Netherlands-based artist John Breed uses a myriad of materials in his work, and mannequin legs and womens’ shoes are on that list. He paints the individual body parts and their accessories, arranging them so they form an eye-catching design from afar. Depending on your vantage point, you might not even realize what you’re looking at. His all-gold piece titled Medusa’s Shoes features the different heels placed closely together so that they collectively resemble the monster’s wild hair instead of separate parts.
Breed’s other large-scale installation, titled Shoe Salon Breuniger, features an undulating, rainbow-colored collection of heels that sprout from a wall. Bent at different angles and cut at various lengths, each can be admired individually for its detail and accessorizing. It looks as though it was eventually installed somewhere with an escalator, like a mall. This candy-coated display seems like the perfect way to bring some fresh artistic air into a space that can seem stale.
Montreal based mural artist Jason Botkin loves to paint large, strikingly colorful abstractions of faces doing weird things. And bodies doing weird things. He likes to paint hands out of scale, eye brows quivering, bird faces animated, alien shapes in bright bold shades and cartoon characters who are larger than life. Recently returning from the Festival Internacional de Arte Público in Mexico where he collaborated with Jeremy Shantz on a series of weird masks and faces, he is no stranger to combining his distinctive pop style with other artists’, to create unforgettable imagery.
Botkin is not only a master of street painting and graffiti-style work, but also of installations and drawings – all which have a surrealistic twist. His work in Cancun is a natural progression on from his more figurative work which is aptly described here after the success of his second solo show in 2008:
Figures turn inside out, dressed in their emperor’s finest; bodies unwrapped to explore inner worlds, emotions, and ideas; vapors and clouds permeate architectural structures of unknown purpose; buildings chart impossible perspectives, cities in chaos; geometric forms emerge from and are swallowed by the imagined inner workings of internal landscapes. These various elements form a tapestry of self divined utopias and personal myths. These offerings are made with the belief that change is possible, when we reinterpret social identities and then test deeply entrenched, and often flawed social realities. (Source)
Leading on from that, Botkin leaned toward painting more cartoon-like heads complete with their own personalities. He adds a healthy sense of humor to his work and enlarges it, places in it a public sphere and allows people to enjoy it at their own leisure. See more of his paintings after the jump. (Via Hi Fructose)
The tumbler B4-XVI berforesixteen has made a hilariously clever and all too accurate comparison between contemporary Hip Hop artists and paintings made before the 16th century, making everyone involved look quite ridiculous. When you first look at the fashion styles of centuries old paintings, you would not think anyone today would ever dream of looking like that, let alone a celebrity. However, if you think about it, what kind of person would wear flashy jewelry and frivolous fur coats? Well, Hip Hop artists! Their extreme amount of “bling” and often baggy clothing somewhat resembles the capes and jewelry of royalty depicted in classic paintings.
What makes the comparisons so on point is not just the uncanny similarities of clothing and accessories, but the position, stance, and even the facial expressions of both parties. I mean, what a lucky coincidence that Kanye West happened to be standing next to a priest for a hilarious comparison between himself and a painting of saints! Not to mention this goes perfectly with his infamous “Yeezus” complex. One aspect of Hip Hop style is missing from the series of 16th century paintings is the notorious “grill.” But don’t worry; there is instead a painting of two men proudly displaying their teeth while “mean-mugg’n” the viewer. This series of entertaining resemblances just goes to show you that every fashion style will make a comeback! (via Fubiz)
Lotta van Droom is an Ireland-based (Germany-born) photographer whose otherworldly images explore the landscapes of bodies and dreams. Inspired by artists such as Andy Warhol and Francisco de Goya, Lotta’s style is a beautiful mix of surrealism and romanticism. Characterizing her work are unnatural portraits and dream-like scenes, such as a man with hands smothering his face, and a woman with ghostly, skeletal wings and a collection of spherical eyes. Lotta’s nude photographs are similarly unconventional; draped in sheets resembling funeral shrouds, her mysterious subjects twist and struggle against their coverings, like resurrected beings, or butterflies about to erupt from a cocoon. When I asked Lotta how she would identify her style, she explained:
“I think my photographic style is surreal […]. Many of my photos are the result of stories, formed in my mind. They are little excerpts of my thoughts which I try to reflect this way. It’s not important for me to show reality. I want to show my world of fantasy and wishes.”
By not striving to portray the material real-world, Lotta’s goal is to inspire the imagination and trigger alternative perceptions. Her nude photographs, for example, are not about objectified sex and desire, but instead an exploration of the body’s architecture. “The human body is an outstanding construction and it would be sad if nudity is only associated with sexuality,” she writes. “The sheets are a medium to hide the absolute nudity to create an unreal character. The form becomes perfected or alienated, so the bodies look like sculptures.” By obscuring the faces, Lotta allows us to perceive the divine symmetry and strength of the human form.
The surrealist Dreamworld photos likewise stimulate the mind. By altering reality, Lotta uncovers a hidden emotional world that exists inside all of us. Just like the strange and beautiful images we see in our sleep, her photographs encourage subjective interpretation. In “Mitternachtstheater,” for example, some may see a death, while others, a resurrection; the character in “sector absorption” may be seen as frightening, impassive, or melancholic. This is Lotta’s intention, as she explains: “I hope when people look at my work, they could descend into their own dreamworlds.”
The costliest natural disaster ($285 billion) ever recorded by the world bank, an earthquake called Tokohu and Tsunami in the northeastern prefecture of Japan, is the inspiration behind the behemouth watercolor paintings of Hiroshige Kagawa. Spanning 54 feet across and 17 feet high, the artist began devoting his time and energy four years ago to making these works and remembering that fateful day March 11th, 2011. Prior, Kagawa had spent his time creating large scale canvases of solar systems and enchanted forests. After the disaster he had a clearer vision of where he wanted to go and for the last several years worked on three large scale Tokohu memorial paintings featuring affected areas.
“Fukushima” depicts the now abandoned structure of the Tedco nuclear reactor. Done in an eerily twisted metal hue it peers inside the demolished building. What we don’t see is the meltdown of nuclear waste leaking into the ocean. A solution which has yet to be solved. Next in Kagawa’s series is the skeletal remains of a building in Minamisanriku Miyagi Prefecture a town that got wiped out. The building currently only a metal shell appears to be in an abandoned wheat field where people once lived and worked. Illuminated by an orange hue it eventually turns into something else which might appear on a hot imaginary planet near the sun.
A snowy scene of ruins accounts for the third piece. The part of Japan hit by the disaster is known for long brutal winters and Kagawa’s painting metaphorically references nuclear or atomic winter. The term is usually associated with nuclear warfare, where the fall out from bombs turns into a radioactive soot affecting the stratosphere and sun’s ability to promote the healthy growth of plants. When the earthquake struck the whole island moved 8 feet and the earth itself was moved off its axis by a few centimeters. There is still debris from the Tsunami floating onto US waters today four years later. (via Spoon & Tamago)
Four years ago, photographer Jamie Diamond bought a hyperrealistic doll known as a Reborn baby off eBay, and this purchase lead her to a project spanning nearly two years. Called Mother Love, the series blurs the lines between real and unreal, living and the inanimate.
To make this project possible, Diamond collaborated with an outsider art community called the Reborners. They’re a group of self-taught female artists who hand-make, collect, and interact with these dolls. They hold them, dress them, wash their hair, and take them for walks in the park. “After spending a year investigating and recording their practice,” Diamond writes in an artist statement, “I chose to become a Reborner to gain a better understanding of the community.” Diamond continues:
In Nine Months of Reborning, I reborned dolls and constructed a working nursery in my studio and on eBay, called the Bitten Apple Nursery. Before putting the dolls up for adoption on eBay, I photograph each one using a large format camera, the image becomes the remnant of this exchange.
Creating the dolls was a laborious process. Some required up to 80 individual layers of painting, veining, blushing mottling, and toning, cured with heat. Strands were individually attached to the scalp. The dolls were weighted properly so that they feel like a real baby when held in someone’s arms.
The Amy Project followed this construction. “I invited celebrated Artists from the community to individually interpret and idealize the same doll,” Diamond writes. “I then photograph each doll mimicking vernacular school portraits. Each of the dolls are unique to their maker’s hand, but share an uncanny similarity through their common origin.”
Diamond no longer calls herself a Reborner, and plans to sell the remaining dolls on eBay (although she might keep one for herself).
Working with the Reborn community has allowed me to explore the grey area between reality and artifice where relationships are constructed with inanimate objects, between human and doll, artist and artwork, uncanny and real. I have been engaged with this community now for four years and while working and learning from these women, I’ve become fascinated by the fiction and performance at the core of their practice and the art making that supports their fantasy. (Via Hyperallergic)
Jarmila Mitríková and Dávid Demjanovič are a fascinating artistic duo adding spice back into a traditional form of art-making. They hail from Slovakia and employ a technique called pyrography, which involves burning into plywood and shading the images with wood stains. This particular way of mark making was popular with people mostly during socialism in former Czechoslovakia. A style with is linked with folk art, domestic crafts and cultural traditions, the pair tap into their own history and national identity.
In their hybrid style you can see christian traditions, folklorism, pagan rituals, superstitions, myths, local legends with links to WWII and socialistic history, all with the backround of real slovak scenery. (Source)
Mitríková and Demjanovič play to their strengths of storytelling and creating very strong, personal images. We see very graphic scenes being played out – hunting rituals, exorcisms of some type, sacrificial set ups, and masked people involved in cult-like activities. With titles like Guardians of National Spirituality,Procession With Nazi, Cult of Goddess Morena, Dance Plague and Evacuation of Slovakian Elites, they focus on a time of secret societies and unknown mysterious behavior; they speak of a time when not everything was understandable, or explainable.
Typical for their practise is working with mystification and creating thematic series, where they focus their attention on one subject from our present or history….. when they work with real slovak subjects, using their style of storytelling, they create absurd, comic situations and new contextual reading. (Source)
This talented couple manage to recreate a sense of wonder, secrecy, ambiguity and riddles. They put a contemporary spin on an ancient art of wood burning and telling campfire-stories.
1. Warrior’s Woman: In a universe at war, theirs was a love that burned hotter than a thousand suns.
2. Savage Thunder: Theirs was a passion that would never be tamed.
3. Enchant the Heavens: Their love would set the world on fire.
4. Gentle Rogue: She was meant to marry a king, but fate had other plans.
We’ve all seen them – those romance novels with the dramatic covers featuring love-struck ladies collapsing into the arms of a hyper-masculine heart-slayer, while some dramatic scene — such as a leaping horse, or surging ocean — occurs behind them. As fetishized and erotic as these images intend to be, most of them are quite silly in their portrayals of unrealistic desire and impossible bodily standards. As a response to this, Cosmopolitan magazine recently created a series where they playfully reenacted romance novel covers by inserting real people into the excessive, escapist scenarios; throughout the images, lovers pretend to collapse into beds of roses, and others are doused in water (simulating the seems-better-than-reality waterfall kiss).
What is best about these remakes is that the participants are clearly indulging in the absurdity of the exotic scenes. Many of them appear to be suppressing laughter with their awkward, exaggerated embraces and pseudo-seduced expressions. While it may be fun sometimes to indulge in fantasies of being “swept away” by a phantasmal lover of cosmic erotic proportions, Cosmo’s series reminds us that such images are just that: fantasies. Real-life romance and desire (and the pleasures thereof) quite often derive from playfulness and openness — no vested swashbucklers, billowing hair, or voyeuristic unicorns needed.
Click here to see the original article. I’ve included the captions from the Cosmopolitan feature to add to the humorous effect. (Via Art Fucks Me).