It’s really easy to hate on Thomas Kinkade. His landscape paintings, which boasts themselves as “paintings of light,” are dull, wooden, and nearly all the same. Wholly uninteresting, Kinkade’s paintings beg to have a little pizzaz added to them. Luckily, artist Jeff Bennett has solved this problem. He’s added the Star Wars Imperial Forces to Kinkade’s work. Storm Troopers, Star Destroyers, and more invade the candle-lit houses, babbling brooks, and flower gardens. Houses are set on fire and landscaping is trampled. And, throughout it all, you are cheering for the historically “bad guys.”
Bennett’s keen Photoshop skills allow him to seamlessly integrate the two worlds, making them believable and thus very entertaining. In a way, this series mimics the typical good vs. evil story. The exception is that who we perceive as good and evil is turned on its head. You’d think that tranquil Thomas Kinkade paintings would be harmless. But think again. Kinkade, with his lowest common denominator work, overpriced and mass produced chachkies, and greed (in 2006, his company was convicted of defrauding two Virginia gallery owners), is really the bad guy in this scenario. The Imperial Forces are helping destroy banality. (Via Adweek).
African-Mexican-American photographer Hannah Price reverses the power of the male gaze through capturing spontaneous photographs of men that catcall her. Through them, Price transforms these men’s taunts into an exercise of reflection and observation.
“This project is a work in progress documenting a part of my life as an African-Mexican-American, transitioning from suburban Colorado to consistently being harassed on the streets of Philadelphia. These images are a response to my subjects looking at me, and myself as an artist looking back.”
The bold project is neither a judgment on men nor a comment on race, but it is certainly a way for her to take control of a situation that she would not be able to control otherwise. Through her camera, she captures the actions of her ‘suitors’ in a precise and spontaneous way, and although she is taking control, she does not intend for her actions to cause these men to reconsider their actions. In a sense, she wants them to be themselves; this is the only way for her to further understand their behavior and find the humanity that lies within their actions…if there is any. (via feature shoot)
Photorealism, also known as Super-Realism, New Realism, Sharp Focus Realism or Hyper-Realism, involves artists employing photographs to create their paintings. The style evolved out of Pop art as a sort of resistance to Abstract Expression and Minimalism in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Photorealist artists create works that are hyper illusionistic; compelling viewers to wonder and marvel at the work’s resemblance to reality. Employing a variety of techniques artists seek to generate paintings with a high level of representational verisimilitude. Photo realists use the camera or photographs to gather information. They may also rely on a mechanical device to transfer the image to the canvas, such as a projector, though the artist still requires a high level of skill to complete the work. Usually employing multiple photographs, artists involved with the style are interested in technical or pictorial challenges that might include unique surfaces or textures.
Pioneers of the movement include painters such as Richard Estes, Robert Bechtle and Tom Blackwell. One of the best-known photorealist painters, Chuck Close, works using a gridded photograph. A spinal artery collapse in 1988 left Close severely paralyzed. After the injury Close continued to paint, creating large portraits in low-resolution grid squares created by an assistant. From afar, these squares appear as a unified image, but in pixelated form.
Today there are a myriad of artists practicing photorealism including Jason de Graaf, Alison Van Pelt,Paul Cadden,David Kassan,Gregory Thielker,Diego Fazio, Bryan Drury and Ben Weiner . With the advancement of technology, contemporary photo realist artists are able to achieve paintings that exceed the capabilities of photography—capturing details the lens may not, or achieving an extraordinary level of precision. Often these photo realists are referred to as hyperrealists as the images resemble one, or an amalgamation of, high-resolution photographs. Inspiring and impressive, photo realists’ works tease the imagination and challenge perception.
As we wave goodbye to Halloween, let’s take a minute to mediate on the innately striking work of Diane Arbus and her unbiased approach to documenting not just the spookier side of humanity, but even more so, the masks or costumes we present to the world as a species, as human beings, as ourselves . . . year-round.
Now, when I use the word “unbiased” here I am not suggesting Arbus’s eye is roaming and invisible. Quite the contrary. Her eye is always distinctly there: focused, from one frame to the next. This “unbiased” quality has more to do with her indiscriminate examination of each subject in the same oddly intimate and unflinching way– regardless of class, age, gender, sexual preference, or race. In other words, a child with a toy hand grenade in the park looks equally as strange as the a woman lounging next to a toy poodle or a handful of residents dressed up on Halloween at a home for the mentally retarded. No one person, group, or act is more privileged. No one is all the more beautiful. We are all playing dress-up as far as identity and image is concerned.
By seeking out each individual’s innate desire to present him or herself and critically or creatively twisting that into her own perception of costume in each person’s presentation, Arbus became not just a photographer, but an alchemist, shifting our ideas of self, reality, and personal intention. Whether you are a part of celebrity culture or a more marginalized society spread out along the fringe, Arbus’s certain way of looking did not glorify one way of living over the other.
The exact color of that Ginger Ale can is important to artist Sara Cwynar. Her work revolves around the careful curation of both fantastic and banal objects. She arranges and later photographs these assemblages, which range from color studies to chaotic interpretations of old works of art.
You might be familiar with 16th and 17th century Dutch Flower paintings. If not, then they are exactly as they sound; Still life paintings of flower arrangements. They are colorful and realistically rendered pictures. Their realism is almost boring, until you find out that these paintings were meant to brighten up the interior of homes during the winter months when real flowers were dead. In her Flat Death series, Cwynar took old reproduced pictures of these flowers and overtop placed it with the likes of cheap plastic toys, fake leaves, rolls of tape, and dish gloves. A sophisticated painting is recreated out of junk, creating a cognitive dissonance.
Color Studies is another still life series. Instead of parodying of an already existing work, Cwynar gathers objects of a similar color. They include old marching band uniforms, encyclopedias, lemons, old slide film, cigarettes, and so much more. Photographs feel really dated, like a teenager’s room in the 1970’s. This is Cwynar’s intention. In an interview with Lavalette, she states:
I thought a lot about the aesthetic patterns you see in these pictures – a particular lighting, a slickness, a high level of detail. I’m also trying to recycle and subvert conventions of product and commercial photography by using elements that aren’t normally associated with these genres – objects that are now discarded or forgotten, intentional scuffing, not glossy at all.
It’s easy to be intrigued by Cwynar’s work. She utilizes conventional objects and through assemblage, allows us to experience them in a new way.
Artist duo Brad Kuhl and Monique Leyton create large tapestries illustrated with various colors of acrylic, bookbinding, and packing tape. The subjects of their tape art is real life crime stories and offer social commentary based on themes of attraction and repulsion, fame and infamy, crime, morality and entertainment, and safety and danger. In “Elite Deviance,” specific references include the scandals of Enron, Martha Stewart, Jack Abramoff, and Bernie Madoff. In “Blunt Object,” Kuhl and Leyton depict news crime scenes in which the use of a blunt object was instrumental in a murder. By using this tape as a medium, the duo brighten up scenes of crime, illuminating darker aspects of our culture’s psyche. “We liked how the tape associated with police tape and ideas blossomed from there of what to make,” Leyton said. Originally from the States, they are currently living in Beijing where the city’s rapid evolution inspires their work. Most recently, they have started to work with new material, something that’s still adhesive, but not tape. “Elite Deviance” could be the last project they complete using this particular medium. (via juxtapoz)
Alex Chinneck is a London-based artist and designer, recently responsible for an installation that cleverly combines both disciplines. In Margate, a tiny town in Kent, England, a dilapidated home in the Cliftoncille district which had laid in ruins for months has been transformed. By remodeling the brick exterior and exposing the building’s top floor, Chinneck has altered the facade of the building to look as though it has become a single sheet and slid from the rest of the house.
Playfully titled From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toe, Chinneck extends his experimentation for surreal constructions and alterations of ordinary buildings (past projects include 312 identically smashed windows near the Olympic Stadium, and a melting brick wall). In an interview with Dezeen, Chinneck stated “I just feel this incredible desire to create spectacles, I wanted to create something that used the simple pleasures of humour, illusion and theatre to create an artwork that can be understood and enjoyed by any onlooker.“
Chinneck goes on to state some intentions of the piece, though admits they mostly have come after the piece’s construction. ”It has social issues, it struggles with high levels of crime and the grand architecture has fallen into a fairly fatigued state,” says Chinneck, “I increasingly like that idea of exposing the truth and the notion of superficiality,” he explained. “I didn’t go into the project with that idea, but as it evolved I started to like that.”
From the knees of my nose to the belly of my toe can be seen at 1 Godwin Road, Cliftonville, Margate UK, until October 2014, when it will again be turned into residential housing.
Austrian artist, Aldo Tolino, creates sculptural objects out of printed photographs. The printed-photograph-turned-sculpture is then photographed, and the end ‘result’ is what you see here.
The folding techniques vary and so do the photographs; this is what makes the work interesting, as there are infinite number of permutations that will work for this purpose. The redundancy of the project is much like a philosophical argument, one that loops around and is at some point, unanswerable.
The fact that the folded photograph is photographed is also an interesting factor, as it creates and thought-provoking dialogue between both the precision and the inaccuracy that the medium of photography inherits through time.
Besides being an artist, Tolino is also a philosopher and he is currently working on a book project called Interferenz, which precisely deals with the themes explored here: paper, folding, image, object, sculpture, texture and recursion. (via IGNANT)