Jan Huling‘s beaded sculptures are inspired by a continuous fascination with indigenous and popular cultures, as well as world religions and mythologies. Her meticulous work combines found objects with surface design, recontexualizing recognizable objects by adorning them with colorful patterns and infusing them with wonder and whimsy.
“Certain themes continue to resonate for me. The dolls I frequently include in my constructions explore dreams of childhood while removing them from the realm of cherished playthings.” Ultimately, Huling’s work seeks to “transform the mundane and allow us to imagine the magic within the familiar.”
Jay Schmidt is one of the more perplexing guys I’ve met, because he appears like a very clean cut, normal guy in his fifties (slacks and a dress shirt) – but there is something right under the surface that you can’t put your finger on. I am hesitant to say madness, but maybe what passes for madness in a consumer culture. Once you see his paintings it comes into focus, they present a parody of the world in a queasy wobbling, agitated, cartoonish iconography that lets you know exactly what he is thinking!
Chinese artists Sun Yuan and Peng Yu have materialized a tangible loss of hope with their most recent work simply entitled “Angel”. The life-size sculpture made entirely of silica gel, fibre glass, stainless steel, and woven mesh depicts a fallen angel caught in a net. The angel is depicted here as an old women, with all of the feathers gone from the wings lying at an angle that suggests she is not alive anymore. The sculpture is on display in a public setting, which gives it the role of an epic spectacle not only because of its aesthetic features but also for the message it carries.
The craftsmanship and work put into this piece are almost eerie in all their hyperrealist nature. The details put into emulating a human face and realistic, accurately sized wings contribute to the disturbing effect of the piece and bring an otherworldly being into a world in a brutal way that makes us assess the situation as if it were actually happening.
The symbolic value of such a piece lies in the idea of an angel being able to be of help to mankind, yet, in the powerless position Yuan and Yu have presented it, this role is diminished if not erased completely. This piece also explores the clash between the world of angels and the world of human beings, which are brought together here in a painful, if not catastrophic manner. The magnificent horror of this piece lies both in its strong visual and symbolic value and gives the viewers something to reflect upon.
In 2011, photographer Colby Vincent Edwards (in collaboration with William Franevsky and Jarrett Scherff) created The 8th Day, an incredible exhibition that “documents” a post-apocalyptic future. In addition to black and white photography, the artists designed costumes made of leather, cloth, feathers, twine, and bone. Dusty, ripped, and layered, the outfits integrate brilliantly with the wasted environment. The weapons the models carry seem ancient, but upon closer inspection betray the remnants of the present-day world: shattered metal and protruding nails.
The photographs themselves are stark and intimate, composed of “high contrasts with rich blacks, and blank white collodion skies” (Source). We see human figures traversing barren plains, salvaging debris, and collapsing in what could be sorrow, exhaustion, or near-death. With their faces masked, the characters’ physical anonymity makes it possible to imagine oneself in their place, navigating the devastated world. Here, the artists have drawn on the appeal of our childhood fantasies, but have troubled them by infusing such imaginative stories with the tragedy and finality of a cataclysmic event. Step back from the beautiful details and you perceive the vast emptiness of the world.
Even though the exhibition is a few years old, the images are still intensely relevant. Depictions of post-apocalyptic worlds weigh heavily on our social consciousness. In this way, The 8th Day captivates us while making us quietly thankful that such a universe exists only in our imaginations — for now. Visit their Tumblr page for a fuller narrative of these stunning photographs. You can view the rest of Edwards’ work here.
Argentinian artist Estela A Cuadro has a body of work both ethereal and precise. She has beautiful pen work layered with watercolor backdrops creating worlds of her own. Her pieces show themes of acrobatics and carnival in an understated way.
LA sculptor Andrew Lewicki built this bad ass half pipe for a skateboarding themed group show at the Torrance Art Museum. Check out a few more skating themed works as well as a oreo cookie manhole and gold color crayon gold bar sculptures after the jump.
French artist Daniel Buren‘s long career has been focused on both questioning and criticizing the relationship of art to the structures that frame it. Buren’s work has delved into installation, critical writing and interventions. From the artist’s statement: “All of Buren’s interventions are created ‘in situ’, appropriating and coloring the spaces in which they are presented. They are critical tools addressing questions of how we look and perceive, and the way space can be used, appropriated, and revealed in its social and physical nature.”
One of his most powerful interventions Perimeter For A Roomwork in Situ. 2011, was installed at Lisson Gallery, the London Gallery who represents Buren and who specializes in conceptual, Minimalist art. Created with sheets of clear acrylic colored with self-adhesive filters,and punctuated by border stripes of black vinyl, Perimeter investigates the nature of the room which houses work, and identifies with the idea of being work. Says the artist in an interview with Wallpaper*’s Emma O’Kelly, “It’s so simple. It follows the perimeter of the room, which is an unusual L-shape, with varying heights. It’s a complicated space, but more exciting to work with than a white cube. Playing with the idea of the perimeter – something I have never done before – I built the piece in-situ, as always…The colours are simple – I could only get four colours of Plexiglas. I arrange them in alphabetical order depending on the language of the country I’m in, so for this piece, they are arranged as they are spelt in English. I always apply this system as soon as I start using more than two colours.” (via wallpaper*)
Interim Camp by London creative agency FIELD is an experimental film entirely made from computer generated landscapes. Poor visibility; weather again unsettled today. Surreal rocks and riven lowlands, valleys fog-shrouded. Frightening depths, and emptiness. Rarity of air is noticeable. It is a meditation about the pursuit of an idea; about obstacles, struggle and failure along the way.