Though the work of Gabriel Pionkowski may be constructed like a sculpture, he is definitely a painter. Pionkowski meticulously takes apart his canvases and painstakingly hand paints each individual thread. Then, using a loom, he reweaves the thread into a canvas once again. Painters have deconstructed and reconstructed the concepts of painting for ages. Pionkowski, however does this in literal sense. His process of destruction and recreation reveals the literal and theoretical structure behind art and painting. The reconstructed pieces reveal the typically hidden supports of the canvas while creating a kind of absolute abstraction.
Artist Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen combines something that we’ve seen many, many times throughout the history of art – figure painting. But, he does it with a contemporary approach. His moody paintings feature partially obscured people as they rest beneath the water. They are just below the surface of the dark, deep pool, and the light from their bodies is all that’s visible.
According to Uldalen’s artist statement, his work, “…explores the dark sides of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty. The atmosphere in his subject matter is often presented in a dream or limbo-like state, with elements of surrealism.” Although these figures are rendered realistically, they rest in a void with little additional visual information. We can’t be sure of where they are or what brought them there. And, for some, if they are dead or alive. It’s this open-ended narrative that gives drama to Uldalen’s paintings, and the hauntingly gorgeous images are the kind that will stay with you – even if you don’t want them to. (Via I Need a Guide)
NYC via Philly-based artist, Jayson Musson, (previously), has periodically posted videos to Youtube for about a year now under the header “Art Thoughtz.” In the videos, Musson assumes the identity of satirical figure Hennessy Youngman, a hilarious HipHop head-cum-fine art critic. Youngman’s brand of satire is the best there is: “make fun of everyone and everything.” So far, Musson’s taken on art world figures as varied as Damien Hirst, Kehinde Wiley, and Marina Abromović, and applied his unique logic in lampooning concepts like institutional critique, surrealism, beauty, and socio/political art. Watch the latest “Art Thoughtz” after the jump.
Haitian born American artist Morel Doucet sculpts ceramic timepiece odes to coral reefs. His work simultaneously touches two seemingly unrelated issues, both of which have been created by constructs of complicated and sensitive histories ingrained into reality over time: climate change and societal taboos. His series, titled Clock Work, “examines the relationship between the dying of our environments (coral reefs) and skin color (Melanin) as a device for the passing of time.” Just as climate change manipulates elements of the environment, the conditioning of history’s exploits that have been created by unequal distribution of power and inequitable actions has influenced the way human tonality is considered. His work pairs moments of nature with notions of flesh tone. For example, his piece titled Blanc refers to how the solar irradiance is bleaching the coral reefs, as well as “how prevalent skin whitening cosmetic products are popular in the Caribbean and parts of Southeast Asia. Four out of ten women surveyed in Jamaica, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea used a skin whitening cream.”
Using various forces, including personal and cultural histories, dreams, and the “paradoxical beauty of nature,” Doucet’s quiet work finds a delicate manner in which to speak of overtly complex topic areas that are often let down by semantics. He states;
“I aim to create work that not only stands out for its regal impact but also for its sensitivity. My inspiration comes from an ongoing interest and profound respect for indigenous tribal cultures of the Amazon, Aboriginal natives of Australia and the Yoruba tribe of West Africa. I am fascinated with garments and textiles of Native Americans and Afro-futurism. With this vocabulary of indigenous art, along with my personal dreams, I make whimsical forms resulting in a diary of my personal mythology.”
His work, rooting in self exploration, effortlessly offers a soft platform to speak about the complex.
Welcome to the World of Kur! from Aaron Blecha on Vimeo.
As usual, I have found more evidence that Scandinavians live in a clean, brightly colored world of smart design and cute concepts. Animator Aaron Blecha recently created this commercial for KUR, a Danish organic food company. What I like is that the entire animation is styled around the Kur brand seed shape (the teardrop.) This airs on TV, you guys. Our budweiser booby girl commercials look pretty bleak in comparison to this hypercolored world of dancing ants, happy crabs and record loving birds.
Aaron Blecha has some other lovely animations & illustrations as well.
Original personal and behind the scenes photographs of infamous pin-up models Bettie Page and Bunny Yeager are now on view at the art gallery Gavlak, in Los Angeles as part of the exhibit How I Photograph Myself. You may think this is a strange title, but it actually refers to a book that Bunny Yeager herself wrote during her lifetime. Born in 1929, Yeager was not only a wildly successful pin-up model, but also a photographer herself who very often took her own photographs. She came into modeling after meeting actress Bettie Page shortly after studying photography at Lindsay-Hopkins Technical College. Bettie Page asked Bunny Yeager to photograph her, and Yeager eventually began modeling herself. She was not only an accomplished photographer and model, but also a scriptwriter and author, publishing How to Photograph Nudes and How I Photograph Myself, hence the exhibition title. These books went on to influence such well-known photographers as Cindy Sherman and Diane Arbus.
What is so interesting about these photographs, besides the obvious appeal and seductiveness of the pin-up style clothing and curvy women, is that Bunny Yeager was able to become so successful both as the photographer and model; the artist and the muse. Her femininity and beauty was laid out on a silver platter as a model, yet she could be taken seriously in a time when men dominated almost any scene. To portray yourself in such a sexual way and also sought after as a woman in your craft would still be an accomplishment today, let alone in the 1940s and 50s. Bunny Yeager was able to work against the traditional male gaze, and create her own photographic style that is both delicate and alluring. How I Photograph Myself will be on view at Gavlak from July 25th to August 29th.