To some, the purpose of hyperrealistic art may seem uncertain; why reproduce reality in such painstaking detail, when we are confronted by each other’s flesh every day? Of course, some of the sculptures have disturbing and surreal aspects, which makes their illusory qualities more clear. Like rats’ tails and hairless cats, these sculptures may make many of us strangely uncomfortable, for they unconsciously remind us of our own mortal fleshiness. Beyond this initial repulsion, however, they also mimic and accentuate reality to confront the viewer with meanings they may never see otherwise: human vulnerability, and the skin as a shallow edifice that distracts us from another’s internal experience. In each of these “simulations” of real life, an intuitive (and often unsettling) truth is revealed.
Michael Leon was born in 1974 in Tampa, Florida, graduated from CalArts in 1997, and is currently based in Los Angeles. He was a co-creator of Commonwealth Stacks, Rasa Libre, and Nike’s Tech Pack. He has contributed design and art direction to Fourstar Clothing, Girl Skateboards, Stussy, DC, Arkitip, and most recently, Nike SB. Throughout the past 20 years, Michael Leon has been influential to the worlds of both design and skateboarding, his style is in a class of its own.
Saddo is an insanely detailed illustrator from Berlin, Germany. He graduated from the University of Art and Design in Cluj Napoca, Romania, and currently specializes in bright, intricate, and surreal characters. His mediums include acrylic paint, watercolor, pencils, and marker pens while his canvas of choice is white paper, but has been known to work on street surfaces and wood.
Julie Schenkelberg makes installations that look like domestic earthquakes. Her monumental pieces talk to us about the collective memory we share in objects and its inevitable disintegration. As most all domestic objects have some sort of function, their ubiquity–tables, chairs, lamps, plates, etc in every home– is a sign that our experience of the life is much more communal than individual, and likewise our memories. Julie takes the objects of our experience and compiles them into globs of memory, as they are probably situated in our own brains. But, like our own memories, she shows us these objects as broken and decaying in structures that look strong and sound but are, in the grand scheme of things, utterly tenuous. Her work is physical poetry at its best.
Brooklyn-based artist Julia Dault manipulates tangible materials, such as plexiglass and formica, to form site-specific sculptures shaped into giant cylinders and held by rope. Although she has also created a series of oil paintings, her sculptures are particularly captivating for their transient quality, as they seem to be almost collapsing in both time and space; this element of time is key to her work as each piece is named after the time stamp of its creation. More after the jump.
Ariana Papademetropoulos’ long last name may be the very thing that inspires her mystic paintings. Or, at least that’s just what I’d like to believe. I saw her work during CalARTS’ open studios and it was definitely some of my favorite stuff on display. Especially, since it deals with spiritualism in a way that’s remarkably beautiful. Just look at her paintings of crystals that have hidden reflections of women and symbols, which can entrance the viewer into a reflective stare. There’s much more going on in Ariana’s work than one’s initial glance.
Zahir Batin’s delightful series of photographs is sure to get you excited for the upcoming release of Star Wars: Episode VII. When the artist bought a Canon EOS 1000D in February 2012, he had no idea that he would discover a passion for shooting miniature Star Wars scenes, but sure enough, he has since created a whimsical body of work cataloging the misadventures of Jedi, Sith lords, clones, and droids.
Batin’s work is certainly humorous, serving to decontextualize the often fearsome characters. A pack of clones is shown to be comically miniature beside a group of adorable ducklings; one even kindly offers a leaf to the giant baby animals. During their time off, they play with their vehicles like a group of rowdy teenage boys. For a more relaxing evening, they unwind riverside and confide in one another in a language inaudible to human viewers.
Despite the comic conceit of the miniature work—and perhaps even because of it—Batin imbues his imagined scenes with a poignant humanity and deeply-feeling heart. After a day of play, the clones lose a companion, and their heads move toward the sky in despair. After digging a grave, they place the fallen man’s tiny helmet above the moistened dirt and position a carefully-crafted gravestone at the head. In a moment of grief, they press their armored bodies together and embrace. Through Batin’s emotive lens, these small action figures, normally beloved only by children, become sentient beings with whom we can relate and empathize. Take a look. (via KoiKoiKoi)