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Fantasy Island: Charles Avery’s Art Tells Us The Story Of An Imaginary Place

Charles Avery - headpiece

Charles Avery - headpieceCharles Avery - sculpture   Charles Avery - headpiece

Charles Avery‘s artistic practice is centered around a fictional island. Everything he creates has some connection to either the history of this place, or specimens and relics that are found there. Since 2004 Avery has been building the story of this place through intricately detailed drawings, sculptures, installations, and texts.

The gateway to the Island is the town of Onomatopoeia – once the stepping off point of the pioneers who first came to the place, turned colonial outpost, turned boom town, bustling metropolis, depression ravaged slum, to regenerated city of culture and tourist destination. (Source)

Avery builds on his own personal history as a starting point to this Island. Born on the Isle of Mull off the West Coast of Scotland, it seems as if he is commenting on the influence the British Monarchy has had over his home country, and also on numerous other countries and islands. His oeuvre is concerned with the progress of a nation – from rags to riches, and back again. The retelling of this folklore is a complex one. His work includes samples of the flora and fauna found there (different types of tree branches and birds), the fashions worn (a lot of different headpieces) and also studies of the local’s behavior. He creates a full anthropological study.

His past projects include “The Island” – concerned with the same place, just with the information organized differently. His attention to detail is so great, he even shows us the type of creature that we would encounter in the Island’s pantheon: a strange hybrid of dogs joined at the head, engaged in battle. Judging from these animals and the frenzied activity he depicts in his studies of the town square, this Island is definitely one I am glad to visit theoretically. (Via HiFructose)

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Giant Colorful Silk Screened Paper Installations

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Dominique Petrin installation4

The installations of Dominique Pétrin are visually overwhelming.  Images, patterns, and designs seem to cover every as much available space as possible.  Walls are plastered from floor to ceiling often even covering ground.  Her expansive installations overlay the outsides and insides of buildings alike.  Pétrin accomplishes her pieces by using large silk screened panels of paper.  The imagery recalls an internet of the early 90’s – a time when the overabundance of information and imagery the web had to offer was only beginning to come clear.

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Dead People Propped Up To Look Like They Are Living It Up In The Latest Funeral Trend

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Photo credit: Percy McRay, via Reuters

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Photo credit: Ricardo Arduengo/Associated Press

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Photo credit: Ricardo Arduengo/Associated Press

Contrary to what these photographs might lead you to believe, the people in them are dead; they represent a special kind of funerary service that involves anything but laying down. Instead, the deceased are posed doing things that you’d see them doing while they were alive. Miriam Burbank is seen with a can of Busch beer and menthol cigarette between her fingers, while the body of Christopher Rivera is propped up in a faux boxing ring.

These strange and creepy displays aren’t anything new, although they are unusual. The phenomenon first appeared as early as the 1984 funeral of Willie Stokes Jr., a Chicago gambler known as the Wimp. He sat through his services behind the wheel of a coffin made to look like a Cadillac Seville. And even earlier than that are the post-mortem photographs of the Victorian era, where the recently deceased were captured while sitting in their finest clothing. While it’s not a funeral, they show how throughout time, we’re trying to remember those passed for how they lived.

Elsie Rodríguez, vice president of the funeral home that organized Rivera’s service, explains some of benefits of these situations, telling the New York Times, “This is not a fun or funny event; the family is going through a lot of pain. With these kinds of arrangements, “the family literally suffers less, because they see their loved one in a way that would have made them happy — they see them in a way in which they still look alive.” (Via The New York Times)

 

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Zachary Rossman

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Sickly sweet works from LA based artist Zachary Rossman. Such delicate use of naturally colored papers, and the drawings have hints of the hyper-detailed patterns that make my brain twitch with excitement.

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Erica Magrey

"Into the Wild"

"Into the Wild"

Erica Magrey is an New York based artist and musician exploring the ways in which fantasy shapes reality and identity. Much of her work takes a cue from sci-fi and kids’ TV shows, employing costumes and handmade miniature sets to portray alien worlds and beings. There’s some humorous writings on her site that would give you more insight into her idiosyncratic and wild videos but I couldn’t post them here but they’re all graphic images…so go to her site and read ’em!

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John Isaacs’ The Closest I ever Came To you

John Isaacs on his new show at Aeroplastics Contemporary in Belgium. The Show is up until January 12th, 2012.

“While producing these new works I was trying to bring together many of the themes, materials, and issues which have been running through my work for the last years. Primarily the works ‘en masse’ deal with our place as individuals within society, with the sometimes disempowering aspect of our contemporary overload, and the romantic fading memory of a simplified world view in which one’s sense of place was denoted by boundaries of personal vision and physicality, a memory which is now transformed into an endless web of connections and information, most of which, though highly omnipresent and totally accessible, leaves us as spectators rather than participators in what we are able to know.

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Lisa Swerllng’s Tiny People With Pubic Hair Make Bold Emotional Statements

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Trapped behind glass cases, the miniature human subjects of Lisa Swerllng’s Glass Cathedrals unabashedly perform daily rituals normally veiled from the outside world. The stunning pieces afford viewers with a whimsical type of voyeuristic indulgence. Like children before a set of dolls, we are invited to examine the many mundane moments that compose adult life, breathing life and meaning into each dollhouse-like setup with our own imaginations.

With its feet firmly planted in childlike curiosity, the series is unafraid to veer into tragic emotional spaces; caught staring into endless amounts of white space, many of the figures appear lonesome and fully aware of their smallness. A woman scrubs at a dizzyingly vast array of tired floors and walls, incapable of completing her work for her own tininess and permanently fixed position. Similarly, a man stares at his cow, a sole companion who does not return his gaze.

Though humorously seen, Swerling’s models are at times bitterly unaware. A group of people stand before a glass case containing the figure of a generic ghost labeled “god” with a sign stating, “In case of emergency break glass,” not noticing that they themselves are encased in glass, searching for meaning in the touchingly absurd. The viewer, in turn, is forced to face his or her burning existential yearnings within this magically adult dollhouse.

The idea of domesticity as it relates to femininity shines through in Swerling’s work in unexpected ways. A piece titled “A woman’s work is never done” features a woman sweeping pink glitter, erasing the suggestion of the usual portrayal of the home as unfulfilling; here and in a piece that features a woman serving dinner at the head of the table, glitter serves as a surprising and ecstatic symbol of female self-actualization. From the woman who examines herself before a mirror to an unwaxed redhead standing nude before circle of nuns, Swarling’s women embrace their activities unabashedly.

Hitting poignant notes that remind us of the power that lies beneath human smallness, isolation, connection, and actively defined identities, Glass Cathedrals serves as an alter at which we may worship our own condition. (via Foodie Bugle, Catto Gallery, and Lost At E Minor)

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Family Guy gets the Disney Makeover

So hopefully you watch Family Guy (or at least Disney as a child) to understand how amazing this is… the show imagined what it would look like if the characters were all transported into the wonderful world of Disney. The illustrators did an amazing job on this one. Total classic.

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