Scott Greenwalt is an Oakland-based painter whose mixed media works walk the line between geometric order and gruesome chaos. His palette often resembles that of our most decay-prone biological structures and fluids: the dirty beige of crumbling skulls, the electric pink of strained arteries, and the bright green of runny mucus. His compositions exist within empty landscapes or without any background context at all. And it should be hard to look at his work for too long. It hits so hard that we should be running for the hills. Instead, probably due to his immense level of skill, it’s hard to look away. Peep some recent work from the artist below.
Photographer Donna J. Wan’s ongoing series “Death Wooed Us” is gorgeous, unsettling, and deeply empathetic. “In 2011 after the birth of my daughter I developed a severe case of postpartum depression and considered taking my own life,” she writes in the description of the work, all photos taken in “suicide destinations”—places where people have taken their lives.
“Using research gathered from media reports, I found several locations in the Bay Area and travelled to them. I walked along the paths taken by these people before they ended their lives. Most of these photographs were taken from bridges, including the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most well-known ‘suicide destinations,’ but also lesser-known beaches and overlooks. I purposely photographed from the perspective of looking up at the sky, down at the water or crags, or straight ahead but far away, thinking that these views might have resembled the ones seen by others moments before dying. Many of my images have a hazy and elusive quality, which I believe reflects the clouded state of mind of the suicidal.”
Suicide is such a sensitive subject. There are many people—probably the majority of people—who cannot imagine losing the will to live. Whether because of religious beliefs, or ties to family and friends, or just the innate need to stay alive, these people believe that they would never end their own lives. Then there are others, who have lived with pain and grief and the loss of hope. Those who, because of sickness of body or brain, struggle through every day. Once you have crossed this line, between life at all costs and death as a merciful end, the world never looks the same to you again. In Wan’s series, her experience is what makes the photos haunting and peaceful. She has looked into the cracks of her own soul, and that has enabled her to walk in the footsteps of those without hope and capture their last sights with kindness. The last view of a suicidal person could be macabre, an intrusion into someone else’s pain. These photos offer beauty, the acknowledgement of despair, and the desire for peace.
“There are some who may think that my photographs romanticize these places of death. I can understand that point of view, although that is not my intention. Death is not beautiful – in fact, jumping from a bridge 200 feet high is a very painful and violent way to die. Yet the sublimity of these places continues to lure people to them. I do not intend for my work to glorify the allure of these places. Instead, I hope that it may offer a glimpse into the minds of those who may have thought that dying by these beautiful places was a peaceful way to end their suffering.”
(via feature shoot)
Brazilian artist Angelica Dass has an ambitious project, titled Humanæ, that attempts to collect all possible human skin tones using one of the main systems of color classification, Pantone®. The background of the portraits are all dyed with the Pantone® color that matches the same color as an extracted sample of the subject’s photographed skin tone. Dass’ ultimate goal is to provoke the viewer and use the internet as a discussion platform on ethnic identity by creating images that connect us independent from factors such as nationality, origin, economic status, age, or aesthetic standards. Dass lives and works in Madrid.
Women have had the opportunity to rise against the perfection of the ad model. For instance, Jes from The Militant Baker goes against the grain by reinventing the black and white, over-perfected couple shots seen in Abercrombie and Fitch’s stores by posing, as a plus size model, with the regular Abercrombie male model. Many ad campaigns [Dove, Hanes, etc] have also done the same thing countless of times by producing content that celebrates the fact that beauty comes in every shape and size. These ads, however, almost never feature men, but only women.
So what happens with men? Do they not go through the same? Are they not as affected by the distorted ideals of beauty as much as women are?
In this photo series, Jenny Francis and The Daily tabloid newspaper, The Sun [England] teamed up to show how real men compare to the popular underwear ads that showcase the chiseled abs and faked tanned male models.
Four average looking men, stood alongside David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, Freddie Ljungberg, and David Gandy to show off what a real life man would look like wearing the same exact underwear and standing in the same exact poses. The photos are quite funny, but they are also quite empowering as the provocative poses and the polarity of bodies shown in the comparisons further examine the different male body types out there, from short and thin, to tall and bulky. Just like women, many men are confronted with the issue of body ideals that are often impossible to achieve. (Via My Modern Met)
We received an artist submission today from En Hong, a Korean artist currently living & working in NYC. I was kind of blown back by her cosmic soul sister double take to Elizabeth Peyton.
What do you guys think- too similar, or sincere homage? More Peyton/Hong images below. I don’t know, I might fall on the uncanny doppelganger side of things.
It’s not everyday that we post an artist who works with yarn but Jo Hamilton’s crochet portraits are really interesting. I’m really happy that Jo decided to not over finish these and left them without a background and with the yarn hanging down. Sort of looks like paint drips and adds another dimension to the work that you don’t see often in crochet.
C E R A S O L I Gallery presents a selection of works by three artists working with collage as their medium, MATT PHILLIPS ‘Out Through The In Door’ in Gallery One, MARIO WAGNER ‘Some Are Here And Some Are Missing’ in Gallery Two, and SETH CURCIO ‘Beyond A Shadow’ in Gallery Three at Cerasoli.
Utilizing a multi-faceted approach to painting, Matt Phillips’ large-scale, oil and collage on canvas artworks reference op-art, pattern painting, mosaics and textiles. Phillips approaches his multilayered, dynamically textured, collage paintings as both object and illusion. Prismatic, lively and rhythmic, accessible cube-grids and diamond quilt-piece patterns are viewed through transparent cracks, sketchy loops and crooked squares. The artist’s intentional interruption of patterned space fractures his already frenetic compositions into kaleidoscopic abstractions. Plays on shape, color and movement result in paintings that are both formal and lyrical, quirky yet familiar. Originally from Roanoke, Virginia, Phillips received his degree in visual art and art history from Hampshire College, where he has taught as a visiting professor.
In Mario Wagner’s collage on canvas works, high contrast images of 1960s cool are layered onto large-scale vintage settings, tinted in lurid colors and populated by men in three piece suits and girls with shiny hair, clustered hands and disembodied eyes. Wagner draws from familiar Modernist techniques such as Dadaist collage and photomontage to create his paper collage and acrylic on canvas works. Created using ‘analog’ processes with scissor, glue and acrylic, Wagner’s surreal scenes of intrigue and glamour exude an underlying false sense of nostalgia for a bygone era of an overindulged society. Wagner, a German-born artist and illustrator, has been shown in numerous international exhibitions and his illustrations and artworks have been commissioned by Esquire, Playboy, Vanity Fair, and The New York Times Magazine.
Seth Curcio implements Xerox and laser copiers, billboard pasting, enamel paints, and screen prints — what he describes as “the accessible materials of mass commerce” — in the construction of his mid-sized collages on paper and wood. At first glance, Curcio’s pictures resemble familiar contemporary landscapes. But, on further inspection, a perplexing multiplicity imbues Curcio’s images with hallucinogenic static. Kaleidoscopic explosions splinter a high-rise building into a shadowy house of cards. At other times, patterns multiply like mushrooms within celestial landscapes that mirror both the surface of the moon and the interior of the Large Hadron Collider. Disquieting and complex, Curcio’s works resemble photo-real environments shredded and then pieced together from memory, an intricate mesh which captures the claustrophobic, endlessly reconstructed nature of our contemporary culture. Curcio worked as director of Redux Contemporary Art Center and is the founder of the art blog Dailyserving.com.
Opens June 13, 2009, 6-9pm
Remains on view through July 8, 2009
8530-B Washington Blvd.
Culver City, CA 90232
Charles Avery‘s artistic practice is centered around a fictional island. Everything he creates has some connection to either the history of this place, or specimens and relics that are found there. Since 2004 Avery has been building the story of this place through intricately detailed drawings, sculptures, installations, and texts.
The gateway to the Island is the town of Onomatopoeia – once the stepping off point of the pioneers who first came to the place, turned colonial outpost, turned boom town, bustling metropolis, depression ravaged slum, to regenerated city of culture and tourist destination. (Source)
Avery builds on his own personal history as a starting point to this Island. Born on the Isle of Mull off the West Coast of Scotland, it seems as if he is commenting on the influence the British Monarchy has had over his home country, and also on numerous other countries and islands. His oeuvre is concerned with the progress of a nation – from rags to riches, and back again. The retelling of this folklore is a complex one. His work includes samples of the flora and fauna found there (different types of tree branches and birds), the fashions worn (a lot of different headpieces) and also studies of the local’s behavior. He creates a full anthropological study.
His past projects include “The Island” – concerned with the same place, just with the information organized differently. His attention to detail is so great, he even shows us the type of creature that we would encounter in the Island’s pantheon: a strange hybrid of dogs joined at the head, engaged in battle. Judging from these animals and the frenzied activity he depicts in his studies of the town square, this Island is definitely one I am glad to visit theoretically. (Via HiFructose)