Dara Scully is a Spanish writer and photographer who captures dark, poetic scenes verging on fairy tale and myth. Nude figures inhabit the faded forests. Esoteric rituals transpire on quiet leaf beds. Death is present in the form of insects, prone bodies, and bleeding wounds, and rebirth occurs as birds escape their abandoned cages. As beautiful and graceful as Scully’s images is her creative biography, which reveals her sylvan, literary essence:
“Forest creature, winter girl. I like birches and aspen leaves. In my other life, I was a white deer, a fox, or a swallow. I’ve never flown. I drink milk tea and my favorite word is chrysalis. My heart belongs to Chopin and my body to the horses, but I’ve never ridden any. I read Jaeggy, Nabokov, Duras, and Müller. I read because it saves me. […] If I have to choose a sound, I’d say: the wind shaking the branches of the trees. Or rain. I always wear dresses and man shoes. I [have] written since I was thirteen. I’m afraid of moths. I have six moles in my pale chest.” (Source)
The power of conceptual photographers like Scully lies in the ability to tell stories in a single frame. Just as she encapsulates an entire sensorial experience in the above paragraph, each photo is a compressed narrative overflowing with hidden meaning and an emotional presence—the innocence of youth, the pain of growing, the sorrow of death. Blending reality with fiction, Scully employs subtly powerful symbols—such as the dead birds—to speak their meaning. Deeply subjective, her ambiguous scenes allow the viewer to instill their own significance.
The world’s strongest man or woman; you may not even be close to it, but these people might be. Brooklyn based photographer Brian Finke captures an inside look into the pageants of incredibly chiseled muscle men and women of bodybuilding competitions. He not only displays the showmanship of this kind of competition, with the small bikinis and bathing suits, but also the competitors getting ready for their big moment in the spotlight. Men and women that seem to be almost bursting out of their skin with muscle parade themselves proudly for the cameras and judges in this captivating series.
Brian Finke’s photography portrays scenes of interesting happenings of everyday life. His documentary style mixed with a little bit of humor makes his work irresistible. This series of his, titled Most Muscular, can be seen on view at the School of Visual Arts Chelsea Gallery in New York City from August 22nd until September 19th. The exhibit not only features unusual characters with almost unbelievable muscle tone, but also another series of Brian Finke’s titled 2-4-6-8. This slightly offbeat series documents cheerleaders doing their routines, with a slight flavor of humor added in as well. Finke’s photography exhibits vivid colors and dramatic compositions, adding a bit of narrative to his work. Check out more of this artist’s alluring documentary style photography on his Instagram @BrianFinke.
An animatronic busty dancer lasciviously moves and converses with the public, speaking with a men’s voice and hyper sexual tones. The life like robot imagined and produced by Jordan Wolfson, dressed up with a leather dress and white thigh-high vinyl boots, sassily swivels her hips and watches her spectator through her dirty greenish mask. The dirt reveals the past of the robot; she has escaped from something but isn’t hurt; she’s here with us and she’s ready to put up her show. Like a real spectacle, the public is only allowed for a couple of minutes with the dancer.A closed set, a twosome controled by an assertive and repetitive speech and a powerful vision.
Jordan Wolfson is interested in the strange. Therefore he is not focused on the meaning of his art. He is aware of the influence of You Tube and other social media platforms within its generation but he is fascinated by the power of images, the way they are thrown at us and the way we accept it, with or without consequences. The artist works in a non associative way, giving us a non judgmental rendering of his vision. Like his life in Los Angeles where he now resides, his pieces are intuitive and fictional. His concept and art statement has lead the public and the art world to label him as a provocative contemporary artist. “I’m not telling anyone what to think. I don’t have that responsibility. I’m expressing myself. It’s as simple as that.” He uses art as a safe place where he can express, without fear, his traumas and anger.
Jordan Wolfson art work is exhibited as part of a group show at the Whitney Museum in New York until September 2015, and at the Serpentine Gallery in London this fall 2015
A recent project set into motion by a group of creatives in Paris, namely Vincent Le Thuy, the brand Pigalle and a group of creative from Ill Studio combines sports, art, and design in this recent project. The Duperré playground has stood fully renovated in the 9th Arrondissement since July 1st and its presence brings a splash of color and light to the classical grey architecture of Paris.
The court is made from “noise absorbing recycled rubber’ which gives it plus points in both the realms of noise complaints and the environment. The floor and the walls of the court, which is wedged between two buildings, are made of this material, which adds to the surreal aspect of the place. The use of color blocking as well as square and rectangular shapes in the design are also artistic on a deeper level in the sense that they are visually reminiscent of the work of Piet Mondrian.
This basketball court is a true trans medium work of art in the sense that it transcends the conceptual aspects of sports and design and brings it all home by being more than a concept and by being both an aesthetic and urban improvement. The technical aspects of the court eliminate noise pollution while the bright primary colors bring a splash of sunlight the Parisian urban décor.
In a dark series of sculptures titled Broken Dreams, Brooklyn-based artist Sandra Osip captures the decline and decay of suburban Detroit. The works are inspired by Osip’s memories of the city: the streets she roamed as a child, the corner stores she visited, and the neighbourhood—now destroyed—that surrounded her former high school. She sculpts the skeletal husks of houses that are burnt down, collapsed, and decaying, evacuated of all life and purpose. In more abstract renderings, Osip has created “junk heaps” of urban ruin, crushed-up buildings that represent entire neighbourhoods left to the cruel forces of time and neglect. In the following statement, Osip explains the deeply personal inspiration for the series:
“Recently I visited my childhood neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, and to my disbelief my house was no longer standing; neither was the corner store where I bought my penny candy, nor my friend’s house down the street, nor the empty lot I used to ice skate on. This is now an empty wasteland and overgrown by nature. The day after my visit the news reported that a block away from where I lived they found two decomposing bodies. The news stated at least a dozen bodies in twelve months have been found in this abandoned and neglected part of the city.” (Source)
Nostalgia is a painful concept in these sculptures; instead of comforting childhood origins, Osip is left with rootless memories, and a sense of “home” that’s deteriorating and forever changed—haunted, even, by literal images of death in the form of human bodies. “Many of my fond memories have now vanished,” she goes on to write, explaining the pain of having part of one’s personal history obliterated. She approaches the series with a profound awareness tinged with irony; one work, titled “Beautiful Homes and Gardens,” incongruously depicts a stack of cadaver-like houses. However, by consciously reworking her attachments to the now-ruined streets of her youth, Osip’s work demonstrates a courageous exercise of healing through the release of the past.
Latvian artist Janis Straupe carves intricate and detailed wooden creations that experiment with functionality and design. Working in wood for over thirty years, he builds wooden sculptures as well as highly unique wood furniture. Although built from the very traditional material wood, his works are incredibly contemporary and creative in design, like his cabinet that resembles a giant beetle. The two side cabinet doors open up as wings or the shell of the beetle, while the top drawer is part of the head. There are so many little compartments that are located in every nook and cranny of the cabinet. This beetle-cabinet exhibits incredible design while still remaining practical and functional.
Janis Straupe’s work displays incredible craftsmanship, as his beetle cabinet is hand made. Insects being a theme that often comes up in Straupe’s work, he also has a series of enormous, larger than life spiders. The artist constructed several large, wooden spiders that stand up on all eight legs, towering over your head. One even has its legs sprawled out against the wall, as if to climb up to begin a web. Humungous insects carved out of wood are Janis Straupe’s specialty. (via Bored Panda)
Michael Ferris Jr. designs mosaic immortal portraits. Made out of reclaimed wood, hand painted with vivid and brilliant colors, he translates the voyage of a mortal becoming a semi-god, confronting the humanistic presence to the abnormal traits he acquired. The technique used is intarsia, where the fields of different colors and materials appear to be inlaid in one another, but are in fact all separate pieces. He says he was greatly influenced by the inlaid gaming tables from Middle East which used to ornate his home as a child. He insists he only uses discarded wood and acrylic pigmented grout, creating an intricate geometric pattern which overlays the surface of the busts and faces.
The artist is influenced by Chinese tales of immortal beings. He imagines simple mortals like people he knows going through a physical and a spiritual transformation towards immortality. This rebirth into eternity is materialized by the complex language of drawings Michael Ferris Jr. is unveiling on the sculptures. He highlights the contrast between the remaining humanistic presence with the classic form of a portrait and the singular vibrant embellishments. We are influenced to react to a conventional human normality that has become something other than normal. ‘Ultimately my aim is to express the psychological and spiritual complexity of my subject’.
Brendan Tang is a ceramic artist who sculpts elaborate pieces that fuse together various cultural imageries and traditions. The series of work featured here, titled Manga Ormolu, can best be described as “mechanized vases”—vases that combine Ming-style ceramics with the biomorphic mechas of comic books and science fiction. The forms are abstract and futuristic-looking; there are pots and plates with rocket engines, valves, wires, tubes, and more. Some of the creations seem to be caught in the moment of “turning,” creasing ceramic skin to expose the robotic structures beneath. As objects of curiosity and ambiguity, Tang’s works look as unpredictable and otherworldly as they do beautiful and decorative.
The seamless hybridity of Tang’s Manga Ormolu explore contemporary discourses on technology and globalization. Born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents and currently residing in Canada, Tang brings his own diverse background and experience into his work. As his sculptures evolve into unique cultural-technological beings, they comment on how disparate cultural histories are encountering each other in the present-day world—and the speed at which they are doing so. The harmony embodied by each vase-hybrid, however, also seems to signify a unique form of transnational identity: one that overcomes the limitations and demarcations of national borders without losing its sense of culture and history.