I first saw Allison Krumwiede’s art at the LA Zine Fest and still can’t believe she isn’t like the biggest most important artist ever. Her pop culture work is incredible and her talent literally spans across every medium – from digital rendering to needlepoint. Whereas most artists spend their entire lives trying to perfect one thing like pen and ink drawings, she can easily switch between a brush and a needle like a civilian trades forks for knives at a dinner table. So, it’s rare that someone like Allison comes around, extremely freaking rare! She is definitely a talent to watch out for, especially considering she’s already done commercial work for some of the country’s media bigwigs like The New York Times and The Village Voice within a year of graduating from Art Center.
Finland-based artist Iiu Susiraja has an interesting array of conceptual self-portraits featuring her posing, in an unorthodox manner, with household items. Shot in domestic settings, Susiraja seems to be mocking domestic lifestyle, or possibly mocking the framework we feel we must live within: the operative chores and habits that are considered normal. The work is silly but layered. Susiraja wears items in the wrong way; leggings on her breasts, or taping high heels around her knees, the images are reminiscent of a childs brash reaction to something that makes no sense, but is so ritualized we stop questioning the absurdity of something like the discomfort of tall heels. Why do we wear them?
Certain blogs on the internet have been deeming this the “anti-selfie”, although, conceptual portraits have been around for nearly as long as photography has. We all remember Cindy Sherman, don’t we? It seems attaching a hyped up word such as selfie, which the encompassing item we have thrown today’s self aggrandizing
A selfie is a shot of one’s self, yes, but it is characterized by the blatant self-importance of it, the self-promotion, the self-self-self. It is, generally, a tactless and shameless documentation of ME. The only statement being made, if any, is a call for attention. We have only recently, as a society, begun to feel comfortable enough to do something once considered impolite or, selfish. While art could easily be argued to be some of these things, such as egomaniacal (and this would be an eternally long argument), you could hardly consider a conceptual portrait to be in the same ballpark, or game, as a selfie. Susiraja’s work is not an anti-selfie, it is simply art. If we compare her work with a generic selfie, there are some major differences in intention, audience, and presentation. What is the intention behind the piece; is the artist working as a medium to transmitting a message that reaches beyond the mere documentation of her own existence, or is it tepid self-promotion? Is the audience Instagram? And finally, was it shot on an iPhone? Taking these things into account, it appears calling work like this an “anti-selfie” would be like calling a letter an “anti-email.” Are we in a place to recategorize “art” and limit it by simply referring to it as an antithesis to a trendy movement it predated?
Photographer Joanne Leah works in “seduction, ritual, and tension”. Her pieces capture relationships, between two people or art and its viewer, as it alternately relaxes and strains. In the series featured in this post the angle of the light is severe recalling the chiaroscuro of baroque painting. The light, though, is cold, almost lonely, emphasizing the solitary figure in each photograph. Whether, the subject holds teeth in her palm or wields a knife a drama is clearly unfolding.
Gestural fluid abstraction and geometric patterns usually don’t well together but Kent Michael Smith has figured out a way to make them live harmoniously on the same surface. By using resin inbetween layers of paint he manages to combine these two disparate forms of mark making that reference Nascar color schematics, hunting gear, camouflage, and graffiti.
Elle Muliarchyk is a photographer and filmaker from NYC. Her recent project “Begotten,” a book project that looks to reinvent religious icons as Pop Icons.
Canadian artist Shary Boyle’s beautiful sculptures know no bounds. Her physically delicate yet intrinsically powerful ceramic pieces push boundaries of the real, stretching seemingly ordinary moments into fantastical satire of historic dark realities. Her work explores the complexity of power dynamics, addressing a vast array of social structures including gender politics, colonialism, and exoticism. Her work exists in a state of quiet conflict; it is fragile, precious, and plays on notions of traditionalist elegant aesthetics, while simultaneously delivering sharp intellectual puns that are clever, sophisticated, and some how, even through the visual distortion, perfectly intellectually exact. For example, her piece Family (2010) features a pilgrim man and woman sitting by a fire made up of a totem pole reminiscent pile of a decapitated heads.
Along side her ceramic sculpture practice, Boyle is also prolific artist in a endless variety of media spanning painting, performance, and film, to name a few. The artist also does beautiful “live drawing” collaborations with musicians. She has worked with artists such as Feist, Peaches, and Christine Fellows.
Shary Boyle has won various awards including The Hnatyshyn Foundation Award and the Gershon Iskowitz Prize. She has shown her work at prestigious institutions such as the Centre Ppmpidou, The National Gallery of Canada, and The Art Gallery of Ontario. She exhibited at the 2010 Canadian Biennial as well as the 2013 Venice Biennale.