Robert Jackson is a contemporary still life painter. But don’t let the genre often associated with morbid colors, candles, skulls and wine bottles leave the wrong impression. This painter’s canvases are littered with bright colors, clean compositions and a healthy amount of humor. Jackson’s comical paintings feature assemblies of cakes, water balloons, candies, apple boxes, toy dinosaurs, cactus plants, and balloon dogs.
Jackson actually assembles his scenes in his studio, and is then able to accurately capture the playfulness of the mood – creating something that looks like it came from the Toy Story movies. He paints moments where we sneak a look in on the action figures setting up traps for each other, or skateboarding around the room, crashing into the other toys.
Eager to create moments full of narrative, Jackson develops a simple idea that will either pique your interest, or at the very least being a smile to your face. His balloon dogs go fishing for lobsters; the panda bear toys set up daring tight rope adventures for each other; the dinosaurs all fight over a slice of chocolate cake; and apples mischievously balance water balloons on their head, waiting for the impending disaster.
Jackson uses his whimsical, absurd and post-pop paintings as a tool for people to expand their imagination. He says by using mundane objects as stand ins for people, he can talk about deeper subjects without being too confrontational.
It’s like Star Trek addresses racism, but the audience doesn’t realize that until after the show is over. I have a couple of apples fighting and it’s not until a couple minutes after looking, that the viewer realizes that ‘Oh! This is talking about war!’ (Source)
Emma Powell‘s photo series “In Search of Sleep” is a sequence of snapshots straight out of a semi-lucid dream. To create her photos, Powell uses the cyanotype process and also tints them with tea and wine. The result is a layer of haziness and off-kilter colors that enhance the surreality of her artwork, making them almost seem like paintings of the mind.
“In Search of Sleep recreates this shadowy realm and allows me to explore my real-life questions, from personal dramas to romantic doubts,” Powell says. Her inspiration is also, in part, the bedtime stories her father used to invent, which incorporated real world locations as well as a mysterious “dream-world of caverns, forests, and oceans full of unexpected animals and dangers.”
Powell’s work certainly embodies that sense of searching, longing, and subterranean menaces. In some photos, her dreamer seems very small: standing before a looming labyrinth; marooned on a rock next to an enormous anchor; pausing before the stairs as a large shadow moves behind her.
“In Search of Sleep” almost gives the sensation that as much as the dreamer seeks, she is also being sought. Powell’s photography gives us a sense of a journey, and as mysterious as it is, we can’t be sure if the seeker ever finds what she’s looking for. (h/t I Need a Guide)
Dealing in an atypical kind of self-portraiture, Dawn Woolley often creates photographic copies of herself, and then photographs them in various locations, positions and moods. Making herself a substitute and her visual representative, the work forms an inquiry into the act of looking, and being looked at. As she says of the work, “Referring to psychoanalysis and phenomenology I examine my own experience of becoming an object of sight and also consider the experience the viewer has when looking at me as a photographic object. By producing artwork that establishes me as an object it could be argued that I reinforce stereotypical images of the female body.” Indeed, the female body is a common subject of Woolley’s work, often playing with stereotypes through reinforcing them, or defying them.
In series, such as TheSubstitute, Woolley created a photographic copy of herself and placed it in the real world in her stead. Seeking to reinforce conventional images of the female body, but with apparent exhibitionism, Woolley created a replacement that rendered her real body invisible. The sense of disbelief for a viewer is slow to materialize, as our brain wants to see an actual 3-dimensional person. The effects are similar even when both individuals are cutouts. Selecting moments in her past, Woolley’s series, Adolescence gives her some distance from emotionally heightened events by re-creating them using photographs.
The ambiguousness of her work allows Woolley to play with assumptions about gender, and conventions of photography. There is a performative aspect to the work that is ultimately completed by the viewer. A viewer feels like a voyeur, and then, after realizing he is looking at a 2-dimensional depiction of a 2-dimensional photograph, a fool for being duped. An interesting way to examine gender roles and self-portraiture, Woolley’s images are challenging and provocative.
M. Ward with (not so) surprise guest, Zooey Deschanel performing at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles, February 7, 2013.
The Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles played host to M. Ward last week to a very enthusiastic crowd. The show was supposed to happen last October, but was cancelled due to illness. “I was sick as a brick”, he said after coming home from Mexico with a fever. The show featured songs from his last album, A Wasteland Companion as well as 2009’s Hold Time which were well received when crowd favorites like Primitive Girl and For Beginners were played.
“As you can see behind me, it’s a beautiful evening”, Ward said referring to the five windowpane backdrops that projected various outdoor scenes throughout the evening. The mostly seated crowd finally got up to dance a bit when Ward played his Buddy Holly cover of Rave On even moving two couples to swing dance in the aisles which security unfortunately put a stop to. The show reached a deafening peak when Zooey Deschanel came out to sing She & Him‘s You’ve Really Got A Hold on Me and Magic Trick, one of my favorite earlier tunes from Ward. They ended the show with the Rivieras’ version of California Sun which had the whole crowd finally on their feet.
María Aparicio Puentes’ collaborates with a wide variety of photographers to create her interesting mixed media pieces. Armed with thread and a sharp needle, María stabs into the photos repeatedly to create geometric patterns and shapes that even Buckminster fuller would be proud of. (via faith is torment)
When I first saw the work of Suzanne Sattler, the first words that came to mind were whimsical and desolate. These delicate drawings express many conflicted emotions in such a fragile yet feminine manner. Focused on successful and failed relationships, she manages to incorporate a relationship between the concept of daily life and that of nature. Some of these narrative illustrations are presented in a monochrome landscape with delicately pencil markings, making them mysterious, whimsical and melancholic.
Dexter Fernandez bravely experiments with images culled from adult magazines and puts a new spin on them by adding layers of mixed media on the repainted images. Thus, he only hints at their original context, as he turns them into nearly abstract configurations, especially when viewed from a distance. Fernandez is not afraid to say, “Art is porn, and porn is art,” not drawing a line between what is acceptable and what is taboo. To him, both aim to entertain and satisfy the senses.