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Lui Liu

Lui Liu’s surreal paintings combine his Chinese heritage with his western upbringing to create a  new hybrid world that transcends cultures and spaces.

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Malaysian Artist Jun Ong Installs A Massive Glowing Star In A Five Story Building

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Malaysian artist Jun Ong has implanted a glowing star within an unfinished five story building in the town of Butterworth, Malaysia. The awkward confinement of the large luminescent sculpture within the otherwise gaping desolate space offers an air of confusion. Almost as if the star was there by mistake, perhaps stuck. The installation was indeed informed by a notion of error — the star seems to mimic a glitch. Metaphorically, this “glitch star” represents the state of Butterworth. The town, which was once an prosperous industrial port linking the mainland and island, now finds itself desolate and suffering from decentralization. The twelve sided star, spanning over the the full five floors of the building, is comprised of five hundred meters of steel cables and LED strips. The piece is created in fragments, as it is divided by the floors of the concrete structure. When entering the installation, the viewer is forced to experience each floor as its own unit, creating a multi-faceted adventure. Each floor is an experience of just a mere piece of the whole, perhaps alluding to the overarching disposition of the town itself. However, despite the installation’s “gltich” reminiscent quality and fractured formation, the star is wondrous and uplifting. The project, presented as a part of the Urban Xchange Festival, was curated by Eeyan Chauh and Gabija Grusaite of Hin Bus Depot Art Center. (via designboom)

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Vlasta Žáková Sews Emotion, Experience, And Desire Into Textile Pictures And Human Sculptures

Vlasta Zakova - Soft Sculpture

“Fajčiaca / The Smoking One” (2010). Soft sculpture, textile.

Vlasta Zakova - Textile

“Narodeninová párty / Birthday Party, A3” (2008). Handmade embroidery on textile.

Vlasta Zakova - Soft Sculpture

“Lilith v akcii / Lilith in Action” (2009). Soft sculpture, textile.

Vlasta Žáková is a Slovakian artist who uses fabric to create pictures and soft sculptures that quite literally “explode at the seams” with human emotion, experience, and desire. Her technique involves hand and machine sewing, and various materials are layered and embroidered into her works until they take on a painterly, three-dimensional effect. In addition to her textile “paintings,” Žáková also creates life-size human figures, which are realistic, surreal, humorous, and saddening all at once. Her sculptures include a woman crying alone in the corner, with red threads to indicate her tear-stained face; a man straddled by a nearly naked woman in a hallway, while a dog looks bizarrely on; and a headless body slumped against a wall, its knees split open and arms frayed off.

In both her pictures and sculptures, Žáková’s main inspiring influence is the party scene, and the types of intimacy and shattered states these events often result in — hence why her work consistently depicts despair, eroticism, and/or debauchery. In one particularly striking sculpture, Žáková took the image of a crowd of people, fused it together, and created a horrifyingly exuberant and multi-limbed creature. This work was presented at the Red Gallery (London) in a performance titled Ultraviolet Movement (2013). Combined with physical animation and UV lights, the soft sculpture embodies the darkness, hedonism, and semi-lucidity of a late-night party. The video Nocturne (embedded above), which Žáková made in collaboration with Jakub Gulyás (video) and Martina Vyskupová (performer) as part of an exhibition project in the Bunker of the Nitra Gallery, features this grotesque “puppet” as it takes on an eerie life of its own.

What is beautiful and provocative about Žáková’s work is that she has brilliantly infused her textile creations with their own emotional and erotic lives; many of us can probably relate to the states of disrepair and desire she expressively depicts. Visit Žáková’s website to see more of her work. You can read about her time at the Red Gallery here and here.

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Al.t

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Al.t, aka Alex Tan, is a Singapore based graphic designer. Tan’s inspiration lies in his everyday surroundings. A very skilled young designer, he is very versatile and explores all spectra of design.

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Constance Mallinson’s Nature People

Constance Mallinson‘s large-scale paintings merge the man-made world and nature literally by constructing figures from images of leaves, twigs, and decaying organic material. They are grotesque meditations on both the mortality of humans and the world in which they live. Her full-figured “nature people” reference both the works of Giuseppe Arcimboldo, the 16th-century Italian known for paintings in which still life objects are used to form surreal portraits, and famous paintings, such as Edouard Manet’s 1863 seminal painting “Olympia.”

In examining her recent paintings created from decaying matter, L.A. Times critic Christopher Knight wrote that “after painting savvy landscapes for more than twenty five years”… the current “imagery suggests the way in which we project ourselves on conceptions of nature, creating the natural world even as we go about assuring its destruction.”

See Constance’s work from now until July 28th at Culver Center of The Arts in Riverside, CA.

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Cute Or Creepy: Jason Freeny Exposes the Organs And Bones Of Our Favorite Childhood Toys

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Artist Jason Freeny scoops out the insides of our favorite toys and characters, and sculpts their inner organs and skeletons. Having a sculpture professor as a father, the artist was exposed to the medium at a young age. Freeny was originally trained as an industrial designer, until he began creating this series of adorable abominations five years ago. He begins with the toy itself, and then takes it apart to study its structure and fill it with its skeleton. Freeny began using polymer clay to create the insides of each toy. Now, they are sculpted from epoxy and carved with a variety of miniature tools like pumpkin carving tools and those used in dentistry.

Freeny has taken lovable toys and turned them into something somewhat dark, but also a bit educational in a way. The anatomical accuracy in his sculptures is impressive, as each creature or character most likely will have its own unique anatomy. Freeny gives an example of this by explaining that Mario has a skull more like a child than of a grown man. The detail in each character’s body is so intricate, that it makes its anatomy incredibly believable. Interestingly enough, the artist does not just dissect popular toys like Lego’s and My Little Pony, but strange oddballs as well. A couple of his dolls with their inner organs exposed look somewhat demented; like they could star in the next Child’s Play. Whether you find Freeny’s work fun or creepy, the time and technique involved in his process speaks volumes to his brilliant skills in sculpture. (via The Creators Project)

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Antic Staatsoper’s Renaissance Inspired Photo Series Examines Man’s Desire

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Antic staatsoper makes photographs which reference old religious renaissance paintings. These include themes about love, lust, faith, shame, and betrayal. The pictures created are striking and controversial. The nude and partially nude models are manipulated in such a way that they transform into more painterly forms. Staatsoper uses a technique which blurs the image to produce a hazy mind altering effect. The overall results are violently striking images which bring age old stories to light. The idea of carnal desire is present but not only in a sexual sense. There’s also the notion of an abnormal attraction to food and drugs. And a desire for power. The artist talks about our current state of spirituality which seems compromised from the old way of thinking. This is an astute conclusion as more earthly ways have come to define us and become more prevalent in “current religions”. Still, we are aware of a higher power whether imagined or real it surrounds us with the question of why am I here and for what reason? In that sense, Staatsoper captures the uncertainty we feel in extreme situations which usually define us. From an aesthetic viewpoint the work is powerfully done in its moving and raw depiction of circumstance. Using figures seemingly pulled from greek tragedy we see them in a modern light tracing our historical significance.

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Devin Troy Strother’s Color Bonanza!

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I recently came across these great collage paintings of Devin Troy Strothe (thanks for the link Mr.Redwood) and was blown away by the recent Art Center grads color explosion and the humorous content. The work is playful but dabbles with social/political issues which is always a nice mix as too often political work = boring and predictable. Visit his site and make sure to read the titles as they are fantastic.

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