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Ben Barretto at The Popular Workshop

San Francisco Gallery The Popular Workshop recently opened a solo exhibition by Australian artist Ben Barretto entitled Self Help. From the press release: “Self Help continues Barretto’s ongoing exploration into recursion; with each of the series of works he presents ‘making’ themselves to some extent. That is, the chosen material and its inherent properties inform the process and drive the work into a constant loop of feedback.
Self Help presents iterations of this process over 3 different mediums, including hand woven tapestries made from used climbing rope, reconfigured nylon training pants and a set of oil paintings. Within each of these series, Barretto creates a system through which the material qualities of each medium are unbound and rebound into a continuous ongoing cycle, a cycle which sits in collaboration with the expressive additions of Barretto’s own hand, having these works sit somewhere between assemblage and action painting.” The show is on view through April 12, 2013.

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Jeremy Rotsztain’s Pet Images Made With Found Flickr Photos

With found Flickr photos as his source, Jeremy Rotsztain‘s series Obsessions (Flickr Pets) “document the love and obsession that people have for their pets.” The individual images are color-blocked and reductive, verging on abstract in some instances, yet the subject matter keeps them recognizable and full of personality. Each still is the result of animations made in C++ using the openFrameworks library — which just sounds impressive for a series from 2008, right. Rotsztain’s catalogue has a wealth of series that explore the overlaps of technology, culture, behavior and art.

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Pieter Hugo’s Portraits Reveal Skin Impurities To Comment On Race And Beauty

Federica Angelucci, Cape Town, 2011

Federica Angelucci, Cape Town, 2011

Ulrica Knutsdotter, Cape Town, 2011

Ulrica Knutsdotter, Cape Town, 2011

Rob van Vuuren, Cape Town, 2011

Rob van Vuuren, Cape Town, 2011

Pieter Hugo, a South African photographer, plays with color channel manipulation to create portraits that highlight the impurities on his subject’s skin to make a statement about race, the colonial experiment in South Africa, and contemporary ideas of beauty.

There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends entails portraits of the artist’s friends- all whom call South Africa their home. Through the manipulation of color, Hugo emphasizes the sitter’s blemishes and sun damage making them look darker than they would normally appear without the editing process.

In these portraits one sees how the sitters’ environment, a place where there is incredibly harsh sunlight, has started to ‘corrode’ our epidermis. This speaks to me about the South African colonial experiment – all these people from all over the world, thrown together within the confines of a nation by the forces of history. The damage left by the sun and the environment becomes allegorical of the burden of South Africa’s tempestuous and fraught past. History leaves its marks on us. It eats away at us. We cannot escape its heavy weight.

Besides the political allegories found in the work, Hugo is also interested in highlighting the errors of racial distinction by revealing that beneath it all, beneath our skin, we all look the same. As the critic Aaron Schuman writes about Hugo’s work, “although at first glance we may look ‘black’ or ‘white’, the components that remain ‘active’ beneath the surface consist of a much broader spectrum. What superficially appears to divide us is in fact something that we all share, and like these photographs, we are not merely black and white – we are red, yellow, brown, and so on; we are all, in fact, colored.” (Images via Stevenson)

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A Hotel Room Covered Floor To Ceiling With Hello Kitty Cuteness

Hello Kitty - Line Hotelline hotelline hotel line hotel

Hello Kitty was stirring up the Internet in late August because it was discovered that she in not, in fact, a cat. Now in LA, Hello Kitty is once more the object of attention, as Sanrio celebrates the 40th anniversary of Hello Kitty at the Line Hotel by decking some of the rooms out in Hello Kitty paraphernalia and custom furniture.

Many fans were extremely unnerved at the news that Hello Kitty was not a cat. “Her creators think of her as “a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.” (LA Times)

One might argue that, although she is never seen on all fours, she does have whiskers and cat ears, which might indicate she is a cat. It seems odd that Sanrio would insist so fervently that Hello Kitty is not a cat. On the other hand, if that’s how her makers imagine her, it’s an interesting thing to know.

Apparently, Hello Kitty’s fans have not left her after this revelation, as the hotel is fully booked for the duration of the installation’s stay. There are many creative manifestations of Hello Kitty, including toilet paper, couches, baths, and a stall that is graffitied in part with Hello Kitty’s name. (Via Fast Co)

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Maldo Nollimerg

maldo nollimerg drawing

Am I crazy or are Maldo Nollimerg’s drawings extra creepy but in a good way?

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Daniel Aristizába’s Surreal Dream-Like Digital Pop Art

Daniel Aristizába - Design

Daniel Aristizába - Design Daniel Aristizába - Design

Daniel Aristizába - Design

Daniel Aristizábal is a graphic designer and illustrator who creates incredible digital works of art that are surreal and transport the viewers to a topsy-turvy Rube Goldberg-esque world. His Huevos series is playfully inspired by Dali’s “Eggs on the Plate without the Plate,” showing colorful variations on the common egg. 

In some of Aristizabal’s work, the 3D elements pop out, almost like digital sculptures. Other works, such as his “Glitched Cubism” piece, utilizes the 2D GIF format to play with the dimensions and perspective of cubism. In an interview with Instagram, he says that his work is a “retro, colorful, geometric bonanza.” His art seems to draw on a palette that is by turns neon and sherbet but always whimsical.
Aristizabal continues to say:
 
“My main sources of inspiration are random thoughts that pop in my mind, like memories of dreams and places that I used to imagine when I was a child. I think the term ‘pop surrealism’ works well for me. My work is full of simplicity and organic shapes. It is nostalgic in its essence.”
 

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Estelle Hanania’s Parking Lot Hydra

More imaginative spectacle by French photographer Estelle Hanania.

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Nezaket Ekici’s Liberates Herself By Cutting Off Her Hair

Atropos5Atropos1 Atropos2 Nezaket Ekici - double bindPerformance Atropos in der dna-galerie.de ,  berlin, 20061202+49 - 30 - 285 99 652  Johann Nowak

Wearing a bright orange dress and armed with scissors, German artist Nezaket Ekici is tethered to the ceiling of a room via her hair. Long ropes act as handcuffs and are tied to the ends of her long brown strands. The only way out? To cut the strings or hair. Her performance, titled Atropos, was first presented in 2006 and again in 2008. It used 100 ropes, 100 hairlines, and 100 pitons (a type of metal spike) and lasted one hour.

We see that during Atropos, strings and hair are cut and dangle over Ekici’s eyes and other pieces of rope. At its core, it’s the act of freeing oneself from the ties (literally) that bind. In a statement about the work, posted on the Celeste Network:

She carries out an act of the self-liberation, while she frees herself with the help of a sissle from long ropes fastened at the roof and to the hair. She cuts off a part of her hair and in this way dissociates herself from a piece of herself. This work can be seen as a vital discussion about the question on the sense of life, that is partly characterised by striving for freedom. Particularly, because hair can be considered as a symbol of life.

This piece’s title comes from the Greek myth of the Moirai who are the goddesses of fate. The statement further explains:

Atropos, who is one of them splits according to the myth the fate threads of the life with a sissle. The artist shows with the radical act of the hair-cut a way out. She takes fate into her own hands and frees herself, like Atropos did. At least the act of the cutting can be seen as an attempt of liberation in itself. (Via Sweet Station)

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