Israeli artist Chaim Machlev is a Berlin-based tattoo artist, otherwise known as Dots to Lines. Working primarily with black ink (“I believe that black is the nicest color for tattoos; it is closer to our source than any other color,” he said in a recent interview), Machlev’s designs are complex line-based works that weave across skin with fluid, stunning precision. Incorporating mandalas, insects, and other images into his geometric tattoos, Machlev’s work go beyond simple designs into minimal, extraordinarily detailed works of permanent art. It makes sense, then, that Machlev bristles at the idea of grouping his work into any kind of predetermined genre. “I actually started to make those designs because it was weird for me that people try to categorize tattoos and other art forms. I could say that I have that split in my designs, just like in my personality; I make those art-minimalistic lines — the computer kid inside me — and very detailed mandalas, the spiritual man inside me.”
That spiritual motif makes way for some of Machlev’s most beautiful designs, such as symmetrical forearm mandalas and Joy Division-riffing chest designs of warped seismic waves. Machlev draws from his experiences traveling in India for the spiritual imagery in his designs, but for the more symmetrical designs, there is a prominent mathematical sense to the work. His line and dot work flows seamlessly over flesh in a way that looks similar to vectors on a computer, sprawling across chests and ribs with stunning exactitude.
Through the lens of Mona Kuhn, images turn into memories that slip through your fingers. Her photography captures fragmented pieces of time, filled with shameless beauty with an ethereal aura. An enigmatic narrative flows through her series Private, as Kuhn offers us delicate and intimate moments filled with breathtaking nudes and spider webs. Kuhn explains that this particular series is a personal journey of hers, exploring beauty and mysticism. The color palette in Private is serene, airy, and embracing all at the same time. Seeing each photograph of Kuhn’s is like uncovering a clue to a past life, like looking inwards through your memories that have slipped through the cracks of time.
In Kuhn’s equally stunning series Acido Dorado, translating to “acid gold”, the nude also appears often. Kuhn’s nudes represent a timeless sense of self, of all humans, and our direction on this earth. The artist often pushes the nude figure to abstraction, creating new context and meaning. There is a mysterious atmosphere that follows Kuhn’s work that is both seductive and mesmerizing. Both series’ are filled with surreal scenes and abstracted imagery that is like a mirage. Large format nude photography being a reoccurring theme in Kuhn’s work, she explains the draw to this raw form of a person or subject.
“I realized I ought to photograph the human in us, without shame, without regret, free and timeless.”
Sarah A. Smith creates shimmering gold drawings with a combination of gold metal leaf, corrosive, ink, and pencil on paper. After she arranges the metal leaf that was mined and manufactured in China, she brushes it with copper sulfate, causing a chemical reaction that tarnishes and corrodes the gold metal along the surface of the paper. In the natural environment, this erosion process can take hundreds of years to complete. “The oxidation illustrates pollution, disintegration, transformation of elements, changes, and the passage of time,” Smith says. The result is an incredibly detailed and textured series that while extravagant is also evocative of restraint because it emerges from a process of decay. (via my modern met and diablo magazine)
Magical mystical fractals! Sometimes you get hit with the geometric abstraction stick, and sometimes you don’t, and it’s plain to see that Michael Knutson got hit over the head with it. Knutson has also been a professor of art at Reed College in Oregon for the last 30 years, so go ahead and assume that he knows a thing or two about his craft. More at Blackfish Gallery and Greg Kucera Gallery.
Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos creates a “second skin” for kitschy-looking ceramic figurines. Animals such as dogs, wolves, snakes, and more are concealed in Vasconcelos’ delicately-crocheted coverings, which are reminiscent of a blanket that your grandmother might have worked on. Whatever surface treatment is underneath, the artist’s handiwork is obscured by small-yet-elaborate flowers that fit over her subjects like a glove.
The nature of Vasconcelos’ work is about the decontextualization of everyday objects. Crochet is often seen as a craft, but here she’s removed it from any sort of practical purpose (like providing warmth or being used in the home) and transformed it into an art object. It now occupies two dichotomies, hand-crafted and industrial, in which the former wraps the latter, mass-produced object underneath.
There’s another way to view Vasconcelos’ sculptures, and that’s applying a narrative to them, like they’re characters in a story. In this respect, it’s seems as though she’s creating a protective garment for them and that her subjects are in need of care. The crochet acts as a shell that gives the illusion of protection from the unknown. (Via Fubiz)
Oscillate is the MFA thesis project of digital artist Daniel Sierra. The animation begins with a simple rolling sine wave. However, things quickly get complex. The waves fling dust, begin to smoke, and seem to catch fire. The waves multiply and mutate. Oscillate is an impressive animation by any standard, especially considering it is a school project (albeit an MFA thesis project). Also, you’ll notice the credits are especially short. While such animations typically have a staff of several, Sierra animated and composed the music entirely on his own. [via]
Brian J. Hettler’s work is anything but subtle. He fuses digital imagery with saturated color and virtual elements. Even though Hettler works in digital media, he maintains the belief that his work acts as a painting built upon the directive of formalism. His work functions in a place between religion and science, emotion and sterility. He is a recent graduate from Kansas City Art Institute.