by two separate Kennedy edits – one with Marty McFly skitching on his hover-board, the other featuring The Watchmen’s The Comedian preparing to assassinate the president). Explaining the project (and a premise shared by many from the digital and web-based design and art communities), Kode Logic says, “…as a digital artist we are the new breed of artists and we are all trying to innovate our own style to be remembered and past on as a foundation you laid down…” (via albotas)
For the surrealist painter Vincent Castiglia, his “work is literally a blood sacrifice on the altar of art;” using up to 30 vials of his own blood for his darkly sprawling paintings, he hopes to imbue his richly philosophical work with his own living tissue. The artist’s blood shares the same iron oxide pigment as many commercial paints, lending each image its dark rusty tone and heightening the drama of Castiglia’s macabre scenes.
For this blood artist, the unusual medium works in service of larger themes. In extracting blood from his own body, sometimes 15 vials at a time (less than a blood donation), he allows the literal life-giving substance to more deeply examine fertile powers of mankind. With the careful painting of milk-filled breasts and deliberate vaginal imagery, Castiglia celebrates the allegorical implications of motherhood and childbirth. A female figure rises from the earth, howling like the ancient Greek goddess Gaia, who birthed the entire world.
The idea of human creative potential becomes complicated with the dark suggestion of our mortality. A mother nurses from a wheelchair, her skeletal legs and decaying infant painted in dried blood, reminding viewers that with life comes inevitable ruin. Laid upon a cross, a woman bears the suffering of Jesus, her abdomen radiating light while her vulva appears to be ominously stitched shut.
The introduction of religious imagery helps resolve the tension between death and birth. Borrowing shapes and floral imagery from early Christian painting, Castiglia implies a connection between death and eternal life. In sacrificing his own blood, the artist fills not a Holy Grail but a canvas, elegantly preserving his own flesh for our consideration. (via HuffPost, ABC, Oddity Central, and Tumblr)
One of the most integral aspects of photography is the utilization of light. For his series, “Visible Light,” photographer Alexander Harding uses this vital resource as his subject. Harding manipulates natural sunlight, refracting it to create ethereal spaces filled with the soft luminescence of the sun’s rays. Harding says,
Whether it is acknowledged or not, we all have a strong relationship with the sun. Its light enables our visual perception and at times, shapes our emotions. Although the sun affects how we feel, its light remains mysterious and ephemeral. We can feel it on our skin and in our eyes, but it seems intangible to us. We cannot hold or preserve it.
Through my work I explore the sun’s physical presence and quantitative character, attempting to give sunlight an environment to travel within and record its behaviors. I primarily use photography to make my work as its apparatus promotes a very critical and literal type of visual perception and it is processes are controlled by light itself.
Harding’s work asks viewers to consider the centrality and importance of sunlight, and to think of this primary energy source as an art object in and of itself. (via lens scratch)
New York-based designer Ji Lee brings humor to mainstream street ads in NYC’s subway stations by covering the actors/models in the ad with removable stickers that look like red clown noses.
“Ads are definitely more fun with clowns in them, I believe everyone wins with this, especially the advertisers, because now they will get more looks to their ads than before.”
Lee looks to create temporary marks on these temporary public images. He takes on the job of ‘enhancing’ instead of ‘subtracting’ or ‘erasing’ the original image, which is by nature, a bit different than most types of vandalism.
“I live in NYC and I walk, bicycle or ride the subway everyday. There are lots of ads everywhere, so I wondered how I can make my commute little bit more fun for me and for everyone around by simply transforming these ads that have become so ubiquitous. When I place these stickers, people often laugh and give me a ‘thumb up’. I think people enjoy them.”
This isn’t Lee’s first foray into the world of creative street art projects. He’s also the brain behind “Mysterabbit,” the adorable urban invention that brought miniature rabbit statues to the streets of cities across the world. To check out more of Lee’s work, check out his site.(via HuffPost)
In photographer Rebecca Reeve’s series Marjory’s World I, she captures Floridian landscapes that reference a late 19th century Holland tradition. The idyllic scenes depict the swampy Everglades of long grasses, lily pads, and a lot of standing water. Framing each image is a set of curtains that blow in the wind. This is inspired by an old practice where during the wake of the deceased, it was customary to cover all of the mirrors, landscape paintings, and portraits in the home with clothes. Doing so makes it easier for the soul to depart the body and subdues any temptations to stay in this world.
Marjory’s World I is Reeve’s own interpretation of this act. To her, the ritual was confirmation of the deep connections and experiences we have with the natural environment. It also gave her a way to contextualize her fleeting time spent in the Everglades; All of these images were produced during her Airie Artist in Residence Program. Since she couldn’t take with her when she leaves, this symbolic act made it easier to depart.
In addition to the personal connection the artist draws from the work, to us it recalls the distance that many of us have to this untouched landscape. As we continue to develop an increasingly urban existence, these thrift-store fabrics create a window to the unfamiliar. (Via Artsy Forager)
Elaine Cameron-Weir latest work, titled Venus Anadyomene, 2014,consists of five similar pieces, each made a giant clam shell edged with neon tubing, and high-fire ceramic vessel each filled with olive oil, wick, flame, sand, mica, frankincense, benzoin, myrrh, brass. Each piece, suspended from the gallery by a brass rod, while the incense slowly burns.
Varying ideas of birth and bringing to life are present in the works, from the title (meaning ‘Venus Rising from the Sea’, a story of the Greek Goddess Aphrodite’s birth (and a famous work by Titian). The title of the work references both art history and god creation, as do the shells, which bring to mind Botticelli’s masterpiece of the Roman Goddess Venus (and one of the most recognizable and imitated paintings ever created). Meanwhile, the scent element in the gallery space of burning frankincense and myrrh recall the Christian nativity story and the birth of Jesus Christ, echoing the gifts brought by the Three Wisemen. Present throughout Cameron-Weir’s work are ideas of how symbolism is omnipresent to ideas of myth-making.
Elaine Cameron-Weir’s Venus Anadyomene, 2014 is currnetly on view now through April 6th at Ramiken Crucible in New York City.