As expected, the designs run the gamut in terms of aesthetics; some of the house designs are serious and practical, while others are abstract and absurd. The doll houses were on exhibit during the London Design Festival last month and will be auctioned off in November at Bonham’s in London. (via de zeen)
Joseph Parra is an artist working with the human portrait and figure. While he obviously draws and paints very well, Parra is not necessarily concerned with perfectly replicating what someone looks like. He finds this notion limiting to an artist; after all, a photo or realistic painting can only go so far. You’ve made someone look like their outward appearance, but now what?
Parra strives to delve deeper into the figure or portrait and reveal what is unseen. His work questions what it means to be human using a couple of different methods. One way is through layers. Aside from a portrait, he adds of media that distorts the face or the body. Parra scrapes, pricks, and sands his subjects. In his words, this is “acting as reminders that we are merely a union of ideas.” Additionally, he will cut, braid, or fold paper as a way to express the complex nature of humanity. Oneself (directly below) is the same portrait but manipulated in three different ways. It references the fractured, multiple, and twisted ways we often view ourselves. Some days we think we’re great, while others we are loathsome.
Much of Parra’s work is screen prints and digital prints, which I think enhance his ideas and again parallels the human experience. We see these images mutilated and/or distorted, and they look very textural. Yet up close, they are mostly reproduced images and have a smooth sheen – the rawness is kept contained. I compare it to having a friend who appears very put together on the surface, but beneath you know they are a mess.
Parra was featured last year on Beautiful/Decay, not long after graduating college. Since then, he’s created more work that focuses on the braiding or manipulating of paper, which are some of my favorite pieces. I’m looking forward to seeing where Parra goes from here.
It is difficult not to imagine a narrative when seeing the work of Terrence Payne. The Minneapolis-based artist uses elements of design, iconography, typography, pattern and figure, all rendered in a decorative style and soft pallete but with subject matter that is anything but. While the artist occasionally focuses on a central word or scrawled text behind the animals and repeating, archetypical figures, Payne’s paintings use loaded narratives that combine believable earnestness and well-intentioned antagonism.
To achieve the softness in the work, Payne first uses colored pencils to enhance the quality of light and jewel tones, then applies layers oil pastels which allows the the under-drawings show through. Payne says:
”I want you (the viewer) to see the mechanism of it. The idea is just how can I reinforce the sense of this being artificial, that these people aren’t real. They are just representations of what I am thinking about“
Terrence’s recent work has been concerned with “cataloging the human effects of trying to keep your head afloat in an increasingly polarized world of haves and have-nots” and “examining a person’s perceived place in society” and how that affects the way the work is perceived. This most recent work will be collected in an exhibition alongside Nick Howard (previously here) called Cake, at the artist-collective space Payne helped found, Rosalux Gallery in Northeast Minneapolis (which was named Twin Cities’ Best Gallery in 2013). Cake opens October 12th and runs through October 31st.
Petros Chrisostomou, a New York based photographer, plays with scale, mass-produced and ephemeral objects, and hand-crafted mini architectural models in order to challenge the viewer’s visual certainties, and visual signifiers of contemporary mass culture.
The multi-faceted works resemble lively assemblages of what seem to be large-scaled mundane objects in exaggerated interiors – some resembling wreckage, and others referencing the extravagance of a Rococo palace.
Christosomou’s photographs become the field for mixing the high- and the low-brow, mass culture and genre painting, the luxurious and the expendable, as indications of social class distinctions. At the same time, the relations between the real and the imaginary in his oeuvre are a commentary on the mediated images of contemporary mass media that distort the natural and immediate dimension of our relation to reality, determining, among other things, the conditions for viewing and receiving art.
The relevance of this body of work does not completely rely on its technical complexities, and cultural commentary, but also in its visual power. We know that the artist is not fabricating monumental sculptures resembling stiletto shoes, instead he is fabricating small-scaled architectural spaces- that play out with the objects, making them look bigger than they seem. It is important to notice, as curator Tina Pandi points out that “the alteration of scale and reversal of the relation between object and environment, between imaginary and real space.”
Yorgo Alexopoulos is a New York-based artist who creatively uses media to construct immense installations and artworks. He combines his paintings, drawings, photographs and films with digital animation and sound to generate works that often comment on transcendental themes. Generally using multiple monitors or projections, Alexopoulos’ installations have a life to them that relies on rhythm, synchronization and movement. For instance, at Norman Foster’s Bow Building in Calgary, Alberta, Alexopulos created a 27 channel video installation that is otherworldly and stunningly beautiful (even just in images).
For his last solo show at Cristin Tierney gallery in New York, Transmigrations, Alexopoulos was inspired by his early paintings. Using the Constructivist movement formed in Russia in the early 20th century as his point of departure, Alexopoulos investigated a narrative based on folklore, magic and spirituality. Alexopoulos incorporated images, videos and paintings to create an animated journey. Part Moholy-Nagy kinetic sculpture, Jennifer Bartlett’s Rhapsody, and early landscape painting, Transmigrations is, as stated in the press release for the exhibition, a “contemplation and reverence of nature and all aspects of our universe that are beyond comprehension.”
Alexopoulos recently completed a permanent video installation for Chicago’s IBM building that is equally engaging and mesmerizing.
Darren Wardle‘s paintings are bright and dystopian and evoke a sort of futuristic unease. There are disruptions within the formal elements of his pieces, like dripping, smeared, or seeming explosions of bright colored paint that call attention to the instability of form. I am drawn to the technical skill of the buildings’ architectures contrasted with the artificiality captured with the use of the saturated, day-glo color palette. Wardle is from Australia, but it was during his residency in Los Angeles that he became inspired by the city’s landscape, and created these stunning pieces.
According to Art Collector, Wardle says his work is “meant to be both beautiful and terrible…My work is basically what I see, taken to an extreme. I’m always looking at things through a dystopian prism, but I’m hoping it won’t turn out that way.” His artist statement elaborates, “The points where analog and digital technology meet in painting are similar to where the natural and the synthetic meet in our everyday experience of constructed space. The structural disintegration, or renovation, deployed in my work embodies a generalized anxiety about architecture under threat from an unspecified force, be that natural or man-made.” Of his portrait painting series titled “Head Case,” Wardle explains, “There is a connection between the psychological interior and representations of interior space. At a subconscious level the room is a projection of our own skin and is a metaphor for the interior self.”
New York-based artist and product developer Pamela Council creates sculptures using hundreds of fake acrylic nails. Putting together these tiny, mundane objects, she builds extraordinary busts, lanterns, and sculptures about Olympic athletes. Her socially-conscious work focuses on the deeper meaning of these objects. What kind of associations do we have with them? Council writes about her thought process, stating:
I take everyday objects and re-figure them as I consider their associations and power. The process begins with research and includes a dissection of the cultural implications of the product, from why it was created, to how and where it is made, sold, and used. This enables me to extricate the object from its commercial value and present it in sculpture. Through this process, the object becomes re-possessed.
Mass-produced objects that are used on the body interest me the most; recently, my focus has been almost exclusively on beauty products. As I continue to investigate these cultural artifacts, my goal is to create a new dialogue and awareness about the things that we collect, consume, and discard. Hopefully, it will encourage an analysis that eulogizes the significance of these objects even as it allows for a more critical view of their value. If it works, my art will serve as a proxy for the objects and psyches we decide we can live without.
Council created a sculpture titled, Flo Jo World Record Nails, which used 200 sets of the manicured nails that Florence Griffith-Joyner wore during the 1988 Olympics, when she set the 200 meter world record. Council painted each set and had them for sale. You too could harness the same power as Flo Jo – being young, extremely talented, all while remaining stylish.
You can visit Council’s Tumblr, Blaxidermy, for her photos, work in progress, and things she comes across in her day-to-day life.
Rivane Neuenschwander is a Brazillian artist who works in film, photography, sculpture, collaboration, participatory events and installation. Her work employs beautiful ideas, unpretentious materials and an inspiring vision. For I Wish Your Wish, an installation at the New Museum, Neuenschwander drew from a tradition at the São Salvador church Nosso Senhor do Bonfirm. She invited visitors to take a ribbon from the installation, tie it around their wrist, and leave it until it falls off. Once that happens their wish will come true. Or First Love, a work where a police sketch artist sits with visitors as they describe their “first loves.” The portraits were then hung in the gallery for the exhibition. Rain Rains, is a collection of leaking buckets controlled from flooding by a Sisyphean recirculation tended to by museum staff. One Thousand and One Nights is a collection of galaxy scenes that depict narrative layers of which the viewer becomes a participant. The hole-punched circles along with the frames, articulate the duration of the exhibition in calendar form. A viewer is encouraged to contemplate the idea of one thousand and one nights.
Allowing the participation of visitors, Neuenschwander blurs the boundaries that traditionally stand between artist and viewer. She instigates an idea, permitting it to discriminate via the public. Her work becomes a living, breathing mass collaboration combining nature, language and the ephemeral.