In the endless patterns of mandalas, one can find tranquility through its sacred geometry. You can find this peace in the spiraling colors of the mandalas artist Alison Moyna Greene creates. However, things are not always what they seem in her work. What is mesmerizing and calm at first glance is actually rough and defensive up close. The artist constructs her mandalas with individual cactus spines that jut out of the surface at the viewer. The process of using such a harmful medium by hand does not only take an intense focus, but also can be physically harmful. However, this meditative process of picking this material, painting them individually, and placing them onto their surface is a practice of care and love. Greene takes something painful and turns it into beauty.
The incredibly metaphor for transformation and healing is realized through this intricate series. The artist explains that her work acknowledges the coexistence of light and darkness and explores the balance of both necessary elements. The mandala is a traditional symbol of harmony. In this harmony, we find brilliant colors and winding patterns. However, we also find sharp, unsafe objects that make up this symbol. This contrast makes Greene’s work even more beautiful as she finds comfort in the amazing transformation of suffering into serenity.
This series of artwork uses thorns and cactus spines as a metaphor of changing pain and suffering. The process of hand plucking, hand painting and hand placing speaks about the transformation of pain into beauty and fear into love.
A tent made out of elephant skin as a large scale art installation. This does sounds like a shocking and provocative piece. Douglas White rips off our hearts and makes us angry before we even realize that he brilliantly fooled us. We are actually looking at an interpretation of what he encountered himself: an elephant’s deflated skin, draped and folded next to its bones like a collapsed tent. “Here was a body become landscape, a body both present and absent in which the distinction between the inner and outer had evaporated in the heat and decay. It was a body you could walk through…” said the artist. “Of all those objects that I ever encountered, this is the one I wanted most to possess…” Douglas White creates shapes, in between figuration and abstraction. Through his sculptures he is looking to get us sensitive on current problems like the environment, mass consumption and industrial products waste.
Ten years after his trip to East Africa and after numerous attempts in his London studio, the artist discovered a new way to work with clay. He conceived a thick and cracked texture close to a pachyderm’s skin. From there he developed a work of art around wood and clay. The result is bluffing: over 2500 lbs of wet clay suspended by a strange system of ropes, pulleys and wooden poles. By collecting thrown away or lost objects, Douglas White prefers to work with used materials to create spectacular and strange sculptures. Carbonized tires, containers, decomposed trees on a metal structure; through his art, Douglas White gives a second life to these abandoned materials.
If we makes analogies and dig into our primal instinct we can clearly see the reference to the structure of a circus big top. And if we dive even more deeper we can allow ourselves to link the song from Disney’s Dumbo soundtrack, “Song of the Roustabouts” to the name of the piece and we would be right to do so.
Inspired by the beautiful wildlife around her, artist Marine Coutroutsios cuts and constructs intricate, abstract birds out of colorful paper. Relocating from Paris to Sydney Australia, where she currently lives and works, Coutroutsios’s work is heavily influences by her environment. This series of hers titled Australian Birds contains patterns and colors that are found in the Australia native species she sees in her everyday life. With names like Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo and Pale Headed Rosella, it is no doubt that the artist has named them after the individual bird species that each piece aims to resemble. It is interesting that although these pieces do not resemble the shape of a bird, nor do they possess a beak or even a head, we can still see that they are unmistakably birds. Resembling a target shape, it is almost as if the bird has been flattened into a nearly symmetrical circle.
Throughout childhood, Coutroutsios was always creating something, whether it is through embroidery or origami, which accounts for her incredible skill in paper cutting. Always feeling a connecting with nature, she also creates her own environments with her paper installations full of brilliant colors and shapes. She does not only pull inspiration from nature in the sky, but also nature in the water. Make sure to check out her Ocean Series where she takes her circular shaped method of sculpture and applies it to swirls of cut paper, creating whirlpools of color. (via BOOOOM)
“Through my travels I’ve realized how much I feel connected with my environment. It keeps me grounded and humble regarding our place in this world. With my work I’d like to inspire and engage you to reconsider the value of your surroundings. I think beauty is everywhere and it’s a powerful source of energy.”
“Chojun (Zhang Shun),” from Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Zhang Shun in the White Streak of Waves” – from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden (2014).
Otokogi (Chivalry), from a Matsuri (festival) (2013).
Otokogi (Chivalry), from a Matsuri (festival) (2013).
“Kaosho (Tattooed Priest),” from Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Lu Zhishen, the Tattooed Priest” – from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden (2014).
Takeshi Haguri is an artist from Nagoya, Japan, who creates incredibly detailed wooden sculptures of traditional figures from Japanese art and culture. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Haguri created series of works depicting musicians, “Yankees” (delinquent Japanese youth), and melancholic outlaws. His more recent works, featured here, are modeled after traditional prints from Edo-period (1603-1868) Japan, such as Toyokuni Utagawa’s “Kauraiya: Portrait of an Actor on Stage” and Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Lu Zhishen, the Tattooed Priest” from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden. In a current series titled Otokogi (meaning “chivalry”), Haguri features a cast of men wearing fundoshi (undergarments) while standing proudly and wearing masks of traditional creatures and characters, such as the long-nosed tengu and clownish Hyottoko.
Several of Haguri’s works are covered in beautifully painted tattoos in the style of traditional Japanese art: dragons coil around torsos, koi fish arch over shoulder blades, and sakura bloom across arms and legs. Created by Haguri’s apprentice, Miki Nagasaki, the tattoos signify an interesting reversal of 2D and 3D art; instead of woodblock prints on flat surfaces, Haguri’s wooden sculptures transform the traditional images onto dynamic, wooden “bodies.” Drawn from the rich archives of art, myth, and cultural memory, these characters (and their tattoos) can be viewed and appreciated from all angles. By exploring tradition through a different medium, Haguri reinvests age-old images and artistic practices with his beautiful and contemporary style. (Via Sweet Station)
The porcelain sculptures of Jason Briggs make you want to touch them..in private. Blatantly provocative, Briggs takes all the sexual organs and orafices on the male and female body and fuses them into a protruding grotesque beauty. He touches on things that keep the human race alive. The forbidden fruits of procreation which everyone thinks about but rarely speaks about. Since he uses porcelain the pieces take on an eerie realism which make them appear more flesh like. In some cases they give off bondage signals which is metaphorically correct. You are bonded to the person you are having sex with. The other interesting thing about the work is the intellectual interpretation. This could be met with repulsion to some since mind and body don’t always fuse together, though they should. In his statement, he discusses the obvious but also explains that his interest is in the desire itself more than the fulfillment of it. This might also explain the enlarged forms which make up the work. These pieces according to Briggs usually appear larger than life when living only in the mind. Through his work he tries to make light of this and understand it better.
It’s a never ending summer inside Dan McCarthy’s world. The mirage created by the blue ocean and the red flesh of the bodys on the beach, captivates the eye which is enticed to stare at the warm nuances that the painting is offering. The “dreamscapes” are liberating.
The artist is not only is a painter, sculptor, messenger; he is a poet. Through his art, his desire is to create a memory. The details don’t have to be remembered; the viewer leaving with a feeling of freedom and comfort is the optimal destiny of his work.
The barely dressed women and men are expressing personal emotions and allowing the viewers to feel their fragility. Accessorized by fish, birds, mountains and rainbows they encourage a dialogue in the direction of nature and the world at large. The props such as a guitar, skateboard and surfboard are symbols used to reiterate location; these devices lead the viewer to fill in the gaps based on other clues like paint handling and materiality.
Dan McCarthy works quickly by rinsing and blotting thin layers of washed out pastel tones, allowing the paint to drip down the canvas. It’s a process based largely on intuition and working within the moment. He is stripping it all down to the essential basics, trying to let the sunshine in.
He recently started to work on ceramic sculptures that he calls Facepots. Wanting to express emotion, attitude and humour in his work, he chose faces as an obvious starting point. As Dan Mccarthy once remarked: “I’d like to include in my work something of the living spirit, something positive that can be taken away and built upon by a viewer. Certainly more a feeling than an attitude or ideology”.
The pollution crisis in China is reaching an all time high. With over 500,000 people dying each year from diseases related to the air quality, it’s a time for action. A company in China called Xiao Zhu has decided to educate the public on just how serious the matter is. They have literally shone a light on the culprits – by projecting images of crying children’s faces onto the guilty factories’ billowing towers of smoke and pollution. As most of the victims of air pollution are children, this artistic protest has a hard hitting message. Stop now, or the future generations will continue to suffer.
The faces themselves are quite hard to stomach. Twisted and contorted faces fade in and out of the smoke clouds. Young boys are covering their mouths with masks trying to breathe without pain. It is an emotionally charged subject, and the company normally responsible for selling air filters have tapped into the drama of the situation. Their creative approach to such a huge environmental problem is working – people are noticing and spreading the word.
Xiao Zhu write this statement to accompany their video on Youtube:
We decided to put a spotlight on air pollution’s biggest culprits—the factories—by using the actual pollution from the factories as a medium…. Clean the air, let the future breathe again. (Source)
Not only is this a message for the whole nation, and world, but most specifically for the industry that is causing the damage. And I’m sure they won’t be able to avoid looking up at their own factories and see the mess they are creating. (Via The Creator’s Project)
Julio Le Parc is the precursor of op art. Originally from Argentina, he moves to Paris, France after his art studies to discover what the city has to offer. Today, he is displayed next to Vasarely’s immersive art pieces. The artist uses fourteen pure colors to create combinations on its paintings. This starting point allows him to work around real movement, multiplication of images, transparency, coloring, space and light. Experimentation is how Julio Le Parc likes to work, that includes making mistakes and taking risks. In another black and white series where he uses spray paint he is looking to experiment with multi surfaces, dynamic visuals and different levels of shades.
Behind the numerous studies of light and movement there is a need for Julio Le Parc to search for a shortcut between the creation of a piece and the experience of the viewers. By rejecting psychology, his aim is to reach the mass with no third party involved. He is taking his political message, his “general analysis of the situation” directly to the eyes of the viewers. He condemns the government method to impose its vision and to leave aside the ideas and opinions of the people. Ideally, he wants a new method to acknowledge ideas wether it’s by a State or an art gallery. For Julio Le Parc, people don’t appreciate art in its time and that’s the fault of galleries and museums imposing their opinions and deciding who will be the next “famous and hot” artist instead of letting the people decide.
Julio Le Parc’s art pieces will be displayed this week at Art Basel and sixty of his work will be printed on silk scarves in collaboration with Hermes.