Ghada Amer is an Egyptian-born artist who speaks assertively about feminine depiction in her paintings. In earlier work, she used soft-core pornographic reference images for her large-scale thread paintings. In an interview with Border Crossings, Amer explains her decision to use thread as her primary medium. “I didn’t invent embroidery, but I wanted to paint with embroidery. I was speaking about women in a medium for women, and it made the speaking stronger and more present.” Embroidery, weaving, and other traditionally female mediums are often categorized as craft, in many ways as a dismissal of the expression as inferior to painting, sculpture, and other ‘high art’ mediums. Amer decided to reappropriate the media, and has made a very successful career out of it. Ghada Amer: Rainbow Girls was the artist’s most recent exhibition, showcased at Cheim and Read, certainly not low-hanging fruit in the commercial art world.
Amer has branched out from pornography, originally a means for her to rebel against her family. She’s made sculptures and borrows feminist slogans like: “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition” in text-based work. Her colours can be sever with a black ground and an abstract explosion of thread or bright and playful, which is also reflected in her approach. Her intention is serious, but like the thread she embroiders, she is also loose and celebratory of the feminine condition.
American artist Joseph Decamillis breaths second life to old discarded books by inserting miniature illuminated into their covers. Postage stamp-sized artworks are done on copper plates and placed in carved niches. Decamillis’ works turn two-dimensional book covers into exquisite spatial collages.
“As a painter of miniatures on copper, Joe found old books the perfect match to narrate and contain his exquisite illuminated images. <…> Carving niches into old books emphasized the storytelling nature of the work.”
Combining the inscribed meanings of a book with his whimsical paintings, Decamillis constructs new discourses between book cover’s inherent text, oil-painted imagery, carefully selected text additions and the viewer. To create his trademark miniatures, Decamillis uses brushes with no more than three hairs each. After finishing the piece, the book is sealed to never be opened again.
All books featured in the “Miniature Paintings In Altered Books” series are real, mostly found in libraries, bought at thrift store bargains or given by family and friends. In this project, Decamillis was able to unite his passion for books with self-taught skills of oil painting and collage. Artist claims to often research the books before altering to find potential monetary or historical value. (via Messy Nessy Chic)
Star Wars is a popular franchise that spans decades, so it’s no surprise that it has crept up in many artists’ work. We’ve seen it in paintings, expressed through Legos, and it’s even influenced engagement rings. Clearly, the fictional story has resonated with many. Cedric Delsaux can also count himself as someone who finds inspiration from Darth Vader, droids, and the vehicles made famous in the films. He’s expertly inserted Star Wars characters into desolate urban areas that look abandoned and dismantled. The results are images both poignant and haunting; and, given what we know about the characters, Delsaux sets the scenes for alluring narratives that are like a suspenseful novel. Something is going to happen, but we aren’t sure what.
His bleak and stylish works have caught the attention of many, including George Lucas himself:
Over the years, many artists have interpreted Star Wars in ways that extend well beyond anything we saw in the films. One of the most unique and intriguing interpretations that I have seen is in the work of Cedric Delsaux, who has cleverly integrated Star Wars characters and vehicles into stark urban, industrial – but unmistakably earthbound – environments. As novel and disruptive as his images are, they are also completely plausible.
Published in 2011, Ricardo Cases‘s stunning photo book Paloma al Aire (Pigeons In the Air)depicts colorful and unusual moments from a unique form of pigeon racing that takes place in Valencia and Murcia, Spain. This “sport” involves the release of one female pigeon and dozens of painted male pigeons – the winner of the “race” is decided by how much time the male spends with the female. Each male pigeon is painted by his owner, in much the same way color is used to distinguish teams. The pigeons’ breeders, mostly older retired men, invest lots of time and money into their birds – some of the pigeons are worth thousands of euros in addition to the amounts placed during bets on these flighty contestants. For these retired men, these birds are emblematic of their later-life hopes and dreams – each painted pigeon becomes a projection of the pigeon-keeper, representing sportive, economic and sexual success or failure in the community. Be sure to check out Cases’s other work, including his similarly colorful series of the 2012 Florida Republican Presidential Primary for TIME Magazine. (via foam magazine)
Azuma Makoto creates elaborate floral installations, and has now added an impressive new endeavor to his portfolio. The artist’s most recent project sent a bonsai tree and an arrangement of orchids, lilies, hydrangeas, and irises into space! The results are breathtaking. The bouquet is full of colour, and floats free, contrasting against the deep darkness of space and the effervescent blue glow of the earth. It’s an extremely poetic gesture, and somehow it feels like no matter how skilled someone might be in photo editing, they could never build these images synthetically to have the same impact. Maybe this is because the images that document Makoto’s process are of almost equal interest. Seeing the plants from start to finish – as they are bought, assembled, and rise to the sky – reveals the unimaginable procedure to be almost within reach of anyone. It’s still completely awe inspiring, either in spite of or as a direct result of this transparency.
Makoto has a great deal of interesting projects with plants, many of which involving bonsai’s. One is a bonsai tree made of lego, which is an uncharacteristically playful creation, although it still holds much of the seriousness present in his other works. In another sculpture project, Makoto created two containers each with a bonsai inside. In one the tree was completely submerged in water and in the other the tree was burned. As in the space project, Makoto seems interested in the subjections the plants may endure, and experimenting with containment and environment. (Via Fastco Design)
Everyones favorite chocolate wizards Lindt has just opened its newest – and highest shop (3,466 meters /11,371ft above sea level) on top of the Jungfraujoch on the Aletsch glacier, against the backdrop of the Bernese Alps!
What started as a friendly banter on Twitter between athletes turned quickly into the ultimate challenge when Swiss pro tennis player Roger Federer invited American World Cup Alpine Skier Lindsey Vonn to a game of tennis atop the Alps to celebrate the launch of the new Lindt shop. The winner would of course get the best prize of all, a stash of tasty Lindt chocolate to be eaten in one of the most spectacular places on earth! Watch the video and get ready to be introduced to the ultimate Chocolate Heaven!
Visual artist Kalen Hollomon, recently titled the “cut out king of New York”, is blurring the lines between the social conformity and taboo with his mixed media artworks. His collages feature mundane city life moments, high fashion editorials and old advertisements blended with clippings from vintage pornography scenes.
“I am always concerned with what lies beneath the surface – with relativity, perception, sexuality and pop culture. My images are reality manipulation, manipulating other people’s identities. The idea of and ability to alter the value or meaning of an image or object by adding or subtracting elements is really exciting to me – adding or taking away elements from something until it becomes the sexiest it can be at that moment.”
Holomon is christened to be the child of the iPhone generation. Snapped with a smartphone camera, his creative collages started gaining exposure thanks to the social media platforms Instagram and Twitter. However, the same attention has forced the artist to censor some of his works. Hollomon says he “had accounts shut down and posts removed for as little as butt cheeks”.
Beyond the absurdity and wit, Hollomon’s work also represents the new trend of privacy-lacking public photography. His instant iPhone images from New York’s streets and subways rarely deal with any permissions for public use. That unawareness is exactly what turns such works into powerful socio-documentary messages. (via Dazed)
At first glance, it looks like these embroideries by artist Sula Fay pair thread with your average stitching techniques to depict body parts, words, and ancient sculptures on circular vintage Victorian-era doilies. That fact alone makes them unconventional in the traditional sense of the craft. But, the artist adds one more special touch to make these works all her own – strands of her hair. Fay threads a needle with her locks and passes it through the aged fabric. She describes her reasons and process:
As an adolescent, I struggled with my hair. Being of half African and Puerto Rican descent I inherited very naturally curly hair. Alongside my white skinned, long straight haired friends, I felt different and unattractive. I went through many gruelling hours brushing, combing, and straightening. That process was very difficult and tedious, just like the process of my embroideries. To embroider with my hair I have to straighten each piece separately. (Via Booooooom)