British artist Bruce Munro is perhaps best known for his creation of large-scale installations that offer a great amount of experiential weight to viewers. Choosing materials which reflect, and shine light, a metaphor for the artist’s interests in literature, music and science. Often made of humble materials, Munro has often come back to the use of compact discs, a decision that the artist explains, “Initially I used discarded materials to save on costs. Soon material choices also became the subject matter of the installations,” he says of Light. “For me, there has to be a reason—however idiosyncratic—for everything I do and these days I am drawn more and more to the idea of creating an experience that is gentle on the landscape.”
Various projects of Munro’s use repurposed and recycled compact discs in massive quantities, covering hills, estate lawns and fields. In works such as CDSea, enormous fields of the collected discs have a natural element, in this case a meandering path carved through them. The path, which echoes landscape architecture and fung shui design, allows viewers to experience not only vistas of the shimmering surfaces, but also the now-highlighted beauty of the existing grass itself. Speaking of the installation and its process, Munro says “You never know how something will work out, but now I could not be happier. I’m so grateful to everyone who turned out to help. We had a magical weekend and CDSea looks amazing, like a giant painting on the grass“ (via hi-fructose, designboom, inhabitant)
Photographer Antoine Rose captures Miami’s beaches and its coastline in the series Up in the Air Miami. Shot from a bird’s eye view, umbrellas, beach goers, and yachts are miniaturized and abstracted, and look like tiny toys used in a diorama. The candy-colored images offer an unusual glimpse into a day on the water, as we see only a general depiction of the beach yet its captured on a large scale. We aren’t offered many details, but still, there is a lot of energy in these photographs. Rose communicates leisure, and minuscule figures evoke the famous French post-impressionist “bathers” series by Cezanne.
Emmanuel Fremin Gallery in New York City is exhibiting Rose’s works, and they describe how the extreme point of view affects what we’re seeing:
… people sharing common behaviors and exposing themselves like hedonistic herds. The stills of people swimming, surfing or just sitting down on their beach pads suggest a showcase or, given the distance, an Insectarium. One can even see a religious connotation: the bird’s eye view makes people seem insignificant dots in the infinite space of the universe, crushed by the immensity of the water field, recalling the biblical universal flood; seen from the sky, like through god’s eyes, people and nature coexist in harmonic or tense relationships. -Eduard Andrei
Miami isn’t the first or only place that Rose has photographed. Previous series of Up in the Air include the Hamptons, Long Island, and Wollman Skating Rink in New York City. To capture these images, he is situated outside of a helicopter that flies as low as 600 feet.
Michelle Hamer hand-stitches pixelated versions of photographs she’s taken of urban spaces, mainly those occupied by text found in advertising, signage, or graffiti. She stitches her images into perforated plastic, transforming flat, static images of everyday public urban life into tactile needlepoints that recall private and domestic spaces.
“I see my work as a type of socio-historic documentation. The images depicted are in between moments that we often take for granted. The obviously slow process allows viewers to become more conscious of these moments which are captured within an instant and consider the difference between the manual and the digital. The in-between spaces (on/off ramps of freeways etc.) where signage can often be found is both necessary for our infrastructure, but also generally not noticed. Similarly, much of the text, advertising signage, streetscapes are so familiar we can fail to focus/really see it, but it’s often reflective of our broader social ambitions, aspirations and edicts.”
Fra.Biancoshock insists he is not a street artist, but rather the Milan-based experientialist noticed that his street-level installations and interventions spoke using the same language as Street Art. In regards to the movement of Street Art in regards to his work, the mysterious, identity-protecting Fra. says, “For me, that phrase is a provocation: I have not studied art, I do not frequent artistic circles, or amicidell’amicodelcuginodelfratellodelsuoamico … And I have no particular technical and artistic skills. I just have ideas and I like to strain my mind in trying to propose to the common people through what I call “Unconventional Experiences.” I think mine are “experiences” rather than works of art.”
With ties and intentions closer to Performance and Conceptual Art (for those paying off MFA degrees, think Guy Debord), the man who would become Fra.Biancoshock developed the performative avant-garde school of art he calls Effimerismo (“The Effimerismo is a movement that has the aim of producing works of art that exists in a limited way in the space, but that they persist in an infinite way in time…”) as a means of exploring and categorizing his specific means of street engagement (or as he is known to call them, “speeches”).
Operating in this very-intentionally public mode of communication, Fra.Biancoshock uses the streets as a forum, installing temporary interventions to call attention to themes of poverty, urban blight, modern stress and decay. Present in most works is how Fra deals with serious themes with a disarmingly light-hearted approach. His work has mostly been viewed (often quite temporarily) in Europe, though as Fra. says in his Manifesto-like statement, “Prior to founding the movement, [Fra.biancoshock] has made more than 400 speeches on the streets of Italy , Spain , Portugal, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Malaysia and the State of Singapore, and has no intention of stopping.” (via hi-fructose)
For Lost and Found, the photographer Will Ellis photographs objects collected from the deserted buildings, parks, and bays of New York City. Dating back to the first half of the 20th century, each recovered object is shot with the utmost care, regardless of condition or value. The artist’s long journeys in search of his discarded relics— traversing less frequented city spots with haunting names like Dead Horse Bay and North Brother Island— give historical and totemic meanings to each possession. Once relevant only to a forgotten child, a plastic toy shoe from the 1920s is studied under lights, archived by a seemingly objective lens, and repurposed as evidence of some imagined urban ancestry.
Ellis’s choice to incorporate animal bones into a few of the images strengthens the work’s genealogical impulse; a set of hospital keys, ripped from their locks and rusted beyond recognition, stands alongside a raccoon bone separated from its socket in time. Similarly, a horse bone from the city’s industrial age is visually equated with a pair of plastic doll arms; shot from the same angle, the eroded bone and muddied plastic occupy similar portions of the frame, each lit with expert precision.
As if part of a museum catalog, the series of 30 photographs provides a cohesive, if subjective, vision of history. Through the eyes of Lost and Found, the city’s children narrate its evolution, telling a visual story that begins with doll, touches on music book, and culminates in senior portrait. Ellis’s choice of a stark white backdrop and harsh lighting brilliantly avoids potential sentimentality; as the artist invites us into a distinctly nostalgic space, we are instructed to view the work with the utmost seriousness. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)
Sam Grant, an American painter and photographer, creates incredibly catchy, humorous, and colorful pieces that are pop and vintage inspired. The vibrantly-colored imagery vibes with intensity, grandeur and witty observations; his collage-like compositions create a visual interplay between surreal elements, pulp imagery of the mid-20th century, and contemporary culture.
Though Grant’s paintwork is incredibly realistic, he still renders his subjects and settings with a whimsical appeal. Often paired with words (comic book style), his paintings reference several characteristics of contemporary culture; from texting to ideas of love and beauty, Grant covers it all in a subtle and comical way that, together with the vintage imagery, will make you wanna go back to the simpler times.
If you live in Oakland, California, you will have the chance to experience these pieces in person. Starting in March 7th,2014, Grant’s work will be on view at Loakal Gallery‘s Double Vision, a show inspired and completely devoted to/by Grant’s work. Double Vision will be up until April 1st, 2014.
Matika Wilbur is a Pacific Northwest photographer who is part of the Swinomish and Tulalip Tribes (Washington). In her unique position as both an artist and a social documentarian Wilbur became interested in capturing the contemporary Native identity and experience of Native Americans. Originally simply curious about her own identity and the way it grappled with how she felt others perceived her, Wilbur began a small project on her community’s elders. That small project morphed into an ambitious process of documentation.
With great insight, depth and passion Wilbur began Project 562. Despite the current cultural, economic and political progression of the Native Americans Wilbur was distraught by the strong and incorrect stereotypes that prevail. The 2010 census shows about 5.2 million Native Americans living in the United States and Wilbur feels it is important to portray how this significant population lives today. Thus she embarked on a 60,000 mile roadtrip to begin documenting citizens of each of the more than 560 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States.
Along with photographs, Wilbur is taking oral narratives from all Tribal communities. Seeking out elders, cultural bearers, linguists, teachers, activists, artists, professionals and other contemporary Native Americans Wilbur is organizing her photographs and stories into a comprehensive and through project. As Wilbur explains, “My goal is to represent Native people from every tribe. By exposing the astonishing variety of the Indian presence and reality at this juncture, we will build cultural bridges, abandon stereotypes, and renew and inspire our national legacy.”
Sparking conversation about Edward Curtis, Wilbur responds to comparisons by saying that Curtis was a white man, who would bring his own “props” and pair clothing with the incorrect tribe—rarely even bothering to know the names of his subjects. Wilbur, on the other hand, wants to know the stories of her subjects and wants to portray them accurately, shunning the stereotypes Curtis’ photographs, to this day, perpetuate.
Having just completed a successful Kickstarter campaign Wilbur will continue with her project. A collection of images and interviews will be on display at The Tacoma Art Museum in May.
Taking your average shovel, bucket, and spoon, Lithuanian-based artist Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė embroiders them with detailed cross stitch designs. She often adorns these items using conventional floral motifs, and combines the decorative art with the practical everyday object (view some of her previous work). Most of the time, however, this renders its usefulness obsolete.
Severija’s work is cognizant of the history surrounding craft in her country. In an essay about her embroidery, Dr. Jurgita Ludavičienė writes:
Employing irony, Severija conceptually neutralizes the harmfulness of kitsch’s sweetness and sentimentality. Irony emerges in the process of drawing inspiration from the postwar Lithuanian village, with which artists have lost connection today, or from the destitute Soviet domestic environment, which women were trying to embellish with handicrafts, no matter what kind of absurd forms it would take. The intimacy of indoors freed from all tensions is the essence of coziness, that is crystallized in Severija’s works as cross stitch embroidery on various household utensils not intended for it.
The artist’s portfolio goes beyond floral arrangements. It has a sense of humor, as she embroiders trompe l’oeil cigarettes in an ashtray, the reflection of a mouth on a spoon, and fruit in a bowl. In addition to its meticulousness and amusement, it also blurs the lines of gendered objects, as she stitches “girly” flowers in to “manly” car parts. (Via Colossal)