San Francisco based artist Alec Huxley‘s large and cinematic sci-fi paintings are filled with noir-influenced contrast. Both bleak and bright, his paintings largely take place in urban or desert landscapes of the American West Coast and are representative of both science fiction and surrealist inspired narratives that often include animal figures. Huxley’s use of light throughout his compositions lend his work a realism that is rather haunting, and reminds me of something you’d find in an apocalyptic comic book narrative. His solo exhibition, “Astronomical Menagerie,” is described below and currently on view at the Minna Gallery in San Francisco until October 26th:
“At the witching hour, fashionable figures in space helmets rendezvous with wild beasts in the empty streets of San Francisco. As animals are central to our perception of humanity, relationships of power and domination juxtapose with naked reminders of human frailty. Confident in our ingenuity, we float about cities at the apex of species. Absent our imagination and material protections, we stand vulnerable beside creatures functioning solely to survive.” (via exhibition-ism)
Natalie Arnoldi is a California-based artist whose work explores the fine line between abstract and figurative painting. Her works identify the psychological effects of ambiguous representation, allowing a viewer’s imagination to fill in the missing subject matter. Currently a coterminal Masters student at Stanford University, pursuing a M.S. in ocean science and a B.S. in marine biology, Arnoldi’s life has always centered around the ocean. Thus, it is unsurprising that she references the ocean as her inspiration for both her academic and artistic pursuits.
Though she doesn’t always use the ocean as her subject matter, there is a kind of depth to Arnoldi’s paintings (which are often tinted some shade of blue) that is reminiscent of looking into unfathomably deep waters. Highly reductive, Arnoldi’s paintings still manage to be moody, psychological and rich with meaning. A lone shark’s fin, a simple road median disappearing into the fog, or an airplane silhouette becomes a decidedly dramatic narrative delivered from the most uncomplicated version of an image.
Engagingly beautiful, Arnoldi’s paintings are haunting in their simplicity and straightforwardness. It is eerie how much can be deduced based on an image painted and composed in a certain way.
Malaysian based artist and designer Tang Chiew Ling creates illustrations using unconventional illustration materials. Using things like cotton and leaves, Ling will create a fashion illustration around these objects, recontextualizing them into an interesting new design. For these particular illustrations, Ling uses the natural beauty and curves of leaves found in her garden and in drains to illustrate high-end fashion for various models. With her careful and deliberate arrangement of decaying and dead leaves, Ling transforms nature into fashion. (via design boom)
Elisa Strozyk is a unconventional textile designer. Instead of fabric, she uses wood to construct rugs, carpets, and blankets. While we often think of wood as rigid surface, her work breaks this convention and transforms it into something much cozier. Elisa’s textile art acts like fabric. They easily conform to a surface and can bunch together, allowing something or someone to be wrapped up in wood.
Each piece is comprised of tiny shapes, variations of triangles and squares. Paired together they make tessellations, or the tiling of shapes to insure there are no gaps between them. Tessellations can be in 2D or in Elisa’s case, 3D. The general idea is that shapes are used to stack and fill space.
These textiles are meant to have us consider a new perspective on material. They challenge our notions of what is possible out of something like wood. Elisa’s textiles can be functional or art object. They can be used as a blanket or on the floor as a rug. But, depending on the design, context, and manipulation of shapes, they can be a sculpture, too.
Elisa gives more insight to her work, writing:
The world around us is becoming increasingly immaterial. We are now used to write emails instead of letters, to pay online, to download music and touch virtual buttons on touch screens. We live in a society of images, a visual culture full of colours, advertisements, television and the internet. There is not much left to feel. Giving importance to surfaces that are desirable to touch can reconnect us with the material world and enhance the emotional value of an object.
“Wooden Textiles” convey a new tactile experience. We are used to experience wood as a hard material; we know the feeling of walking across wooden floors, to touch a wooden tabletop or to feel the bark of a tree. But we usually don’t experience a wooden surface which can be manipulated by touch.
Text art seems to be popping up everywhere these days in a multitude of diverse forms, although the use of text in art is inarguably not a new movement. However, when it comes to using words in visual art, several artists of different ages and sub-genres have found ways to burn their words into our brains. The pieces featured here have real stay-power. Whether the artist employs a blinking pattern between words, such as Bruce Nauman does, or draws rawly from their cultural background and related personal experience, such as Glenn Ligon and Patrick Martinez, these works deliver a very contemporary message. With simple language, and a sometimes poetic-sometimes brash- sense of honesty, these neon text-based works transcend many other works of text based art made today. Artists featured here include: Bruce Nauman, Patrick Martinez, Tracey Emin, Jill Magid, Glenn Ligon, Robert Montgomery and Jung Lee. The works speak for themselves- yet we encourage you to read between the lines.
Ellen Jantzen‘s newest photoseries, Disturbing The Spirits, explores the photographers recent interest in the healing power of nature. In her series’ statement, the St. Louis-born photographer questions, “As human actions impact the natural environment, can artists heal nature? Does art bring “special powers” to the table? If so, what are they? What is ‘art’? What is ‘nature’? What needs healing?”
Focusing on the cameras ability to record fleeting elements of natural elements, Jantzen hopes to bring attention and connection to our environment, often represented in the series by trees. The artist explains, “In “Disturbing the Spirits” I am using imagery to convey my feelings about the state of nature, the nature of trees, and how to express their connection to past, present and future.” The added element of digital manipulation, pulling the image into sheets of linear veils both obscures the focus, yet creates an alluring, gossamer magnetism.Jantzen continues, “By obscuring a portion of the image through a veil, I strive to heighten the remaining reality through discovery and reflection.” The work is made more convincing by using these digital aftereffects, bringing attention to the necessary connection (and beauty) possible when both human and nature coexist.
Although many of the photos present human-altered versions of bucolic landscapes, forests and watery reflections, Jantzen’s work does not seem to say that the natural world is perfection. Rather, the images she depicts are impermanent, and simply reconnecting with nature is not a remedy to our human condition. Instead, the transience (if respected and protected) is the beauty, and will continue to regenerate forever if allowed. Jantzen acknowledges this, stating “(trees) are seen as powerful symbols of growth, decay and resurrection….a tree’s longevity can lull us into a false sense of immortality. It is this very impermanence that I long to understand through my photographic explorations. There is an ineffable natural beauty…. too great to be expressed or described in words.“ (via lancia trendvisions)
The short, but sweet set featured songs from his debut LP including “The One Eyed King”, “Chameleon”, “The Ballad of Little Jean”, and my personal favorite, “Clear The Air”. The show echoed the album’s fuzzy, but highly psychedelic feel that had the crowd swaying from the very first beat. I’ll be looking forward to hearing what he has up his sleeve for the next record, but in the meantime NPR just released a video for his newest single, “The End Of August” that you can watch here.
Jacco is currently on tour with the Allah-Las and you can catch both bands at The Chapel in San Francisco tomorrow night, Saturday October 5th. Enjoy the video for his song, “Clear The Air” and check out dates for the rest of his US tour as well as his jaunt across Europe that will last through the end of the year.
In his new book, Across the Ravaged Land,photographer Nick Brandt features petrified animal remains found along a lake in Northern Tanzania that contains lethal levels of alkaline.
Brandt explains, “I unexpectedly found the creatures – all manner of birds and bats – washed up along the shoreline of Lake Natron in Northern Tanzania. No-one knows for certain exactly how they die, but it appears that the extreme reflective nature of the lake’s surface confuses them, and like birds crashing into plate glass windows, they crash into the lake. The water has an extremely high soda and salt content, so high that it would strip the ink off my Kodak film boxes within a few seconds. The soda and salt causes the creatures to calcify, perfectly preserved, as they dry.
I took these creatures as I found them on the shoreline, and then placed them in ‘living’ positions, bringing them back to ‘life’, as it were. Reanimated, alive again in death.” (via gizmondo)