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The Strange Expressions In Laura Krifka’s Paintings And Sculptures Depict Sexual Awakening

laura krifka paintinglaura-krifka-reap-the-whirlwind-16laura krifka painting

laura krifka painting

The strange expressions in Laura Krifka’s figures exude a feeling of tension and surprise. The collection of paintings displayed in her latest show, “Reap the Whirlwind” at CB1 Gallery in Los Angeles, offer a tableaux of sexual awakening, youthful lust and rough mischief. Each character seems glazed over in some type of expensive plastic yet the narrative refers back to old masters such as Rembrandt and Boticcelli. This is part of the reason Krifka’s work is intriguing. It embraces a juxtaposition which is not often seen. The other is her painting ability.

A skilled technician, Krifka renders her weird realistic narratives of lustful desire with relative ease. Her placement of characters in the great outdoors lends a plein air quality which enhances her scenes of multiple partnered sexual encounters and voyeurism. At times the figures resemble renaissance blowup dolls which adds humor. Even though it mostly depicts sex, there is no real sensuality in the paintings , instead Krifka captures the awkwardness of adolescent awakening.
Accompanying the paintings in the show are a series of small sculptures and video. The sculptures are tiny and even though relate in narrative to the paintings, its characters look a bit more rag dollish. Well, maybe not a little but a lot more. This makes them even more intriguing. Actually, I believe these are models for the video, which isn’t accessible on the web. There is a still on the gallery’s website which does hint at this fact and one could conclude the video consisting of a sexualized rag doll version of Little House On The Prairie.

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Tim Mantoani Shoots Portraits Of Photographers Holding Their Most Iconic Images

Tim Mantoani - Photographer

Steve McCurry

Tim Mantoani - Photographer

Barbara Bordnick

Tim Mantoani - Photographer

Lyle Owerko

Tim Mantoani - Photographer

Jim Marshall

In December 2006, American photographer Tim Mantoani embarked on a unique and fascinating project to document living photographers with their most iconic images. Since then, he has collected over 150 portraits, ranging from the historic to the contemporary, the cultural to the political. Included among the vast series is Harry Benson and his famous photograph of The Beatles engaged in a pillow fight (1964), as well as Lyle Owerko holding his devastating image of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers (2001). All of Mantoani’s portraits are taken on the “rare but mammoth format of a 20×24 Polaroid,” using a large camera originating from the 1970s (Source). Only a handful of these Polaroid cameras still exist (you can learn more about the devices he uses here). Mantoani’s reasoning for using such unique, classic technology is rooted in a respect and passion for the photographic tradition; as he explains, “If you are going to call the greatest living photographers and ask to make a photo of them and you are shooting 35mm digital, they may not take your call. But if you say you are shooting 20×24 Polaroid, they will at least listen to your pitch” (Source). As further homage to these artists, as well as their impact on the history of photography, Mantoani has had everyone write a story about their iconic image on the bottom of their portrait.

Mantoani’s project is simultaneously intimate and historically significant. It is an undeniably powerful experience to see the faces behind photographs which have defined cultural eras and signified shifts in social consciousness. So often, despite the impact of their work, photographers remain the unseen observers while framing the world in profound ways. We don’t often have the opportunity to connect with the mind and personality behind the lens. Mantoani’s work crystallizes these important artists in the records of photographic history. Suddenly, with the Polaroid and its accompanying, hand-written inscription, we can imagine Steve McCurry in 1984 in the midst of the Soviet War in Afghanistan, capturing the face of Sharbat Gula (“Afghan Girl”), who would wordlessly tell the world an intimate story of hardship and perseverance. In regards to an iconic moment in the history of American music, Jim Marshall’s portrait shows us the face to which — for an intense, fleeting moment — Johnny Cash held aloft his middle finger. These portraits bring the bodily, human presences back into the images and their associated histories.

In 2012, all of these stunning portraits were compiled in the book Behind Photographs, published by Channel Photographics. The book is available in multiple formats, including a regular edition, a slipcase limited edition, as well as a cloth-bound deluxe limited edition that comes with signed collector cards. It is also available as an eBook. The print versions are available for purchase on Mantoani’s website. More photographer portraits after the jump. (Via 123 Inspiration)

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Court Side Glam: Victor Solomon Recreates Basketball Backboards With Stained Glass

Victor Solomon - stained glass backboard Victor Solomon - stained glass backboard Victor Solomon - stained glass backboardVictor Solomon - stained glass backboard

It is common knowledge that superstar athletes are paid handsomely. But artist Victor Solomon reminds us of that fact in a beautifully colorful and decorative way. He spent over 100 hours hand making stained glass window-style backboards for the basketball court. He makes the connection between the luxury life a lot of professional athletes live, and the historical opulence that once existed in homes and interior design.

After designing the backboards in a traditional ‘Tiffany‘ style, he cut the glass, soldered the frame together, strung together different style nets to suit each design, and even gold plated the rims. He has weaved jewels, gems and chains together, attaching them to the Art Nouveau style designs. Literally Balling is his collection of three different backboards, and what started out as a joke between friends, quickly turned into a labor intensive project centered around luxury and grandeur.

The thought of someone haphazardly throwing a basketball at one of these intricate and fragile creations is quite an unsettling one. Solomon cleverly points out that the attachment to, and respect we have for beautifully handcrafted objects, is also the same we have toward celebrity sports stars and professional sports. We can look, but it’s probably better not to touch. (Via Design Boom)

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Stefan Zsaitsits’ Surreal Drawings Conjure Childhood Nightmares

stefan-12 stefan-10 stefan-3 stefan-1

Austrian artist Stefan Zsaitsits draws portraits in pencil that are simultaneously nostalgic and strange. The alluring images often feature surreal moments that are from a child’s point of view and a deranged mash-up of characters, places, and frantic mark-making.

There are small comforts in Zsaitsit’s work, like the warm-toned graphite coupled with moments that highlight the joys of growing up. Some characters play with toys and imagine pleasant, beautiful things. Other times, Zsaitsits depicts children and their nightmares. Dark combinations of desolate scenes are ravaged by scary animals and enemies.

Through visual layering of these characters, the artist indicates that many of these images are seen in the mind’s eye. In the drawings, they’re contained within the body or its direct gaze. Zsaitsits’ symbolic works are a darker, more modern-day version of a child’s Boogie Man, and ripe for interpretation by the viewer. (Via Faith is Torment)

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Sterling Ruby’s Complex Installations Resemble Blood, Veins, And Stalagmites

Sterling Ruby - pvc pipe, foam, urethane, wood, spray paint and formica

Sterling Ruby - pvc pipe, urethane, wood, expanding foam, aluminum, spray paint

Sterling Ruby - Installation Shot

Sterling Ruby - Fabric

The incredibly multifaceted and complex sculpture by artist Sterling Ruby is in a realm between veins filled with dripping blood and stalagmites forming inside a cave. Sterling creates massive and intricate installations using ceramic, paint, collage, and urethane to form his uncomfortably oozing sculptures. Although the striking reds combined with the system of lines used primarily in his work resemble veins and arteries, they possess an attractive quality that draws the viewer in. It’s seemingly endless drips demand your constant attention as it keeps your eye moving across the entirety of the installation. Often installed along with his sculptures are red drops referencing blood created from Formica, wood, spray paint and fiberglass.

This Germany born artist, currently based out of Los Angeles, has a wide range of influences that are apparent in his all-encompassing body of work. Influenced by graffiti and street art, many of Sterling’s sculptures are purposely defaced with “graffiti” by the artist himself. He also pulls inspiration from the punk movement, accounting for the chaotic and bold nature of his work. Sterling has a wide range of style, as he does not always create dripping installations. Many of his sculptures are modeled after soft, plush items resembling everyday objects such as a stack of pillows. His soft sculptures are no doubt the influence of infamous and controversial artist Mike Kelley, who Sterling worked under during his graduate studies. His unique take on installation allows him to completely transform a space, taking the viewer into another world. Sterling’s talent has made him widely successful as he continues to exhibit his work both nationally and internationally in galleries, festivals, and biennales.

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Paul Parker’s Incredible Living Map Of Birds In Flight

Paul Parker - Video

Paul Parker‘s video “Seagull Skytrails” shows a living map of bird flight, charting their paths like free-wheeling weather patterns or miniature time-lapsed jet planes. In some parts of “Seagull Skytrails,” the birds almost look like patterns on a zoetrope or frames of some life-sized GIF. The effect is playful, as though we’ve been allowed to look behind the scenes.
Parker also uses After Effect, a piece of video editing software, to blur the birds’ paths into pulsing dark ribbons, looking almost like ocean currents transposed onto the sky. These “skytrails” offer us a peek into the transit system of another world: the freeway of birds.

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Jackie Dives Documents Her Brother’s Recovery From Heroin Addiction

Jackie Dives - Photography

60mg methadone + heroin.

Jackie Dives - Photography

Jackie and her brother together. On his first day in the world, and a few years later.

Jackie Dives - Photography

Sober.

Jackie Dives - Photography

60mg methadone + heroin.

Jackie Dives is a Vancouver-based portrait and documentary photographer who has bravely followed her brother’s recovery from heroin addiction. The project began nearly a year ago, when her brother asked her to capture his progress. Jackie agreed, explaining she “wanted to do it as a record for him, hopefully [as] a way for him to remember the severity of his addiction, and prevent him from relapsing.” The images are unfailing in their honesty, capturing fluctuations of strength, hope, pain, and vulnerability. We see him smiling, looking healthy, and sitting beside his girlfriend (who bravely accepted that Jackie take her photograph post-breast augmentation, thus adding another dimension of fearlessness and candidness to the series). In other photos, he looks troubled, his face lined with pain and sadness. The emotion emanating from these images is palpable, and even though Jackie’s brother may be unknown to us, his portraits of struggle and hope inspire a profound sense of empathy and acceptance for individuals enduring the trials of drug addiction and recovery.

What makes this series even more significant is the fact that, for Jackie, her love-infused photographic ambitions began with her brother. Eight years his senior, Jackie began documenting him as soon as he was born; as she writes in her Artist Statement, “Because of our age gap, photography was a realistic way for us to connect that didn’t require us to have much in common, other than being in the same room.” He was not an easy subject; “he moved fast,” and was uninterested in the art she was trying to create. As a result, Jackie became adept at working on the fly, less concerned about refinement and perfection, and interested instead in snapping the purity of a moment. These experiences documenting her brother have developed the core of her artistic objectives and philosophies; while working in the fields of family, event, and travel photography, true portraiture is always her primary focus:

“What’s important to me is simply a moment in the life of my subject. It is not forced or artificial. I want to show my subject truly. […] Ultimately, it’s about letting people continue to be themselves, and not stopping the moment, but letting it flow on, and being adaptable to it. I only want to capture what is actually happening, and in doing that, take a true portrait.” (Source)

Visit Jackie’s website to see more images from this powerful series, as well as many other beautiful portraits and projects. Her Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook page are also up-to-date with her most recent and ongoing work, so be sure to check out those as well. More images of her brother’s recovery after the jump.

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