Louis Jacinto‘s series “Floating Away” is at once alien and familiar, like Norman Rockwell from space. His photographs are of the most mundane objects we see every day in our lives: signs, usually connected to buildings and rooftops, drifting away. One photograph features a water tower, suspended in mid-air like a Midwestern siren call. Unmoored from their surroundings, the objects seem to contain some kind of portent, like a surreal rapture of modern design.
Jacinto’s photographs of big company logos are particularly evocative; devoid of branding, advertisements and the adoring gaze of consumers, they seem almost lonely. There’s a nostalgia to Jacinto’s photographs. They’re haunted by ghosts of icons from the past.
According to a statement by the artist,
“I expected so much growing up in the 1960s. My home always included discussions of the day’s events and politics. I saw how people struggled, fought and died for what was right. I thought by the time I was grown, the world was going to be beautiful and wonderful. I see we are still getting it backwards. I do everything I can so that my own ideals don’t float away.”
"Tossin' And Turnin", Flashe, india ink, gouache on Rives BFK 15" x 20", 2009
Christopher Davison currently lives in Philadelphia, working as a freelance designer and part time professor for the Tyler School of Art.His influences in drawing come from a variety of sources including Medieval European Art, Indian Miniatures, and the etchings of Goya and George Grosz.
Taxidermy is a subject that frequently makes people squeamish and uncomfortable, and there is something definitely something surreal about preserving an animal that has died. Idiots are a Dutch art collective who combine their skills in sculpture and design create taxidermy works of art that are both playful and disturbing. The animals are lifelike and dynamic, but often with their bodies torn apart, stuffed into glass containers, or trapped in unnatural positions. Their sculptures often exhibit the animals inner workings, and replace organs with metals, minerals, or jewels. The beauty contained inside the animals makes their lifelessness even more tragic, and indicates that the artists recognize the morbidity in their own work.
Will Cotton has created a very successful career from painting fluffy cotton-candy cloudscapes and supple naked women. His body of work can be divisive, as it can easily be seen as gimmicky. Beautiful/Decay covered his portraits of Katy Perry a few years ago, and did not hold back any punches. In his more recent work in the past two years, though, I think there are some exciting, if subtle, developments taking place. Sentiments that have always been on the periphery of his work, but ones that I hope will begin to come through more strongly.
First, I will say that I do enjoy Cotton’s aesthetic to begin with. I mean, sorry, but I literally want to lick every part of every painting, and I’m not even into women. They’re delectable, and I know that’s his aim. He certainly isn’t challenging anything with his work; he adds a spoonful of sugar, and then another, and then shovels in more after that to seduce you with succulent sweetness. Maybe I’m even a little disgusted with myself for becoming rapt in his opulent fantasies. That said, I think his work is very apropos of our contemporary circumstance, and damn, does he capture our plushy, overabundant lifestyle with imagination and skill.
Honestly, I think the joke is on us for eating it all up. If anything, Cotton’s practice provides a mirror to reflect the image of the art world, at least some of us totally ready to douse ourselves in oozy sweetness so easy to swallow. I enjoy the beastly undertones, though. In the past two years, Cotton has painted two fish-looking creatures ridden by nude women, and I’m curious to see how this narrative develops. I find these works the most compelling, as the women seem to have more depth in their expressions, as well as an air of command. I think it would be tacky to suddenly have ghoulish creatures descend upon the candy lands and their nymph inhabitants, but the gradual emergence of a threatening presence would be a welcome addition to my eyes.
Body painting is a tedious, but amazing process with stunning results. Incorporating the technique in unique ways, each of these three artists captures beautiful and poetic images after applying paint to skin.
California-based photographer Jean-Paul Bourdier combines the human form with landscape to create a unique visual synchronization. Painting the bodies, posing them just so, and taking the photographs, Bourdier explains that, “arising in each visual event conceived are the geometries generated by the body as a determinant of ‘negative space’—not the background of the figure and the field surrounding it, but the space that makes composition and framing possible in photography.”
Incorporating what is largely traditional painting, Alexa Meade also uses the unique canvas that is the human body. Painting directly onto the skin, Meade creates a trompe l’leil that is wholly unusual. Camouflaging her figures into the background Meade creates optically engaging images that confuse 3D and 2D planes.
Australia-based artist Emma Hack combines painting on canvas, body painting and studio-based photography. Hack’s works incorporates rich visual narrative with magical realism. Also interested in the idea of camouflage, Hack spends approximately 19 hours painting her wallpaper and then anywhere from 8-15 hours painting her subject to throughly explore the subject. The arduous process is time-consuming, but the results are spectacular.
Zacharie Gaudrillot-Roy is a French photographer whose Facades series is a personal exercise in land and city-scape photography, with one major difference. In each photo, the Lyon-based Gaudrillot-Roy digitally edits each image so that building itself is erased, leaving only the structure’s front, or facade, present. Now on his third iteration of the series, each village or city building carries ominous, almost surreal connotations of civilizations being abandoned, wrecked by recession, or left to slowly disintegrate. However, the images retain a still, quiet beauty, and are haunting in their simplicity.
Says the photographer, “The façade is the first thing we see, it’s the surface of a building. It can be impressive, superficial or safe. Just like during a wandering through a foreign city, I walk through the streets with these questions: what will happen if we stick to that first vision? If the daily life of “The Other” was only a scenery? This series thus offers a vision of an unknown world that would only be a picture, without intimate space, with looks as the only refuge.” (via skumar’s)
Photographer Steve Rosenfield’s “What I Be Project” is, as he says, “a social experiment turned into, what is now, a global movement about honesty and empowerment. In today’s society, we are often told to look or act a certain way. If we differ from these ‘standards,’ we are often judged, ridiculed, bullied and sometimes even killed over them. I started this project in hopes to open up the lines of communication, and to help everyone accept diversity with an open mind & heart and empower those who feel they suffer for something they may see as a flaw.”
The project asks participants to write their biggest fear or insecurity somewhere on their body, and then allow Rosenfield to photograph the writing as part of a portrait. Often the subjects write an accompanying statement to the portrait, discussing how the fear has affected their life. The courage required to be a part of the project is meant to be cathartic. Including everyone from high school students to better-known individuals, such as Michael Franti, Kathryn Budig, Paula Van Oppen and Trevor Hall, the project is all about how we define ourselves based on the perception of others’ opinions. Drawing attention to notions such as reputation, stereotype, self-identification and insecurity, Rosenfield’s work is encouraging. It helps a viewer consider what the world might be like without the labels we assign and assumptions we make about ourselves, and people we don’t even know. Learn more about it here. (via theguardian)
Troy Coulterman sculpts weird and wonderful figures in bizarre circumstances. His use of unnatural, vibrant colors interrupts his already unusual sculptures, giving them an added edge. Graphic novels and comic book artists are the inspiration behind his exaggerated characters in his work, as if these vivacious and animated characters have jumped right off the comic book page and into reality. Receiving his Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Coulterman uses his skill to from his figures out of resin, often placing them in a realm with swirling clouds and dripping hair. Coulterman explains the meaning behind his highly stylized work.
“These abstract, absurd forms that interact with the figurative pieces, they’re in a way visual metaphors to describe the psyche of the figures, the emotional moments in the figures.”
Although some of his figures have geometric faces replacing what would be normal human features, most of his work has an element of abnormal organic matter spewing from eyes or engulfing the figure. These organic forms appear somewhat disturbing but ultimately beautiful with their striking colors and detail. Another aspect of Coulterman’s work that is impossible to ignore is each unique and dramatic facial expression his figures possess. Each expression the artist sculpts creates an unmistakable mood in his artwork. Originally from Ontario, Canada, Coulterman has exhibited all over the world and has been included in many different art publications. He is currently represented by Slate Gallery in Regina, SK, Canada.