Ronald Kurniawan’s illustrations are inspired by ideograms, syllables, letterforms, beasts and heroic landscapes. He slowly but surely continues to create a visual language where the wilderness and civilization could merge happily together. With the belief that the sublime and nuclear age could coexist, he paints romantic environments and breaks the quiet scene with juxtaposed imagery taking the shape of icons and letterforms. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles where he paints meticulously and happily accompanied by his pug Ruffles, an avid artist himself.
For a plastic doll, Barbie can be polarizing. Emiliano Paolini and Marianela Perelli discovered this recently when their exhibit “Barbie: The Plastic Religion” at POPA gallery in Buenos Aires was cancelled. “Given repeated anonymous threats concerning the event, the artists decided not to exhibit his work, fearing for the physical safety of visitors,” a notice on the gallery’s website announced.
The 33 pieces in the controversial collection are each one-of-a-kind, and they include Barbie dolls as the Virgin Mary; Joan of Arc; Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction; and the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. Ken becomes Christ on the cross, Buddha, Moses, St. Sebastian and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The sculptures represent figures from Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Argentine folk religion. The Muslim prophet Muhammad is not included in the series—the artists told Reuters that since Islam prohibits the creation of his image they omitted him out of respect.
Questions of taste and faith have been raised by Argentine Catholic Priests, Italian Bishops, and Hindu Clerics, much to the surprise of the artists. “We have a sanctuary in the kitchen that has more saints than the Vatican,” Paolini told the Associated Press. Some have accused the artists of grandstanding—disrespecting religion in order to gain notoriety. They disagree.
“The true message of our work was mutilated by magazines and television. That’s a shame. The media is killing our art.” (Source)
The sculpted dolls are additional portrayals in the canon of religious iconography, weighted down with the 55-year legacy of a plastic girl and her boyfriend.
Jess de Wahls is a London-based artist whose colorful multilayered and multifaceted textile works incorporate feminism, gender equality as well as recycling. Using a variety of fabrics, beads, and other materials, she creates 3D portraits that depict strong, inspirational women of all ages, shapes, and ethnicities. She sees her pieces as a way to raise awareness of gender inequality, explaining to TextileArtist.org, “…all the while celebrating great minds and artists of the past and present.”
In her artist statement, de Wahls also goes on to say:
Their influence on myself as a modern woman, Feminist and Artist, on Feminism as a whole and on their position as Role models to young girls growing up in a society that has, no doubt, come a long way in liberating its women but has yet a great length ahead of it. Not to mention the work that needs to be done in other parts of our planet, where women are to date still oppressed, belittled and generally treated as second class humans.
So, by creating these pieces, she ensures that their legacy isn’t forgotten.
De Wahls unique style is the product of a self-made called Retex which is short for recycled textile sculpture. She explains:
For the medium of Retex Sculpting, old garments serve as fabric for the works and cushion filler helps me to create a relief that raises the silhouette off the canvas creating greater depth.
The box-frame, in which the work is mounted, is integral to the piece and can be seen as a modern day relic box. (Via TextileArtist.org)
The paper cut pieces of Wendy Wallin Malinow reveal the deeper goings-on of animals. Malinow’s pieces are cut to expose an x-ray type view of various forest and ocean animals. In addition to the bone structure, a meal is visible inside each animal. While playful, there is also a sad quality to her work. Malinow’s work reveals the nourishment and effort to needed to survive as well as the violence at times inherent in that. A squirrel has ingested some acorn’s while a wolf seems to be filled with the ghost of a red riding hood.
Artie Vierkant is an artist from San Diego, CA. His work includes paintings, sculpture, and a massive array of digital works. He has even taken Avatar the movie and superimposed it onto a spinning sphere. Most of the works “concern how digital media can constitute fully tangible objects.” His work includes too much to mention. Check out his site and more of his work.
"View-Alters", Two Viewmatser Model-L Front Pieces, 2006
Los Angeles based artist Chadwick Gibson makes sculpture/devices that border on usability and absurdity by making the innards of various playground-use balls visible in his “Time Out Series” (can you still play tennis when your tennis balls are flipped inside out?), and combining the functionalities and inherent experiences in an elevator and a guillotine with the piece “Speed of Judgment” (mimicking a beheading followed by the sensation of floating above ones headless body).
In one of those rare meetings of form and function, Nendo’s stationery and office supplies looks great and works well. The cubic rubber bands are one example. According to the company, “The geometrical shapes make the bands easy to find in a drawer and easy to pick up.” The Tokyo and Milan-based design firm created the blue, charcoal, and white three-dimensions bands for their brand ‘by | n’. They’re a part of the eleven item collection, which also includes a flip pen, contrast ruler, circle tags, paper clips, outline tray, cross pen-stand, peel pen-case, hard cover memo-pad, edge note, and dot envelope.
The contrast ruler is another success. Simple, but considered, the design has the ruler markings fade from white to black on either edge, making the ruler easy to read against all color backgrounds. Smart, too, are the paper clips that are made out of recyclable paper.
The minimalist collection sells itself, but the clever illustrations explaining the functionality of the various pieces are a whimsical touch, adding a softer element to the crisp, clean-lined, designs.
Nendo’s philosophy is clearly evident with this collection. The website states:
Giving people a small ” ! ” moment.
There are so many small ” ! ” moments hidden in our everyday.
But we don’t recognize them.
and even when we do recognize them, we tend to unconsciously reset our
minds and forget what we’ve seen.
But we believe these small ” ! ” moments are what make our days so
interesting, so rich.
That’s why we want to reconstitute the everyday by collecting and
reshaping them into something that’s easy to understand.
We’d like the people who’ve encountered nendo’s designs to feel these
small ” ! ” moments intuitively.