Often treading between reverence and ridicule, the mystifying allure of art that reiterates sexual transgression remains suspended within a deviating purgatory of the sacred and the obscene. Buoyantly drifting within the underbelly of normative culture, the erotic and transgressive create a synergetic relationship in a strike against societal conventions. Through a crude presentation of social perversions, the atmosphere created through sexually transgressive art permits an insight that challenges not only sexual precepts, but invites a critique of human behavior irrevocably influenced by social structures. In an explosive resurgence of suppressed sexual impulses, the following artists create frantic, tense and exquisitely obscene renderings of deviations and sexualized social distortions.
Juan Ford uses duct tape to piece together a post-apocalyptic world. By connecting elements like sticks, “fragile” tape, leaves, chains, and sports gear, his paintings foreshadow a future where nature and plasticity merge as human beings fight for survival.
Ford’s paintings are a combination of solitary figures and haphazard geographic markers that point to an existence imagined in futurist novels and sci-fi movies. The figures, whose survival gear is a collection of protective pieces and camouflage, are both stoic and pleading, and we are urged to decipher the identity of each one via the costume they have assumed. Branches wrapped in tape indicate a fragile political boundary that time and weather cannot guarantee.
Ford is trying to extend traditional painting into a genre “as relevant as the most cutting edge contemporary art,” but these works become even more powerful in an installation environment. For ArtBasel Hong Kong (2013), his exhibition space was covered in a large panoramic forest scene. With works hung on top, this photographic backdrop starkly differentiates his hyperrealistic paintings and asks us to step between a real and imagined chaotic world. His Mildura Palimpsest Biennale show (2013) had works hung on black walls surrounded by primitive hunting tools.
Ford considers the outcomes of a fragile and politically intertwined existence. His images, which seem to lack meaning in their arbitrariness, present a poignant and uncanny unity to a world that we may not live in yet but is not too difficult to imagine. Ford lives and works in Australia and was recently awarded a New Work Grant by the Australia Council for the Arts. (via booooooom!)
Artist quote from Gillie and Margaret Daily
Photography taken from: juanford.com
Brooklyn based multimedia artist Emily McMaster has created a provocative video series featuring one shot scenes of masochism. Her work invites us into intimate and unsettling moments that provoke questions of power dynamics. Each work is a test for the squeamish, a pit of anxiety, and a platform for confusion and quandary. When entering the work, it remains unclear whether these acts are that of pleasure or torture. It remains unclear who is empowered and and who is dominated. Within her piece Steeple, McMaster sews her fingers together in a gesture from a childhood hand game. She struggles to break the ties, only to be unsuccessful and greeted with blood. Perhaps this piece speak of the disfunction within power structures, the loss of innocence, the impurity of self destruction. Baby’s Breath begins with the act of a masculine arms covering the head of the topless, red lip stick stained artist with a plastic bag. Again, the question of pleasure versus pain, power versus abuse, and in this particular video, female subjection. Her work is powerful, allusive, and perfectly hard to watch.
The following is her artist statement;
“Emily McMaster is a Brooklyn based artist who studied Printmaking at Bard College and The University of New Mexico. Her work, whether solo or in collaboration, focuses on delicacy, remarks on femininity, draws from fetish, and values playfulness above all else. She couldn’t put an x-acto knife down for a decade, but has recently swapped it out for a video camera. Baby’s Breath and Steeple are recent examples of this transition. With this new work Emily explores her endurance by confronting specific physical challenges. In this process she showcases texture, vulnerability, and masochism.”
Alicia Eggert creates kinetic, electronic, and interactive sculpture and installation work. With a background in interior and architectural design, Eggert builds her work with a temporal conception reflected in the stillness and movement of her pieces. Implementing a variety of objects in her designs, such as clocks, flashing LED text, a perpetually spinning bicycle wheel, and re-usable ceramic coffee cups that shatter down a perceived assembly line, Eggert uses simple ideas to convey a world of depth. Some of her work is created in collaboration with other artists, as she values sharing the creative experience with another person. She currently lives in Portland, Maine, and teaches sculpture and architecture at Bowdoin College.
Christian Stearry is great example of what happens when one spends their entire youth skateboarding- it begins to permeate every aspect of your life. His illustrations are focused on the tongue-in-cheek jokes found in growing up “bad,” whether it’s through graffiti, drinking, or being that guy that brings his bong everywhere. Lucky for us, it works.
Australian artist Ian Strange‘s ambitious project two year in the making is difficult to pin down. SUBURBAN isn’t quite installation, photography, performance, or video art – its really more than all of these. The project is really Ian Strange’s investigation of and interaction with the idea of suburbia. The sidewalk, front yard, middle class, ubiquitous rows of homes have grown with a generation of young people, and now with a second and third. The neighborhoods and houses themselves have become symbols of something beyond their function that Strange’s work seems to seek and find. Check out the video to get a preview of the upcoming exhibit.
Russian underwater photographer and biologist Alexander Semenov has created a new series of images that brilliantly captures a variety of deep sea worms known as polychaetes, some of which may be unknown to scientists. Semenov has spent many hours diving in places like the White Sea and Great Barrier Reef in Australia in order to get up close and personal with this creepy, crawly sea life. Altogether, Semenov photographed 222 different species of polychaetes that are currently being studied and documented by scientists.
Semenov first began photographing sea life for fun while organizing the White Sea Biological Station underwater projects. Using basic photography equipment, he’d get a few good shots every few months, and this eventually encouraged Semenov and his team to acquire more professional equipment. Semenov now produces images like the ones seen here, as well as a series of jellyfish and tiny creature images are all just as stunning. (via colossal)
Colombian photographer Adriana Duque uses digital photography to illuminate bizarre narratives taken from myth and the fantastical. Combining both the context of Western lifestyle with that of the rural Colombian world, Duque explores the uncharted territory of her mind through carefully crafted scenes and settings. This series, Anthology of an Obsession, features highly polished photographs, nearly monochromatic, of children interacting with a world before the one we know.
As said within her artist statement:
“Duque treats her medium as a kind of mis en scene in which she projects her child-centered concerns, in an apparently static dramatization of actions in which a sense of astonishment and anxiety is present that also points out to a collision between the normal and paranormal. Some of her photographs build illusions of mythical proportions developed with an almost religious ritual sense; photography in this terrain is a kind of romantic gesture that directs the viewer towards a transcendental experience. In the fictional fairy tale references there lurks a disquieting subtext of sadistic overtones related to notions of childhood identity.” (Excerpt from Source)