Although Gowri Savoor experiments with dozens of different mediums, ranging from drawing and painting to mixed media sculptures made from fabrics, woods, her Seedscapesseries might be the most immediately powerful. Taking various plant and fruit seeds which are pinned against boards like butterflies, in more geometrically-challenging patterns and formations, the sculptures resemble other natural forms, such as waves, sound-waves and snow or sand dunes.
The Leicester, England-born artist currently lives and works in Vermont, USA, where she gathers the various seeds used as materials in her metaphorically ephemeral works (including pumpkin, apple and sunflower). Says Savoor of her loaded-material choice, “In themselves they’re very fragile. No matter what I do, the pieces will continue to decay. There’s a human sadness as well, that everything will eventually die.” (via junk-culture)
The saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” proves itself to be true with this outstanding series of work by redditor, Shystone.
On this body of work, the artist cleverly juxtaposes paintings of London from the 18th and 19th century with London’s modern-day settings in Google Street View. Taking inspiration from the film “London, Then and Now”, Shystone takes several popular landmarks on Google maps, including Westminster Abbey and the River Thames, and just like a puzzle, he inserts the matching 18th/19thth century painting where it belongs on the GSV’s shot. The beauty of this is how much we think things have changed over time, but truly, as we can see here, everything still kind of remain the same, at least aesthetically/architecturally. The 19th/18th century paintings make us nostalgic for the simpler times, but the Google Maps image makes us cynical about today’s highly industrialized, loud and filthy London. It is interesting to think about how we are looking and thinking about these polar opposite characteristics in a place that has physically changed very little. (via The Atlantic Cities)
Before he was the Prince of Pop Art and arguably the biggest art star on the planet, Andy Warhol was one of the most sought-after graphic illustrators in Manhattan. Years before he designed two of Rock and Roll’s most iconic album covers, Warhol was responsible for a series of recently recovered Jazz record covers for Count Bassie, Thelonious Monk and Moondog.
Rendered in his then-trademark ‘blotted line’ style (a technique Warhol mastered before screenprinting, where a single line of heavy, beaded ink was drawn on one sheet of paper, and then pressed against another which created a blotted monoprint), these whimsical and funky covers graced some of the best jazz albums of the 1950′s. The quality of Warhol’s highly trained freehand drawings separated him from other commercial illustrators of the day, but one of his many secret weapons was his mother’s gorgeous script writing, seen heavily in the looping, colorful script featured on The Story of Moon Dog (above). Warhol employed his mother’s lovely writing to essentially double his work-load, a precursor to his loose-authorship creative policy that would become commonplace later in his Factory days. (via dangerous minds)
Brazilian artist Luciana Urtiga creates black and white portraits that explore different aspects of self-discovery and the notion of multiple selves. By digitally altering her face and body, she creates images that showcase multiple faces/bodies or the absence of her identifiable face. By doing this, Urtiga enables her viewers to embark on a visual journey that seems to be indicative of Urtiga’s personal struggles and successes with self discovery.
The dark, eerie feel of the images help the work to become an even clearer visual testament to the the struggles of being young in today’s tough world. Who do I want to be? Where do I want to be? Should I try out different professions, and live with different people? or maybe it would all become easier if I just became invisible? These are all questions and thoughts that are visually conveyed by her work.
Simple, but strong and powerful, her work conveys universal themes that regard existential questions, most of which are more often encountered by young adults struggling to find their way in the world. (via IGNANT)
What story would your flesh tell if it were splayed and flattened, digitally altered to appear as a work of art, caught between the angled sides of a camera frame? For her stunning series of photographs, titled Skin, the photographer June Yong Lee manipulates portraits of nude bodies, arranging their torsos in such a way that defies the limitations of the muscular skeletal system.
Despite the artist’s deliberate omission of common indicators of visual identity—facial features, body shape, and race—the images are an authoritative and legible document of selfhood. Pointing to the human desire to express what cannot be conveyed with language, Lee’s camera reveals tattoos, tired milky breasts, freckles, and scars.
For the artist, skin operates as a visual diary of experience. Without the guidelines of a more recognizable human form, memories— that range from the mundane to the sexually charged— are kept only through marks etched on flesh. She writes, “our skin never forgets [our past].”
The ideological tensions between body and mind are subverted as the skin organ is compressed; as if they were flowers held between the heavy pages of an encyclopedia, mounds of sin become something to be studied and read. The careful framing of each piece enhances this idea; positioned in relation to a central axis of the navel, the bisected torsos appear bound down the middle like some sort of corporeally historical book.
The phenomenal work is so poignant because in some ways, it confirms the unreliability of a subjective human memory: tattoos are faded or unreadable, and scars are healed. The images seem to blend the antique tonal richness of early Victorian photography with a morbid sense of modern forensics; as if recovered from an ancient autopsy, the slabs of flesh are somehow mournful yet objective and scientific. Our memories erode, and we die; yet through some miraculous marriage of science and art, fragments of our forgotten moments might be archived. (via Feature Shoot)
Marc Dennis’ hyperrealistic paintings are centered around the gaze and ideal for viewers who enjoy spending a lot of time with a single work of art. Layered with symbol upon symbol, it’s apparent that there are two subjects featured in any one of his complex compositions – the person who does the looking and the object that’s being looked at. As we view how the two interact, we form a narrative about their relationship. What does it mean, for instance, that a NFL cheerleader stares at the classic Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso? How do the they relate to each other? And, how does this relate to us? In an interview with Hi Fructose, Dennis talks about trying to find our own meanings within art. He explains:
I saturate my paintings with truths and suggestions about human behavior, ways of looking, and the psychological, spiritual and physical relationships we have with art. Walter Benjamin, the famous social critic once said, “To experience the aura of a phenomenon means to invest it with the capability of returning the gaze.” I believe that we, as viewers and art lovers, are eager and more pleased when it happens, to find ourselves, or some semblance of ourselves in a work of art. In other words, I do my part in “returning the gaze” that Benjamin speaks of. And in this hyper self-conscious, glamour-driven, sexually-inflated and media-obsessed art culture of today, my works are satirical yet sincere, artificial yet real, and most definitely loaded with personal symbolism yet public pomp — a timely combination and expression. (Via Faith is Torment)
With her recent series Displaced, the photographer Linda Kuo examines issues of social justice through the lens of animals illegally imported into the United States; her subjects, torn from their habitats, instincts, and social impulses give voice to the 300 million animals similarly brought to the states as pets.
Each photograph captures the life of a creature being treated for illnesses or wounds at New York City Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine; placed within the sterile context of the hospital, the displaced beasts oscillate between confusion, curiosity, and lonesomeness. The emotional core of the work is rooted in each creature’s supreme isolation; a bird sits alone on a scale, searching for some sort of recognition. Simultaneously, a guinea pig resigns himself to the clean, white basin, and a bird turns his puffy green back.
Amidst this sorrowful sense of displacement emerges an unexpected warmth, fueled by the desperate yearning of both animal and man to feel safe. An iguana trusts his body to a gentle set of female hands that tenderly enfold his delicate flesh in a bright blue towel, as if it were an unexceptional but sufficient baby blanket. Similarly, a turtle is offered carefully diced vegetables, which he cautiously accepts from giant human fingers; a bird’s heartbeat is measured anonymously but tenderly.
For Kuo, the series is personal; bullied as a child, she empathizes with those oppressed, alone, and out of their proper place. The work’s resounding message is one of compassion—for ourselves, for the earth, and for those we share it with. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot and Slate)
Dealing in an atypical kind of self-portraiture, Dawn Woolley often creates photographic copies of herself, and then photographs them in various locations, positions and moods. Making herself a substitute and her visual representative, the work forms an inquiry into the act of looking, and being looked at. As she says of the work, “Referring to psychoanalysis and phenomenology I examine my own experience of becoming an object of sight and also consider the experience the viewer has when looking at me as a photographic object. By producing artwork that establishes me as an object it could be argued that I reinforce stereotypical images of the female body.” Indeed, the female body is a common subject of Woolley’s work, often playing with stereotypes through reinforcing them, or defying them.
In series, such as TheSubstitute, Woolley created a photographic copy of herself and placed it in the real world in her stead. Seeking to reinforce conventional images of the female body, but with apparent exhibitionism, Woolley created a replacement that rendered her real body invisible. The sense of disbelief for a viewer is slow to materialize, as our brain wants to see an actual 3-dimensional person. The effects are similar even when both individuals are cutouts. Selecting moments in her past, Woolley’s series, Adolescence gives her some distance from emotionally heightened events by re-creating them using photographs.
The ambiguousness of her work allows Woolley to play with assumptions about gender, and conventions of photography. There is a performative aspect to the work that is ultimately completed by the viewer. A viewer feels like a voyeur, and then, after realizing he is looking at a 2-dimensional depiction of a 2-dimensional photograph, a fool for being duped. An interesting way to examine gender roles and self-portraiture, Woolley’s images are challenging and provocative.