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Kira Ayn Varszegi Uses Her Breasts As Paintbrushes

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The painter Kira Ayn Varszegi substitutes her own 38DD breasts for traditional brushes, covering them in paint and pressing them to her canvas. For Varszegi, fun is an essential element in art making; she hopes to inspire amusement and smiles. Though her work has of course been criticized and cast aside as “frivolous,” the artist has made a name for herself, boasting at least one painting purchased in each American state.

Before we give in the the impulse to judge, let us take a minute to appreciate the product of Varszegi’s efforts. Her paintings quite resemble the work of abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollack or Mark Rothko; she, like them, hopes to inspire more primal and visceral emotions with her marbled surface of color, texture, and form.

But unlike most (but not all) of the 1950s trailblazers, Varszegi is a woman, and that fact is essential to her art making process. Where many modern art movements have been dominated by an idealized machismo, the boob artist embraces what some might call the feminine or the sentimental. Here, the breasts, symbols both of female sexuality and fertility, are the means of creation, as opposed to the paintbrush, an instrument whose form is vaguely evocative of the phallus.

The artist’s compositions mirror the “feminine” tenor of her process, their soft, glittery tones forming elusive and symbolic butterfly and floral shapes. Paint drippings and splotches swirl together in an evocative, orgiastic blur. Take a look, and let us know what you think of the project. It is groundbreaking or silly? (via Oddity Central)

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Kitty Valentine’s Victorian Manimal Carnival Freaks

Kitty Valentine’s work is inspired by the anonymity of the discarded photographs that she finds in flea markets in East London. Creating images that are darkly humorous yet poignant, Valentine’s images are memento mori paintings that raise questions about identity, sexuality, memory and mortality.  The stiffly posed, nameless people in the Victorian Mischief series have animal and bird skulls delicately painted onto them and are given new life, and yet are protected by a mask. There are references to the Victorian obsessions with seances, carnival freaks and sideshow attractions and our slightly shamed morbid curiosity in such things.

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MATTHEW COX’s X-Ray Pop Culture Collages

X-ray and embroidery by Philadelphia based Mathew Cox.

“By joining the cold, blue, medically technical plastic of the x-ray with the colorful, decorative and tactile embroidery thread each is removed from its original intention and creates a new entity.  Handling these media also gives me an opportunity to comment on the ever-increasing presence of photography in contemporary art- by introducing labor over the quick, slickness of film.
In Heartthrobs, Avatars and Playboys, 2011 – 2012, I am transporting this technique to a new place using iconic heartthrobs from Pop culture such as Snow White and David Bowie and avatars from Eastern religion and Greek mythology such as Krishna and Minotaur.  The possible visual imagery is rich, vast and exciting.  This new move has also given me an opportunity to physically move out of the rectangle of the x-ray by extending the embroidery upward and outside of the frame.”

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Mark Dorf’s Beautiful Juxtapositions Of Technology And Nature

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Photographer Mark Dorf‘s photoseries //_Path is an exploration of how technology and encroaching singularity affect our relationship and place in the natural world. The Brooklyn-based artist notes “…there is barely a single situation that is not influenced by digital technology and communication through the World Wide Web – the Internet and digital technology has been integrated into nearly every part of our lives and will only continue to become more and more present in our daily routines.”

//_Path seeks to explore this integration in its most visual form; combining bucolic and lush photography with images from collage, digital photographs and renderings, and early 3D scanning techniques. These symbolically-loaded, technologically-sourced alterations serve to represent a “…synthetic form to contrast against the landscape in which they are manifested; a comparison of language.”

Though Dorf is certainly not the only artist working with juxtapositions of technology and the natural world, his work specifically calls attention to the psychological and sociological damage our dependence on the tools we depend on, which once served us and now control us. Acknowledging that this dilemma too is human nature, Dorf seems to call for a combination of understanding: an existence both within the frameworks of our digital lives, and within our natural environment. Dorf explains, “It is no longer about logging on or off, but rather living within and creating harmony with the realms and constructs of the internet for our newest generation of inhabitants.” 

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Ben Quilty’s Rorschach Portraits

I’m loving these juicy rorschach oil paint portraits by Australian painter Ben Quilty. He also has a variety of other paintings on his site including some of the most lush paintings i’ve seen in a while of car wrecks.

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Amanda Burnham’s Fractured Installations Of An American City

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When artist Amanda Burnham first moved to Baltimore, Maryland, she didn’t know anyone. So, she spent a lot of time in her 7th floor apartment that had interesting views of the city. The time spent observing and recording her surroundings later informed her temporary, site-specific installations that are a patchwork representation of Baltimore. Burnham draws and paints street signs, fire hydrants, architecture, and store fronts, piecing them together in a manner that’s fractured yet cohesive. Taking elements of a neighborhood (or neighborhoods), she fashions her own view of the city, creating work large enough for a viewer to walk around and between. In an interview with Dwanye Butcher of Visual Baltimore, Burnham explains why she chooses to work this way (and why she reuses paper and boxes):

The idea of things being layered and pieced together is important to me. I see this city, and really all cities, as these giant ad-hoc organisms – collectively authored, chop-a-bloc, joints exposed – an ongoing melange of edits, adjustments, negotiations. I hope to suggest that with the deliberately collage-y, visually dense, maximalist aesthetic of my drawings.  I also love paper and what it does when treated as an object – the shadows it casts, the way tears and cuts are line. Most of the paper I use is really cheap stuff – low grade drawing paper that comes in rolls, kraft paper, packing materials. Boxes. That’s important because I’m not rich, but also because I see it as conceptually significant – resourcefulness is an ethic I sometimes see evidenced in the forms of the city, and it’s one I really respond to.

Burnham not only takes the outdoors indoors, but creates a whole new environment in a matter of a few days to a week. Lighting, astro turf, and electrical tape craft an ambience that’s unique to the city.

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Adam Friedman

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Adam Friedman is a painter who is drawn to the similarities between the geologic process and human institutions (financial, governmental, etc.) He is interested in showing a million years on one canvas through the changes the surface, ridges, etc of the earth undergoes through time. But more importantly, he attempts to show a world that is healed of the human intervention it is currently suffering.

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Quantum Mechanics Inspires Double Exposure Photographs

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With continuing scientific investigation, perception and consciousness increasingly seem to be much simpler than they truly are.  Its no surprise a great deal of contemporary art address issues of perception, and many artists are skeptical of assumptions about it.  This is where photographer Isabel M. Martinez picks up the topic with her series Quantum Blink.  She explains the series by saying:

“According to quantum mechanics we have forty conscious moments per second, and our brains connect this sequence of nows to create the illusion of the flow of time. So, what would things look like if that intermittence was made visible? This body of work explores that hiccup, that blink, that ubiquitous fissure in the falling-into-place of things.”

Martinez modified her camera to allow her to capture two exposures in an alternating stripe pattern to create one image.  The two exposures are timed only a moment apart and in a way mimic the model of perception she describes above.  Perhaps, what is most powerful about the images, though, is what they don’t capture: the moment in between the two.  Her series appears to mischievously encourage a curiosity and suspicion about our perception of the world around us and the amount assumption involved.  How much creativity is involved in simple observation?  This series is in line with Martinez’ larger art practice.

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