The visual world of Daniel Gordon is complex, colorful, wondrous, and invigorating. He creates rich modern interpretations of still life and portrait oil paintings. Inspired by Matisse and Fauvism, and using modern day technology, he takes compelling photographs of 2D and 3D objects. His practice involves multiple steps to reach these bizarre final images. First he sources different images from the internet, prints them out, rebuilds the object from 2D sheets of paper, crumpling and shaping them to resemble the original object, then finally photographs them using a 8×10-inch view camera. After the scene has been documented, Gordon dismantles the different images and patterned pieces, to use at a later date. His latest show Shadows, Patterns, Pears shows his familiarity with appropriation, reusing and contextualizing images with ease.
He builds compositions from fragmented patterns, colors, perspectives, histories and narratives, resulting in some strange surreal reality. He layers up repeating shapes and silhouettes, creating some sort of modern take on Cubism. Described as a kind of analog Photoshop, Gordon’s work is as equally confusing as it is delightful. Reworking something familiar such as nectarines, oranges, lemons, he turns them into an optical illusion of light where dark should be, shadows on the wrong side of the object, the fruit half blue and half red. He transforms a mundane apple into one from a Dr Seuss land – crumpled, purple, with two stalks.
Calling his work “Screen Selections”, Gordon is alluding to a time of visual over-stimulation in the age of the Internet. Reveling in working with materials so palpable and tactile, Gordon says:
“I’m interested in showing my hand and letting people see the imperfection. “(Source)
In his beautiful retro/modern gaming systems, Swedish designer and craftsman Love Hultén combines technology with classical artisan techniques. His wood encased computers and classic arcade games are both lovely and functional. Hand-crafted and refined, the technique, ornamentation and finish are traditionally Swedish.
“Hultén wants to resuscitate a fading culture and create curiosity towards the origin of video gaming, pushing gaming into a new context, making the arcade an artistic equivalent to the painting on your wall.
By working with materials that, without regular maintenance and daily care, grows a unique patina, the expiry date of a product is extended. The product will breathe through time, rather than get suffocated by it.”
For the gaming units, vintage arcade favorites such as Pac Man and Asteroids are encased in solid wood. Joystick pads and controllers are made from walnut, and custom leather bags are available for some portable units. Hultén’s works were recently shown in his first US show at the Holy Circuit exhibit at Austere in Los Angeles, California.
Wearing a bright orange dress and armed with scissors, German artist Nezaket Ekici is tethered to the ceiling of a room via her hair. Long ropes act as handcuffs and are tied to the ends of her long brown strands. The only way out? To cut the strings or hair. Her performance, titled Atropos, was first presented in 2006 and again in 2008. It used 100 ropes, 100 hairlines, and 100 pitons (a type of metal spike) and lasted one hour.
We see that during Atropos, strings and hair are cut and dangle over Ekici’s eyes and other pieces of rope. At its core, it’s the act of freeing oneself from the ties (literally) that bind. In a statement about the work, posted on the Celeste Network:
She carries out an act of the self-liberation, while she frees herself with the help of a sissle from long ropes fastened at the roof and to the hair. She cuts off a part of her hair and in this way dissociates herself from a piece of herself. This work can be seen as a vital discussion about the question on the sense of life, that is partly characterised by striving for freedom. Particularly, because hair can be considered as a symbol of life.
This piece’s title comes from the Greek myth of the Moirai who are the goddesses of fate. The statement further explains:
Atropos, who is one of them splits according to the myth the fate threads of the life with a sissle. The artist shows with the radical act of the hair-cut a way out. She takes fate into her own hands and frees herself, like Atropos did. At least the act of the cutting can be seen as an attempt of liberation in itself. (Via Sweet Station)
Sculptor Lauren Fensterstock crafts dark, supernatural worlds of monochromatic nature scenes, often fashioned in all black, that contain a deep sense of tranquility and serenity. Completed with paper and Plexiglass, these intricate scenes show flowers, grass and ponds. With thousands of flowers and blades of grass, all carefully placed, the work is dense and lush, taking over the room it inhabits. Fensterstock’s work breathes life into the space. Showing a landscape that is distilled into a single color illuminates the beauty and the texture of each individual component. Fensterstock’s work was recently published in a beautiful, hardcover book titled Radical Sentimentalism, with analytical essays and an in-depth catalogue of her installation work.
The details of her work as written on a representative gallery’s site:
“Fensterstock’s. site-specific installation work and wall pieces depict nature by incorporating meticulously cut and curled paper, charcoal, and Plexiglass to create floral and garden scenes. Fensterstock’s work and practice references French and English garden design of the 1500s to 1700s, the 18th century practice of ‘quilling’—sculpting paper by wrapping around a quill—along with a nod to, and reflection upon, 20th century American earth art and the work of Robert Smithson.”(Excerpt from Source)
Italian sound designers Fabio Di Salvo and Bernardo Vercelli, together known as Quiet Ensemble, create work that features insignificant sounds that we wouldn’t give a second thought to. They focus their energies on the “greatness of small events,” and the subject of their most recent project is a lamp. Specifically, lamps used to produce a musical event. Titled The Enlightenment, the duo calls this performance a “hidden concert of pure light” that uses a bevy of different lighting elements like stage lights and high-powered bulbs. “Instead of violins are neon lights, to replace drums are strobe lights and instead of clarinets we will see theatrical headlights illuminating the audience,” they explain in the video’s description.
The Enlightenment was performed in October for Bologna’s Robot Festival, where it included 96 lamps. Each was fitted with its own copper coil that received various electric currents set at specific intervals, as well as a sensor. This produced an electromagnetic field that was captured and turned into sounds. Salvo and Vercelli accompanied the buzzes by modifying and amplifying each lamp’s electric output in real time. The result is a clash of blues, greens, and yellow flashes with the poetics of a familiar buzz. (Via The Creators Project)
Katherine Akey’s works traces the delicacies of life on this planet in various ways. Through photograms and photographs, she narrates the whimsical beauty of nature. These smokey, sparkling greys are from a body of work titled Aurora, where she captured the mysterious movement of the night sky. Her penchant for unearthing, discovering, and a curiosity about the sacred aspects of voyage have imbedded in her a unique way of viewing the world, one she projects masterfully from glass lens to gelatin. Outfitting herself to visit Svalbard in the next year, she will no doubt deliver a new body of work that is even more sophisticated and compelling.
Akey is a beautiful writer, and her this excerpt from her blog shows her motivations and what led her to commit to the upcoming Arctic Circle Residency in Svalbard. Beautiful and compelling, it reads like poetry:
“These questions and their associated emotional valences could be analyzed using the machines and tools of a scientist; I choose, however, to use the events of the past, the texts left behind, the myths generated, and, hopefully, my own foray into those parts of the world as material for art making. My work also confronts the reality that adventure as we have long thought of it is just about snuffed out. Astronauts go to the safety of space stations instead of venturing into the infinite universe, and robots have taken the place of humans to explore the dusty surface of Mars. The ambitions of so many of these men who went north to explore were complicated and compelling; what drove them to embark, what kindled the hope that kept them alive, and what they give credit to for their success once they return are all completely different things. The North Pole itself is elusive and misleading; there’s a geographic north pole, a magnetic north pole, the celestial North Pole, and a northern pole of inaccessibility. The Arctic, unlike the Antarctic, is a frozen ocean, not a continent; there’s no land mass, just sea ice. The mythic explorer hero is also a foggy, misleading concept; these men were egotistical, driven by ambition, and many of them died miserable, needless deaths alone. All of my interests and works come out of this deep respect for the Human; I see it so clearly in these fevered moments of triumph-cum-horror, like the World Wars or the Golden Age(s) of exploration.”
Reaching middle-age, photographer Susan Copich was feeling disillusioned with her acting career, disenchanted with her marriage, and, when she noticed her absence from every family photo, as if she were disappearing. Her solution was to create the series “Domestic Bliss,” staged photos featuring her in darkly humorous scenes from an exaggerated life.
“I use proverbs, idioms, and biblical scriptures as a conduit to reach my inner creativity while grounding it to something real. Social observation continues to fuel my inspiration. The use of humor allows me to mock the worlds I traipse through while permitting the viewer to live vicariously through the character. I project my thoughts into a frozen a moment in time, allowing the story to continually unfold in front of you.”
She tackles topics like unsupervised children with access to guns, women and food, and homicidal anger, as well as lighter topics such as Christmas cards and crying over spilt milk. Some of the images are very dark, indeed, such as “Bath Time” with its implication of double murder/suicide, and “Anger Management,” which depicts Copich, with unkempt hair and Diane von Furstenberg dress, in the act of wringing the family dog’s neck in front of her daughters.
“I dwell in the dark thoughts and recesses of my mind to create character and subject, in order to project them into a frozen moment of time, allowing the story to continue to unfold bilaterally for the viewer. I feel a certain freedom to live vicariously through these characters to engage, seek to navigate (and, no less, avoid), both my own personal imperatives as woman, artist, mother, and wife, as well as those – personal, social and cultural – that are imposed on me by others.”
The photos are funny and disturbing, polarizing and attention-grabbing. It seems that Susan Copich is in no danger of disappearing any time soon.
London based photographer Hana Knížová‘s new series Young Hollywood focuses on the dreams, goals, hopes and aspirations of the optimistic youth of L.A looking to make a break in the industry. Noted for it’s cut throat competitiveness, Hollywood is no child’s playground. These portraits capture a time of these people’s lives when they are aware of the challenges ahead, but not intimated enough to stop trying. Knížová says of her inspiration:
I am interested in the topic of youth and its ambitions, as it’s something which develops and changes as we grow older. Our motivation and priorities change. Some personal goals might not be achieved for several different reasons – it can be quite disappointing and bitter, but other goals might gradually and naturally start lacking relevance in one’s life. Only time will show.
Stylistically the photographs are shot in various locations, either in personal cars, or homes, local diners, street corners or burger joints – all seeming very personal. It is a rare look at a performer’s inner emotions. It is easy to see boundless optimism and hope, but somewhere niggling doubts are also lingering. Knížová goes on:
I also asked my sitters to fill a short questionnaire about their current situation, about their aspirations, and what “fame” and “success” mean to them. This serves for my personal record, although it was certainly challenging for them verbalise the thoughts. Sometimes we catch ourselves in auto pilot or chasing a dream without forming some sort of context, this exercise is both reaffirming and acknowledging of these big picture goals they set for themselves.
It will indeed be an interesting social experiment to see just where these young Hollywood star and starlets end up down the track. To see more of Knížová’s beautiful work visit her tumblr site. (Via Juxtapoz)