The artist Amelia Harnas creates dazzling portraits from spilled wine, using embroidery thread to trace and refine her crimson-faced subjects. Like delicate watercolor, the wine has an ethereal texture; the artist admits a certain unpredictability and instability in her unique process. Using wax resist on soft white cotton fabrics to set the images, she cannot determine how long the delicate images will last, and the transient images float like ghosts across the page while thread guides the eye.
Art historically, wine is associated with the god Bacchus, the god of drink and sexuality who inspired mortals to drink to the point of confusion, a state where the lines of identity and gender are blurred. Here, the spilled wine soaks the fabric in such a way that only the slightest mark provides a hint into the distinctive temperament of the subject. It is the thread that defines personhood, outlining the divisions between eye and flesh, hair and scalp. Without the meticulous embroidery, men and women become murky, drunken figures.
The miraculous tension between accident and purpose heightens the drama of each face. The cotton foundation is seemingly drenched in reds and pinks, the colors chaotically spreading throughout the image and creating serendipitous halos around the portraits; in stark contrast, the embroidery is distinctly rational and deliberate, forming complex geometric shapes like concentric circles, squares and triangles.
As the volatility of wine stains collides with the reason and order of human craft, Harnas presents a startlingly complex vision of the human condition. As illustrated in this work, art, like man, is governed by both passion and sound intellect, doled out in equal measure. Take a look. (via Colossal and Oddity Central)
Chen-Dao Lee paints highly stylized pop images that are a kind of Taiwanese version of a Quentin Tarantino neo-noir film. Painted in candyfloss pinks, reds and blues, his work borders on anime, or a kind of twisted superhero comic. His subjects are powerful women (and peculiar men) who have a cynicism, sexuality and also a sickly sweetness about them. Posed together, armed with guns and wearing frilly socks and high heels, or engaged in a semi-erotic masked wrestling fight, Lee’s characters are contemporary individuals, expressing the whole spectrum of emotions.
In his recent series, Lee has shifted from depicting a logical scenario in his paintings to focusing on the figures entanglement to describe emotions or relationships which are ambiguous, embarrassing or even helpless. Beautiful young women and fallen heroes frequently appear in Lee’s works as a symbol of the projection of modern people’s inner contradictions. (Source)
With titles like Cat fight – Love Kick, Boss, Not The Hero Type, Valentine, BFF, Lee embraces a kind of feminism with a dark sense of humor. He paints scenarios loaded with sexual innuendo, but instead of them being erotic, or about power plays, he focuses on ennui. The women (and men) show a lack of enthusiasm and engagement, but rather a nonchalance about what ever is going on around them.
His past series have included paintings of women guiltily carrying loads of fast food, indulgent night life scenes with money being tossed around, strange card nights, groups of men eating sushi off a blow-up doll, and overweight men with bad tan lines wearing cute costume masks. Lee is able to blend sarcasm, skepticism and empathy to create instant modern day classics. (Via Illusion Scene)
The installations of London-based artist Zadok Ben-David‘s miniscule metal flowers are detailed, dense and mesmerizing. His travelling series of the work (called Blackfield) appeared in London, Portugal, Sydney, Singapore, Berlin, Linz, Untergroningen, Seoul, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Derived from illustrations appearing in 19th century Victorian encyclopedias, each iteration contains nearly 20,000 delicate 3-D floral etchings.
Each individual flower is crafted from metal and each side is hand-painted with either a stunning meltdown of color—or a heavy coat of black. Hovering between breathtaking and completely disturbing, the flat, sketch-like sculptures seem ominous as they stand in perfect rows, tucked into a massive bed of white sand.
Waiting For Hockney is the story of what hard work, a bit of misguidedness, and a giant dash of dillusion can do for an aspiring artist. If you’re an artist you need to watch this film. Rent it on Netflix or oder it on the documentaries website. Read the the official synopsis below and watch the film trailer after the jump.
Waiting For Hockney is a comic and poignant tale of a man and the people who believe in him as they collude and collide for an entire decade in the service of a grand idea. The film explores the sometimes precarious line between dreams and delusion as it looks at the risks, payoffs and consequences when one man single-mindedly pursues his vision. Billy Pappas is a true American original. An art school graduate from a working class background living in rural Maryland, Billy has decided that his mission in life is to reinvent realism. He spends eight years on a single drawing of Marilyn Monroe working to show a microscopic level of detail he hopes will reveal something deeper than photography. Literally, he hopes to create a new art form. Aided, one might even say enabled, by an eccentric cast of characters including a clergyman, a professor and an architect calling himself “Dr. Lifestyle,” Billy finally completes the portrait and then begins a quest to show it to renowned contemporary artist David Hockney, the one person he thinks can validate everything for which Billy has been striving.
So we got an email from Mr. Matt Manos of B/D internship fame, regarding UCLA’s Design Media Arts Undergrad show on Jan 14th. In his words: “what is funny is that me, Kate Slovin, and Corinna Loo are the ones curating it. Also what is funny is that I designed the poster for it and Greg Ruben took the photo for the poster. Also, Cameron Charles will be in attendance. So the show is basically reigned upon by B/D alumni.” Well yay, B/D alumni! More official text after the jump….
Vered Sivan‘s installations combine sculpture and performance but they don’t seem alive — they seem lived in. Her use of synthetic thread and dental floss reads as dusty cobweb thriving in the space. Her crocheted steel wool has been cast on the floor. Sivan’s pieces exist in a state where objects don’t change but surfaces do.
In December 2006, American photographer Tim Mantoani embarked on a unique and fascinating project to document living photographers with their most iconic images. Since then, he has collected over 150 portraits, ranging from the historic to the contemporary, the cultural to the political. Included among the vast series is Harry Benson and his famous photograph of The Beatles engaged in a pillow fight (1964), as well as Lyle Owerko holding his devastating image of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers (2001). All of Mantoani’s portraits are taken on the “rare but mammoth format of a 20×24 Polaroid,” using a large camera originating from the 1970s (Source). Only a handful of these Polaroid cameras still exist (you can learn more about the devices he uses here). Mantoani’s reasoning for using such unique, classic technology is rooted in a respect and passion for the photographic tradition; as he explains, “If you are going to call the greatest living photographers and ask to make a photo of them and you are shooting 35mm digital, they may not take your call. But if you say you are shooting 20×24 Polaroid, they will at least listen to your pitch” (Source). As further homage to these artists, as well as their impact on the history of photography, Mantoani has had everyone write a story about their iconic image on the bottom of their portrait.
Mantoani’s project is simultaneously intimate and historically significant. It is an undeniably powerful experience to see the faces behind photographs which have defined cultural eras and signified shifts in social consciousness. So often, despite the impact of their work, photographers remain the unseen observers while framing the world in profound ways. We don’t often have the opportunity to connect with the mind and personality behind the lens. Mantoani’s work crystallizes these important artists in the records of photographic history. Suddenly, with the Polaroid and its accompanying, hand-written inscription, we can imagine Steve McCurry in 1984 in the midst of the Soviet War in Afghanistan, capturing the face of Sharbat Gula (“Afghan Girl”), who would wordlessly tell the world an intimate story of hardship and perseverance. In regards to an iconic moment in the history of American music, Jim Marshall’s portrait shows us the face to which — for an intense, fleeting moment — Johnny Cash held aloft his middle finger. These portraits bring the bodily, human presences back into the images and their associated histories.
In 2012, all of these stunning portraits were compiled in the book Behind Photographs, published by Channel Photographics. The book is available in multiple formats, including a regular edition, a slipcase limited edition, as well as a cloth-bound deluxe limited edition that comes with signed collector cards. It is also available as an eBook. The print versions are available for purchase on Mantoani’s website. More photographer portraits after the jump. (Via 123 Inspiration)