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Spine-Chilling Paintings Of Suffering by Dr. Kevorkian, Practitioner Of Assisted Suicide

Dr. KevorkianDr. KevorkianDr. KevorkianDr. Kevorkian

The late Dr. Jack Kevorkian, known for his life’s work of advocating assisted suicide and for helping to end over 130 lives with his ominous-sounding Thanatron, or “machine of death,” was also an oil painter. The doctor, who spend 8 years in prison, created a little-known body of work tinged with the horror of pain; illustrating his controversial ideas on compassion, the paintings take aim at his religious critics and appeal to a nuanced moral ideal where death is seen simultaneously as a terror and an escape.

Kevorkian’s Thanatron takes its name from the ancient Greek personification of death; in his paintings, he also uses mythological themes. In “Fever,” he illustrates a hell composed of the ill and suffering; like Dante’s Virgil, he leads his painted patient through the depths of agony and fear with wide, sweeping brushstrokes. The Christian Brotherhood is reimagined as a monster characterized by multiple grotesque, sharp-toothed heads vaguely reminiscent of Inferno’s Satan.

Seemingly drawing inspiration from symbolist painters like Paul Gauguin and Edvard Munch, the artist, often referred to as “Dr. Death,” distorts the form of his subjects so that they might express psychological despair and heightened anxiety. In one image, titled “Coma,” a man, draped in a bed sheet, is inhaled by ghostly skull, his body absurdly foreshortened and his lined feet disproportionately swelled to express profound weariness. As the monstrous spirit of “coma” sucks him in, his tiny, darkened eyes beg for release. In “Paralysis,” the body becomes a prison, the brain removed and bound in chains.

When exhibited alongside the doctor’s paintings illustrating his love of music (Johann Sebastian Bach, a treble and bass clef), as they are at Gallerie Sparta, the more frightful images take on a strange operatic quality, evoking eery tonal climaxes with expressionistic bursts of color. 11 of the doctor’s paintings will be on view through April 30. (via Huff Post)

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Aldis Ozolins

 

Aldis Ozolins is a maker of zines, posters, and experimental illustrations that represent memories from the place he was born: Riga, Latvia. While Aldis’ current professional direction and focus is on graphic design and interactive experiences (both of which he is damn good at), we chose to feature his illustrative work and side-projects due to the strong emotional qualities embedded so clearly within each of the pieces. It’s easy to get lost in the figures and environments his images bring to life… enjoy a selection after the jump.

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Beth Cavener Stichter’s Metaphoric Animals

Beth Cavener Stichter uses animals in her sculptures as metaphors for the irrational world humans have trouble tapping into. As sculptures of animals, we’re encouraged to feel more directly what we see the animals going through, more so than we would with a human being whom we would try to supply with a narrative context. This is part of the problem Beth is trying to deal with,to get us to embrace the unconscious and irrational parts of our existence instead of repressing them in order to assert our Humanity. The artist explains:

“There are primitive animal instincts lurking in our own depths, waiting for the chance to slide past a conscious moment. The sculptures I create focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms. On the surface, these figures are simply feral and domestic individuals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface they embody the impacts of aggression, territorial desires, isolation, and pack mentality. ”

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Design Watch: Ladies and Gentlemen Studio

 

Ladies & Gentlemen Studio is a two person team with a love for vintage items. Looking at their serving utensils from their Superior Servers collection, their sensibilities are immediately apparent- use classic silhouettes in a new modern way. Their other projects share this clever and endearing quality.

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Documentary Watch: Amy Casey

A nice short documentary on Cleveland artist Amy Casey. Hear Amy talk about her inspirations, references, and watch her work in her intimate sized studio. Watch the full documentary after the jump.

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Kent Michael Smith’s Suspended Geometry

Gestural fluid abstraction and geometric patterns usually don’t well together but Kent Michael Smith has figured out a way to make them live harmoniously on the same surface. By using resin inbetween layers of paint he manages to combine these two disparate forms of mark making that reference Nascar color schematics, hunting gear, camouflage, and graffiti.

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Neil Dacosta’s Naughty Book Of Mormon Missionary Positions

neil dacosta photography

Neil Dacosta photography
neil dacosta photography
neil dacosta photography
Commercial photographer Neil Dacosta decided to have a little fun with The Book Of Mormon. He added the words “missionary positions” to the title and created a pictorial that would have the latter day saints turning beet red. In response to a passage in the LDS handbook which says sexual relations are proper only between a man and a woman who are legally wed, Dacosta proceeds to photograph two geeky males as they engage in various textbook “missionary positions” fully dressed.
The missionary position is considered the proper way for christians to engage in sexual intercourse. In the text definition, there’s a term “intercural intercourse” which is defined as the “homosexual missionary position”. The act is described as the polite way for two males to engage in sex. Its deed is described as rubbing between two thighs and has been referenced to bisexual men such as Abraham Lincoln, Alexander The Great, and lonely soldiers in the battlefield. According to most religious conservative groups, homosexuality is wrong and deviant. Dacosta’s Book Of Mormon is a clever, and forthright way to protest such absurdity.
Most of Dacosta’s other work has an edge. He has shot various campaigns involving snowboarders, runners and motorcross. In the shots, the athletes appear small against the landscape. It fits in well with another essay examining vulnerability called Astronaut Suicides. Here, the photographer shows a fully dressed astronaut in different death induced scenarios. Again, it plays against the idea that no matter what identity we choose whether on purpose or fate, we’re all human beings at the core.
(via ignant)

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Amy Friend’s Magical Re-Makes Of Vintage Photographs

amy_friend_beautiful_decay_02 amy_friend_beautiful_decay_06 amy_friend_beautiful_decay_03Canadian photographer, Amy Friend revisits the past and explores themes of memory and impermanence through the alteration and re-imagination of vintage photographs. The artist inserts a charming glow to the silhouettes of her subjects; the additions makes the images come to life, almost as if the aura of the deceased is alive. “By re-using lights”, she says “I return the subject of the photographs back to the light, while simultaneously bringing them forward.”

I employ materials and surroundings that are familiar to me using them as starting points for my investigations. These materials become the substance I use to inform the work I create. In my practice I tend to work within the medium of photography, however, I am not concerned with capturing a “concrete” reality. Instead, I aim to use photography as a medium that offers the possibility of exploring the relationship between what is visible and non-visible.

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