Playing on the enticement of the black mirror, or, the darker recesses of our own perceived realities, fascinations revolving around the occult has infiltrated and renegotiated the perceivable world as we know it to be. Contemporary examinations of the occult and mysticism has surged in creating a more modern vernacular of symbology rooted in spiritualism, skewing the tangible under the scope of what is sensed and experienced as opposed to what is seen. Confronting the enigma of the unknown, investigations of the preternatural have transformed the material world through its semi-erotic explorations of the unconscious and the supposed spirit world. Evoking a sense of histories long since passed, fascinations with the paranormal are found not only within its connotations with Surrealism and Dada, but has since found itself increasingly commercialized through a dilution into popular culture.
The following artists present an elusive understanding and reflection on mysticism and the occult. Straying from any form of irony, kitsch or inapt nostalgia, their employment of the occult acts instead as a new means of dialogue and spiritual resolve.
American artist Evan Roth is no stranger to subverting digital culture into progressive art. In the past, Roth has developed a wall of gifs for Occupy the Internet and hacked the internet cache to create self-portraits, both of which fit neatly into his artist statement of “visualizing and archiving culture through unintended uses of technologies”. Drawing inspiration from hacker culture and philosophy, Roth helped found the Graffiti Research Lab, which merges graffiti with technology via projectile LEDs, which he used to famously tag the Brooklyn Bridge in 2008. For his Multi-Touch Paintings series, Roth tapped quite literally into a newly universal habit among people fully plugged into the digital era: that of using touchscreen devices. Created by “performing routine tasks on milt-touch hand held computing devices,” Roth used tracing paper and an ink pad to turn impressions of each finger swipe into stark paintings.
Each of Roth’s ink paintings are named after the task they’re depicting, from an entire wall of levels from Angry Birds to Twitter and e-mail check-ins. By turning mundane procedures we make on a day to day basis on our phones and tablets into textural studies, Roth blurs the line between the corporeal and the digital. One can’t help but be reminded of fingerprinting for identification when looking at the paintings, drawing a connection between the all-encompassing nature of technology in modern society and the lasting effects that may hold over our identities in the future. With iPhones that now literally use your fingerprint to access the device, it seems as though Roth’s paintings are even more prescient now than they were when he first premiered them in 2011.
New Zealand-based illustrator Henrietta Harris, previously featured here, continues to compel the eye with her alluring and dreamily distorted portraits. In her pastel-toned watercolors, she renders the human figure fluid and infinite. Seemingly caught in moments of a romantic introspection bordering on spiritual transcendence, her subjects dissolve into swirls, scribbles, and line.
Here, Harris’s artistic process is inextricably fused with the completed portrait, and the creative act of art making is just as significant as the subject itself. Quick, doodled lines of primary and secondary colors become equally as material and substantial as the multiple-toned and shaded flesh itself, and the artist’s stream of consciousness thrillingly interrupts any objective reflection of reality. Individual identities collapse to form a whirlpool of ecstatic color, and the body itself becomes a cosmic landscape, revolving, twisting, and floating like a strange fleshy galaxy.
The intense movement of Harris’s work is balanced only by her soft, muted colors and the hushed expressions of her subjects. Peering sleepily downwards, her watercolor muses exude a quiet yet concentrated aura, as if lost in a meditative trance. Two-dimensional lines like static electricity course through three-dimensional bodies, slicing their features in two, and still they stare forward resolutely. Deconstructed perhaps by their own imaginations, they surrender themselves to the hand of the artist, which leaps and coils whimsically across the page. Take a look. (via The Inspiration Grid)
With summer in full swing we’re looking forward to lots of new adventures in the sun. Whether it’s hitting the beach with friends, going on a road trip to unseen sites, or throwing the ultimate party, we’re looking to make this summer the best one ever! The good folks at Malibu love summer just as much as the rest of us and have decided to help us start on the right foot by encouraging all of us to just say yes to fun, sun and adventure with their Best Summer Ever Project. All you need to do to get started is to visit their YouTube page and create your very own Best Summer Ever List out of hundreds of fun suggestions. If you’re feeling extra brave hit the random button and Malibu will randomly assign you your very own list! If that’s not enough starting on July 17th you can watch Malibu’s Youtube reality show where four friends spend forty days taking on 40 challenges. They’ll be in the drivers seat and you’ll get to watch all the fun and crazy shenanigans as they embark on their summer adventure. So on your mark, get set, Go! Your best summer ever awaits!
French photographer William Farges‘ series “White Line” features surreal reflections of body angles, parts, and positions. Farges creates new shapes and figures by placing the reflections of nude bodies side by side, representing a continuity of form that is both startling and elegant. The series is, of course, named for the white line that dissects his diptychs – an element that emphasizes the new forms’ symmetry as a product of an inversion. These forms reach and pull into each other, appearing as if each could disappear into the other. Farges’ images are Rorschach-like deconstructions that are smooth and round and contained. “White Line” is the result of another series of Farges that similarly deconstructs and reimagines the human form, “Chimera.” (via feature shoot)
Scripturient: Possessing a violent desire to write.
Acersecomic: A person whose hair has never been cut.
Biblioclasm: The practice of destroying, often ceremoniously, books or other written material and media.
Dactylion: An anatomical landmark located at the tip of the middle finger.
“A-Z of Unusual Words” is a self-initiated project by Irish based graphic art duo The Project Twins. It depicts “strange, unusual and lost words” explained through a set of beautifully crafted minimal illustrations and visual wit.
According to the artists, James and Michael Fitzgerald, “the images explore the meaning behind the words, which are sometimes even more strange and unusual”. The bold and simple aesthetics of these illustrations resemble Bauhaus’ style of conduct through style and form.
The artist statement of Project Twins points out: “Curiosity, humor and wit are a predominant feature in their work. <…> They are interested in observations and oddities and enjoy taking the familiar and turning it into the surprising.“ The series of “A-Z of Unusual Words” has been exhibited during Design Week Dublin in 2011 and was also awarded a Merit in the 3X3 Proshow and featured in 3X3 Illustration Annual 2012.
In New Hampshire-based artist Megan Bogonovich’s magical ceramic sculptures, well-dressed women and men peek into gigantic anemones and castle-like coral reefs, plunging headfirst inside like Alice in Wonderland. Looking at the sculptures is similar to reading an enchanting fairytale, with each ornate detail given the attention and intricacy usually afforded to the illustrations in a children’s storybook. Bogonovich’s eye for detail is perhaps most evident in the underwater creatures poised to swallow their small-scale human counterparts. Made colossal in comparison, they foster the sense of wonder and impending adventure that Bogonovich is so adept at creating for each of her sculptures. There’s no end to the number of details one can glean looking at just one of Bogonovich’s sculptures, from the little girl peering into the rose-like openings in a slab of coral to the woman on the cusp of falling headlong into a multicolored anemone that, with its open valves, strongly resembles a human heart. Bogonovich’s sculptures are painted in vivid pastel colors of yellows, pinks, and greens, which lends them an even stronger storybook aesthetic. This serves them well in conjuring up all of the magical scenarios to follow the spellbinding scenes her sculptures capture. (via Hi Fructose)
A giant red ball has traveled the globe for the past 13 years. Aptly called the RedBall Project, it’s stopped in cities from Paris to Perth and is currently stationed in Rennes, France at the historic Place de la Mairie. It’s there from July 3rd to July 9th as part of the Les Tombées de la Nuit Arts Festival.
The larger-than-life inflatable sphere is currently squeezed into the Opéra de Rennes’ narrow archways and begs for the passersby to interact with it; at 250 pounds and 15 feet tall, it’s hard to miss. Reminiscent of a child’s toy on steroids, it adds a sense of playfulness to the landscape as it’s photographed, touched, and even bounced into.
The creator, Kurt Perschke, explains the idea behind his sculpture:
The urban environment is overbuilt and full of possibilities, and the project is about seeing the sculptural spaces of a city. The humor and charisma of the piece allow it access to the city and invites others into its story. I think it’s essential for public work to do more than be “outdoors” – it needs to live in the public’s imagination. (Via designboom)