Super talented Melissa Cooke draws so realistically that you would think her renderings are photographs. Instead of using pencil lines to outline her subjects and draft her compositions, she achieves incredible depth by dusting layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush. Flirting between different mediums (photography, drawing and painting), she is an expert of achieving highly detailed, strongly contrasting, striking images.
For her series The Between Spaces, she blends two different angles together in one drawing, achieving an impressive effect of superimposed snapshots. Thanks to her unique graphite technique, her highlights seem to glow and radiate off the page. Hair turns from being a series of fine white lines dusted over a darker layer to being a delicate web of strands. Eyes have detailed reflections; the skin Cooke draws have pores; the faces have a complex structure of wrinkles and lines. Cooke says of her series:
The drawings ride the line between what is physical and emotional, inner and outer, real and fantasy. Elements that are innately indescribable. There is a richness in those spaces that I can explore visually. (Source)
Moving on from portraiture, Cooke has also tried her hand at still lifes – objects that she finds in her daily life. Inspired by an abandoned wig she found in the dandelions, she started her series of objects.
These still lives evoke the figure while hinting at a larger narrative. There is both an attraction and repulsion to these discarded objects, like evidence left at a crime scene. That tension is something that has always inspired me, and will continue to propel me forward with the new body of work. (Source)
Chloe Newman is a London-based photographer whose bright, surrealist imagery juxtaposes body parts with objects in the creation of uncanny visual puzzles that are rich with analyses of popular culture and consumerism. Two of her series are featured here: Visual Conflicts and Black Tropicana(in collaboration with Rebecca Scheinberg). The former — characterized by hands and feet interacting strangely with edible materials — triggers curiosity and also challenges the way we see food, giving it a commodified (and sometimes an oddly fetishized) object-status. Black Tropicana, which was “inspired by pop culture, 70s glam disco, and artificial worlds” (Source), similarly turns glamorized objects — acrylic nails, jewelry, and cocktails — into attractive but superficial representations of themselves.
With simple compositions and eye-grabbing colors, Newman’s works initially resemble the fashion advertisements you’d find in a magazine. But such staged product marketing is the very thing she seeks to critique in her work, and she does so by confronting us with their constructed absurdity; whether it is acid-bright nails clinging a fistful of jewels, syrup being poured over a bouquet of white roses, or a lobster about to be devoured over gold satin sheets, her unusual images unveil such magazine ads as contrived, hyper-real depictions of objects that have been attributed a certain “status” in our consumer culture. Critical analysis aside, the power of Newman’s photography lies in the fact that it simply intrigues us — we are attracted to the image, but also unsettled by it, unsure of what it is supposed to represent. An encounter with her work becomes an enjoyable mental interrogation.
Visit Newman’s webpage to see more of her work, including a similarly surreal series called End of Genesis. More “visual uncertainties” after the jump.
If you ever wondered what an alien looks like, painter Sarah Gamble could probably tell you. Her randomly frenetic drawings and paintings of beings not of this earth are filled with humor and expression which tell a story of everyday life. In multi-colored shapes and thick black lines Gamble explores another world that looks and acts much like our own. Her fascination with this subject matter began a few years ago when she became intrigued with invisible communication waves. This led to a series of paintings and drawings which resulted in incredible abstract shapes and forms in traditional landscapes.
She moved on to depictions of human-like entities which seemed encased in bondage or magical glitter. These eventually turned into portrait like weirdos. A new painting just posted on Instagram by the artist seems to take another turn for the bizarre. It encapsulates a very realistic style with a nod to nature’s primal instinct.
This past year, Gamble lived at The Roswell Residency in Roswell, New Mexico. She spent most of her time creating dozens of black ink drawings on paper depicting her beloved black cat Tony, along with a character known as “crazy man”. Other renderings included centaurs, teeth and hands. Many of these drawings ended up in a show called “Your Life Is Happening Now,” at Moore College Of Art and Design in Philadelphia. Running until March 14, 2015, it documents her day to day existence at Roswell, and touches on ideas of displacement, anxiety and fear.
UK-based street artist INSA is known for combining animated GIFs with graffiti in a brilliant fusion called “GIF-ITI.” The on-going project entails him painting a mural several times over in slightly different interactions. Then, INSA combines each version to form an “animated” painting. The result is a dizzying, spectacular GIF.
The artists’ most recent endeavor is part of “GIF-ITI,” but on a much, much larger scale. Where before he would paint the walls of buildings, INSA got much more ambitious. WIth the help of a team of painters and a satellite in space, he created the world’s largest animated GIF in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The entire laborious process is captured in a short video (featured here). It shows the four-days of painting and repainting, moving the lines ever so slightly to create the illusion of movement later. (Via Booooooom, Photoshop.com blog, and 123 Inspiration)
Italian photographer Massimo Gammacurta takes a candy already filled with sexual innuendo, the lollipop, and takes it’s meaning to a whole new level. However, these sugary delights are not the kind of candy you would give to a child. In his humorously titled series KamaSugar, he recreates positions of the infamous Kama sutra in the form of real, edible suckers. These explicit and surprisingly graphic candies are somewhere between a funny gag gift and very impressive skill. Obviously not made for the practical purpose of eating, these lollipops have brilliant colors that are rich and dripping with passion. Each cool blue and fiery red give the strikingly vivid positions a rise to a whole different kind of vibe. To add to this humor are the sometimes unfortunately placed lollipop sticks. Because the suckers contain shapes of people in which we can see through, we can spot yet another phallic shape sticking in the lollipop.
These sweet and sexy lollipops are not the only suckers that Gammacurta creates. This master of iconography has fashioned brand logos into candy as well. Being a commercial photographer as well as sly candy man of sorts, brands play a large part in Gammacurta’s life. He regularly photographs for Italian Vogue as well as other high fashion clients. His suckers have taken the shape of a many iconic symbols such as a Nike sign, a Channel logo, and the notorious Apple logo. These delectable pieces of art are so popular, that Gammacurta even has a book published dedicated to his entire Lollipop series of work.
Bethany Taylor’s spiraling and flowing threads create ethereal drawing installations that hold a keen eye to the shocking truth of our increasing water pollution issues. Each fiber-based drawing is formed by shaping and manipulating thread from woven tapestry. What makes Taylor’s installations so captivating is the fact that each “drawing” of hers is created from one single line. This line creates an energetic movement throughout the installation. The viewer can see where the thread begins and ends, as it appears to drip down the wall. Each image of a skull, snake, and algae seems to be unraveling.
Taylor’s installations in this series use motifs such as skeletons of sea life, skulls, and green and blue algae. These represent the effect chemical pollution in our lakes and rivers having on our environment. The artist is Assistant Professor of Drawing at the University of Florida. Because the ecosystem that surrounds Taylor is so prevalent with rivers and ocean, it deeply influences her work. Toxic blue-green algae have formed because of the incredible pollution, which in turn is severely harming, or “unraveling,” the balance of our ecological system. Her work shows the consequences of the pollution by creating delicate drawing installation that seem as fragile as their counterparts that are unraveling at the seems. Taylor explains in detail the intention behind her work.
Like many other places in the world, Florida’s water is threatened each year by the poison runoff from pollution caused by inadequately treated sewage, pesticides, manure and fertilizer. The toxic algae created by these unchecked industrial and agricultural practices, is literally choking our waterways, creating dead zones in our ecology that are harmful to both humans and wildlife.
Tiffany Trenda is a performance artist on a mission to awaken us from a technological slumber. Wearing a synthetic suit imbedded with forty small 2.6 inch LED cell phone screens, she asks people to interact with her, touching and pressing the monitors all over her body. Citing fellow performance artist Valie ExportTap and Touch Cinema as an inspiration, she examines our ease and familiarity with having devices, gadgets, screens and monitors all around us, in her new work Proximity Cinema.
The word ‘touch’ has a completely different meaning for today. Originally ‘touch’ meant human-to-human contact. Now we think of our smart phone, iPad or tablet. So, today, touch refers to human-to-screen contact. (Source)
Confronting people to enter her personal space, and destroying normal social limits, she highlights the boundaries between man and machine; natural and digital, and how willing humans are to accept the influence technology has over us. Trenda not only looks at how we use technology, but also how we understand our own identities through technology.
In her body of work she becomes the digitized version of the human body and her actions replicate those of a computer. Trenda creates a platform for questioning the boundary of where the digital impression and the physical body begin and end. The viewer is physically and visually immersed in the process of how the psyche evolves to relate to the screen (LCD, television, cinema or a computer). (Source)
Trenda’s installations and performances are a fresh and very real look at how easy it is to be overwhelmed and overpowered by technology. She reminds us to reflect on how integrated technology is becoming – it is not far from becoming part of our very skin. Perhaps her futuristic bondage-looking outfit will soon be a part of our wardrobes?
Photographer Bernhard Lang captures an aerial view of the Opencast Coal Mining Pit in Germany, which is one of the largest man-made holes in the world. At nearly 1,500 feet deep and covering almost 22 square miles, everything is at a giant scale. Massive machinery, the size of a 30-storey office buildings, scoops out coal, sand, and dirt to mine and move it about.
It’s hard to imagine something of these proportions, and through Lang’s sweeping landscape photography, he minimizes its grandiose scale. When looking down rather than upwards, it’s hard to get a sense of just how big these things really are. At times, they look like patterns of ant farms rather than the handiwork of humans. Perhaps it’s part of the point to say that these hulking machines and sprawling cleared paths aren’t as important as we’re lead to believe.
The real visual impact of these photos comes from their abstract qualities: the different colors of dirt that have been piled next to one another; the lines that are made by machines as they drive down the road; and the hills and valleys themselves. Through Lang’s careful framing, he’s captured their unintentional beauty.