Sometimes artists, through the most simple of interventions, can do something that profoundly sums up how you feel. Justin John Greene has a whole portfolio of pretty goofy paintings, this one is my favorite. I wish I had made it. It was like in the sea of my mirthful misery, the clouds parted, this painting was delivered and elicited a fleeting moment of joy. Also, you can’t beat his ninja-turtle fort tipi replete with Ren & Stimpy dream catchers below.
David Hornung makes paintings from both oil and gouache. He paints quiet simple, small houses located in fenced fields, bucolic scenes of nature, solitary women and men, memento mori, snakes and birds, paths and walls. Objects in his paintings seem to be a distillation of universal human experiences with the world and among each other. Some objects are singled out as being important by a kind of twin cloud, the direction of light, or glowing patches of color. The paintings are beautiful executions of color theory, which makes sense because David wrote the book on color theory “Color: A Workshop Approach.” His subject matter hovers between observation and the symbolic, and he refers to Philip Guston’s Alphabet series with plain respect, and like Guston, David was reluctant to talk about image-based thinking. We walked through Brooklyn on the way get some lunch, and David said that painting is hard to talk about because the ideas come out of working with images, that the process gives painters their ideas, which is a kind of reversal, because for most people who work with ideas – the ideas generate the process.
You can see David Hornung’s work at the John Davis Gallery in Hudson NY from May 23rd to June 16th.
Laurent Gongora creates interventions in nature, and this is his biggest stunt yet. The artist made 24 metal plates and attached them to the façade of a waterfall, the Cascade de Vaucoux in France, to redirect its flow. The name of the project is Les Cascadeurs, which means stuntman in French, and also references cascades, which can mean waterfall. It looks like a much more majestic plinko (that game in The Price is Right where you drop a chip and try to land it in the $10,000 slot). In a video you can see on Gongora’s website, the power of the waterfall is accentuated by the installations as they waver back and forth under the bombardment of water. Gongora’s aesthetic gives the piece even greater impact, as its simplicity allows you to wonder about the logistics of mounting such a piece.
Another artwork that acts similarly to Les Cascadeurs is Le Diamant Noir, where Gongora places a black diamond in the middle of a forest in Pays de Condé, France. The land is a heritage site which used to be a coal mining bassin, and so the diamond represents the interaction between the natural landscape and the mining enterprise. The black diamond was installed over a tree, but the material is a metal with holes all over. Slowly the tree grows out from under the diamond and will theoretically overtake the structure. It is a balance between nature and human intervention, and Gongora demonstrates that each may have an effect on the other. (Via My Modern Met)
Amanda Clyne’s paintings compare the similarities between fashion photography and historical portraits of society’s elite. Amidst today’s cultural fascination with beauty and persona, Amanda’s paintings critique our digital obsession and question the consequences for human intimacy.
“Dushi” is the title of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman‘s current exhibition, on display until July 4th, 2009 at Gallery West in the Hague, Netherlands. The show is comprised of gigantic stuffed animals “where the change of scale completely changes their function and feeling.” The giant animal motif is not a new one for Hofman, as you’ll see after the jump.
Normally, fairytale princess characters are the epitome of chastity and innocence. With her series on folk stories, the Spain-based illustrator Marilen Adrover turns the concept of feminine modesty and purity on its head, presenting the gruesome mugshots of legendary heroines. Far from her days of resting piteously in a glass coffin, Snow White, an icon of the selfless domesticity of any ideal wife or helpmate, is arrested for sexual misconduct. Little Red Riding Hood, blood smeared across her once naive rosy cheeks, is taken in on murder charges. Poor, young Goldilocks, no longer a helpless child in search of shelter, has lived a life of crime, and she is reprimanded for breaking and entering. Lewis Carroll’s sweet Alice has grown disillusioned with the real world, turning to her own dangerous wonderland of psychotropic drugs.
By placing these icons of feminine docility and martyrdom in the context of contemporary crime, Adrover cleverly subverts the traditional madonna-whore dichotomy that persists narratives about young women. Like an angst-ridden teen, each vixen stares at her captives teasingly, hoping to challenge their authority. They are no longer defined by their histories of idyllic pastoral innocence, but they certainly cannot be pegged solely as unruly miscreants. Both beloved and dangerous, they refuse to conform to a single fantasy, playing with our culture’s deeply ingrained prejudices and assumptions.
In another ambitious series, Adrover explores the painful pressures facing the bodies of women, presenting evocative portraits of eating disorders and plastic surgery. Her imagined manifestation of anorexia is a bloody red orb, shining outwards from the belly of a woman. In her vision of orthorexia, the orb is blue. Each image, evocative of watercolor painting, subtly explores the persistent emotional traumas and obsessions that burden the human spirit. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor)