The anonymous wedding photographer from behind the @socalitybarbie instagram account may be delivering one of the greatest social commentaries of our time. The familiar pseudo authenticity and inspirational life quotes that flood Instagram are all so present in our daily social media lives, and, this us just what Socality Barbie seeks to address. The account is full of snaps of Barbie at the trendiest coffee shops, draped in bohemian blankets, or looking flawless at the beach. Part of the inspiration stemmed from the Socality Instagram account itself, a group which describes themselves as a combination of “social natural tendencies assembling in communities”, which may seem vague at first, but delivers a very specific and distinct aesthetic.
Socality Barbie is a hilarious yet striking commentary on how we have become within ourselves, while trying to find our “true selves”. On top of the hazy, heavily edited photographs displayed on the account, the captions under each one bring an extra element of humor by using Instagram buzzwords such as #blessed #liveauthentic and #pnwlife. They sometimes even border the nonsensical: ” I love being a part of this creative community that inspires us to create and encourages us to collaborate with other creatives.”
The creative mind behing Socality Barbie knows just what she is doing, and points it out accurately by stating that:”Either her(Barbie’s) Instagram looks like yours or you know at least one person whose Instagram does”. Through this project, she underlines the desire to be seen as authentic, salt of the earth, true people while achieving just the opposite through our particular use of such media as Instagram,She also underlines the plastic nature of such a self image by pointing our that her use of a “mass produces plastic doll” would express her points on authenticity and originality in the most adequate way.
Anthony and other boxer connecting punches. (Old Fire House Soho, February, 2012)
The crowd consisting of a large number of Charlie’s friends celebrate as Charlie wins his match. (Old Fire House Soho, September, 2012)
Two boxers pair up before their match. (Old Fire House Soho, September, 2012)
Ring girl entertaining the crowd in-between rounds. (Old Fire House Soho, February, 2012)
Photographer Devin Yalkin points an unflinching eye to the underground world of illegal fight nights, capturing their raw intensity. These “Friday Night Throwdowns” happen in secret locations and venues all over New York City. In Yalkin’s series The Old One Two, this hidden world is revealed through intimate, black and white photographs with a Film Noir flavor to them. This powerful series gets you up close and personal to the fighters and the erupting crowd cheering them on. The compositions in this series can be as hazy and chaotic as the fight itself, capturing the true atmosphere of these fight nights. You can see the unrefined aggressiveness and brutality between the fighters, but also feel the excitement and energy from the audience.
Devin Yalkin allows us to take place of the spectator, seeing every bead of sweat and drop of blood on the skin of the fighters. The high tension and motion happening during these Friday Night Throwdown’s can be felt in each photograph. It is as if we are standing next to each eccentric character; the screaming fan, the eager fighter, or the elusive woman in lingerie whose role is somewhat unknown. All of the individuals shown in Yalkin’s series seem to come from all walks of life, having only the love of the fight connecting them.
Make sure to check out Devin Yalin’s new strange and beautiful series Abductions, which captures ominous scenes of which we cannot place, mysterious and alluring.
Takato Yamamoto paints intricate scenes of both delicate beauty and savage darkness. Yamamoto calls his style “Heisei Estheticism,” which blends traditional Ukiyo-e woodblock prints with images of bondage and horror akin to those found in modern manga. Serene-faced girls with bloodstained and skeletal bodies oversee their quiet victims; bodies punctured with arrows twist in what could be agony or sexual ecstasy. Despite his disturbing subject matter, however, Yamamoto never shows violence in its most gratuitous moment; instead, he depicts rising tension, conjuration, and the aftermath—the vampires recoiling with their prey, dark rituals blooming into grotesque beauty, and uncanny sexual encounters.
Sex and death are familiar lovers in Yamamoto’s works, wrapped up together like cadaverous bouquets that manifest the fusion of pleasure and pain. Morality is subsumed into visceral moments of seduction and satisfaction. Despite the brutality, there is a sensuality that emanates from the paintings—one that explores with detail the experiences of the body as it passes over thresholds of desire and mortality. With delicate lines and interwoven forms of beauty and rot, Yamamoto’s erotic nightmares stir the imagination.
Christopher David White has the ability to freeze living elements. He offers the possibility for the viewer toendlessly admire and contemplate at any given time the details of a piece of wood. In this series, he blends a camel, chocolate color scheme with grey and concrete tones. The artist uses symbols to express underlying feelings about life and death. “Neither good nor bad, decay is simply a natural process of our world that at times can produce deeply moving and beautiful effects”.
Two symmetric hands reaching out to each other, linked by an unsteady, disappearing bridge. A twisted root punching through a wall, struggling for its life. A human face looking at the sky and what seems like back blood spreading from its head and its open mouth.
The sculptures create mixed feelings of empathy and serenity. Wood is mystical and symbolic. It represents a tree’s strength, wisdom and eternal life. What we see in Christopher David White’s ceramic sculptures are the reflection of what will eventually happen to us. Eventually we will die too, and sitting next to a deteriorating piece of wood that once belonged to a majestic and awe-inspiring tree is less frightening. “Through the use of trompe l’oeil, we look closer; we rediscover the amazement, joy, and tranquility that come from our environment. At the same time, we witness our impermanence by evenhandedly dialing in on decay”. (via TRENF)
Dan Quintana is a Los Angeles-based artist who paints eerie, goddess-like figures immersed in figurative and ethereal worlds. Featured here are works from “Diffused,” a solo exhibition of Quintana’s work that is currently being shown at the Hashimoto Contemporary gallery in San Francisco. These particular paintings take on a dark and macabre tone; female figures with haunted eyes peer at the viewer from a symbolic plane infused with images of death and decay. One painting features a ghost horse plummeting earthward with its demonic, also-rotting human companion. Using overlapping shapes and translucent layers, Quintana strips away flesh from his subjects, revealing grisly anatomies of muscle and bone. With his eclectic style and masterful attention to detail, Quintana channels the otherworldly imagery of Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch while also blending in modern motifs and geometric patterns.
Color and light play important roles in Quintana’s work. Most of his recent paintings are muted in shades of gray and brown, invoking a look that’s both antique and corpselike. As the word “Diffused” implies, light is distributed in an exploratory fashion in these works. Often the figures’ outlines are obscured and partially dissolved, making it unclear where their forms begin and end; in the artist’s own words, “we see the light in these figures dispersing faintly into the open vast space until it ceases to exist” (Source). For Quintana, light is a symbol of life. Used in fluid but contrasting ways with the shadowy, cadaverous imagery, Quintana’s work seems to explore a symbolic co-relation between the forces of life and the stark realities of death.
Mikael Takacs hand paints blurry portraits, distorted by a paper marbling effect. The outline of the portraits are clean and clear. From far, what’s inside the shapes seems messy and confusing but if we take a closer look it appears structured, almost forming a pattern. There’s a fine line between Mikael Takacs’ paintings and digital rendering. The diamond shaped patterns and the perfectly balanced and harmonized colors lead to confusion.
The artist applies acrylic painting onto an horizontal canvas with droppers to prevent the liquid from overflowing. He then painstakingly drags paint with small tools like sticks and combs in order to distort the portrait. The intricate work creates regular lines and shapes. If we look closely, we can see feathers, spirals and regular waves. The colors used are a blend of dark turquoise, camel and fuchsia. A color scheme that makes the series identifiable.
Mikael Takacs knows all the people he is depicting. He prefers to blur the lines and to present an abstract artwork. According to him, abstract art makes the dialogue between the viewer and the piece of art more interesting. The artist paints just enough for us to begin to have a idea of what we are looking at and leaves us halfway. To follow our imagination and introspect is the purpose of these paintings as they can lead to a million different interpretations.
Artist Erika Lizée re-imagines reality in twisted, magnificent forms that bend through our world and into the next. In her incredibly installations, she uses acrylic on Duralar, a translucent kind of film that allows light to pierce through some of the work. They are paintings that have sprung into the third dimension. Lizée’s sculptures are like otherworldly beings, shifting in and out of our world’s outer boundaries. By using Trompe l’oeil painting technique, she creates an illusion that you can see this other being behind the wall of the gallery. It is as if there is a magical world that we now have the chance to peer in to.
The mysterious and ominous mood that is created from Lizée’s large, flowing installations reflects her intent to express the beauty and mysteries of life. Her work seems to be in a state of flux, shifting back and forth, expanding and contracting. The artist explains that this shift is like the collective consciousness that is continuously altered by scientific discovers and new experiences. The way in which we think of the world and understand our environments are constantly being redefined
All of this combines with the complex ways in which we internally create our own notions of reality based on perceptions, beliefs, and filter.
Erika Lizée’s breathtaking installations pull us in to a foreign space of flux and transformation.
The installations serve as a metaphor for the journey of our personal and shared life experiences.
Blood Mirror is a collection of various works of art composed of blood donations from gay, bisexual, and transgender men which have been rejected by the FDA. The mixed media exhibit is made up of a short film by Leo Herrera which traces the story of nine gay men who have chosen to “donate their blood for art” given the FDA ban on donations from MSM( men who have sex with men). Their donations have been placed in a large cube through which light reflects on a panel painted with blood. The exhibit will include a sculpture, “Untitled”, composed of the blood collection tubes and blood bags of the nine men from Herrera’s short film. A “Blood Flag” will also be a part of the exhibit.
Aside from the vastly controversial aspects of using human blood as an artform, Blood Mirror has a strong political stance and strives to generate a dialogue surrounding the FDA’s regulations on blood donations. The use of blood in such an aesthetic manner provides not only strong visuals but also underlines a situation present within the medical world. The merging of the science and art worlds displays the necessity and beauty of elements such as blood give us the chance to think about the importance of speaking about things such as the right to donate.
Blood Mirror will be on display at the American University Museum from September 12th to October 18th.