Recent Ontario College of Art and Design graduate Sarah Joncas already has a distinct, characteristic style that has earned her several awards, as well as garnered the attentions of top galleries around the US. Her paintings often focus on a lone woman, drawing out her narrative in a combination of bold hues and shadowy tones. The themes explored in her works are at times dark but at other times quite whimsical. Currently, the Toronto-based artist is representing Canada in an all-female group show entitled ‘International Woman’ which can be caught at the UK’s Warrington Museum now through July 7th. Living on this side of the pond, as they say? Then check out the artist’s upcoming joint show with fellow painter Caia Koopman, opening June 16th at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California.
Maybe you love puns, maybe you hate them. Whatever your stance on them, UK street artist JPS is a fan. They permeate his work as he incorporates the witty phrases into stenciled images of characters in popular culture. We see Batman, Loki, Biggie Smalls, and even Michael Jackson on walls and rocks and are often accompanied by text that’s specific to the character.
JPS’ clever street art is made extra amusing because of how silly some of his puns are. A previously graffitied wall has his addition of “This surface needs a Sheen,” with a portrait of Charlie Sheen next to it. Groan-worthy, yes, but it might’ve made you chortle. And, this is probably part of the point of JPS’ stencils. While funny, they engage the average passerby and infuse some humor into their day and stay subversive at the same time. (Via The Roosevelts)
The first question Maurizio Savini is asked about his work is one he hates to hear: does he chew every piece of gum he uses to make his sculptures? He admits this question is very annoying, but if everybody is still genuinely interested, then no – no he doesn’t chew the gum. Instead he has two full time assistants unwrapping each stick of gum and melting the pink sticky stuff into layers of usable material. Savini begins his lengthy process by layering the sheets of gum around plaster molds which give his sculptures stability and shape.
Working with the gum for over a decade, he has created some amazing pieces. One sculpture – ‘La Lupa‘ (the figure who nursed the founders of Savini’s birthplace of Rome back to health) is made from 14 kg of chewing gum. He has animals bearing different flags, business men clutching pillows, chandeliers and women’s shoes among many other things. His work is usually loaded with some sort of socially and/or politically focused message.
He says chewing gum has a unique cultural context. It is connected to art history, industry and world history, and is a loaded symbol for Savini. He says after being introduced to Europe when WW2 was ending, the material became a symbol (along with Coca Cola and nylon stockings) of a new era.
When Savini began making his chewing gum sculptures, he has the misfortune of several pieces disintegrating. He now combines the gum with formaldehyde and anti-biotics to preserve it, so the high sugar content doesn’t destroy the pieces. You can see some of his new pieces at the upcoming Art-Southampton, July 9-13, 2015, or find out more about how he makes his creations in the video above.
So these guys at Resn kill it, and say it best themselves…. “Resn believes in creating pretty things from absolutely nothing… is that possible? To drive hard without brakes and crash in a fiery ball of flaming metal as brakes are for losers. Holding your head close to the speakers stack at Concert of Life all you hear is the bass, which makes you go deaf. So don’t be silly, stand at the back with us where all the hot chicks dance. Away from all the sweaty people.” They have a point. Make sure to check out more of these crazy New Zealand Kiwis.
Ra Paulette has a very intimate relationship with the New Mexican mesas into which he carves intricately embellished caves. He does the work entirely on his own, and walks a mile just to reach the destination. The caves are overwhelmingly beautiful, especially when you imagine the process used to make them.
“My final and most ambitious project is both an environmental and social art project that uses solitude and the beauty of the natural world to create an experience that fosters spiritual renewal and personal well being. It is a culmination of everything I have learned and dreamed of in creating caves.”
Paulette is concerned with social change. He tries to stir deep emotions to instigate that change instead of forcing it through direct confrontation.
“How can we change what we do before we change how we feel?” Its underlying premise is that when through wonder and the sense of beauty we move from the emotional realm of our desires and fears to the more expansive and deeper feelings of thanksgiving and appreciation of life with a sense of its sacredness, our actions will automatically be modified, creating a better world – ‘like magic’.
This is the magic of art, music, theatre, and of the beauty of the natural world. We need for that magic to play a more direct role in our lives.”
He also speaks about his relationship to his process.
“Manual labour is the foundation of my self-expression. To do it well, to do it beautifully… engaging mental and emotional strengths as well as physical strength… Like a dancer, I ‘feel’ the body and it’s movements in a conscious way. I’m fond of calling it ‘the dance of digging’, and it’s the secret of how this old man can get so much done.”
Although the caves are not open to the public at the moment, there is a documentary called Cave Digger. (Via Juxtapoz)
The Festival Des Architectures Vives, of Montpellier in Southern France, is an annual exhibition showcasing new talent in architectural installation. The Festival is currently in its 7th year. Here are a few images of some of the stuff that’s gone down. Repetition seems to be a popular theme this year, as many of the installations involved in the event feature identical or similar elements multiplied a few times over. The small alcove spaces that contain each piece work really well. They restrict the work just enough to create a slight amount of tension, but don’t distract from or impede any of the installations. See more from the show after the jump. (via)
Space age abstraction – the power of design tools. Bechira Sorin’s recent digital work, especially the one above, retain a Neo-Dali aesthetic. I love how seamlessly everything ties together, and how fluid his composition is. That said, the futuristic surrealism does not speak for all his work, check out his other illustrations and experiments with typography after the jump.
A visually interesting and literally engaging material many artists are drawn to mirrors and other reflective surfaces for their visually interesting qualities. Based in concept, Dan Graham’s “pavilions” blur the line between sculpture and architecture. Toying with perception the pavilions employ two-way mirrors and glass to engage a viewer and disorient his sense of space.
Inspired by artists like Graham, Danish artist Jeppe Hein is interested in illusion and turning passive visitors into participants. Hein uses mirrors and other reflective surfaces in his work. Finding the place there art intersects with architecture, and technical inventions, Hein often adds an element of humor to his pieces.
With similar interests Alyson Shotz also investigates issues of perception and space by using reflective materials. Often Shotz’s works become visual representations of concepts from theoretical physics (string theory, dark metter, etc). Other times her work exposes changing surroundings. Shotz says of her works such as Mirror Fence, “I’m interested in making objects that change infinitely, depending on their surroundings. The light at different times of day, the weather…what the viewers are wearing, all these are just some of the variables that will make the piece different every time one comes in contact with it. For me an ideal work of art is one that is ultimately unknowable in some way.”
Ryan Everson is a multimedia artist who reveals the sentimentality often associated with an idealized natural world. As he explains, Fear addresses the “abstract emotional states stirred up from specific self reflective moments.” Sometimes apparent, and sometimes camouflaged, Everson’s Fear creates a deeply rich symbolic metaphor for the feelings evoked by fear.
David Altmejd employs mirrors in his works to help him, and a viewer, explore a fantasy world that puts reality into perspective. Depicting mythical creatures, Atmejd blurs distinctions between real and perceived.