The work of Nicola Samori depicts dying corpses and mysterious portraits scraped, scratched and torn on the surface, unveiling layers of contrasting paint. Dark and intense paintings, covering layers of existing work, like flesh covering the accumulation of past experiences and traumas. The artist chooses to damage his previous paintings on purpose. He feeds the canvas, daily; until the texture becomes ’intense and palpable’. Using his fingers or a knife to destroy the apparent layer, the result of what feels like a painful process is a magnificent harmonized agony. By scraping his paintings, Nicola Samori tries to search for true identity. A person’s face on a painting is not a valid representation of who this person really is. It doesn’t give a true essence of its inner personality and soul. Exploring what’s underneath the surface is the purpose of the artist.
Body, death and painting are, for Nicola Samori, subjects of obsession. By punishing the three altogether on the canvas, he opens the wound and sets himself free. His layered macabre creations are the structure for his catharsis (act or process of releasing a strong emotion into an art form or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration). Apart from the fact that the artist doesn’t fancy working with colors, according to him; the source of darkness does not reflect a state or a belonging; what is made from it is what’s interesting. A rough process symbolizing metamorphosis of deep emotions into meaningful and empowering art pieces
Debra Baxter, You have to believe we are magic, (barf bag)
These four artists are interested in exploring nature through crystals, minerals and natural stones. Toronto-based Carly Waito makes small oil paintings (about 5×6 inches) of crystals and minerals. Inspired by the natural world Waito is interested in geology, geometry and light. With a sense of wonder and curiosity, Waito explores via paint tiny mineral specimens, revealing the beauty and magic nature is capable of creating.
Seattle-based Debra Baxter uses stones and minerals, and their contrasts or relationships to investigate human interactions. To address notions such as human power plays, vulnerability and gender differences, Baxter plays titles like You have to believe we are magic (barf bag), 2010 off visual displays of ceramic, minerals and reflective acrylic. Her sculptures become small visual metaphors replete with symbols and juxtapositions that form ideas and narrative.
Amy Brener works by layering resin, glass and Fresnel lens to create light sensitive sculptures that resemble large crystals or minerals. Brener’s process involves mixing and pouring pigmented resin into wooden frameworks. Only able to control certain aspects of the process, Brener embraces the surprises that happen along the way. The process gives her sculptures a quality that exists between the geological and the man-made.
Jonathan Latiano’s Points of Contention, 2011, was an installation at School 33 Art Center in Baltimore. The piece was made out of plastics, resins and polymers and appeared to be exploding out of the floor. Meant to address the effects the sculpture’s materials have on the geological landscape, Latiano’s work is a visual reminder of our impact on nature.
Spanish illustrator Irma Gruenholz constructs hand sculpted, three-dimensional scenes using clay. Her surreal compositions primarily involve portraits of rosy-cheeked humans coupled with fantastical characteristics. A woman, posed like a frog, captures small human flies with her long tongue. Another illustration features a woman catching small bits of light between two chopsticks. Gruenholz forms the clay into smooth, elegant figures that don’t immediately read as handmade – they look like they could’ve been digitally produced.
A lot of work goes into crafting these illustrations. Gruenholz individually creates each character each character and scene using sculpting tools and paint. They’re held in place by stands and posed correctly. Scenes are photographed and later edited to remove the supports and produce the illusion that they could possibly be real.
Gordon Parks was one of the seminal figures of twentieth century photography. A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, he left behind a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture from the early 1940s up until his death in 2006, with a focus on race relations, poverty, Civil Rights, and urban life.
Recently The Gordon Parks Foundation discovered over 70 unpublished photographs by Parks at the bottom of an old storage box wrapped in paper and marked as “Segregation Series.” These never before series of images not only give us a glimpse into the everyday life of African Americans during the 50’s but are also in full color, something that is uncommon for photographs from that era.
Seattle based artist Casey Weldon’s newest series of work is a bit unsettling. He’s painted a series of cats, each with four eyes. While the premise sounds simple enough, the product is more jarring than one might expect. Upon first viewing the paintings the animals don’t appear as mutated creatures or monstrous as you might expect. Rather, the paintings seem to be making it difficult to focus. As humans we have a sensitive awareness of faces, eyes being a primary reference point. Perhaps because of this the two sets of eyes don’t seem as much like a defect in the cat as a defect in our ability to focus on the painting. Also, Weldon’s choice of exclusively depicting cats clearly references the internet. The animal’s unexpected rise to the top of internet meme-dom, nearly makes cat’s a symbol of internet culture itself. The gallery statement for his current exhibit at Spoke Art further expounds on this by saying:
“Ranging from internal commentary on the state of contemporary culture to a satirical analysis of the internet in general, Weldon has deftly created a body of new acrylic paintings that humor and appall. Through his thematic commonality of quadruple eyed animals, Weldon intentionally disorients the viewing experience by juxtaposing a subject that is impulsively attractive yet eerily disturbing. With this subtle manipulation the viewer finds themselves drawn towards these subjects, yet can’t quite focus on them, akin in many ways to the eye fatigue experienced by countless hours on the internet, often fueled by the mindless addictive nature of social media. The choice of cats specifically as his subject matter continue on Weldon’s commentary of the internet/social media. The immense popularity of cat culture and viral cat memes is unavoidable in this day and age, a point made all too apparent by the pairing of Weldon’s exhibition with a Lil Bub art show just two doors down this month at Spoke Art.” (via supersonic electronic)
Vincent Fournier is a talented Belgium based photographer who enjoys documenting his extensive travels. In one of my favorite series of his, Space Project, Vincent visits space centers around the world and documents his visits through photography. But what truly makes Vincent’s work so enjoyable is that in nearly every shot, he creates within it beautiful, and sometimes troubling, imagery of contradictions. Such elements I noticed a lot in this series is technology vs. nature; the human imprint within the world. He seems to be particularly interested in the transformation of the environment as we progressively construct ourselves a society moving further away from nature.
Stills from New York photographer and film maker Elle Muliarchyk‘s new film project. She dressed up model Meghan Collinson in ten different disguises and sent her to different New York based psychics, filming the interactions with hidden cameras. Each costume resulted in a different fortune. The stills are more reminiscent of a beautifully styled period film than hidden camera surveillance.