Honk Kong-based artist Johnson Tsang creates alternative ceramic creations that spook viewers. Employing a realist yet surreal sculptural technique, Tsang looks to produce exaggerated, almost cartoonish, bizarre human forms that look very convincing (and very disturbing). Besides his famous creepy, chubby, porcelain babies–whom he calls his own ‘children’–Tsang is known for his ability to morph both functional objects and the human body to put forth an alternative line of work that challenges the craft oriented world of ceramics. Much like Beccy Ridsdel Dissected Ceramics, Tsang has the ability to make ceramic pieces that in a way remain functional, but still work as a conceptual piece of art.
Though he is perhaps most famous for his internet sensation photoseries, Everyday, where he has taken a photo of himself daily since 2000 (and which was then turned into a stop-motion video which went viral), Noah Kalina‘s work actually possesses a very distinctly subtle, and personal feel. In the series Internet/Sex, taken between 2007 and 2009, Kalina pairs empty hotel rooms, illuminated only by computer screens, and composite photography which suggests naked couples having sex. The dynamic of the empty and occupied rooms, when paired together, connect a portrayal of the inherent loneliness and longing of the human condition.
Kalina, who is based in Brooklyn and Lumberland, New York, has not explicitly said what these photos are documenting, it can easily be implied that these intimate moments with open computer screens simulate the connections and separations that both sex and connection through the internet offer. Taking place in various hotel and motel rooms, the series seems to suggest a lonely traveller, using their computer to make a primal, human connection. Surprisingly, the open screens and the desire they represent offers a loneliness more lewd than photographing sex.
Canadian photographer, Amy Friend revisits the past and explores themes of memory and impermanence through the alteration and re-imagination of vintage photographs. The artist inserts a charming glow to the silhouettes of her subjects; the additions makes the images come to life, almost as if the aura of the deceased is alive. “By re-using lights”, she says “I return the subject of the photographs back to the light, while simultaneously bringing them forward.”
I employ materials and surroundings that are familiar to me using them as starting points for my investigations. These materials become the substance I use to inform the work I create. In my practice I tend to work within the medium of photography, however, I am not concerned with capturing a “concrete” reality. Instead, I aim to use photography as a medium that offers the possibility of exploring the relationship between what is visible and non-visible.
Combining photography and painting, Polish-based artist Michał Mozolewski creates intriguing portraits of mysterious-looking subjects. Pictures of pictures of people are scanned into the computer and later remixed and using a variety of methods. They are set against dark backgrounds and the black and white base images have gestural strokes painted over top of them. The hues of white, cyan, and red don’t evenly cover the photographs and Mozolewski uses varying pressure that adds a sculptural element to the work by emphasizing certain features of the face or body.
The effect that the artist’s technique has on the mood of the work is dramatic. Diffused and distorted photographs combined with Mozolewski’s erratic marks make for a haunting and grotesque portraits that are dreamlike at the same time. There’s a lot left to the imagination with these works, and they communicate sadness but at the same time are provocative and overall very visceral.
Glass artist Mike Gong crafts incredibly detailed, psychedelic marbles ranging from 13 to 63 mm in diameter. Each marble is uniquely designed with remarkable attention to detail. Gong creates small galaxies of color and depth, bringing a sharp eye and highly attuned craftsmanship to the medium of glass. Some of his designs even have silly faces, and even the ones that don’t all reflect Gong’s trippy aesthetic (some of his designs are named Acid Eaters). While you can get an idea of the intricacies of Gong’s marbles with a two dimensional photograph, his designs really come to life when they are allowed to spin and turn at the touch of a human hand. Not Just Marbles has a selection of Gong’s marbles available for purchase, ranging from $275 to 1,100. Brian Bowden at Pbase also has a substantial image archive of Gong’s marbles, some available for purchase. (via my modern met)
James Thurber said, “Humor is emotional chaos remembered in tranquility,” which seems to be a tactic comic artist and illustrator Kate (Ellen) Lacour has mastered in her recent drawing series Bodies, which she has only described with three words, “body horror beauty.” The motives, inspiration, or goals behind the series have not been disclosed, yet appear to be a distinct side-project from her usual cartooning work, replacing a visually lighter style with a combination of human anatomical drawings found in textbooks. The results twist the familiar style of textbook, anatomical human renderings, creating drawings which utilize symmetry, unique and unusual body arrangements, and religious or spiritual iconography.
Symbolic poses are taken by transparent, headless bodies, such as the Lotus position, a pose with Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist relevance. Lacour (who perhaps tellingly also works as an art therapist) enhances this peaceful, evocative aesthetic by drawing lines with ink and pen but softly coloring the drawings in with food coloring. However, even with the emphasis of religious and anatomical text, the drawings evoke a humorous effect, replacing heads with comically screaming mouths and adding eyes to the Fallopian tubes of a levitating uterus. The most successful works are those which pack in detail, such as Devouring Mother (first drawing, above) where a creation myth entirely new is presented by mixing tales and traditions of the past. (via hi-fructose)
Boston based pilot and photographer Alex S. MacLean captures aerial images of playgrounds, parks, and other American leisure spots. The simple shots expose an interesting variety of colorful compositions that gather an almost abstract and often painterly representation of modern urban planning. His compositions are often unintentionally metaphorical and insightful, as their lively presence unofficially represent the types of things that these landscapes stand for: beautiful, fun, and often pleasurable places to be in and to look at.
“It really is about combining art and information. Some of it is sort of subliminal – you can’t quite put your finger on it but it sort of draws you in and engages you.”
In December, New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust released their discovery and restoration of photographic cellulose nitrate negatives that were clumped together in a box and found in expedition photographer Herbert Ponting’s darkroom in Captain Scott’s last expedition at Cape Evans. As part of the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project, the trust recovered 22 images from Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-1917 Ross Sea Party, including a striking image of Alexander Stevens, Shackleton’s Chief Scientist, standing aboard the Aurora, the expedition’s ship. Though many of the photographs are damaged and the identity of the photographer is unknown, landmarks around McMurdo Sound were recognizable to the Antarctic Heritage Trust.
So far, more than 10,000 objects have been conserved at Captain Scott’s Cape Evans hut. Four years ago, the same conservation group discovered 3 crates of whiskey and 2 crates of brandy under Shackleton’s 1908 base. (via npr)