Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven are a Ukrainian photography duo also known as Synchrodogs whose surreal imagery frames the human body in odd-yet-intimate relations with the surrounding landscapes. This particular series, Reverie Sleep, takes this theme of the “strange natural” a bit further, drawing on the expansive and unearthly realms of lucid dreams. Made with the support of the Pinchuk Art Foundation in 2013, this project emerged from visions the artists experienced while wandering somewhere between sleep and awakening:
“[Reverie Sleep] deals with the stage of Non Rapid Eye Movement sleep, during which some people may experience hypnagogic hallucinations caused by [the] natural process of falling asleep. Experimenting with those lucid dreaming techniques, [Synchrodogs] woke themselves up in the middle of the night to make a note of what they had just seen, gathering their dreams to be staged afterwards.” (Source)
In order to recreate their dream imagery, Synchrodogs traveled to Iceland where they immersed themselves in dangerous and bleakly beautiful environments. As they explained in an interview with NYMag, they shot near “glaciers where you can fall into an ice hole and be found in a week, or in hot lakes where you can get boiled alive if there is a geyser which decides to eject hot water while you are in [it]” (Source). This earthly threat lends the images an impassive quality, just like the intangible lands we explore in our sleep while uncertain of what threats or joys await us.
Inhabiting Synchrodogs’ eerily sublime landscapes are female figures, nude or bedecked in colorful paints and surreal costumes. Bodies morph into ferns and fruit, or lie on cold earth and exalt in the light of an alien sun. Each figure is simultaneously human and inhuman, existing in a hallucinogenic, unquestioning state that dissolves and realigns our notions of reality. Shifting between forms and consciousness, they represent creatures of a limitless and symbolic universe.
Society has long had a fascination with dolls and the creepy connotations that come along with them, with such horror films as Child’s Play confirming our worst nightmares. Photographer Annie Collinge is no exception. Her own uncomfortable feeling associated with dolls has created a bizarre fascination inspiring her series 5 Inches From Limbo, which includes photographs of dolls with their human counterparts. Collinge find vintage, strange looking dolls in thrift shops and flea markets, and finds a person in the flesh that resembles the doll. She even dresses her humans to mirror their doll, creating a surreal vision of a person alongside their miniature, porcelain self. Eerie as it may sound, her photographs are relentlessly intriguing while still holding an odd beauty.
Originally hailing from London, the artist had traveled to Manhattan when she found her first doll for the series. The inspiration came when she spotted a vintage doll that boar a surprising likeness to her Aunt Yolanda, outfit and all. After this encounter, she searched for interesting, antique dolls or people that look somewhat like dolls themselves to start the next pairing. She will then find a doll to match her subject, or dress a person to fit the part. Either way, each chosen person displays a striking resemblance to each unique doll, with cherub faces and big round eyes. You may be wondering where all of the dolls end up after the photograph is taken. Well, although a little disturbed by them, the artist keeps each and every one. Dolls often seem to hold a life of their own, and with the help of Collinge, her dolls have now transformed into real life human beings, however unnerving it may be. (via Featureshoot)
French artist Debit de Beau creates gorgeous photo collages that seem to inhabit their own world. With wide skies dwarfing tiny inhabitants, Beau’s artwork seems both expansive and a little lonely.
Beau uses both illustration and textures, such cloth with raw edges, to liven up his collages. His landscapes meet at the intersection of the manmade and the natural world. A boy meets a whale just off a lighthouse’s shore, while a man walks his pet snail and considers a crossroads marked with all of life’s milestones: hope, loss, guilt, and success.
The emotional palette that Beau works with seems quite varied, his subjects by turn leaping joyfully off of a ferris wheel and pause, questioning a ladder that hangs from a lone window. The surreality of his collages aims to capture not a perfectly realistic scene but to cause emotional resonance, placing us in that person’s frame of mind. To climb or not to climb? Should I follow the snail? Or contemplate a quiet fall of rain? (via Optically Addicted)
Artist Maximo Reira fuses wild creatures with furniture in his series called Animal Chairs. The hulking, sculpted figures have a realistic styling to them, and beings like octopi, rhinos, whales, all have a place for someone to sit. Their backs have large notches cut into them, and they’re so regal looking they transcend ordinary chairs and are thrones.
Reira’s designs have textures that mimic the real epidermises of these creatures. There are tiny, intricate folds that look like dry, rough skin, and he’s covered them in a natural color palette. From a certain angle, they look as though they could be real. The artist has also kept their defining features, like long tentacles and massive horns. It’s an elegant, unique take on industrial design. (Via Hi Fructose)
Let’s face it no matter how much we learn about the benefits of good nutrition junk food will always remain part of our diet. Even if we’re not eating high calorie high processed food everyday there are times when you ‘just need it’. Nothing beats the crispy crunch of French Fries or a delectably cheesy quesadilla after an exhausting day at work. It makes for a nice comfy meal when you’re just too tired to make something healthy. Then there are those who would rather eat junk food over everything else. Who hasn’t heard a friend say they went to a fancy restaurant and afterwards thought the local diner was better? My mom used to say she liked hamburgers better than steak and I’m sure she still does.
Poking fun at this idea is a project by “fake chef” Jacques La Merde. Under this fictional name, La Merde creates junk food dishes reimagined and plated as high end nouveau cuisine. Through his intepretations we see a Coney Island corn dog broken down into fancy morsels metaphorically selling for $30 a plate. The food is almost unrecognizable from its original state and one has to look very closely to see which junk food staple the artist is recreating. Some of the barely familiar items on view are hostess cupcakes, cheese and crackers, hard boiled eggs, creamsicles, hot pockets, tv dinners, dunkin munchkins and the list goes on.
La Merde displays new creations on an instagram account which currently has 60k followers. Just another testament to the public’s love of all things bad for you disguised as something else. (via escapekit)
Painting something like Lolita crossed with David Lynch crossed with a crude porn site, the works of Lisa Yuskavage seem to have people divided. Her luscious images of nude women and girls have been described as both vulgar and earnest, affectionate and alienating. She has developed a unique style that blends Renaissance techniques, landscapes, still lifes, cartoon-like figures, porn and religious iconography that both delights and disturbs viewers. Yuskavage’s world is full of innocent yet flirtatious vixens parading around in their undies and getting into mischief in meadows or apartments. Her characters seem a bit narcissistic, and self loving, and in some cases maybe even self loathing. Yet they are definitely interesting and magnetic; a commentary on the complexities of the modern woman and her sexuality.
Drawing on her own childhood experiences, Yuskavage explains her encounters with, and understandings of sexiness and power:
As a little girl, in Catholic school, they were the first feminists I met. It seems counterintuitive, but these women rejected the normal system of life. The ones that taught me were quite smart. When I came to my senses, I realized it would actually be awful for me to live that particular life. I guess I liked the idea of a calling, the intensity of it. (Source)
Works from the last 25 years of Yuskavage’s career is now on show at The Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Be sure to visit and make up your own mind if you love or loathe her style and content. Her solo show Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood is on display from September 12 to December 13, 2015 at David Zwirner Gallery in NYC.
Troy Coulterman sculpts weird and wonderful figures in bizarre circumstances. His use of unnatural, vibrant colors interrupts his already unusual sculptures, giving them an added edge. Graphic novels and comic book artists are the inspiration behind his exaggerated characters in his work, as if these vivacious and animated characters have jumped right off the comic book page and into reality. Receiving his Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture, Coulterman uses his skill to from his figures out of resin, often placing them in a realm with swirling clouds and dripping hair. Coulterman explains the meaning behind his highly stylized work.
“These abstract, absurd forms that interact with the figurative pieces, they’re in a way visual metaphors to describe the psyche of the figures, the emotional moments in the figures.”
Although some of his figures have geometric faces replacing what would be normal human features, most of his work has an element of abnormal organic matter spewing from eyes or engulfing the figure. These organic forms appear somewhat disturbing but ultimately beautiful with their striking colors and detail. Another aspect of Coulterman’s work that is impossible to ignore is each unique and dramatic facial expression his figures possess. Each expression the artist sculpts creates an unmistakable mood in his artwork. Originally from Ontario, Canada, Coulterman has exhibited all over the world and has been included in many different art publications. He is currently represented by Slate Gallery in Regina, SK, Canada.
Cinta Vidal Agulló‘s paintings depict a topsy turvy yet mundane world. There’s a dream-like quality to her work, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole and remarking on the various jars of marmalade. With a background in painting backdrops for the theater, Agullo excels and creating immersive worlds that, though they have an M.C. Escher-esque sense of physics, seem like they are a part of real life.
“With these un-gravity constructions, I want to show that we live in one world, but we live in it in very different ways – playing with everyday objects and spaces, placed in impossible ways to express that many times, the inner dimension of each one of us does not match the mental structures of those around us. The architectural spaces and day-to-day objects are part of a metaphor of how difficult it is to fit everything that shapes our daily space: our relationships, work, ambitions, and dreams.”
Agullo’s paintings are lushly illustrated like one of Graeme Base’s children’s books, almost playful in the way they explore the spatial and emotional connections between the tiny figures that inhabit them. Though they are definitely surreal, we’re invited to imagine how the different parts of each painting might fit together, like the puzzle pieces of our everyday lives.
What are the relationships between the people in her paintings? We can’t tell for certain, but it’s clear that the orbit around each other or, at the very least, they are neighbors in the same world — if not the same reality. (via Hi-Fructose)