Charles Avery‘s artistic practice is centered around a fictional island. Everything he creates has some connection to either the history of this place, or specimens and relics that are found there. Since 2004 Avery has been building the story of this place through intricately detailed drawings, sculptures, installations, and texts.
The gateway to the Island is the town of Onomatopoeia – once the stepping off point of the pioneers who first came to the place, turned colonial outpost, turned boom town, bustling metropolis, depression ravaged slum, to regenerated city of culture and tourist destination. (Source)
Avery builds on his own personal history as a starting point to this Island. Born on the Isle of Mull off the West Coast of Scotland, it seems as if he is commenting on the influence the British Monarchy has had over his home country, and also on numerous other countries and islands. His oeuvre is concerned with the progress of a nation – from rags to riches, and back again. The retelling of this folklore is a complex one. His work includes samples of the flora and fauna found there (different types of tree branches and birds), the fashions worn (a lot of different headpieces) and also studies of the local’s behavior. He creates a full anthropological study.
His past projects include “The Island” – concerned with the same place, just with the information organized differently. His attention to detail is so great, he even shows us the type of creature that we would encounter in the Island’s pantheon: a strange hybrid of dogs joined at the head, engaged in battle. Judging from these animals and the frenzied activity he depicts in his studies of the town square, this Island is definitely one I am glad to visit theoretically. (Via HiFructose)
Pastel-hued and delicate, the body part collages in the series “Anatomy” are part of Hong Kong artist Kayan Kwok’s daily art project “A poster per day for 365 days. ” The scope of her project is impressive—one fully realized piece of art every day for a year. Along with “Anatomy” the categories for the one-a-day posters are “Banana”, “Birdman”, “Blow”, “Dot”, “Hand”, “Letter”, “Loner”, and “Lost.Found”. Each grouping has a specific aesthetic and point of view although all are inspired by vintage graphics and American advertisements from 1920–1960.
In “Anatomy”, Kwok combines tinted anatomical drawings with mostly black and white figural images, incorporating other elements including scissors, flowers, and animals. She says:
“Collage has a surrealism background, but other than that, it also act[s] like Alchemy. Because you are putting stuff together from different places and times, the result is clearly unpredictable and this is what makes collage so fascinat[ing].”
One of the things that make this work captivating is the shifts in scale between body part and inhabitant. The small figures are nestled in, reclining on a heart chamber and a brain cavity. The integration of disparate parts into a cohesive whole makes these pieces deceptively simple. In fact, the blending of content and styles is technically accomplished, somewhat subversive, and really quite lovely.
Russian-born painter Polina Tereshina has a love for the awkward and bizarre aspects of our daily lives, so much so that she interprets them through her abstract, figurative paintings. Utilizing acrylic, ink, and watercolor, she disassembles the body to arrive at a newly resolved aspect, one which speaks more clearly to the reality of our movements.
“I am fascinated with passing feelings and short private moments of human interaction. In particular, I look for the humor in our struggle for balance. I find inspiration by looking both outward and inward. From these observations I have developed a cast of characters who help me tell the stories. Then I pose the characters out of context in a simple, shallow space. The personal experience of each and every one of us dictates the way we interpret the interactions.”
The rigid lines of the geometric and lined backgrounds add a sense of control to the piece, one which the subject interacts around. This brings balance, along with the idea of limits and structure. Through this we can relate to the modified human. By simplifying the body to the elemental aspects of the figure, often just a silhouette, she draws the viewer into the exaggerated trait, like lending it a megaphone. All in all, each piece seems to detail a specific frequency of the beauty of being in the moment, however graceless or messy that may be in reality. (Excerpt from Source)
Diana Chryzynska’s photoshop-ed female faces seem surprising natural upon first sight. With most of the pieces of a normal face present, the viewer’s brain mashes them together to make sense of them, when actually they’re quite reworked. It’s fascinating how well your brain is able to reconcile two noses and two mouths sandwiched between two hands with eyes on top. Somehow, it takes a few seconds to realize what you’re seeing is completely surreal. Of course you realize what you’re looking at isn’t quite right, but it takes a while for your brain to sort out exactly what that is.
Maybe what makes the images more consumable is the appealing features: big eyes, luscious lips, unblemished skin. I don’t think it’s that, though. It’s like when you read a word like baeufitul, and your brain is able to organize it into beautiful (with some coaxing). The see-through hands over the faces are the most interesting in terms of theme. They feel like veils, hiding the strange faces from view, though not entirely. It feels like the women are hiding their mixed up faces, but some are peaceful while others are confrontational. Most close their eyes, but the confrontational ones stare out from behind their hands, self-consciously aware of their strange arrangement.
If you’ve spent any time looking at Google Earth, you’ll notice that the photography isn’t always perfect; sometimes things appear a little weird. Brooklyn-based artist Clement Valla looks for these oddities, scouring the site and viewing places from different vantage points. At certain angles, highways appear as if they’re melting, dipping into ravines and rivers. It’s trippy. He collects these images and calls them Postcards From Google Earth.
These scenes aren’t the result of glitches or of errors in the algorithm, but are the logical result of the system. Valla explains, “They are an edge condition—an anomaly within the system, a nonstandard, an outlier, even, but not an error. These jarring moments expose how Google Earth works, focusing our attention on the software.” 3D images like we see here are generated through texture mapping, where the flat satellite image of earth is applied over 3D terrain. Most of the time this is seamless, but sometimes, when the spaces are so different, things look wrong. Valla goes on to remark:
Google Earth is a database disguised as a photographic representation. These uncanny images focus our attention on that process itself, and the network of algorithms, computers, storage systems, automated cameras, maps, pilots, engineers, photographers, surveyors and map-makers that generate them. (Via Amusing Planet)
Austrian/Croatian Design Collective numen/for use has created many varying types of “social sculptures” over the years. Their latest effort is formed from interwoven nets, sandbags and wires and acts as a walkable structure. Housed in the OK Center For Contemporary Art in Linz (Austria), visitors can walk, lie in, grab onto and pull themselves through the nets. This sculpture stands in for the staircase normally used in the exhibition space. The nets are strung up from the ceiling and stretched out with the help of sandbags at their bases, creating different forms, shapes and pathways ready to explore.
These images show just how surreal the experience is – as if you are walking through mid air without enough support, unaided by any hard surfaces. We can see just how immersive this course is, with the nets stretching out in very organic ways around the people walking. As the gallery goers make their way through the course, traversing along the tunnels and scaling heights, one is reminded of the contour lines on a topographical map. It feels as if we are seeing images of people in some new virtual reality – or a glimpse of the future environments that will one day surround us. Perhaps this is the new ergonomic way of walking?
This architectural technique numen/for use has created is similar to Tomás Saraceno‘s exhibition Cloud Cities. He choose to create inflatable spheres and other large structures which visitors accessed with ladders. Just like in “Net Linz”, people could lie on and move around within these forms. Saraceno has also enlisted the help of nets in the past to create a similar feeling for his guests; one of weightlessness and the defiance of gravity. Perhaps we will all get to experience this in the near future? Perhaps nets will eventually replace escalators, elevators and even the humble staircase…. (Via Designboom)
Ikeda Manabu creates visual labyrinths with only pen and ink. His illustrations are so elaborate that they can take up to three years to craft. Not only are they incredibly detailed, but they’re enormous as well: His latest project, which he began in 2013, will be 10 x 13 feet.
This size of Manabu’s work is necessary to capture the scope of what he depicts. His work is often kinetic, with waves crashing and giant spires of land rising up like towers from the abyss. He often explores the tension between nature and technology, and the result contains immense power and a sense of raw inevitability.
In an interview with Hi-Fructose, Manabu addresses one of his artworks in particular: an incredible roiling picture of a tsunami called “Foretoken.” After recent natural disasters in Japan, “Foretoken” has been called “prophetic.” Manabu tells Hi-Fructose: “The correlation with the tsunami was surely just a coincidence, but I feel prophetic as one aspect of this work is a warning that civilization is about to be swallowed by the vast power of nature.” (via Hi-Fructose)
French artist Celine Artigau is never really alone. In her series of manipulated photographs, “Goodbye Childhood”, she inserts spectral neon figures into photos of places with personal resonance. She says:
“These luminous characters are the souls of these places and ghosts of my childhood. They are like some lonely and abandoned imaginary friends that still follow me and haunt my life.”
Sometimes sweet, sometimes sad, the figures are simple outlines rendered with a neon glow. Their simplicity is what makes them work. Photoshopping “ghosts” into images—copying and pasting figures from one photo to another and lowering the opacity—has been done and done. With Artigau’s lost souls, the artifice is intentional; these wandering ghosts are meant to look illustrative and not realistic.
“Concerning the process, I use Illustrator to create my character and then Photoshop to integrate it into my picture. For my light effects, I use a mixture of layers and blur effects but the precise process is always different from one project to the next.” (Source)
In this series, Artigau has resurrected her childhood imaginary friends, allowing them to live in the in-between places and shine their light.