Japanese photographer Daisuke Takakura creates a carousal of interactive humans. Double your pleasure. Double your fun. His pieces challenge you to focus and rest your amygdala—puzzling you with more questions than answers; energizing your eyeballs to pounce in all directions. His reproduction of clones create a maze-like quest in his photography.
The duplicated self is positioned in a variety of stances; each with their own agenda. Whether a day in the office, playtime in the city, resting on dinosaurs or in a female basketball court frenzy—the multiplication of bodies in these settings create an unbalanced curiosity in trying to interpret what each person is doing. Repeating the “self” into many selves provides more than one imagination to be analyzed or identified with.
In one of his monodramatic photos, women are seen running from a building covered in scarlet red, which appears to be blood down the front of their dresses. In the background, other women rest at the building entrance parading sea foam green umbrellas over their heads.
Katherine Newbegin creates rare beauty in photographs of old cinematic houses. Traveling throughout India she sought out these forgotten places and transformed them into celluloid dream sites. Her quest led her to the more rural areas. These out of the way places provided a history and character needed to create an interesting narrative. Behind a sensitive lens, depictions of these magnificent structures transports one back in time to a place of make believe and desire.
Each of her pictures exude a ‘if only walls could talk’ sensibility.The cracked and peeling surfaces mimic the colors seen on sari’s worn by women in that part of the world. Perhaps the same women who once sat in the now empty seats engrossed in another’s story with dreams of their own. Instead of just focusing on the actual auditorium, Newbegin also photographed the staircases and projection rooms. In some instances, these anonymous spaces are turned into brilliant frames of abstract color. In others, film canisters and tea mugs become painterly still life subjects.
India ranks as the largest producer of films in the world and is known for its Bollywood stars. Newbegin’s quiet, intimate photographs project another side of that industry, one that appropriately preserves an important part of India’s social history.
Seaborg, a Japanese designer and artist, chooses latex as her medium of choice. A blend of installation and performance art, her latest work is an “inflatable animal farm,” complete with blow-up cows and pigs as well as performers in inflatable suits. Saturated with bright children’s book colors, the installation also features somewhat disturbing images, exposing what seems to be a literal underbelly. In a slaughterhouse, a pig with prominent human breasts dangles from the ceiling, gutted and bled. Another photo from the installation shows a pig, partly eviscerated, posing coquettishly with a come-hither expression.
In the past, Saeborg’s work has been included in group shows that portray a female perspective on modern Japan, particularly colored by sexuality, pop culture, and humor. According to beautiful.bizarre,
“As a new driving force of the economy, these women now work for the modernization of traditional Japanese culture, a culture that was unknown to the Western World. This new feminine expression is based on ‘impermanence’ (a Buddhist concept) and is mixed with the attraction to darkness and the internalization of feelings.”
Saeborg’s inflatable farm certainly hits all these notes, putting the ideas of impermanence and objectification front and center. These pig-women are fetishized, yet at the end of the day, they’re nothing more than a commodity: so many pounds of meat. (via Hi-Fructose)
A Place Beyond Belief (2012). Installation, National Gallery of Kosovo, Pristina. Photo credit: Atdhe Mulla.
We Must Cultivate Our Garden (2006). Installation, Carrall Street, Vancouver. Photo credit: Scott Massey.
You Imagine What You Desire (2014). Installation, Jupiter Artland, Edinburgh. Photo credit: Keith Hunter.
There Will Be No Miracles Here (2006). Installation, Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. Photo credit: Keith Hunter.
Nathan Coley is a Glasgow-based artist who is well-known for his inspiring, troubling, and haunting illuminated text sculptures. When they aren’t being featured in a gallery, Coley installs these works in public spaces — in parks, over doorways, and on top of buildings — places where they are visible from afar, or as people walk by on their day-to-day business. The words he chooses derive from both research and personal experience; literature, lyrics, historical documents, and overheard conversations comprise some of his source materials. Many of his installations are directly related to religion or private belief-systems — for example, “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens,” and “There will be no miracles here.” Others speak to violent experiences in human public life; “Burn the village, feel the warmth” is a reference to the London street riots of 2011.
As human creatures, it is safe to argue that we have a complicated relationship with language. Language is how we make sense of the world, and a way for us to connect with others. But none of us can deny the frustrating limitations we experience with it. We use language to express our innermost fears and desires, yet somehow the words seem inadequate; we can read a line of poetry and be shaken to the core, but remain unable to articulate why. Coley’s works have a similar effect; made of fairground-type globes set in aluminum frames, his sculptures confront us with their bright, almost garish boldness. “There will be no miracles here,” the sign reads, in the middle of a field; the isolated word “here” signifies a sinking stomach, a staggered thought, the unsettling fear that “miracles” are phantasmagoric events residing only in the hearts of the troubled and desperate. Coley’s work affects us on deeply personal and inexpressible levels, adding notes of hope, doubt, and other emotions into our present moment.
Architecture and context play a very important role in Coley’s work, as well. As Lisa Le Feuvre eloquently states in a monograph on Coley’s work:
When Coley pays attention to an architectural landscape it is always constructed through a singular gaze, sometimes directed where the buildings meet the ground as one walks through the streets, other times looking up or down at the buildings designed to stretch up to their full height, like enthusiastic children in a schoolroom, urgently wanting to say their piece. Architecture fulfills and produces desires, perhaps most explicitly seen in places of production, power, worship, and memory. (Source)
As Le Feuvre expresses, there is no doubt that certain (if not all) public spaces have different and powerful effects on us: stroll beneath the arched ceilings of a church and feel humbled; stand in an abandoned park at dusk and sense creeping loneliness. But what Coley also explores is the way power operates in such spaces; who does the public space belong to, and what is our role within it? How do our behaviors and self-conceptions change when we enter those spaces? As Foucault writes in Discipline and Punish, “He who is subjected to a field of visibility, and who knows it, assumes responsibility for the constraints of power; […] he becomes the principle of his own subjection.” If public spaces are indeed “field[s] of visibility” that operate on us via internalized systems of control, than Coley’s integration of art into them is doubly rich for analysis — and also somewhat subversive; the words “We must cultivate our garden,” set atop a hotel in Vancouver, Canada, reinvests local architecture with meaning, transforming our experience of that space from controlled, everyday banality into a new, stimulating process of personal signification: we decide what the “garden” means to us in that particular time and place.
See more of Coley’s works on his website, and check out the rest Le Feuvre’s fascinating essay here.
Hospitals often appear sterile and uninviting, especially when you’re a kid. The Royal London Children’s Hospital officially opened in March 2012, and over the past two years they’ve worked with the organization Vital Arts to liven up the walls with playful art. Artists and designers were commissioned to paint five different wards of the hospital using bright colors, bold shapes, 3D design. Each creative has their own speciality and style, and the list of particpants includes: textile artist Donna Wilson; wooden toy designers Miller Goodman; product designer Tord Boontje; children’s author, illustrator, and rug designer Chris Haughton; and surface and textile designer Ella Doran.
The hospital becomes infinitely more inviting with these artists’ additions. Some of the highlights include Haughton and Miller Goodman’s handiwork. Haughton is the author of the books Shh! We Have a Plan and Oh, No George!, and he used his delightful characters to adorn the walls. Also, a selection of his framed rugs were hung up and created more warmth and coziness. Miller Goodman constructed wooden designs that physically stand out on the walls. This was inspired by their bag of 74 different-shaped wooden toy pieces, and you see how the whole animals are made up with smaller, fractured parts. (Via designboom)
Super talented Melissa Cooke draws so realistically that you would think her renderings are photographs. Instead of using pencil lines to outline her subjects and draft her compositions, she achieves incredible depth by dusting layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush. Flirting between different mediums (photography, drawing and painting), she is an expert of achieving highly detailed, strongly contrasting, striking images.
For her series The Between Spaces, she blends two different angles together in one drawing, achieving an impressive effect of superimposed snapshots. Thanks to her unique graphite technique, her highlights seem to glow and radiate off the page. Hair turns from being a series of fine white lines dusted over a darker layer to being a delicate web of strands. Eyes have detailed reflections; the skin Cooke draws have pores; the faces have a complex structure of wrinkles and lines. Cooke says of her series:
The drawings ride the line between what is physical and emotional, inner and outer, real and fantasy. Elements that are innately indescribable. There is a richness in those spaces that I can explore visually. (Source)
Moving on from portraiture, Cooke has also tried her hand at still lifes – objects that she finds in her daily life. Inspired by an abandoned wig she found in the dandelions, she started her series of objects.
These still lives evoke the figure while hinting at a larger narrative. There is both an attraction and repulsion to these discarded objects, like evidence left at a crime scene. That tension is something that has always inspired me, and will continue to propel me forward with the new body of work. (Source)
Chloe Newman is a London-based photographer whose bright, surrealist imagery juxtaposes body parts with objects in the creation of uncanny visual puzzles that are rich with analyses of popular culture and consumerism. Two of her series are featured here: Visual Conflicts and Black Tropicana(in collaboration with Rebecca Scheinberg). The former — characterized by hands and feet interacting strangely with edible materials — triggers curiosity and also challenges the way we see food, giving it a commodified (and sometimes an oddly fetishized) object-status. Black Tropicana, which was “inspired by pop culture, 70s glam disco, and artificial worlds” (Source), similarly turns glamorized objects — acrylic nails, jewelry, and cocktails — into attractive but superficial representations of themselves.
With simple compositions and eye-grabbing colors, Newman’s works initially resemble the fashion advertisements you’d find in a magazine. But such staged product marketing is the very thing she seeks to critique in her work, and she does so by confronting us with their constructed absurdity; whether it is acid-bright nails clinging a fistful of jewels, syrup being poured over a bouquet of white roses, or a lobster about to be devoured over gold satin sheets, her unusual images unveil such magazine ads as contrived, hyper-real depictions of objects that have been attributed a certain “status” in our consumer culture. Critical analysis aside, the power of Newman’s photography lies in the fact that it simply intrigues us — we are attracted to the image, but also unsettled by it, unsure of what it is supposed to represent. An encounter with her work becomes an enjoyable mental interrogation.
Visit Newman’s webpage to see more of her work, including a similarly surreal series called End of Genesis. More “visual uncertainties” after the jump.
If you ever wondered what an alien looks like, painter Sarah Gamble could probably tell you. Her randomly frenetic drawings and paintings of beings not of this earth are filled with humor and expression which tell a story of everyday life. In multi-colored shapes and thick black lines Gamble explores another world that looks and acts much like our own. Her fascination with this subject matter began a few years ago when she became intrigued with invisible communication waves. This led to a series of paintings and drawings which resulted in incredible abstract shapes and forms in traditional landscapes.
She moved on to depictions of human-like entities which seemed encased in bondage or magical glitter. These eventually turned into portrait like weirdos. A new painting just posted on Instagram by the artist seems to take another turn for the bizarre. It encapsulates a very realistic style with a nod to nature’s primal instinct.
This past year, Gamble lived at The Roswell Residency in Roswell, New Mexico. She spent most of her time creating dozens of black ink drawings on paper depicting her beloved black cat Tony, along with a character known as “crazy man”. Other renderings included centaurs, teeth and hands. Many of these drawings ended up in a show called “Your Life Is Happening Now,” at Moore College Of Art and Design in Philadelphia. Running until March 14, 2015, it documents her day to day existence at Roswell, and touches on ideas of displacement, anxiety and fear.