In his latest series, “I Have Something To Tell You”, Adrain Chesser uses his own illness, AIDS, in order to catalogue the pure, raw emotional reactions of his friends and family as they are told the terrible news . The Florida-born photographer, snapped portraits of his loved ones moments after he shared this life-changing information.
“When I thought about having to disclose my illness to my friends I would panic, which didn’t make sense, because I have an amazing group of friends who are all very loving and supportive”
Filled with a series of genuine reactions ranging from shock to panic to sadness, Chesser’s loved ones do not hold back. The beauty of this project relies on these subjects’ faces- most which reveal intense, unfiltered emotion. Chesser had long used photography as a method of interpreting and understanding his own emotional life– a “spiritual practice”, he calls it in a interview with Huffpost. The images, past and present, served him as tangible memories that later aide him to further understand past mistakes, or hidden victories. In this case, Chesser uses the camera as a mediator-a placeholder between two entities that feel broken, yet bonded by a painful experience.
Chesser believes that the diverse reactions of the 46 different people he photographed (without their prior knowledge of the project) reflect each individual’s personal experience with death and illness. He remembers everything from tears, to laughter, stoicism and confusion after confessing his diagnosis. (via HuffPost Arts)
California based artist Evan Holm, creates Submerged Turntables, a kinetic installation featuring salvaged objects, turntables, records, and dark, murky water. The piece, which Holm used to perform at San Francisco’s Museum of Modern Art but now resides in his studio in Oakland, is meant to serve as a reminder that “all tracings of human culture will dissolve back into the soil under the slow crush of the unfolding universe.” By playing the records in the piece’s pitch-black pool, Holm is “enacting a small moment of remorse towards this loss.”
For this work, Evan submerged a working turntable in a dark liquid; he then proceeds to pick a record from his wall, which then is inserted onto the wet record player. The functioning underwater turntable is a mystery, and I think that that’s the most enticing part of the work; the turntable’s ability (against all odds) to play music under water, it is quite remarkable.
The work, heavy on symbolism, relies on our negative notions of pairings involving electricity and water (a parallel to doomed feelings). How can we ever think that an electric turntable could effectively work under water? It is this notion that brings Holm’s concept to a clearer view. By making this possible, he brings forth an “optimistic sculpture, for that just after the moment of submergence..the tone, the melody is pulled back out of the pool, past the veil of the subconscious, out from under the crush of time, and back into a living and breathing realm.” (via IGNANT)
Using toys, computer hardware, beading, and even money, Argentinian-based artist Elisa Insua assembles images of popular culture with the items that make up popular culture. The intricate works take similar textures, colors, and shapes to form iconic portraits of Darth Vader, a Playstation controller, and the lion from the 20th Century Fox logo. Sometimes, Insua also covers three dimensional objects, like Maneki-neko (fortune cat) and toy guns and dinosaurs.
Erika Rae on Core77 described these works as appealing to someone who used to thumb through the I Spy series, a set of books where the reader would find a specific object among many, many others to solve a puzzle or riddle. Looking at Insua’s works, this description feels very appropriate. The mosaic of bright and cheery objects is alluring to our eyes, and focusing on the innocence of all of the toys in every image is almost escapist. For a period of time, we can slowly look over every part of Insua’s and be mesmerized by past popular culture. (via Core77)
Nothing if not disturbing, Alex Van Gelder’s Meat Portraits portray carcasses, flesh, entrails, organs and other animal parts from an abattoir in Benin. Found and photographed in the marketplace, or carefully staged into contorted compositions, Van Gelder’s photographs are corporeality at its most raw. Thoughtfully describing them as portraits rather than some kind of protest, or statement, Van Gelder is specific about his process. The photographs possess an abstraction that is compelling and unnerving. The artist says of his work, “African butchers don’t use electric saws as Europeans do but cut up the meat by hand which produces a variety of styles.The slaughterhouse was in the open air and in front of it a small market where they would sell the still warm meat. I worked there on and off for one year producing my Meat Portraits. I consider these portraits still lives.”
Appalling and even nauseating in their uncensored savage-ness, there is a strange beauty to the images when one steps back and pretends they’re something other than meat. Surprisingly not a vegetarian, Van Gelder’s images are less about animal rights and more about the emotionally evocative formal qualities the camera can capture.
In January 26,2012 we posted about NYC based artist Akira Horikawa’s 1000 Drawing Project. Then, he was almost half way done with the challenge; today, we can say that he is finished.
For the past six years, Horikawa has been posting on his Tumblr in hopes that he could, in some way, catalogue his “happenings, dreams and emotions.” In pocket-sized sketchbooks, he effectively but weirdly tries to evaluate his thoughts, values and experiences through simple but insightful and humorous drawings which topics range from sex and love, to existential questioning and everything else in between.
You can visit his Tumblr blog, where you will find the rest of his drawings!
It doesn’t get better than being loved by a fluffy, soft animal. It is said that the love between a guardian and their pet is unconditional; an-almost familial bond that grows bigger and tighter as time goes on.
Thirteen years ago, Japanese photographer Miyoko Ihara began snapping pictures of her now 88-year-old grandmother, Misao, and her odd-eyed kitten, Fukumaru. Misao, a farmer and merchant of fresh vegetables, found the cat abandoned in a shed, and the pair has been inseparable since then. She named the cat ‘Fukumaru” in hope that “God of fuku (good fortune) would follow her. Lucky for the 88-year old MIsao, Fukumaru stayed by her side through hard work and disability. They simply make their life better just by being together. The photographs are just a gilmpse at how wonderful, and important their friendship is to each other.
You can find the complete series in Miyoko Ihara’s book, Misao the Big Mama and Fukumaru the Cat. The book can be purchased directly through Little More Books. (via Before it’s News)
Performance artist Millie Brown uses her body in an uncomfortable way in order to create bright splashes of color on canvas (and sometimes clothes and people). Brown mixes colors into soy milk before regurgitating the milk onto her preferred canvas, akin to the drip-color style of Jackson Pollock. The artist first began experimenting with this method in 2005, and has since performed this act in many places, including for Lady Gaga’s 2006 video, “Excorist Interlude.” Brown, a vegan, only performs this body-exhaustive piece once per month. She fasts for 2 days before each performance so that her stomach is empty and her regurgitations purely the color of the milk she’s ingested; she can drink anywhere from one pint to four liters of liquid depending on the type of performance. The result of her performances are works of bright colors that are not obviously the products of puking.
Responses to her work have varied, ranging from laughing to crying, declarations of love, and even death threats, but Brown maintains that art is supposed to inspire powerful emotions in people. “I have an inherent desire to push my own boundaries within my art… By creating art from the very depths of my own physical being I am able to challenge people’s perception of beauty, expressing raw elements of human nature and in turn challenging myself both physically and mentally.” (via daily mail)
Constance & Eric are a married couple from Brooklyn who have carved a niche and figured out how to make a living taking pictures of people having sex. Blurring the lines between high art and commercial photography, the duo have photographed over 140 couples. Beginning the project out of disappointment in the way commercial photography generally treats bodies and sex, the couple came up with their own parameters for “sexy.” Disenchanted, as many of us are, by the narrow definition advertising and media give to the term, Constance and Eric decided to pursue a visual journey through the erotic and corporeal.
Subtle in their abstraction, the duo’s photographs transcend pornography or explicit imagery and become mere suggestions of the actual act. But there is a sensual nature to the images that feels incredibly personal, even if a viewer can’t actually discern what precisely he is looking at. In an interview with Nerve, Constance said, “The abstract images help create more of a feeling of the moment. It enables the viewer to put themselves in the image without the distraction of recognizable features.”
In an interview with Huffington Post Constance and Eric said that the part of their job they enjoy the most is “Showing people how beautiful they are together.” Check out their website, and if you’re brave enough, grab your significant other and contact them for a session. (via HuffPost & Nerve)