I personally am not a fan of pipes and think they should only be used by 110 year old pirates on their very last voyage of death to the Bermuda Triangle but I have to admit that Alan Powdrill’sPipe Up series is fantastic. I just wonder if these ladies actually smoke pipes or if this is purely for our photographic pleasure.
Gary Ward uses charcoal, graphite, oil pastels, and an overall sharp wit to examine humanity’s mess of emotion over the confusion of body and identity.
His Archeology Series, collected here, is a playful response to the quandary of life after death: how, despite fame, class, or notoriety at the end of it all, we are basically just a slew of skulls with slight form variations.
Regarding process, Ward, a self-taught artist based in Los Angeles, says he is “interested in how the mind and hand talk to each other in one uninterrupted sitting.” He likes to see the authorship of a flawed line and honors how each mistake can spontaneously charge the work in a new direction.
I’m loving these juicy rorschach oil paint portraits by Australian painter Ben Quilty. He also has a variety of other paintings on his site including some of the most lush paintings i’ve seen in a while of car wrecks.
Dolls are an appealing motif for artists because, as artist/ doll-maker Marina Bychkoya says, “I’m not content working in just one medium such as painting or sculpture, and dolls offer me a very diverse and satisfying tactile experience. To create a doll I get to do it all: sculpture, industrial design, painting, engraving, mold-making, drawing, metalwork, fashion and jewelry design.” Combining multiple interests and talents, these five artists create some of the most fascinating, bizarre, beautiful and awesome, in the truest sense of the word, dolls I’ve ever seen.
Freya Jobbins says that she is inspired by Guiseppe Archimboldo and his fruit and vegetable paintings; Penny Byrne’s ceramic creations, Ron Muek’s giant people, Gunther Von Hagen’s plastinated corpses, and of course the Toy Story Trilogy. Combining these inspirations with a technique that incorporates plastic doll parts and toys, she creates assemblages of faces, heads and larger busts. Provocative, humorous and perhaps slightly disturbing Jobbins’ assemblages explore the relationship between consumerist fetishism and the emerging recycling culture.
Ana Salvador was born in Barreiro, which is a small town in Portugal. She now lives in Amsterdam and has a passion for sculpture, drawing and painting. Inspired by the human body, antiques, ornaments, fabrics and laces Salvador creates fantastical sculpted figures with distinct personalities.
Marina Bychkova is a Russian-Canadian figurative artist who founded Enchanted Doll so that she could devote her time to creating exquisite porcelain dolls. An artist through and through Bychkova is concerned with each detail on her dolls, from their costumes to their facial expressions.
San Diego-based artist Seyo Cizmic works largely within the realm of the surreal. From hammers that droop to knock nails into their own bodies to wooden pencils with thorns built into them, many of the objects Cizmic creates are meant to confound the viewer. Barely any of them are usable in the practical sense of the item, presenting a challenge to viewers about what exactly these objects could be meant for. Some are rife with humor, such as Cyclops’ Shades, a pair of tie-dyed flower child sunglasses with only one lens, or Fish Machine Bank, a gum ball machine filled with goldfish. They’re sculptures that are meant to be questioned, scrutinized, perhaps even laughed at. Cizmic’s objects are of a different world, one in which backwards is forwards, in which objects that don’t follow reason are a new, cockeyed normal.
Within the nonsensical nature of Cizmic’s objects, however, lie larger issues at play. There’s With God on Our Side, a gold-plated sword with a crucifix at the base, joining religious iconography with an image of violence. Then there’s the self-explanatory In God, Money, and Guns We Trust, in which a pair of disembodied gold arms in military regalia hold a dollar bill up as if in prayer. Despite having his tongue pressed firmly against his cheek, Cizmic often layers his sculptures and installations with these deeper meanings, making the scrutiny and perplexity they evoke all the more rewarding.
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)