French artist Marc Giai-Miniet packs hidden tales into small, elaborate dioramas, a craft he has been pursuing since the 90s. This month his work is on display in New York’s Jonathan LeVine Gallery in a show titled “Theatre of Memory.” His work explores remains; of libraries, laboratories, waiting rooms, dungeons, prisons, hospitals, interrogation rooms, all places with signs of evident use, but all completely absent of people.
“Every room in Giai-Miniet’s boxes are dismally packed with hoards of books and machinery. Influenced by childhood visits to the garage his father worked in as a mechanic, the utilitarian organization of objects has long been a theme of interest to the artist. This aesthetic was also greatly impacted by his exposure to images of the Holocaust at a young age, specifically how the Nazi regime systematically seized and cataloged the personal belongings of concentration camp victims.
Giai-Miniet views his boxes as a metaphor for the human condition, which is comprised of biological functions, as well as a desire to achieve intellectual and spiritual enlightenment. This duality is represented by the presence of machinery in the works, symbolizing the physical side of human nature, while literature suggests the logical side. The artist states, ‘From the whiteness of books to the darkness of sewers, there is a never-ending to and fro between the two main poles of humanity: bestiality and transcendence, human fragility and inaccessible divinity.’”(Excerpt from Source)
Photographer Gray Malin (@graymalin) takes us on a journey in his colorful, idyllic series titled Dreams. The sun-soaked images feature a herd of sheep whose coats are decorated with pink, purple, yellow, blue, and green pigment. Malin had the idea years before he actually made the work; he was inspired by a story about a Scottish sheep farmer who had colored the fleece of his flock in order to deter the thieves who had been stealing his sheep at night.
This powerful visual stuck with him for seven years. “I dreamed of creating a series where I could give these often overlooked animals a way to shine, bringing a rainbow of color to help inspire others to stand out and follow their own dreams.”
Malin consulted with a team of experts and eventually travelled to rural Australia where he worked hand-in-hand with a family of third-generation sheep farmers to make this series a reality. “Utilizing a non-toxic, vegetable dye that rinses off with water, the farmers misted each sheep with the same tool they use to administer a spray for ticks and lice,” he says.
Sheep yearn to be apart of a crowd; they prefer to blend in rather than stand out. So, each of Malin’s images are meant to encourage others to “wander from the flock” and go after their desires.
Walking past the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City, you might catch a glimpse of a bright pink, floor-to-ceiling, perforated, amoeba-like shape. Don’t be alarmed. “Situation Room”, a collaborative project, is a self-supported interactive structure by architect Marc Fornes / TheVeryMany paired with Oslo-based artist Jana Winderen’s engineered sounds. Visitors are invited to move within the installation, triggering the responsive sound. The passageways, apertures and tunnels are composed of 2000 parts designed by Fornes and fabricated by bengal.fierro. Patterns punched in the structure create patterns of shadow and light in the darkened room. Access to additional storefront projects is available through provided tablets.
“Reflecting on the contemporary conditions emerging between the digital and the physical realms, the collaboration of Winderen and Fornes collapses sound, light and form in an object with intrinsic sensorial behaviors, inviting visitors to question the properties of matter and the built environment surrounding us.”(Source)
This site-specific work is immersive, enveloping visitors in a multi-sensory experience that enhances the tie between physical space and sound. The idea that human presence affects built environments is made clear by the integration of responsive audio. Winderen’s website explains, “She is concerned with finding and revealing sounds from hidden sources, both inaudible for the human senses and sounds from places and creatures difficult to access.”
“The installation is a vibrating sound experiment that aims to transform the architecture into animated sensible form. Conceived as a sound object that absorbs and contrasts the site specificity of the Storefront Gallery with abstract, spatial, formal and acoustic variations and compositions, Situation NY raises questions about context, sensorial readings, estrangement and the uncanny tangentially resonating with contemporary debates around the ontology of objects.” (Source)
The “Situation Room” was created with the support of Robert Rauschenberg Foundation and is on display through November 1, 2014.Photos by Miguel de Guzmán. (via Hi-Fructose)
Debra Broz, a ceramic artist in Los Angeles, has a dedication to manipulating the conventional ceramic animals used and loved for kitschy home decor. Through her art surgery, she forms nearly mythical renditions of hybrid-animals. Although they still look cute, there is something inherently off and relatively creepy about them. Starting by sourcing and finding old ceramic pieces she is attracted to, Broz then re-assembles and grafts parts and pieces of different ceramic sculptures together. Arms, legs, multiple heads- she tries it all. The doe-eyed Franken-furries still contain an element of innocent, their new freakishness framed with such subtlety that it is nearly camouflaged; for many viewers it takes a second glance to even notice that something is amiss within the structure and proportion.
Broz eloquently articulates her work in an interview, “The thing is, it all depends on perception. Though kitsch may act as if it is the antithesis of fine art, if you start trying to analyze it you run into many of the same complex issues you would if you were analyzing fine art. Personally, I enjoy the intellectual play that is part of analyzing objects. It seems funny to me that people desire to take content away from things rather than explore it. Part of what makes the world interesting is how complex it is, and I’d rather have the complexity, with all its difficulty, than a watered-down, idealized and simplified version. That is part of why I’m interested in kitsch. If you really start looking into it, it is just laden with references.” (Excerpt from Source)
Dutch photographer Paul Kooiker‘s latest exhibition, “Sunday,” takes erotic portraiture out for a new spin. His subject, an anonymous pale woman, stretches and contorts herself in the nude against a lush background, at once reminiscent of classical cherubs as well as modern pin-ups. The result is suggestive and sexually charged, yet also awkward and voyeuristic. Without a glimpse of her face or expression, viewers are left wondering what emotional state she’s in. Is this a peepshow for one? Or is she showing off for a paramour?
Kooiker describes the series of erotic nudes as “robustly built women with flesh so palpably rendered that their bodies attain an artless poetic grandeur.” Duality is ever-present in the series. The words “flesh” and “grandeur”; the contrast of “artless” and “poetic”; and the fact that the series seems to be many women yet one woman at once. The bright colors and sumptuous shades of burnt autumn reds and oranges in the background only serves to highlight the dreaminess of the photos, as though the woman is being viewed at a distance, various emotions roused but suppressed at once.
Jesse Kanda has earned his stripes as a digital artist, creating album artwork for the edgy pop artist FKA Twigs and working closely with producer Arca (who has produced for Kanye). His figures move in an oddly distorted way, sexual but also mildly disturbing. They’re coloured either in deep bruise-like hues, or glowing and shining whites and blacks. Although they are perturbing in their deformity and colouring, the figures are ethereal and set in tantalizing positions.
One image, made for Arca’s cover for Thievery, shows a woman with large hands running up her thighs chased by a deep black shadow. The lighting illuminates the rest of her body in blinding white so she appears like some kind of porcelain. For the same song, Kanda also created a music video of a woman with green, purple, and white skin slowly and sensually twerking. It’s kind of mesmerizing to watch.
Kanda interviewed for Fader magazine, and spoke about his process:
When you work with a computer, every frame has to be created and calculated, so it’s prone to mechanical results. I try my best to set up my working environment so that accidents can happen. A good [method] is working really quickly. Like making large brush strokes to start with and then adding/subtracting details later.
This is another advantage I have working with computer graphics: the control I have over lights. I have complete freedom over how many lights I have in a scene, where to put them, even whether to automate them. Sometimes they can have a life of their own, like the light itself is a character. (Via Fader)
Mads Perch is a wonderful master of light. He not only photographs sensual portraits beautifully, but also can manipulate projections with finesse. Working mostly as a commercial photographer, Perch together with art director Gemma Fletcher has become used to producing unfussy images quickly and efficiently. He has a sensitive style that would have no problem fitting in with the digital romantics.
This is a genre where artists are harnessing digital technologies in their search for the sublime: representing manifestations of Romanticism in the digital. (Source)
Perch does just that – his images are peaceful, ethereal, emotive and gentle. He evokes something very humane with the aid of different technologies. He says of his own work:
[My] photography encompasses clean, crisp, fresh and beautifully understated portraiture to more vivid imagery imbued with vibrancy, attitude and a healthy dose of color.
Perch’s choice of patterns and tones he projects are what make his portraits so enchanting. The blocks of greens and oranges caressing noses and draping over shoulders; the stripes bending around a gently tilted head; eyelids covered in technicolor plaid – these are what turn his subjects from something expected into something surprisingly celestial. Apart from these portraits, Perch has tried this method of projection on various buildings, structures and landscapes for an ad campaign in 2014. He has also photographed the award winning Klaxons ‘Surfing The Void’ album cover, and British rock group Clock Opera’s ‘Ways To Forget’ cover. All using a similarly clever and experimental approach to light and color. To see more of his beautiful work take a look here.
It’s inarguable that making great art begins with a good foundation in the basics. And when access to studying foundations in art is free and available anywhere by simply signing up on Craftsy for one of their free online mini classes, studying drawing foundations becomes delightfully accessible to all.
Craftsy offers a wide array of online classes from drawing essentials to watercolor. Figure Drawing: An Essential Guide, taught by accomplished artist Patricia Watwood is one of the most popular classes. It’s the perfect way to try out Craftsy and experience the ease and convenience of taking a class from your home, at your desired pace. Watwood goes over the basics of rendering the figure with drawing materials in this free mini class. By guiding her students through stages, such as working with graphite pencils for sketching out simple angles, to moving into hatching for shading, drawing a figure becomes demystified. Watwood, whose gorgeous paintings are featured here, has exhibited her work worldwide at galleries and museums and has been featured on the cover of art magazines. Her understanding of drawing the figure is clear in her work and her ability to share it with her students is demonstrated in class drawings.
This online class is developed with live models, using classical techniques, making it a great fit for students at any level, from beginners to more advanced artists who simply want to brush up on basics. Convenient features such as being able to bookmark key moments, take video notes and re-watch concepts with the 30-second repeat feature make for a great student experience on Craftsy. Figure Drawing: An Essential Guide is free, so there’s no reason not to explore and give it a try!