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Studio Orta

studio-ortaFrom February-March 2007, the artists installed ‘Antarctic Village’ in Antarctica, travelling from Buenos Aires aboard the Hercules KC130 flight on an incredible journey. Taking place during the Austral summer, the ephemeral installation coincided with the last of the scientific expeditions before the winter months, before the ice mass becomes too thick to traverse. Aided by the logistical crew and scientists stationed at the Marambio Antarctic Base situated on the Seymour-Marambio Island, (64°14’S 56°37’W), Jorge Orta scouted the continent by helicopter, searching for different locations for the temporary encampment of their 50 dome-shaped dwellings. Antarctic Village is a symbol of the plight of those struggling to transverse borders and to gain the freedom of movement necessary to escape political and social conflict. Dotted along the ice, the tents formed a settlement reminiscent of the images of refugee camps we see so often reported about on our television screens and newspapers. Physically the installation Antarctic Village is emblematic of Ortas’ body of work, composed of what could be termed modular architecture and reflecting qualities of nomadic shelters and campsites.

The dwellings themselves are hand stitched together by a traditional tent maker with sections of flags from countries around the world, along with extensions of clothes and gloves, symbolising the multiplicity and diversity of people. Here the arm of face-less white-collar worker’s shirt hangs, there the sleeve of a children’s sweater. Together the flags and dissected clothes emblazoned with silkscreen motifs referencing the UN Declaration for Human Rights make for a physical embodiment of a ‘Global Village’.

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Wookjae Maeng’s Ghostly Ceramics Express The Relationship Between Man And Animal

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Wookjae Maeng is a Korean artist who works with ceramics, focusing on the relationships between man and animal. The ghostly pieces often resemble commemorative busts or mounted heads reminiscent of big game trophies (the kind you’d seen in a hunter’s den). Sometimes, works are painted to blend in with wall treatments or trendy decor.

I concentrate on art as a vehicle to communicate contemporary social and environmental problems to the viewer by stimulating, not just emotion, but sensibilities and memories,” Maeng writes. Stimulus is an important idea, and it’s used to evoke the viewer’s curiosity and to inspire them to figure the greater meaning of the work.

Maeng also explains why he chose to feature animals in his sculptures:

In our environment, numerous creatures live in harmony. Yet there are other creatures that merely exist without enjoying their natural right due to human classification and negligence. I would like to express the nature of the relationship between human and other creatures-a relationship that, in other to thrive, demands careful coexistence and balance between the urban and the natural, for example, and an awareness and empathy for less visible creatures. In my work I hope to provide an opportunity-however brief-for modern man to consider the realities of the environment in which he exists, even as he continues his daily existence indifferent to it. (Via Optically Addicted)


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Jane Benson

dandyfucked_5comp I am really enjoying Jane Benson’s work.  One series in particular of hers I find to be quite intriguing; The Chronicles of Narcissim. Its narrative takes a closer look at people’s preoccupation with material and identity transformation as well as the tension that exists between both the natural and the artificial form of beauty.  Benson was born in Thornbury, England and lives in both London and New York.

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Beautiful Photographs Relentlessly Capture A War-Torn Lebanon Without Victimization


Amidst the violence and chaos ravaging parts of her native Lebanon, the photographer Rania Matar does not aim to make sweeping political statements about the Middle East; with her complimentary bodies of work titled Ordinary Lives and What Remains (now on display at Houston’s Bank of America Center), she hopes to capture the resilience of the human spirit. Fighting the photographic and documentary urge to re-victimize survivors of war, she offers a more nuanced picture of the lives of Lebanese women and children.

Much of Matar’s work explores global representations of femininity—in a recent monograph, she published images of adolescent girls inhabiting a space between freedom and familial responsibility, the childhood bedroom— and in Ordinary Lives, the artist’s powerful sensitivities color the otherwise bleak black and white war-torn landscape. In “Broken Mirror,” a young woman meticulously adjusts her veil before a shattered mirror, her perception of self seen as fractured by her environment but preserved within her emotional core. Similarly, “Dead Mother” captures the veiling process as a ritual connecting female youth to a monolithic photograph of the matriarch, an undercurrent of modern political and social debate serving as a relentless backdrop.

What Remains operates as an arguably less subjective series of architectural photographs, documenting the aftermath of 2006’s war between Israel and Hezbollah. The series separates itself from Ordinary Lives in its deliberate use of color; the bright blues and yellows read like surrogates for the displaced families that once inhabited the violated spaces, offering a powerful tonal continuation of the striking and complexly seen human spirit captured in Ordinary Lives. Where we once viewed children, embracing the walls in rich gray tones, we are offered  a Winnie the Pooh wall hanging, daydreaming beside an empty closet. Take a look.

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Matt Hoyle’s BarnumVillians

Gorgeous black and white portraits of circus/sideshow performers by Matt Hoyle.

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Judy Miller’s Imaginary Dioramas Place Celebrities In Strange And Absurd Situations




Judy Miller’s Imaginary Dioramas series is the kind of work that makes you think, “Wait, what?” The famous faces in the photos are recognizable, but off in some subtle way. The backgrounds are ambiguous, and the combinations of celebrities and scenes, “Outakes” as they’re titled, create curious narratives.

It’s almost a relief to find out that these artists and celebrities, whose faces we’re so familiar with, are actually wax figures photographed at Madame Tussaud’s and Photoshopped into scenes. The strangeness abates, but only briefly. It’s not only the waxy visages that are uncanny, but the situations as well. Most of the celebrities are not named or tagged, which presumes a certain amount of pop-culture familiarity in the viewer. Some photos only include a part of a face or body, making the identification even more difficult.

Robert E. Knight, Executive Director of the Tucson Museum of Art, writes, “Judy Miller does not create her work in the isolation of a studio. She researches, travels, photo¬graphs, and then brings her images back in-house for final editing. Culled from the photo files of celebrity wax figures the artist has compiled over the years, Miller cleverly inserts her figures into fantasy settings with the finished composites ranging from humorous to odd, and compelling to camp. … Resembling excerpted film stills, the discordant emotional separation of Miller’s figures are in¬triguing in their awkward uncertainty. They truly have become actors in her play, and they’re just waiting for their cue. Even titling her images as “outtakes” references the artist’s interest in, and respect for, the influence films have had on our society.

What, for example, are Einstein and Picasso doing dressed alike, deliberately avoiding eye contact in a round room with many windows in “Newton’s Nightmare”?? Seemingly less bizarre is “Outtake #22, Exit Left”, which shows Jacqueline Kennedy facing front in the foreground and Marilyn Monroe’s red sequined back in the background. It’s easier to find context for this work but no less thought provoking. What if the two women really did meet? Each image poses unanswerable questions, which is Miller’s intention.

My goal is to create a dynamic juxtaposition of elements that spark individual interpretation.


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Gonzalo Fuenmayor

Gonzalo Fuenmayor’s work examines ideas of dislocation and exoticism through a series of large-scale drawings. Cross-cultural and hybrid identities are explored through obvious and clichéd aspects of tropical culture together with Rococo and Victorian style elements.

The struggle to imagine cultural specificity is inherent in the intersection of extravagant and decadent 17th and 18th century imagery (chandeliers, mirrors, velvet curtains) together with exuberant tropical landscapes. Different strategies are employed in order to subordinate the contradictory into a delicate and imaginative order, with the aim of questioning notions of place and belonging. As the past, the present, the exotic and the familiar collide, absurd and fantastic panoramas arise.

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alvaro villarrubia’s Robot Fashion

Gorgeous, futuristic, and a bit dark, Spanish fashion photographer Alvaro Villarrubia does not disappoint. Enter his world of beauty, robots, the grotesque, and the sexy after the jump.

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