Wookjae Maeng creates ceramic sculptures exclusively representing animals. Most of the time hung off the wall like trophies or mixed with human body parts. His purpose is to not only to trigger a feeling but also a reaction when facing the pieces. Environment, nature and human kind are themes the artist wants to support. He is choosing ceramics to do so.
The animals Wookjae Maeng designs are perfect depictions. Deers, rhinoceroses, mice, pigs and rams, the variety is large. The details of the features are flawlessly imitated. The artist chooses to apply neutral colors to the body of the animals. A dominant of white with a touch of grey, black and brown. The eyes are the part that’s always rendered in shiny gold no exception.
The relationship between the animals and human kind is the focus here. The artist wants to create a 3 way conversation. ‘Within this process the viewer not only intellectually comprehends the work but also viscerally appreciates it if their preconceptions are challenged or senses other than sight are stimulated.’ The presence of nature and its creatures needs nurturing and special care. In an elegant and optimistic way, Wookjae Maeng is suggesting that we all take care of each other, however small and insignificant we may appear to each other. (Via Trendland).
Colorado based artist, Ashley Eliza Williams, creates paintings of geological phenomenons. At first glance, her images appear to be the findings of a microscope, or perhaps, the photographic documentation of some obscure landscape. Her paintings are vibrantly alien, yet convincingly recognizable. Through a “lifelong curiosity about the patterns and biological systems that organize the natural world” she has created a body of work that seems to exist between the realms of science fiction and genuine morphology.
Her choice of titles lift her paintings out of a solely biological and ecological fueled quandary and shift them into a metaphorical, self-reflective, meditative space. The series itself is titled Sentient, directly opening up the work to a channel of emotional conversation, each piece taking the sentiment a little further. For example; The Inner Balance of Things, which features a delicately faded pink rock floating through a soft clouded sky; The Appearance of Quiet Restraint, which focuses on a triumphant looking boulder with small, seemingly measly mountains in the background; or Maybe We Look Like This Inside, which displays a fleshy, internal-organ-esque looking rock hovering over an empty, gray landscape. These titles add a very honest, almost painfully personal aspect to the work, hinting that these pieces act as depictions of an internal space; it is as if she is allowing the viewer into her most personal contemplative thoughts. Through pairing each painting to titles such as these, Ashley Eliza Williams proves her work to be a genuine thoughtful reflection on being human. (Via Booooooom)
Jean-Pierre Roy is a New York-based artist who paints surreal scenes that deconstruct the known world. His work is often associated with science fiction, depicting alien wastelands inhabited by colossal humanoid beings, their bodies laden with geometric shapes, holographic projections, and mirrored panes. Their behaviors are likewise strange; wearing modern clothing, they loom against empty horizons, their faces splintered into expressionless shapes. Many of them appear contemplative, or even violent, pulling the clothes off prone bodies and engaged in silent feuds.
Rather than ascribing to science fiction specifically, however, Roy is more interested in fostering a critical, creative space that allows us to examine the systems of knowledge that construct reality. He strives to explore what he identifies as “the pull of the fantastical”—that moment when “your existential understanding of the nature of things will be questioned.” (Source) By making the earth unearthly, by depicting the self in unexplained contexts, and by crossing the beautiful with the unknown, Roy’s work provides fascinating visions of immaterial and cosmic worlds. (Via Trendland)
Women at different stages of their lives posing in seductive, awkward and humorous poses. Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen, in her series ‘Seduced and Abandoned’, creates photo collages with singular elements and wide close ups of skin and hair. Using her own method, she depicts the theme of abandonment. A testimonial of events from her past and feelings left from a traumatic up-bringing.
Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen collects 1970’s National Geographics. She is influenced by the unusual lay out of the ads. She also uses poses from 1980’s magazines archives as inspiration for her shootings. The exaggerated close ups and the appearance of elements such as medical supplies, a doll and a set of false teeth attract the viewer despite the oddity of the pictures. Most of the props were used by the artist’s grandmother and evoke fragility and mortality. One of the major component of the work is the use of a plastic mask and a wig. Generating an unsettling feeling, it increases the viewer’s curiosity of knowing more about the person hiding behind the mask. The grouped images, piled up in one area of the frame creates a claustrophobic feeling.
It is of course all orchestrated by the artist. Her purpose is to trigger an introspection. By displaying domestic activities in her work blended with flesh and enticing poses, Chanel Von Habsburg-Lothringen narrates her story as an abandoned child and her reality at home at that time. Wanting to say it all through the collages, the artist seems to install a distance between herself and the viewer. The mask and the wig are a way to progress incognito while she is telling her story. The grandmother, used a symbol of death and mortality combined to a bright contrasted background blurs the lines of the artist’s intentions to reveal it all through her art. “creating photographs where it is unclear if the subject is reflecting on her own past, looking forward to the future, or trapped somewhere in between.”
Since October 2014, photographer Chris Forsyth has been capturing the architectural beauty and sophistication of Montreal’s metro stations. The city’s underground network is massive, with four lines, 68 stations, and over a million daily passengers. Forsyth’s vibrant, long-exposure shots accentuate an impressive side to the Metro, beyond its functionality: a creative and brightly bold character, which is both a hallmark of modernism and architectural design.
Construction on the Metro began in the 1960s, during the tenure of Mayor Jean Drapeau. Each station was assigned to a different Canadian architect in order to create unique designs for the spaces. For passengers today, it may sometimes be challenging to appreciate these artistic, historical nuances while in the midst of urban mayhem, but as Forsyth’s project description points out, “architectural portraits show that beautiful design is all around, even when we don’t have the time to slow down and notice.” Forsyth’s contemplative images reveal there are signs of human expression and ingenuity embedded in the very foundations of Montreal.
Visit Forsyth’s Instagram page to follow his ongoing project. For readers living in or visiting Montreal, be sure to share your photos of the Metro using the hashtag #mtlmetroproject.
Chilean artist Santiago Salvador Ascui paints melodic, colorful arrays of pattern-like assembled people. His careful lines, bright use of color, and charmingly hand painted perfection is reminiscent of work from the Mission School movement, specifically the paintings of Margaret Kilgallen and Chris Johanson. While having the playfulness of the “new folk” work of the 1990s, his work is also informed by a strict systematic structure. His pieces function almost as color studies, guiding the eye through the placement of hue, rather than, as most figurative paintings would, narrative. As he falls in and out of saturation, his work sometimes seems to mimic the cycle of the moon. He arranges his figures in sequences, perhaps forming the aesthetic of Josef Frank meets Josef Albers.
Though the work is aesthetically joyful and decorative, his use of repetition and unification through tonality also speaks to a certain aspect of conformity and monotony. He speaks about the work as a pictorial representation of consumer culture. During the digestion of each piece, the viewer cannot help but to see every figure as the same. The patterned pieces create a true sense of identity-less beings; as if to say that everyone is within the same cycle, drawn into the same pattern (if you will), and unlinked to any sense of individuality. However, Santiago Salvador Ascui’s work also draws an important question; when does the need to be different begin to silence the need to be the same? Despite the burden of a plastic society, perhaps the unification of all figures is actually, in a sense, a positive message. (Via The Jealous Curator and Artishock)
A wall patterned with vibrant colorful real insects. Jennifer Angus is arranging the species she appreciates the most on a hot-pink background. The opening of the Renwick Gallery across from the White House in Washington DC has welcomed artists to use different kind of mediums to surprise their future viewers.
The series of in situ installations is called ‘Wonder’. From room to room the curator wants the viewer to be amazed. The different styles ornating the gallery are brought together in a way that the viewer can’t recognize what he is admiring until he comes closer and immerses himself into the decor.
Jennifer Angus’s room revolves around patterns. From far, the general aspect imitates a wall paper. The artist, a former textile designer, knows how to play with the motifs. She is inspired by patterns ‘to which repetition is inherent’. 5000 insects, weevils and small beetles were handpicked and displayed by the artist mainly in the shape of skulls. This symbol of mortality combined with the insects meet her purpose, which is to highlight the fragile features of human kind. Her installation is called ‘In the Midnight Garden’. A reference to the glow created by the iridescent blues, greens and lilac tones.
The disclaimer on the artist website indicates the insects were all collected from Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand and Malaysia. She does not alter their original colors and she is reusing each one of them for each exhibition, carefully putting them away in boxes.
Keith Lemley is an American artist who builds sculptural, light-based installations that explore the crossroads between nature and technology. Featured here is “The Woods,” comprising a dimly-lit room with illuminated axes lain against chopping logs and cracked cement walls. The scene is eerie yet serene, mixing bright-light modernity with the dark, cobwebbed corners of rustic life. The lights bring a sense of warmth and presence where there is otherwise cold stillness, calling upon our own memories of the forest while also estranging them with urban glamor. In the following statement, Lemley describes his desire to transcend time and environmental boundaries:
“My work is about seeing the unseen—the invisible presence which exists in our minds and surrounds all objects, experiences, and memories. Working in my studio in rural Appalachia, I have developed a keen interest in being part of and observing natural systems, time and the process of life and death, and an aesthetic sensibility synthesizing the organic and the machine.” (Source)
Other works by Lemley similarly explore the beauty of the natural world, manifesting it beyond normative representations; “Arboreal” is a speculation on the geometry inherent in nature, whereas “Past Presence” uses light to enhance the ragged dynamism of driftwood. Lemley’s goal is to shift our perspectives on the environment, and he does so by fulfilling the adventurous spirit and infusing physical images with the resonance of personal experience. Lemley’s installations renew familiar landscapes with meaning and excitement; as he writes, “one [ultimately] walks away more self aware and delighted in everyday visual ephemera and the experience of being a living, breathing being” (Source).