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Jay Schmidt

Jay Schmidt, Free Art School Paintings

Jay Schmidt, Free Art School Paintings

Jay Schmidt is one of the more perplexing guys I’ve met, because he appears like a very clean cut, normal guy in his fifties (slacks and a dress shirt) – but there is something right under the surface that you can’t put your finger on.  I am hesitant to say madness, but maybe what passes for madness in a consumer culture.  Once you see his paintings it comes into focus, they present a parody of the world in a queasy wobbling, agitated, cartoonish iconography that lets you know exactly what he is thinking!

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Lucas Simoes Cavernous Collaged Portraits

These cavernous collaged photographs by  Brazilian artists Lucas Simoes are the result of a series of interviews with his subjects. Read more about Lucas’ process after the jump.

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Squid Soup’s Motion-Responsive Sea Of LED Lights

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Submergence, Oslo from squidsoup on Vimeo.

Submergence is the newest project from the artist collective known as Squidsoup.  Chains of multicolored LED lights – 8,064 lights to be exact – are carefully hung for the installation.  A colorful and immersive environment, Submergence is intended to be experienced from within the installation. The piece performs complex programmed patterns and is responsive to movement.  In fact the piece runs through a four parts to create a twenty minute movement-responsive piece.  Check out these four parts in the video after the jump.

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James Esber: You, Me, and Everybody Else

James Esber, a New York based artist, will be featured at the Pierogi Gallery in his new show: You, Me, and Everybody Else. James is known for addressing, through his work, the notions of distortion and perception. Colorful, incredibly wacky, but always engaging. So if you’re in the area, make sure to join James Esber this Friday Nov. 19th for the opening of You, Me, and Everybody Else at the Pierogi Gallery, located at 177 N 9th Street Brooklyn NY 11211.

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Alex Ebstein: Honestly Interesting

Until recently I was unfamiliar with the artist Alex Ebstein, but I am glad to have rectified my lack of awareness.  There is an honesty to Ebstein’s work that I find readily engaging.  The use of yarn or string in an artist’s practice can often shift the aesthetic towards a decidedly crafty end result, but Ebstein manages to use the material with such purpose that it might as well be a drawn line in an architectural blue print.  The effectiveness of the work hinges on her ability to merge direct compositional tactics with a more playful approach to the selected materials.  Ebstein’s use of string also elevates the intentionality of her mark marking, and then quickly reasserts itself as a method of creating illusory depth in what would otherwise be relatively flat pieces.  Taught angular moments combined with purposefully relaxed textures start a visual conversation that I am more than happy to participate in.

I could have just included the ‘eye chart’ pieces because I found them extremely aesthetically pleasing, but the back-story provides a bit of insight that I think most would enjoy.  Think of it as a ‘Director’s Commentary’ for the work.  Courtesy of Miss Ebstein, “…then for the eye chart pieces. They are more of a weird reflection on (and obsession with) eyesight and my existing eye problems that force me to visit the doctor every month. I’ve had four eye surgeries in three years… I am always nervously checking my vision against things, one eye at a time, so these drawings were kind of my own dark humored joke about being an artist and constantly worrying about my vision.”  I am of the belief that ‘going blind’ is one of (if not) the most terrifying things any artist could imagine, and I appreciate the candor with which she addresses what could be an immobilizing reality to those with a more pessimistic outlook on life.  Ebstein will be starting grad school this fall, and I am eager to see how this focused environment will affect her work.  I also encourage anyone interested in contemporary art to check out the consistently interesting programming at Nudashank – a gallery she co-runs with Seth Adelsberger in the Baltimore area.

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Dan Attoe

Accretion 39 (Dumb Babies)

Combine the variety of Hieronymus Bosch and the weirdness of David Lynch; add a pinch of skateboarding and two d-cups of death metal and you’ve got a good recipe for taking in Dan Attoe’s newest painting, “Accretion 40.”  Placing multiple small scenes over an end-of-days landscape, he touches on everything from a drawing monkey (self-portrait?), to strippers, Christmas, and going to Hell.  Dan put the finishing touches on this yesterday, and he’s about to move and have a kid, so this is going to be the last big painting for a little while.

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Christopher McKenney’s Surreal Photographs Are Disturbingly Beautiful

Christopher McKenney - Photography

Christopher McKenney - Photography

Christopher McKenney - Photography

Christopher McKenney - Photography

 

 

The surreal photographs by Christopher McKenney are haunting, as a (mostly) faceless figure interacts with a deserted environment. The desaturated images are shot in the middle of the woods, a corn field, a lake, and back country roads. Sometimes, we see a ghost. Other times, a man is lit on fire. Whatever the situation, McKenney crafts a quietly desperate image.

The photographer recently told art blog iGNANT that he one day found himself in the woods with nothing but a sheet, chair, and frame. He placed the sheet over his head and photoshopped his body out. He tells iGnant, I like taking away identity when photographing and to leave people thinking. “I only make the photos I do to express myself and what other people see or think is up to them, as long as I make them feel anything I’m ok with that.”

Personally, I experience cognitive dissonance when looking at McKenney’s work. I find a lot of these images disturbing yet beautifully composed.. For instance, the photo Fragile Perspective (above) features someone with a burning box over their head. Formally, the colors are rich and the orange of the fire is stunning against the blues, browns, and grays. But, then I study the content of the photograph and realize that it depicts someone who is essentially set on fire.

Not all of McKenney’s photographs are like that. Other times, they are simply whimsical and nonsensical. In Let Go, a suitcase with a balloon tied to the handle stays on the ground as its owner floats away. Another photograph has a chair in an empty field with a pair of hands (only hands, no body), infinitely holding a mirror. It’s these photographs I enjoy more – ones that are odd, but don’t communicate utter despair. (Via iGNANT)

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French Night Clubs In The Daylight Look Less Impressive and More Sad

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Art director, designer, and photographer Francois Prost captures the exteriors of french night clubs in his series After Party. There’s a twist to these straightforward compositions, and it’s that they are all pictures taken the in the daylight, where the glitz is non-existent. It’s safe to say that they are significantly less impressive places in the afternoon. Instead of of neon lights and gaggles of beautiful people, they are abandoned-looking, desolate buildings that show their age.

We see a lot of faux features at these clubs, like fake palm trees, sphinxes, and even an Acropolis. It’s all meant to create a fantasy and make the guests feel like they’ve been transported from their normal lives and into some glamorous one. Of course, without the aid of the dark and flashing lights, the buildings are dilapidated and out of place. If you’re a club goer, it’s probably best to avoid them during work hours to preserve their intended effect. (Via It’s Nice That)

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