Alex Lukas‘ Recent Works show at Steven Zevitas Gallery (April 19th-June 2nd 2012) in Boston consists of five new large-scale paintings on paper (the largest measures at twelve feet in length) and a group of work utilizing appropriated book pages. This body of work continues the Lukas’ exploration of our current cultural condition through the lens of the landscape. Executed primarily in ink, acrylic, watercolor and gouache, the artist also uses the process of silk-screening for certain elements of each work. Thomas Cole’s well-known painting “River in the Catskills,” which depicts a pastoral landscape with a small train slicing through the scene in the middle ground, is a harbinger of things to come in the story of man’s attempt to gain control of nature. In many ways, Lukas’ landscapes, which combine sites real and imagined – with a healthy nod towards Hollywood and art history – tell the end of the story, as man-made structures yield back to nature. The works pivot on series of dichotomies: violence and quietude; the man made and the natural; hope and a profound sense of despair. They also grapple with ideas about national morality and societal fragility.
Designer Armin Blasbichler‘s work is often jarring. His series ORSON, I’m Home strikes a special chord, though. The series is composed of three “dining sculptures” created primarily from the bodies of various farm animals. While we may be more accustomed to farm animals adorning plates on the furniture, seeing them as taxidermy furniture makes for a surreal juxtaposition. The furniture confronts its users with the consumption it usually facilitates. Interestingly, for the series Blasbichler features a quote from professor and writer Don Slater: “In talking of modern society as a consumer culture, people are not referring simply to a particular pattern of needs and objects […] but to a culture of consumption.”
On the weekend of June 6th and 7th, two giant Buddha statues destroyed by Taliban forces in 2001 were resurrected using 3D projection technology. Known as the Buddhas of Bamyan, the two structures, towering over 100 feet, were carved into the sandstone cliffs of Bamyan Valley, Afghanistan, and had watched over the area since the sixth century. They once served as an important site of pilgrimage for Buddhists. When the Taliban deemed the Buddhas false idols, they obliterated them using tanks and artillery shells. The damage was extensive, and in the years since there has been much debate on how — or even if — they could be repaired. UNESCO named the ruins a site of World Heritage in Danger in 2003.
Documentarians Janson Yu and Liyan Hu, however, offered the Afghan people a temporary (but inspiring) solution: to project beautiful, realistic holograms of the Buddhas inside the blasted caverns where they once stood. As The Atlantic explains, “the couple fine-tuned the projections on a mountainside in China and then, after receiving approval from UNESCO and the Afghan government, brought the system to Afghanistan” (Source). Only 150 people attended the event as it was not well publicized, but you can still witness the Buddhas’ resurrection in the images and video above. While the temporariness of the projections may reemphasize the devastating loss of the ancient statues — and how their future remains uncertain — the video sums up the symbolic effect quite nicely, deeming the holographic reconstructions a “beacon of light after a decade of war.” (Via artnet News)
Andy Gilmore is a draftsman and designer based in Rochester, NY. His work looks like a more sophisticated and colorful version of the spirographs from our youth. Gilmore’s use of repetitive shapes creates a kind of Faux gradient that I’m quite fond.
John Baldessari is literally a living legend. Not only has he exhibited internationally more than most living artists but he has blazed the trail for millions of young artists who consider him a mentor, colleague, peer, and friend. I was fortunate enough to work with John for a few years while getting my MFA at UCLA and I have to say that he was one of the most giving professors that I’ve ever had. He always had time for his students and had explosive energy that was infectious. Commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art and narrated by Tom Waits this six minute documentary is a playful tribute to the man the call The Godfather Of Conceptual Art. Watch the full video after the jump.
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.
The people pictured here are not modified, mutilated, or even Photoshopped. Rather they are only covered in acrylic paint. The Artist Chooo-San carefully paints extremely realistic extra eyes and mouths, zippers, cords, and plugs on directly on to the bodies of her subjects. Her work is so realistic, it’s nearly disturbing at times and surprising it isn’t digitally manipulated. She says:
“But I guess I was a little sick of everyone making pictures with their computers and wanted to see how far I can go without those technologies such as Photoshop. My works are all done with acrylic paints. They are all painted on skin directly and I don’t use computers or anything to change the picture afterwards.” [via]