Los Angeles-based painter Justin Bower makes portraiture a glitched metaphor, literally and figuratively, to the present and future of a combined human and computer existence. Bower “…paints his subjects as de-stabilized, fractured post-humans in a nexus of interlocking spatial systems. His paintings problematize how we define ourselves in this digital and virtual age while suggesting the impossibility of grasping such a slippery notion.”
Absorbing different movements and styles (visually one could see a connection to the paintings of Francis Bacon, Jenny Saville, Op Art, as well as early 90′s Cyberpunk and post-Millenium Glitch aesthetics), Bower creates large-scale works that seem almost pained, frustrated or weariness, but with a computer-like void of any tangible, specific emotion. This is balanced delicately by the controlled, digital-referencing malfunctioned backgrounds, combined with loose, painterly brush work, affirming the power and communicability of the paint medium.
Photographs of abandoned toy factories are haunting. Taken by various photographers around the world, we see what’s happened after production has stopped and employees stop showing up to work. Some places are left in mid-production, while others have been ransacked by graffiti. In other places, they were defeated by nature.
Illustrating a range of factory conditions, the most unnerving photos are ones that depict these places as ghost towns. They feature cracked doll heads, broken doll arms, and soiled teddy bears. There is an air of mystery about them, and beg the question of, “what happened?” Why did they suddenly pick and leave?
What makes these photographs unnerving is the juxtaposition of toys and abandonment. We think of things like dolls and bears as being innocent. They signify childhood, a time in our lives that shouldn’t be so dark. Instead, we see toys having to face harsh realities of time, wind, snow, and more. Nothing depicts this better than the Isla de las Munecas, or the Island of the Dolls (above). While actually a floating garden, this space of land is occupied by several hundred dolls that have severed heads, limbless bodies and with empty eye-sockets. It was originally conceived as a memorial for a girl that was drowned in a canal, but has since fallen in disrepair. (Via io9)
Jake and Dinos Chapman, ‘In Our Dreams We Have Seen Another World’ , 2013 -White Cube Gallery.
Yesterday was Miami Art Basel 2013′s preview, and B/D was there to get the scoop on Basel’s most innovative and interesting works. Here we’ve picked out a few pieces that caught our eye. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!
Jakes and Dinos Chapman’s diorama fuses sensitive religious themes with mass branding and symbols of the global fast food chain, McDonald’s. The rather crude, and disturbing maquette juxtaposes, or rather, finds parallels between what seems to be violent scenes of apocalypse and crucifixions, and the globalization of American fast food chains. The artwork exudes great hostility; it truly makes for an uncomfortable yet very entertaining, and satisfying viewing. The piece pinpoints and creates controversy, as it look at a global economy superpower through the eyes of uncensored, critical, and dry humor.
Evan Penny’s sculpture was probably one of my top personal highlights from Basel. ‘Female Stretch’ is strange and confusing to look at. The artist accomplishes a flat look out of a three-dimensional sculpture. Besides the bizarre proportions, which I hope you can appreciate through the photos, I can say that Penny’s craftsmanship shines quite brightly through the sculpture’s accuracy when it came to small details. Hair, eyelashes and skin textures are almost impressively realistic looking.
Photographer Henry Hargreaves and food stylist Caitlin Levin have joined forces to bring you the tastiest architectural photo series on earth! Focusing on iconic museums and institutions from around the world the duo has painstakingly recreated every little detail out of licorice, gummy bears, chocolates, bubblegum and of course gingerbread! Museums such as the Guggenheim in New York City and the Louvre in Paris are transformed into tasty morsels of architecture by Levin and then dramatically shot by Hargreaves. The result is a delicious treat that will satisfy your artsy academic side as well as your belly!
Hargreaves and Levin will be exhibiting this series during Miami Basel at Dylan’s Candy Bar. Go see them in person and have some candy for us! (via design boom)
Dutch artist Henriëtte van ’t Hoog’s installations look 3D, but are completely flat. She uses trompe l’oeil to give her work depth, designing space in a way so that our eye is fooled. To do so, she uses geometry and specifically placed and angled shapes, sometimes building out of the wall to create more complex structures. In an interview with Visual Discrepancies, van ’t Hoog describes why she makes her work. Not surprisingly, her explanation is light-hearted. She states:
…I have been poking around for a while hoping to make people aware of color and shape, and of non-existing space. In Joint I [above] transformed a little area into something new and unexpected, joking around with color and shape while not knowing where it would lead – just having fun, and working through ways that would perhaps mislead the audience.
van ’t Hoog’s color palette is light and very colorful, at times sickeningly so. She regularly uses day glo yellow and hot pinks, which vibrate against one another in industrial spaces and white walls of a gallery. Her installations are based on believability, meaning they must be precise; She paints crisp lines and plans the angles of extra walls and surfaces so that her work appears 3D at all viewpoints. Even though there is a lot of planning involved, van ’t Hoog wants to make it look effortless. It’s important to her that the viewer see something unexpected. Later with Visual Discrepancies, she says:
…I hope when people step inside this small space and see the play with the flat and the three-dimensional, the play with the perspective and the triangular objects and how a painted piece of paper is disturbing their expectation, together with the strength of the color, that their experience will hit the roof.
Chicago-based artist Gracie Hagen has created a photography series titled “Illusions of the Body” that captures nude bodies in contrasting poses. In the “attractive” image on the left, the models represent their bodies with straight backs, pulled-back shoulders, and demure expressions – many of them stand posed in positions that reflect classical sculpture. In the “unattractive” image on the right, the bodies are turned and the models push out their stomachs, hunch their backs, and evoke expressions of indifference.
“‘Illusions of the Body’” was made to tackle the supposed norms of what we think our bodies are supposed to look like. Most of us realize that the media displays only the prettiest photos of people, yet we compare ourselves to those images. We never get to see those photos juxtaposed against a picture of that same person looking unflattering. That contrast would help a lot of body image issues we as a culture have.
Within the series I tried get a range of body types, ethnicities & genders to show how everyone is a different shape & size; there is no “normal”. Each photo was taken with the same lighting & the same angle.
Celebrate your shapes, sizes & the odd contortions your body can get itself into. The human body is a weird & beautiful thing.”
Premiere website builder Made With Color and Beautiful/Decay have teamed up yet again to bring you exclusive artist features. Each week we bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers working today who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek websites. Website builder Made With Color doesn’t just help artists create minimal and mobile/tablet responsive websites but allows them to do so in a few minutes without having to touch a line of code.This week we are happy to share the work hilarious and offbeat illustrations of Kyle Stewart.
Canadian illustrator Kyle stewart is currently working on his Illustration degree at Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD). When Stewart isn’t busy hitting the books at OCAD he is churning out his pop culture laced mixed media illustrations, in watercolor, collage, and number two pencil. Influenced by everything from 80′s and 90′s sitcoms (Alf!) and action movies (Robocop!) to his early years of skateboarding, Stewart’s strong sense of line and bold color comes through in all his works making us laugh with him at his subtle alterations to the pop icons that we all know and love.
Dolls are an appealing motif for artists because, as artist/ doll-maker Marina Bychkoya says, “I’m not content working in just one medium such as painting or sculpture, and dolls offer me a very diverse and satisfying tactile experience. To create a doll I get to do it all: sculpture, industrial design, painting, engraving, mold-making, drawing, metalwork, fashion and jewelry design.” Combining multiple interests and talents, these five artists create some of the most fascinating, bizarre, beautiful and awesome, in the truest sense of the word, dolls I’ve ever seen.
Freya Jobbins says that she is inspired by Guiseppe Archimboldo and his fruit and vegetable paintings; Penny Byrne’s ceramic creations, Ron Muek’s giant people, Gunther Von Hagen’s plastinated corpses, and of course the Toy Story Trilogy. Combining these inspirations with a technique that incorporates plastic doll parts and toys, she creates assemblages of faces, heads and larger busts. Provocative, humorous and perhaps slightly disturbing Jobbins’ assemblages explore the relationship between consumerist fetishism and the emerging recycling culture.
Ana Salvador was born in Barreiro, which is a small town in Portugal. She now lives in Amsterdam and has a passion for sculpture, drawing and painting. Inspired by the human body, antiques, ornaments, fabrics and laces Salvador creates fantastical sculpted figures with distinct personalities.
Marina Bychkova is a Russian-Canadian figurative artist who founded Enchanted Doll so that she could devote her time to creating exquisite porcelain dolls. An artist through and through Bychkova is concerned with each detail on her dolls, from their costumes to their facial expressions.