For Ruined Polaroids, William Miller uses a broken polaroid SX-70 that he stumbled upon at a yard sale; quickly discovering that its decades-old gears mangled the film and transformed the exposure, the artist submitted the the whims of the photographic relic, allowing it to form blurred and unpredictably patterned abstractions from his shots.
Within the “ruined” images, we find a surprising emotionality, with the faulty chemical process producing expressionistic renderings of a less literal kind of photographic memory. Cataloging the accidentally lovely results of mechanical happenstance, each shot enters a richly moody realm evocative of the work of mid-century abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko. As the spastic movements of gears, chemicals, and fingers become the subject of the work, the artistic process overrides a predetermined result. Rather than serving as a record of a particular instant, Ruined Polaroids poignantly archives the accidental deterioration of a camera past its time.
Ultimately, the conceptual work also serves to refute contemporary understanding of the photograph. In her seminal work On Photography, published in 1977 at the height of polaroid popularity, Susan Sontag discusses the illusion of a photographic truth, theorizing that the photographer, unlike all other artists, is capable of disguising subjectivity for objective fact. Miller’s work expertly challenges this assumed power of the photographic medium, acutely presenting each image as evidence of its failures. The immediacy of the polaroid image only accelerates this process; printed instantly and held against some imagined reality, the bleeding lights and darks veer jarringly from what we expect from the camera. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor and This Is Paper)
While many mediums have a constant back and forth debate between an emphasis towards using traditional, conventional methors or more recently available techniques, printmaker Carolyn Frischling does not concern herself with the argument. The Pittsburgh-based artist investigates new techniques in both image creation and printing methods, while continuing to honor the constantly-evolving history of the medium. “I’m proud that printmaking comes out of a long line of democratic, inclusive ideals, that today is at the forefront of technology and creativity.” Like many makers of prints, Frischling uses several simultaneous techniques to achieve the airy and colorful visual textures in her work, differentiated only by the image creation beforehand using computer editing programs. When asked by Beautiful/Decay to explain the benefits of working digitally versus using traditional methods, Frischling first explains, “Digital art enables me to use the same thought processes of traditional printmaking without the toxicity of using traditional materials on a daily basis.”
These moody and ethereal digital works are printed with archival inks on paper, silk, glass and aluminum, heavy with an abstract beauty attached to their process. Frischling further explains her methodology, “Digital printmaking is incredibly nuanced. There is so much more I can do that I couldn’t do in traditional printmaking, although the only reason I understand digital as well as I do, is because the thought processes are the very same. Sometimes I do miss the physicality involved in other kinds of art-making, but my art isn’t about physicality, so I think in this instance,”The medium is the message.”
Ultimately, whether created by physical process or digital manipulation, the works speak for themselves with strong compositions, moody palates, delicate forms and attest to the time spent mastering any artistic discipline. When Frischling explains, “My instinct is always to create movement and energy through use of color and form”, it is a goal separate from process and more located in ambition.
Combining Western cinema and traditional Ottoman motifs, Turkish artist Murat Palta designed a series of images that blend the style of the Ottoman empire with films like Pulp Fiction,Alien, and Clockwork Orange. They are made to look historic and aged, and once you see past that, Palta has illustrated some of the iconic scenes of the particular film.
The Ottoman Empire, also known as the Turkish Empire, was one of the longest running empires in history. Palta’s works recall the Miniature Style of the Ottomans, which was a part of Ottoman book arts that included illumination, calligraphy, paper marbling, and bookbinding. Miniatures were usually not signed because they were not created entirely by one person. Production included the head painter who designed the composition, and his apprentices that drew the contours and then painted the scene.
Like the Miniature Style, Palta has included stylized two-dimensional characters, flattened views of architecture, and a lot of contrasting patterns. He references the Ottoman tradition while still making it his own – After all, I don’t think that the old illuminations included men beating someone senseless with a nightstick or a tiny green Yoda. (Via That’s Like, Whoa!)
Chris Ritson combines ceramics with elemental transformation to create these stunning bismuth sculptures. The smoothness and seeming purity of the ceramic form contrasts with the spontaneous explosiveness of the bismuth that emerges from the heads of his subjects, demonstrating a gorgeous dynamism of form and content.
From his artist statement: “Bismuth is an archival element, that under specific, synthetic conditions crystalizes into a distinct hopper shaped crystal form. This crystalline structure of multicolored lattice of cubes within cubes is utilized to simulate the Tesseract, a 4th Dimensional cube. Imagine the Tesseract is to the cube as the cube is to the square. In our thoughts, as well as dreams, we construct a reality within countless imperceivable dimensions, and the realm of the Tesseract is the first that evades our five senses. As artwork is meant to herald a great movement in the viewer into unknown lands of experience, these works are manifestations of the great mythic beacons of ineffable transmissions: Immortal Gods plucked form our literary tradition, all linked to the bridge that connects humans to the imperceivable truths beyond the body.” (via my amp goes to 11)
We are all familiar with the attractive female student stock photo, right? It is everywhere,
and it has been everywhere for the last few years. Net Artist Parker Ito appropriates the infamous stock photo and turns it into multiple works of art. The hilarious implementation of paint, animation and text creates a series of works that ridicule the stock photo ideal. Ito is not really after our attractive model here, however, it seems as he is trying to defame or degrade, and make fun of the ridiculous archetypes that reign over stock photography.
The avid web surfer and culture mixer, creates videos, paintings and sculpture out of popular images in internet culture; he does so with materials not typically associated with art production (highly reflective 3M Scotch-lite fabric, automotive flip flop paint and a top layer of vinyl over some paintings). He has described some of his works as stand-ins for paintings claiming that the real artwork is the iPhone pic posted by someone else. Ito’s practice is one of high activity and high volume: ”I heard that Picasso made around 250,000 works in his lifetime. I could make that many jpegs in 5 years. And when I say 5 years, I mean 5 minutes.” (via Steve Turner Contemporary)
Cape Farewell founder David Buckland involves artists to help bring attention to the usually scientific conversation about global warming. Hoping to appeal to the public on a more emotional level regarding the topic U-n-f-o-l-d, a travelling exhibition, presents the work of twenty-five artists who participated in Cape Farewell expeditions from 2007-2009. Capturing and creating images responding to what they saw and felt while venturing to places like the High Arctic and the Andes, the artists created innovative, independent and collective responses to explore the physical, emotional and political dimensions of our changing environment. Working side by side with scientists on the expeditions artists, writers and musicians, such as Rachel Whiteread, Ian McEwan, Gretel Ehrlich, Vicky Long and Heather Ackroyd sought to find ways to discuss the topic of global warming from an artistically minded point of view.
As Buckland says of the subject: “Climate change is a reality. Caused by us all, it is a cultural, social and economic problem and must move beyond scientific debate. Cape Farewell is committed to the notion that artists can engage the public in this issue, through creative insight and vision. The Arctic is an extraordinary place to visit. It is a place in which to be inspired, a place which urges us to face up to what it is we stand to lose.” -David Buckland, 2007 (from capefarewell.com)
Watch the video here, and read more bout the project here.
Jane Perkins reproduces classic paintings using found plastic objects like buttons, beads, jewelry, shells, toy figures, LEGOs, and other plastic items. With her careful and meticulous arrangements, she faithfully recalls well-known works, enhancing the texture of them and creating interesting depth. She implements each item’s original color and shape skillfully into the compositions, illustrating shades and lines with the outlines of the objects. From afar, her pieces could pass for prints of these famous works, but up close, the viewer is granted another layer of appreciation for them. Perkins applies her background in textile design to her plastic found object arrangements, artfully utilizing the textures of each object. (via my modern met)
Years before the project Miradors became reality, photographer Erwan Fichou saw a man standing in a tree that looked like a UFO. This image stuck with him and he eventually turned his memory into a reality, working with gardeners to design topiaries of varying shapes and sizes. Afterwards, he invited people off the street to climb those trees and photographed them at the top.This strange and light-hearted series illustrates the interesting progression of what happens when we have a memory. Often times we see things as we walk down the street, file them in our brain, and move on. So, it’s refreshing to see that Fichou returned to this moment and developed something completely new from it. He touches on this idea in a short statement about his work:
What’s interesting about pictures isn’t their function, to represent reality, but their dynamic potential, their ability to spark and build projections, interactions, narrative frameworksmechanisms that structure reality[ ...]an image is the result of movements that are temporarily sedimentary or crystallized in it[ ...] Beyond metaphors, we must understand that, paradoxically, our contemporary sensitivity predisposes us to prophesy, not history. We live in a world of images that precede reality; we’re not looking to see, unless it’s déjà-vu. (Via This is Paper)