Oakland-based artist Kara Joslyn’s work is paradoxically pop: combining bright, neo-geo, child-of-the-90’s color and pattern with dark subject matter that is somewhat empty, yet mystical—almost pre-ancient. The forms that take shape in her work seem to be tied together by a series of faint mythologies, maybe containing traces of some vague storyline buried in alien artifacts.
Her process begins with “sourcing photographic reference, which she curates by pairing selective images in dialogue with each other. This source material is then photocopied in black and white and rendered in paint—a document of a document, serving as an allegory for painting.” Her surface treatment is nice, and color choices (while not easily photographable), hit like a laser beam in front of the work.
Tsherin Sherpa, born in Kathmandu Nepal, originally trained as a traditional Tibetan thangka painter with his father Master Urgen Dorje. From the age of twelve, he underwent six years of intensive training before travelling to Taiwan to study Mandarin and computer science. Since then he has returned to thangka painting but has added a contemporary twist to the traditional paintings leaving behind the traditional confines of the age old practice. His work now mixes the techniques and imagery of thangka with contemporary subject matter.
When asked about breaking from tradition Sherpa states:
“Sometimes if one gets too obsessed with the rules, there’s a danger of getting entangled in that very obsession. We then become more concerned about not breaking the rule. Because of that, from the traditional art’s point of view, the contemporary work with Buddhist imagery may even get categorized as sacriligious. I am working with some of the images that are viewed as the ultimate portrayal of certain deity. And to manipulate it, is obviously taboo.
However, if we scratch the layer a little deeper, and analyze these Buddhist images, one will find that they are a means to develop a practitioner’s (Buddhist) goal towards enlightenment, which means that the images are not the ultimate goal but rather a vehicle. A representation of a Buddha in 2- or 3-dimensional form is not the actual Buddha. It is a mere representation. And to fall into the trap of perceiving them to be the ultimate, is actually getting oneself entangled with the rules.”
I was talking with Jason Redwood a few weeks ago, checking out some process shots of a new painting he’s working on (titled fathomless psychotropicali), and realized it’d be kind of cool to do a blog post on the progression of the painting, from start to finish. So, Jason snapped a few pics from different stages of the painting being completed- kinda cool! The entire series is below.
I get a little nostalgic for summer when I see photographer Henry Busby‘s images in his short series Revere Beach. Located in Massachusetts, thousands of beach goers relax along its shores on hot summer afternoons. Busby captures this scene in a style that vaguely reminds me of Rineke Dijkstra’s portraits of swimmers, yet we the viewer are kept more at a distance to observe the subjects as anonymous moments. Check out the work and don’t worry, summer will be here soon.
The work of Koen Hauser floats somewhere between fine art and fashion photography. His series Modische Atlas der Anatomie illustrates this well. The series’ title is a kind play on words – literally it translates as “Fashionable Anatomy Atlas”, yet with a single vowel change it can be translated as “Medical Anatomy Atlas”. In the series, his subject seem to be modeling her organs as much as her clothes. Portions of the model’s body are cut away to reveal her inner workings. However, rather than depict the organs true to life, Hauser referenced traditional anatomy atlas’ – artistic medical reference works.
Using up to 30,000 volts of electricity, artist Dries Ketels tries to capture a quality usually unseen in most portraits. His latest series, called Our Souls Captured in the Electromagnetic Field is an exploration of the human condition. He says by using a unique combination of different chemicals, painting materials and electricity, he is able to capture something more about his subjects. He wants to go deeper into their psyche, and to reveal something about people that is usually unseen. In the process he has come up with some pretty striking images.
He raises some pretty interesting questions while trying to reveal the working of our inner selves:
What is this soul or this character of an individual other than a bunch of electromagnetic interactions in the brain of that individual? What is the most important thing that a portrait should grasp? Are our actions, that define us as a human being, more than electromagnetic interactions? (Dries Ketels)
Ketels also makes the connection in his images between the patterns formed from the lightning and veins in the body, or synapses in the brain. He links the macro-world to the micro-world; the external universe to our internal one. The young artist is interested in new, exciting and innovative methods and ideas:
For a few of my series around realism I leave the traditional realism behind and present the reality of realism. One of the most important attitudes that helped me developing a relaity of realism and becoming what I am is the simple act of going left when everybody else is going right. It’s the only way to discover the new and push the boundaries forward. (Source)
To see more of his boundary pushing art, see here.
Brooklyn based multimedia artist Emily McMaster has created a provocative video series featuring one shot scenes of masochism. Her work invites us into intimate and unsettling moments that provoke questions of power dynamics. Each work is a test for the squeamish, a pit of anxiety, and a platform for confusion and quandary. When entering the work, it remains unclear whether these acts are that of pleasure or torture. It remains unclear who is empowered and and who is dominated. Within her piece Steeple, McMaster sews her fingers together in a gesture from a childhood hand game. She struggles to break the ties, only to be unsuccessful and greeted with blood. Perhaps this piece speak of the disfunction within power structures, the loss of innocence, the impurity of self destruction. Baby’s Breath begins with the act of a masculine arms covering the head of the topless, red lip stick stained artist with a plastic bag. Again, the question of pleasure versus pain, power versus abuse, and in this particular video, female subjection. Her work is powerful, allusive, and perfectly hard to watch.
The following is her artist statement;
“Emily McMaster is a Brooklyn based artist who studied Printmaking at Bard College and The University of New Mexico. Her work, whether solo or in collaboration, focuses on delicacy, remarks on femininity, draws from fetish, and values playfulness above all else. She couldn’t put an x-acto knife down for a decade, but has recently swapped it out for a video camera. Baby’s Breath and Steeple are recent examples of this transition. With this new work Emily explores her endurance by confronting specific physical challenges. In this process she showcases texture, vulnerability, and masochism.”