Guda Koster photo series turns fashion on its head, using prints and patterns to evoke both whimsy and existentialism. Her models’ faces are somehow always hidden, conveying a feeling of both freedom and suffocation. A bright palette with bold patterns are eye-catching but also an eyeful, a bombardment of the senses.
The Artist Collective known as DSC or Dinosaur Special Cassette make some pretty neat stuff. Based out of the UK, it consists of two people who create drawings and garments. A colorful variation of ideas on instagram eventually show up in clothing lines for children and adults. These drawings stand alone in originality encompassing vibrant hue reminiscent of rainbows and youthful subject matter. They possess an amazing amount of original wonder and charm. They take a lot of influence from children’s textile patterns but with a tad more flavor. The narratives speak to Romare Bearden in collaged color and placement. It’s exciting to see people on social media drawing with such abandon. This is where you can see the best scribbles of DSC.
DSC’s clothing is sewn under the label Klushka. These are one of a kind pieces inspired by their fabulous drawings. One called “Critter Applique Jumper” is a blue smiling blob painted on top a pink sweatshirt made of newsprint patterned material. It combines early Sex Pistols never mind the bollocks with a funky collage effect. A collection of long tees or nighties with elaborately drawn prints of aliens and dollar signs are also offered. Those take reference from eighties artists like Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.
Japanese artist Fuco Ueda paints colorfully morbid pictures, full of sad and mysterious girls, glowing fauna and beautifully detailed flora. Ueda’s world is a quiet and magical one; a place where fireflies, bees and butterflies buzz and whirr past girls with long green hair and skeleton hands. Her characters are mischievous yet appear innocent; they are deceptive and deceitful, yet charming and magnetic. They seem like they are in a state of limbo – like they are making the transition from life to death, and are losing bodyparts along the way. The girls are usually surrounded by hitodama: balls of fire thought to be a spirit of the dead.
Ueda’s work is a dreamy look at the scope of human emotions. She shows great sympathy toward the human condition and wears her heart on her sleeve. The gallery that curated her latest show sums it up:
[She] portrays the feeling of loneliness that exists within dreams and reality through paintings of floating illusions. In her depiction of innocent female characters surrounded by natures bounty you get a glimpse of the “deep psyche of the human mind.” Despite bursting with intimacy, there are sounds you can almost hear but can’t and things you can almost grasp but are out of reach. (Source)
The exhibition that features Ueda’s latest work is curated by Gallery Kogure in Tokyo and is called Japanese Human Sensors. Showcasing four talented Japanese artists, the show is on at Jonathan Levine Gallery from April 4th until May 2nd. (Via Spoon Tamago)
Adrian Arleo is a sculptor living near Missoula, Montana whose ceramic works hybridize the human figure with animal and environmental imagery. Among her creations are bodies pock-marked with honeycomb formations, people birthed from wasp nests, and animals whose skin ripple with human eyes. While there is a sadness and mystical darkness in some of her sculptures — the “Swallow Bust” hybrid, for example, seems suspended between life and death as birds inhabit her hollowed body — they also exhibit agelessness and awareness. Part of this can be attributed to the classical style of the sculptures, which is reminiscent of ancient Greek and Italian art. As Arleo writes on her About page: “By focussing on older, more mysterious ways of seeing the world, edges of consciousness and deeper levels of awareness suggest themselves” (Source).
Thematically, however, Arleo’s works draw their strength and knowledge from the cycles intrinsic to the natural world. As she explained in a 2012 chat with Ceramic Arts Daily:
“[M]y ideas come mainly through observation and curiosity, taking note of what’s around me: wasp nests, bird tracks in snow, the eyes in aspen tree bark, the limbs of trees, deer grazing in the fields, all these things are analogous to our own experiences with life cycles of birth and growth, reproduction and nurturing impulses, defense mechanisms, aging, death, decay. […] With the changing state of the world, I feel a greater and greater urgency to remember and express how we are all connected, all dependent on the same air, water, soil.” (Source).
As hybrids, the sculptures’ awareness of life, death, and the interconnectedness of all things is fused into their bodies. There is no distinction between what is solely “human” and “animal”; all worlds are represented in one. They remind us of our own material connections to the natural world, and how — through their sad, ancient expressions — the world is changing.
Not all of Arleo’s creations foretell this change passively, however. She expresses how her newer works are quietly unwilling to be reduced to extinction:
“[W]hen I ﬁnished this most recent body of work and looked for a feeling that encompassed it as a whole, I was struck by the concept of a harbinger: a dream, sign, or omen foreshadowing things to come. There is a quiet resistance, in this work, to the cultural and biological losses of our time” (Source).
In this way, we can read the sculptures as defiant, with their bodily hybridity signifying a memory of and connection to the natural world that will never be completely wiped away.
Photographer Michael Massaia has been lauded for his haunting black and white photographs that catch the shadow life of cities at night. In his photo series, Transmorgify, he turns his eye not to a city caught in limbo, but rather a period of time. Massaia captures childhood treats melting into swirls and psychedelic puddles, creating traces of sugar and cream that look almost like wisps of smoke.
Imagine a world of fantasy where all your favorite icons are grouped together in old painting motifs and you have a pretty good idea of what French artist Amandine Urruty does. With knifelike precision she draws odd characters from popular culture and places them in dreamlike landscapes that recall Hieronymous Bosch and Leonardo DaVinci. Using satirical nuances Urruty comments on love, learning and family. Her method pokes fun at society and the different masks we wear each day to get through it. Her material of choice is graphite and with it she wields pictures which show great skill. It almost seems the artist could draw anything she wanted which is why it’s even more interesting to see the content which sparks her imagination.
From a formal standpoint hints of surrealism surface as we witness the subconscious mind take over in many of Urruty’s sections. But to draw at her skill level you need to be totally present and the two play off each other nicely. The dominant presence of kiddy characters definitely speaks to the inner child in all of us. Plus from an aesthetic point of view they’re just cute to look at.
Aside from drawings, Urruty has painted colorful murals all over France. The subject matter for those were mostly hybrid animals which recall Maurice Sendak. Her work is currently on view at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York as part of the group Exhibit, “Oh, The Places We’ve Been.” Urruty is based in Paris and holds a Master’s Degree in The Philosophy of Art. (via faithistorment)
Wookjae Maeng is a Korean artist who works with ceramics, focusing on the relationships between man and animal. The ghostly pieces often resemble commemorative busts or mounted heads reminiscent of big game trophies (the kind you’d seen in a hunter’s den). Sometimes, works are painted to blend in with wall treatments or trendy decor.
“I concentrate on art as a vehicle to communicate contemporary social and environmental problems to the viewer by stimulating, not just emotion, but sensibilities and memories,” Maeng writes. Stimulus is an important idea, and it’s used to evoke the viewer’s curiosity and to inspire them to figure the greater meaning of the work.
Maeng also explains why he chose to feature animals in his sculptures:
In our environment, numerous creatures live in harmony. Yet there are other creatures that merely exist without enjoying their natural right due to human classification and negligence. I would like to express the nature of the relationship between human and other creatures-a relationship that, in other to thrive, demands careful coexistence and balance between the urban and the natural, for example, and an awareness and empathy for less visible creatures. In my work I hope to provide an opportunity-however brief-for modern man to consider the realities of the environment in which he exists, even as he continues his daily existence indifferent to it. (Via Optically Addicted)
Roshan Adhihetty regularly takes off his clothes and photographs other people without theirs on either. Despite what that sounds like, the series he has put together is a tasteful, candid look at a popular past time. Die Nacktwanderer, or The Nude Hikers captures groups of hikers reconnecting with nature and immersing their bodies into their surroundings. Growing up in Lausanne, an area which is quite accustomed to nudity, Adhihetty is no stranger to seeing the human body without clothes on. But after visiting his first nudist beach in Corsica, he decided to take a closer look at the culture of nudity, and in particular, the modern trend of naked hiking. He says:
Nudity and Nature have always been big subjects in art. Inspired by the romantic paintings I was hunting for photographs which feature this tension between romantic nature and disturbing contemporary elements – an opposition between nature and culture. (Source)
His photographs are a brazen look at a subject not often talked about, and sometimes even sneered at. But Adhihetty portrays his subjects with respect and grace, after he had to put himself in their shoes, so to speak. After tracking down a group of willing participants through Craigslist, the photographer had to join them in the buff to be allowed his camera on the hikes. Along with his other observations, Adhihetty realized that many of his subjects were male, and women only make up about a fifth of the hiking population. He notes that this is most likely linked to the social pressures and judgements our current society places on the female figure.
Hopefully with projects like this photographic series, we will stop seeing the naked body as only a sexual thing, but also as a very natural way to exist in the world around us. (Via Feature Shoot)