The story of photographer Rebecca Bathory’s traveling to the ruins of the old Soviet Union reads like an adventure tale. As she and her guides were in the midst of exploring abandoned buildings and monuments, they were discovered by authorities. She explains:
Not many explorers travel to Russia where the rules are very different, locations are heavily guarded and a strong military presence exists everywhere. There are serious consequences for getting caught. We managed to stay hidden for all of the trip, we maximised our stealthiness, ducking and diving into bushes and sneaking past sleeping security. But on day three our good fortune ran out as we visited a top secret radar installation. After walking through the forest, mosquitoes attacking us from all directions, we saw the radar and made our way towards it, but just metres away suddenly we were joined by military and they weren’t happy…
Bathory risked radiation exposure, experienced arrest and interrogation, and was accused of espionage as she shot this series of stunning photographs. They depict areas of abandonment – forgotten monuments, peeling paint, a places where nature has taken over. The photographer offers many haunting sights never seen before by western eyes.
These images were comprised into a book entitled Soviet Ghosts. They were all taken by Bathory, while essays and articles by Professor Owen Evans and Neil Cockwill from Edge Hill University and Tristi Brownett.
The juxtaposition between war/peace runs rampant throughout this beautifully rendered piece by Passion Pictures. I’m unsure of what it’s for but the message is heard loud and clear through amazingly computer generated images.
Ted Gahl is making some beautifully paired down paintings. They are amazingly suggestive for the minuscule amount of information they present. The painting above feels, to me, like portraits in profile, but is it really? I’ve never seen a facelike these pink hieroglyphs. It’s interesting what a painting can make you think you see, and with just a few clues. Gahl is in a bunch of upcoming shows: The Power Of Selection 3, curated by Ryan Travis Christian at Western Exhibitions, in Chicago; 2020 at the Above Second Gallery, in Hong Kong; and Color Me Bad(d): Joshua Abelow, Ted Gahl, and Hugh Scott Douglas at Nudashank in Baltimore.
The paintings of Chase Westfall are pleasantly elusive. His work often toes the line between abstraction and figuration. He seems to often swing from sunny imagary such as flowers or rainbows to that of mutilated animal carcasses. However, he never gives it entirely away. The imagary often is obscured by a diamond grid work or its own abstraction. The viewers eyes constantly shifts between deciphering the images and inspecting the pattern, neither resolving the other. His oil paintings are executed on linen contrasting the soft surface with his hard edged geometric shapes.
Zachary Zezima is an illustrator from New York that graduated from Parsons School of Design. His illustrations are unnervingly disoriented and chaotic yet are seemingly able to carry out emotions. The work consists mostly of black and white with touches of colors to accentuate certain parts of the illustration. The characters in his work float in the chaotic backgrounds and play with the elements added in the illustration, making them quite dynamic and interesting to look at.
Illustrator Meera Lee does lovely work. What appealed to me was the mix of simple compositions with textured detail. Along with illustration, she also does watercolor and photography. You can purchase her prints here!
Raqib Shaw was born in Calcultta, India. He now lives in London where he graduated from Central St Martins School of Arts and based his house/studio in the South London neighborhood.
His work is mostly comprised of paintings. He uses a unique technique: he paints with a porcupine quill and car paint. Every motif is outlined in embossed gold, a technique similar to ‘cloisonné’ found in early Asian pottery, which is a source of inspiration.
The artist’s fantastical world is full of intricate details, rich colors, and jewel-like surfaces, masking an intense violent and sexual content. It’s an explosion of Western architecture (arches, columns, wall decorations), vibrant flora and unexpected animals that have human bodies (peacoks, ducks, roosters, reptiles).
The result from far is intoxicating; but as the viewer, you want to come closer and admire the beauty of the details. The paintings, which at first can feel overwhelming become fascinating in terms of color, shapes and harmony. Underneath the bizarre combinations of the figures, there is the celebration of a society free of moral restraint.
Raqib Shaw has added new paintings in this recent parisian exhibition. Three of them are self portraits, showing the artist in his house/studio. Although his own image never clearly appears, he made sure his favorite personal elements were recognizable: his dogs, views from his studio’s window, champagne bottles and his new bronze sculptures.
Raqib Shaw’s second solo exhibition is currently at the Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery in Paris, Marais location, until July 25th 2015.
Lindsay Bottos, a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, has created “Anonymous,” a series of webcam selfies overlain with anonymous messages she’s received via her Tumblr page. The messages Bottos uses criticize her appearance, body-shaming and slut-shaming the selfies she’s posted to her Tumblr page. “I get tons of anonymous messages like this every day and while this isn’t unique to women, the content of the messages and the frequency in which I get them are definitely related to my gender. I almost exclusively get them after I post selfies. The authority people feel they have to share their opinion on my appearance is something myself and many other girls online deal with daily.”
The timing of Bottos’ project coincides with a recent article published by Pacific Standard that makes the case for online harassment, especially of women, as the next issue facing women’s civil rights. Even through a medium like the internet, a platform perceived as a level playing field of expression, women receive a disproportionate amount of threats and abuse related to their gender and appearance. Bottos asserts, “The act of women taking selfies is inherently feminist, especially in a society that tries so hard to tell women that our bodies are projects to be worked on and a society that profits off of the insecurities that it perpetuates. Selfies are like a ‘fuck you’ to all of that, they declare that ‘hey I look awesome today and I want to share that with everyone’ and that’s pretty revolutionary.”
Bottos’ other projects also heavily feature text, written or embroidered, onto various surfaces. For “Get Over It,” Bottos embroidered thoughts about her sexual assault onto a tear- and mascara-stained pillowcase; for “The Morning After,” she wrote thoughts in permanent marker in places touched by a hook-up; and for “I Don’t Really Miss You,” Bottos embroidered thoughts about a relationship onto images, clothing, and mementos. Whichever medium she uses, Bottos conveys her vulnerability though language and form, rendering an honest and engaging perspective. (via buzzfeed)