Philadelphia based artist Matthew Cox embroiders iconic characters, images and symbols on x-rays, creating moments of satire, dark comedy, and reflection. His work blends the universally known with notions of the seemingly the unknown, forming postmodern mash-ups and hinting at the absurd reality of the human condition. His work takes a chance on being highly referential using playful antics such as titles like “playboy” and “heartthrob” for works that portray faces of silly cartoon characters or ex-presidents. Cox’s work pulls his viewer in by creating fun in forging connection. But beyond the contextual discord, his work also takes on the impression of pastiche via the physical materiality of the work. While the hand craftsmanship of the stitches provokes feelings of comfort, nostalgia, and quaintness, the x-rays provide the opposing sense of sterility, coldness, and discomfort. This sort of push and pull between the ages, various levels of technologies and traditions, as well as reformatting iconographic persons, personas and ideologies, does indeed perfectly outline and reflect what it means to comprehend ones surroundings in the twenty-first century. While living within the age of the internet, where anything and everything can be within our disposal in the moment of desire, time does not seem to distinctly go forward or backward. We have been given the option to chose in which decade we’d like to exist in; we choose our music, our dress, our ideologies, our fantasies, all through a network of access to the past (and perhaps for the real techies the future), no matter how deluded it may be. But it is not just our own obsession with the internet, it is the universal obsession; it is the knowledge that our peers will understand which decade we refer to, and in that universal nod, knowledge and understanding, we are enabled to live timelessly. Matthew Cox has created a clever series of inherently postmodern works, using absurdity to reflect on modern reality. (via artfucksme)
RIP David Bowie, who was a postmodern trailblazer for us all.
Artist Hillary Waters Fayle creates delicate stitched collages using found leaves, branches and pods. The artist’s work transforms natural elements into tiny keepsakes using traditional methods of needle work. She coats her source material with a non-toxic preservative, allowing each piece to remain unharmed. The use of her hands during her artistic process invites in a recognition and romanticization of man’s interactions and relations with the nature. Her work aims to explore and encapsulate the complexity of this relationship, proving it to be one that is simultaneously “tender” and “ruthless.” Each of Fayle‘s pieces, with their intimate details and delicate disposition, almost create an aesthetic of Victorian jewelry, yet are in of themselves completely timeless. Each work truly acts like a tiny object that can transcend the notion of time and place. Within her artist statement she notes:
“The way I think about and make art mirrors the way I think about my life and how I walk through the world. What I do is about elevating details. It is about noticing cycles and connections. It is about regarding a familiar object in a new way. It’s about seeing things and considering their connection to you, their potential futures and possible pasts. There is a depth and an importance to what is present, and what is absent. Invisible narratives are woven into and around each piece, each interaction. As I gather materials with which to work, I consider what connections might exist between us, or how each object might be related to another.”
This winter, frozen castles made from innumerable icicles are available for your full exploration. It all started with Brent Christensen, a devoted dad. He moved to Utah with his family, where he built an elaborate winter playground for his daughter, complete with an ice slide, cave, and castle. From there, the concept of Ice Castles was born—a beautiful, crystalline landscape for families to enjoy. There are four locations this season: Midway, Utah; Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Lincoln, New Hampshire; and, for the first time ever, Edmonton, Alberta.
Each awe-striking structure is built by hand. The architects “grow” 10,000 icicles every day, which are then placed throughout the castles for the water to freeze to. As time passes, each individual piece becomes a part of the icy walls and caverns, creating a megalithic labyrinth of tunnels and caves. The structure appears blue, due to the deep thickness of the ice, and the quality of water to absorb all colors of the spectrum. At night, the castles are illuminated with different hues, making it resemble a fairy-tale landscape. Watch the video above for a tour of the Eden Prairie location.
Visit Ice Castles’ website and Facebook to learn more. The sites are open until March, 2016. (Via Fubiz)
Milan-artist Thomas Cian merges portraits with nature in his highly detailed drawings. Utilizing graphite and marker, Cian captures delicate expressions in his subjects which range from indifferent to melancholy. His ability to render life-like images of birds, flowers, and landscapes into these portraits create surrealistic drawings that speak as much to the likeness of the subject as it does to their mood and circumstance.
Cian’s skill and style allows him to create works in his sketchbook quite quickly. One example is a highly realistic sketch of a man in front of his computer which was captured by time lapse video, found here. Completed in thirty-minutes, the clip illustrates Cian’s drawing method and his ability to compile very specific details even within the constrained space of a Moleskin. (via artfucksme)
Additional images of Cian’s work can be found at Behance.
While most painters have probably assumed their line of work is safe from the technological take over — bitPaintr, a portrait painting robot, has proved them wrong. The robot has been designed by Pindar Van Arman, a technology artist, who over the last 10 years has designed a series of 5 artistically inclined robots. BitPaintr, the most recent of the group, uses a mixture of artificial intelligence as well as human direction in order to paint portraits with a brush on canvas. The machine gathers it’s source material from photographs that have been uploaded by it’s users. It then analyzes the photographs using value based algorithms and begins working on the painting. BitPaintr has made portraits of Gandhi, Einstein, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King Jr, just to name a few. Pindar Van Arman plans to use this mechanism to create a interactive exhibition. Within the exhibition, the robot will be present and at the disposal of the audience to upload their own photographs, giving anyone a chance to interact with bitPaintr and collaborate with it’s artificial intelligence. The robot has different styles ranging from 5 minute sketches to a 24 hour studies. Probably the most frightening thing is that upon first glance, there would be no way to tell these portraits were not done by a human. They have a sort of amateurish but, dare I say it, genuine quality. The process of building color through layers of tonality does not vary much from the technique used by many printmakers and graffiti artists. The, perhaps, most important question, (besides, can this machine think?) that it raises is, is all art, in a way, formulaic? Perhaps even the most artistically talented among us all do still, in a sense, have an algorithm to make their works of art. Perhaps creativity is not, well, as creative, as we think it is. (via HYPERALLERGIC)
Andrew Firth is an Australian artist who turns skulls into creepy, lush landscapes. His work started in 2013, when he decided to channel his ingenuity and spare time into something creative. Each “Bonsai Skull” is artificial, made of PVC plastic cast off of a real human skull. Firth than adorns the dead visages with verdant grass, miniature trees, and graveyards. In one piece, named the “Spring Bonsai Mountain Skull,” a waterfall appears to pour like tears from an empty eye socket. No skull is identical.
Firth’s works are like dark “Treasure Islands,” deriving from his imagination and experience as a boat builder. He creates under the title “Jack of the Dust,” which refers to an obsolete US Navy job designation from the 1800s; this person was the ship’s steward, who worked with the dusty ingredients of flour and biscuits. In Firth’s adaptation, Jack is the name of the skull, and “dust” refers to the matter of death. By upholstering “Jack” in foliage, Firth’s works convey the relationship between rot and rebirth.
Brooklyn based artist Lala Abaddon creates a series of “glitch” like works via intricately weaving printed images. The artist uses a complex and time costuming technique. She beings by creating large format prints, employing tradition analog methods. She then sizes the prints down by making strips of each one by cutting them by hand. Next, through meticulous and calculated pairings, she weaves her prints to become something entirely new and undoubtedly unique. In her artist statement she notes that each pattern is “designed to convey a specific feeling, eventually leaving us with images within images and compelling the viewer to experience alternate realities or states of being.” Her work is inherently postmodern and does indeed achieve a state of “alternate reality.” The artist pulls her techniques and aesthetic from drastically different time periods, traditions, and methods; the ancient technique of weaving, the sort of modern yet now, arguably, outdated, process of using an analog mode of printing, which all add up to create what resembles a digitized image. Her work acts a a sort of pastiche, which, by nature, results in a undoubtedly contemporary notion of experience and existence. She explains;
“This process can take months depending on the complexity of the images and weave structures.Many times her work is mistaken for a digital manipulation, and the discovery of it’s true nature by the viewer is integral to the understanding of her process and purpose; to disrupt order, reconstruct historical notions of photography and weaving, and challenge what it means to create something solely for the purpose of creation.”
Rein Vollenga is a Berlin-based artist who sculpts edgy, lacquer-coated masks and headpieces. Each one is unique, blending imagery that’s both sensual and animalistic; plates cover the eyes, horns grow from the temples, and tentacle-like arms extend in writhing directions. As captured by photographer Jonas Lindström, the masks appear to possess the nude models, turning the architecture of their faces into beautiful, alien forms that crumble humanity into a raw manifestation of itself.
As Vollenga explains in an interview with Yatzer, his inspiration derives from memories of his youth, when he explored the forests of Eindhoven in Holland; the wild animals and dark landscapes became his muses. Using found items, such as toys and dolls, Vollenga cuts and glues them into organic forms, essentially “birthing” new objects. He describes his process further:
“The [new object] is then covered in a layer of epoxy and obsessively sanded and polished until it reaches ‘perfection’ before finally being painted in several layers of colour and lacquer for a glossy finish. My process is very visceral, as I need to feel the shapes. I never make drawings beforehand, because that just doesn’t communicate my three-dimensional thinking—and besides that, it’s great when unexpected things happen during the making of a piece. These surprises can change your perception and perspective in the working process.” (Source)
Vollenga’s works have an erotic flair, coupling the aggressive, smooth-and-sharp forms with the vulnerability of the nude, blinded models. His works are currently on display at the Gewerbemuseum in Winterthur, Switzerland, as part of an exhibition titled Nirvana: Strange Forms of Pleasure. This show features a collection of artists who, similar to Vollenga, explore the influence of the erotic on contemporary art. The show runs until May 8th.