Chinese artist Ye Hongxing tries to bridge the gap between the ideas of East and West; traditional and contemporary; spirituality and commercialization. She plays these different ideas off of each other in her new work called Prajñāpāramitā. This new piece is a reinterpretation of the traditional art form of a Mandala, but made from mass-produced plastic toys, beads and stickers. The title Prajñāpāramitā actually means the Buddhist concept of Perfection of (Transcendent) Wisdom, and is a fitting cynical commentary on just how bizarre our worlds have become, filled with shopping and consuming commodities and objects.
Hongxing’s stickers are otherwise seen as disposable and ephemeral objects—a comment on the disposable nature of contemporary culture. The sheer volume of the stickers echoes the overload of information that we are presented with on a daily basis. (Source)
Based in Beijing, Hongxing is frequently reacting to the ever-changing culture surrounding her, and the pace of which it happens. Using opposing traditions and systems to comment on each other, she draws our attention to our own actions. By methodically placing thousands of plastic, secular, pop-cultural, commercial objects down in a systemic fashion to build a spiritual motif, she brings two very different practices together in a head on collision. We are reminded of the Buddist traditions of meditation and repetition, but instead of being geared toward serenity and peace, this time it is in the name of glitz, glamor and garishness.
Hongxing’s other projects include fusing Chinese and Western artistic practices together – creating luscious oil paintings filled with decorative Chinese porcelain patterns; making marble sculptures of kitschy blow up animal balloons; and layering hundreds of glittery stickers on each other to form surreal, OTT interpretations of modern day life. (Via The Creator’s Project)
Javier Galindo, an artist of many talents, uses ready-made objects to create an interesting narrative that comments on possessions we value. By nature, humans are collectors. So much so, that we even have an entire T.V. series dedicated to this hoarder phenomenon. In Galindo’s series The Incomplete Tour, he creates objects that mimic, question, and alter keepsakes and mementos often collected by travelers and tourists. Specifically, he references “The Grand Tour,” a trip that many youth would take during the 18th century across Europe. The purpose of this journey was to gain knowledge of the Western world’s cultural history and to be exposed to its many treasures, such as classical antiquity. To preserve their memories, as we often do today, they would collect souvenirs. Galindo’s question is, what is this memento actually worth? It is by no means an original; it is just a fragment or a trace of what was experienced.
Influenced by classic antiquities, Galindo’s series transforms and skews these fractures of remembered treasures. The series is comprised of a wide variety of mediums including cast plaster and oil paint, as it also is included two-dimensional and three -dimensional works. Focusing on portraiture, the once traditional portraits and busts are now sliced and stacked, skewed by paint, or literally cut out of their frame. In a world where we are obsessed with documenting every moment through digital photos, it is interesting to see a reference to a time where the only way to keep the moment with you, was through collecting physical souvenirs. A photograph is like a still memory, a fragment of an event that can often warp the true memory. Just like a photograph, Galindo’s mementos are just fragments of the whole; they are hints of a narrative further skewed by Galindo’s artistic eye.
Han Xiao‘s portraits show people with garbled faces, expressing themselves with thick swirls of paint instead of a pleading frown. Citing Francis Bacon as a major influence, she channels her inspiration through the tangled emotions and shocks of color in her paintings.
“The major themes I pursue include life, conflict, confrontation of odd shapes in the social environment, and the contradiction behind the reality,” Xiao says. The contradiction she seeks to portray seems to come from within her subjects, their identities marred by some kind of disconnect between their inner and outer selves.
Xiao’s work has been described as having “a kind of loneliness and faint anxiety,” but the sense of violent desperation is offset by the fact that these people seem to want to be heard. The brushstrokes are frenetic and intense, but they are also trying to communicate something — ultimately, they are trying to connect. (via I Need a Guide)
American artist Robert Wechsler is a bit of a trickster. He takes everyday objects and transforms them into unexpected oddities and puzzling sights. He alters things and spaces, changing our understanding of the most understated and mundane item/place. His latest ‘practical joke’ Money was commissioned by The New Yorker and involves him cutting notches into different coins and slotting them together to look like atoms or complex cube shapes.
He has a fine sense of humor, and has practiced it extensively through previous projects. He has welded nine bikes together to create a giant carousel, re-plumbed a public drinking fountain that fooled thirsty members of the public, and instead of quenching their own thirst, watered nearby plants. Wechsler has also worked with currency before – he has cast a penny 30,000 times it’s size and replaced a manhole cover with it. He explains his motivations:
My focus is necessarily on the familiar. Comfortably accustomed to everyday objects and spaces, we are blind to their unseen beauty and elegance. Who looks at a shopping cart or a toaster for the object itself? This state of static expectations is fertile ground for surprise. It is a conscious re-examination of my subjects that re-instates the novel back into the familiar. This is the moment of surprise, the moment we discover what is unseen in what is always seen. In reverence for what initially appears modest we get a small glimpse of the boundless elegance of our world. (Source)
Adding another conceptual layer to the project, the Money series is exhibited on Cointemporary – the online gallery where you can purchase artworks with bitcoins. (Via Fubiz)
Jason Dussault is a Vancouver- and New York-based artist who uses the ancient medium of mosaics to recreate iconic images, many of which you will probably recall from your childhood. Among the shattered and beautifully arranged pieces — largely composed of ceramic, paint, grout, and resin — are the familiar visages of Batman, Thor, and the Hulk. Also depicted are important religious figures, including the Buddha and Jesus, as well as images of personal significance to Dussault; the hellhound “Fido,” for example, is a visualization of his inner, artistic strength. His masterful blending of colours and shapes create dimensional, intricate images that inspire both excitement and nostalgia.
In all of these works, Dussault has used the fractured and geometric power of the mosaic to manifest an “internal struggle,” a resistance against a world wherein magic has been stripped away by the realities of adulthood. By recreating memory-infused imagery from broken shards, Dussault’s craft serves as an active reclamation of “the magic, excitement, and hopefulness that stimulated his youth” (Source). Memory — and everything else that composes our emotional and physical lives — is fragile, but as Dussault shows us, it is never too late to recompose that which we think is broken or lost.
Dussault’s work is currently being featured in an exhibition entitled Deconstructive / Constructive at the Hoerle-Guggenheim Gallery in New York, which is running until April 2, 2015. Visit his website for more examples of his work.
A person’s a person, no matter how small! Creating work under the name “Slinkachu,” this artist reminds us to pay attention to the little things in life in his miniature scenes. Photographed in London, Slinkachu constructs clever and irresistibly tiny scenes of people living their lives in the cracks of urban life. One small girl is swinging from a bent weed while other little people are diving off a Popsicle stick to swim in its melting juices. These photographs seem to capture a secret, pocket-sized world that exists right under our noses, reminding us to stop a while and take in our surroundings. This series also includes photographs of the little scenes in its real surroundings, giving it a sense of scale, revealing how small they really are.
These inch-high people are somewhat like the normal-sized urbanite, living in the shadows of tall buildings, just as Slinkachu’s people live in shadow. They are playing, swimming, and horseback riding in a concrete jungle, commenting on our own detachment from nature. However, this does not deter us from searching for it. We create our own nature in the form of city parks, just as Slinkachu’s playful little people find nature in a spilled soda pop, which they hop over like a pond. These hopeful scenes of miniature realities might criticize our separation from the natural world, but humorously point out our optimism and resourcefulness.
An exhibition of Slinkachu’s photographs titled Miniaturesque will be opening March 13th at Andipa Contemporary, located in London.
Cath Riley is an artist who creates stunning, photorealistic drawings that explore the power of touch and the sensuality of flesh. In each image from this series, bodies are pinched, gripped, and squeezed, with Riley’s masterful shading depicting the smooth skin as it creases and dimples. And even though we are only given a small portion of the body — such as a hand clenching a waist, or pressing between the thighs — the drawings emanate warmth, intimacy, and humanity. In a synesthesia of visual perceptions and tactile sensations, Riley’s works celebrate the materiality and strengths of the body, exploring the pleasure and personal connections that derive from the loving, physical interplay of firmness and softness.
All of Riley works — which can be viewed on her website — portray an incredible attention to detail and awareness of the human form. In her Hands series, for example, she captures complex musculature and tiny creases with sublime accuracy and beauty. It is no wonder that her work has been recognized; her recent clients include Nike, GQ, and The New York Times, and she has won several awards, listed here. In regards to upcoming work, Riley writes that her “current on-going experimental ‘drawing’ includes very large scale drawing, based around the human figure, which are very different in character from the pencil portrait and ‘flesh’ figure drawings which are featured here. Some of the new work is abstract in nature.” She adds that “examples of this ‘new direction’ […] will appear on the site quite soon,” so be sure to follow her work (Source). More images from the Flesh series after the jump. (Via Juxtapoz)
Even though Judith Schaechter was immersed in her artistic career as a painter, she was drawn to the traditional practice of stained glass window making. She has managed to lift the centuries-old skill into the world of contemporary art by treating it with a new vision. She turns something that is usually associated with stuffy old churches into something macabre, tragic, yet beautiful. Schaechter says she doodles in front of the TV, and in meetings, to come up with a preliminary design, but still works spontaneously and improvises until she reaches the final stage.It seems she is quite happy to let accidents and mishaps guide her hand. She speaks a bit more the art of turning something gruesome and unpleasant into a thing of wonder:
It seems my work is centered on the idea of transforming the wretched into the beautiful in theme as well as design. For me, this means taking what is typically negative — say, unspeakable grief, unbearable sentimentality, or nerve-wracking ambivalence, and representing it in such a way that it is inviting and safe to contemplate and captivating to observe (to avoid ending with preposition) (Source)
Schaechter says glass is the perfect medium to support the conceptual idea of transforming ugly and difficult subjects into radiant, transparent, glowing figures. Ordinary, ‘earthly’ beings are now ‘supernatural’ and elevated.
They seem to be caught in a transitional moment when despair becomes hope or darkness becomes inspiration. They seem poised between the threshold of everyday reality and epiphany, caught between tragedy and comedy. (Source)
She is a firm believer of the power of stained glass windows – and the effect they can have on somebody’s mood. To be further enlightened, see more of her work after the jump.(Via Hi Fructose)