Artist Brian Adam Douglas makes use of a unique process. Before exhibiting at galleries, Douglas began his practice on the streets of Brooklyn under the name ELBOW-TOE. His distinctive style was easily spotted as he used wood cuts, charcoal, collages, and stencils throughout New York City. Douglas has since further developed his process, style, and subject matter. He has retained his painterly style that could be found in his street art and paintings. However, Douglas now applies this to a special kind of cut paper art or collage work. In fact, he prefers to call it “paper painting”. Douglas paints individual parts of paper precise colors and carefully cuts them. All of these small pieces are then often adhered to a wood panel to create one painting-like composition. While he has often focused on individual people, Douglas has now ‘zoomed out’ in a sense. His work now often encompasses entire landscapes or scenes. These scenes frequently touch on natural disaster and specifically the way people cope with them. The statement of his current exhibit at Andrew Edlin Gallery further describes this style:
“Virtually all of the works in Douglas’ new series deal with the rebuilding of life and purpose in the wake of catastrophic deconstruction brought on by natural disasters and climate change(including overt references to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy). They are not merely about the breaking down of things but about an innate capacity to cope with disaster and the rehabilitation of purpose. Spending up to half a year on a single piece, Douglas’ laborious process demands a pictorial integrity where nothing is wasted and everything serves his intensity of purpose. Forgoing the relative ease and fluidity of the brush stroke, the artist methodically builds his compositions through shards of color incised from sheets of paper he has painted, forging a novel way to combine painting and collage into a singular hybrid.”
Portland, Oregon based artist Caitlin Ducey uses plastic drinking straws as the focus of her sculptures. In her exploration of material, process and pattern, Ducey appreciates the simplicity and accessibility of the straw. She notes that it is such a mundane, everyday, disposable item. For her the idea that it is so commonplace is part of the appeal. The act of devoting so much time and attention to something as simple as a straw becomes part of her process.
To create her pieces Ducey carefully stacks each straw usually using no glue or adhesive. Her method is obsessive and detail oriented. It also gives the sculptures a fragility that makes them all the more alluring. As a viewer passes by her works she will experience a kind of tunnel vision, only able to see through the straws immediately in her path. It is this feature that gives the sculptures the life-like quality that I found most captivating. Ducey manages to transform an ordinary plastic object into an entrancing sculpture with a remarkable organic quality.
Boris Pelcer is an artist concerned with representing two of the great unknowns – space, and the space inside the human mind. Currently based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the Bosnian-born artist and designer draws incredibly intricate portraits, swathing his subjects in cloaks of stars, smoke, hair and other natural elements. His subjects remain visibly human and relatable, but are given an otherworldly or mysterious quality. Using painstakingly detailed mechanical pencil work (aided occasionally with acrylic paints) on paper, Pelcer achieves a dense psychic mood with his incredible drawings.
Some of his more gripping works seem to semi-autobiographical, dealing with the sense of self, works which become an artistic investigation of the psyche. Questioning the nature of the conscious and the unconscious minds in his Supreme Consciousness series, Pelcer’s statement questions what would happen to his mind if given total access to the unconscious, while his work portrays a limitless melding of human and cosmos,
Of his Something Somewhere series, Pelcer says, “I can sense the presence of enclosed spaces within my psyche. A hidden collection of obscure moods & thoughts that I can’t quite comprehend. In attempt to better comprehend some of it, I’ve developed this series. It is a stroll of curiosity in search of something insightful, somewhere within the hidden valleys of my psyche.” (via boooooom)
Artist Andres Serrano‘s series of photographs The Morgue investigates ideas of death and our relationship with it. Working with a forensic pathologist Serrano photographed the bodies with a near classical beauty rarely associated with the morgue. Serrano ensured the anonymity of each person through tight cropping or veiling the face. The way in which the light interacts with the bodies and their veils is reminiscent of Italian baroque painting. The chiaroscuro of each photograph seems to underscore some mystery behind death balancing the morgue’s comparatively cold analytic approach. Further, the careful attention to detail and composition dignifies each person. Each subject, some actually unknown persons, are considered individually as initial shock gives way to contemplation and reflection. However, these are not sentimental images. There still remains a certain emotional detachment, a terrible loneliness in death, and Serrano’s intention is ambiguous. Each photograph’s title is each subject’s respective cause of death, and have been inserted in each photographs’ caption. Also, please note: Some may consider these photographs to be graphic and/or disturbing. (via boum!bang!)
Single-perspective installations have been extremely popular for the past several years, with the best examples making their rounds instantly on the usual social media platforms. The real shame of this mass exposure is that viewers rarely experience the tactile joy of these illusions, viewing the photographs but never seeing them first-hand. This is especially true with the work of Georges Rousse, a French artist who has been creating his painted perspective installations in abandoned and soon-to-be demolished buildings since the 1980′s.
Finding influence from Land Art as well as specific works like Suprametist painter Kazimir Malevich’s Black Square, Rousse pre-dates the modern trends of illusionistic installation, having perfected his trademark geometric style and his fondness for desolate locations decades ago. According to his site’s bio, Rousse considers himself a painter, sculptor, architect, and ultimately a photographer, but considers his raw material to be his great inspiration: Space. Upon selecting a site, Rousse goes about creating a unique angular perspective, that when photographed, compels the viewer to re-analyze their own surroundings, possibilities, transformations, and ultimately, Space.
Rousse explains, “The convergence of these spaces goes beyond a visual game: Like a hall of mirrors, enigmatic and dizzying, it questions the role of photography as a faithful reproduction of reality; it probes the distances between perception and reality, between imaginary and concrete.” (via My Modern Met)
Catherine Chalmers manages to make captivating and beautiful those creatures that cause most of us to feel squeamish. Chalmers travels the world to capture images and video of rodents and insects in their habitats. Being one part scientist and one part artist, Chalmers is interested in bringing focus to nature using art as her vehicle.
For her most recent project, Leafcutters, which was partially funded by a Guggenheim Fellowship, Chalmers captured the activities of ants. She was intrigued by the many similarities they have with humans. She noted that like us, they inhabit almost every ecosystem on Earth, are one of the dominant species in their habitats and they impact the grand structure of other biological systems. Beyond that they also wage war, take slaves, raise and keep other animals for food, and are also capable of making their own antibiotics. They’re also, as Chalmers demonstrates, highly photogenic.
Chalmers American Cockroach series, equally beautiful and tough, captured arguably the world’s most dreaded insect. Forcing us to confront our discomfort with cockroaches Chalmers wondered if she could seduce people into liking them because, as with the ants, they’re a lot like us.
Upon first glance, these paintings by Spanish artist Antonio Santin appear to be photographs of beautiful rugs with bodies hidden underneath. Take a closer look and you can see the amazing detailed work that Santin has created in order for these rugs to appear real. Using a deeply-rooted tradition of Spanish Tenebrism and his training as a sculptor, Santin paints using the play of light and shadow to create depth and a haunting realism.
Interested in the way bodies shape fabrics, in an interview with Hi-Fructose, he says, “Painting is essentially a superficial activity, the artist’s psychology translates into a certain colored texture that will in turn eventually trigger or host the unique psychology of the beholder. Thus, according to this transitional synesthesia, any represented face is an enlivened mask. My background is sculpture, a discipline that could as well be defined as the development of structural strategies that end up supporting a surface. Not being its main raison d’être, the surface does conceal and contain the essence of the volume, whose physicality permeates its vessel while existing often only in the territory of the imagination. Therefore, whether it is a face, a dress or a rug, for me, it’s all about grasping what is hidden or concealed. (via from89)
Italian street artist Agostino Iacurci is one prolific muralist. His signature style has popped up around the globe in unique locations. The first image, one of the largest murals I’ve ever seen, dominates the side of a skyscraper in Taiwan. Consider the second set of photographs which can be found inside the walls of a maximum security prison near Rome. The third set is over 985 feet long and on a school in the Western Sahara. Iacurci’s singular narrative-like style has seen exhibitions and walls both small and large is a story told globally.