The photography of David Brandon Geeting is a new kind of still life. His photographs capture everyday objects, found or arranged. The compositions of the pieces almost seem to reference classical art. However, the content reflects an ultra-modern obsession with objects, picture-taking, and boredom. His pieces have a definite fine art aesthetic though they’re populated with banal household items. Geeting’s work reflects a new kind of still life, that in turn reflects a new kind of modernity.
Sometimes it seems that the more successful one is as a professional artist, the more important personal projects become. Such is the case for photographer Zhang Jingna who has partnered with video concept artist Tobias Kwan and several guest artists for the project “Motherland Chronicles.” A weekly project, the series of 52 images has recently been completed.
“It’s an exploration of sort. An attempt at putting together elements and themes I’ve loved since I was a child. It has a bit of a don’t-want-to-forget-my-childhood-dreams sort of thing going on; since I’ve been working for almost 7 years now, I don’t want to lose track of who I am, but it’s easy to as you grow and do too much commercial stuff, you know? So it goes back a lot more to my creative roots, more illustrative and painterly, like artworks that inspired me to create. Loosely linked together with hints of dark fantasy.” (Source)
The themes for the series developed organically. As the weeks progressed, the fantasy element became pronounced, colored with Jingna’s affinity for manga, Japanese rock, and fashion. The artists’ whose work she was inspired by includes Antoon van Welie, Suemi Jun, George Frederic Watts, and Yoshitaka Amano, and their illustrative influence can be seen in the work, particularly in the even light. Each image takes between 5–7 hours and a team of 5–6 people to complete. In her fascinating blog she writes about the process of beginning a personal project, using “Motherland Chronicles” as an example, and gives excellent, step-by-step instructions on what to consider and which pitfalls to avoid.
“Pictures always start from a single point; it could be an item, a piece of jewellery or even just a vague idea for a concept. Say I want to do a shoot with firs, I’ll ask myself questions such as: what kind of environment am I creating? What types of fire can I make? How does my character interact with it? What type of character does that? At the same time I do research on art, costumes, culture and sometimes also myths and legends.” (Source)
Jingna and Kwan hope to have a book for “Motherland Chronicles” completed and ready for sale in early 2015. (Via Juxtapoz)
South Korean artist Jee Young Lee spends weeks and even months converting her work space into an elaborate tableaux which the artist then photographs (and never alters with computer after effects). In a Seoul studio measuring smaller than 12′ x 13.5′ x 8′, the artist creates intricate scenes, employing various materials, and camera tricks to create narrartive photos which reference fables, cultural metaphors, and stories personal to the artist herself.
According to curator Hyewon Yi “Lee’s constructed realities belong to the “directorial mode,” employed since the 1980’s by Postmodernist photographers in repudiation of the Modernist practice that sought truth in the everyday world. Lee’s “constructed image photography” may be compared to the works of German sculptor and photographer Thomas Demand…U.S. installation artist and photographer Sandy Skoglund’s orchestrated room-size installations. But in contrast to these earlier artists, Lee’s subjects are deeply personal and intensely psychological. Drawing upon prodigious powers of imagination, she labors for months to create effects that seem to expand and contract physical space. And always, a lone figure inhabits and completes her narratives. Jee Young Lee assumes the roles of set designer, sculptor, performer, installation artist, and photographer – and she executes them all magically.”
OPIOM Gallery in Opio, France will be presenting Lee’s first European exhibition, a selection of her ongoing body of work called Stage of Mind. The exhibition opens February 7 and runs through March 7, 2014. (via mymodernmet)
Real life Tetris (my favorite video game) by Sergej Hein…
Bjorn Copeland mashes up neon colors, geometric patterns, and disparate collaged elements into one big distorted reality. This Brooklyn based artist also makes up one third of the experimental rock group Black Dice, and creates all the bands posters, artwork and t-shirts. Sound a little bit like to me like a similar path that this other guy Raymond Pettibon took all the way to the top. Keep up the good work Bjorn!
Lava Mae, a nonprofit project that seeks to provide the homeless with access to showers and toilets, commissioned artists and designers to create artsy toilets that were displayed along Market Street in San Francisco on November 21st, during the same week as World Toilet Day, for a project titled “C’mon, Give a Shit.” Though these names are snicker-worthy, this day is a UN recognized event that “aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.” Through their public art toilet project, Lava Mae seeks to generate awareness about the sanitation problem surrounding the homeless. In May 2014, Lava Mae plans to roll out their first retro-fitted MUNI bus that will provide mobile showers and toilets to the homeless community in San Francisco.
Lava Mae founder Doniece Sandoval says, “We want to deliver dignity. We feel that if you don’t have access to hygiene you lose touch with your humanity.” Acknowledging that the mobile facilities will certainly not end homelessness, Sandoval is hopeful that the project provides a good starting point for addressing the homeless’ lack of access to basic human needs. “We’re creating a model for delivery of service that others can embrace, a forum that works like open source technology,” Sandoval says, “Our designs, our budgets, anything we can help bring to other communities.”
Sculptor Sophie Kahn has merged new technology with old to haunting effect in her sculptures of incomplete women. Kahn initially worked as a photographer but became frustrated with working in two-dimensions. Modern 3d scanners initiate these sculptures, but the fragmentation of the figures is achieved by using the scanners in a way for which they were not designed. Kahn says:
“When confronted with a moving body, it receives conflicting spatial coordinates, generating fragmented results: a 3d ‘motion blur’. From these scans, I create videos or 3d printed molds for metal or clay sculptures. The resulting objects bear the artifacts of all the digital processes they have been though.”
The absences in these figures is what makes them so arresting. The elements that are represented are death-like in their pallor and stillness. There’s no sense of motion, instead the women look like they were captured post-mortem. Their peaceful body language and impassive faces contrast with their layers and patches. Like the juxtaposition of new and ancient techniques Kahn uses to create these works, the figures are both enduring and fragile.
“These scans, realized as life-size 3d printed statues and installed in darkened rooms as a damaged ancient artifact might be, serve as a incomplete memorials to the body as it moves through time and space.” (Source)
The imperfect sculptures reveal flaws, empty spaces, and altered textures. It speaks of the inability to ever really know a person, as if these pieces of the mapped and printed bodies are all that could be gathered.
“This concern with the instability of memory and representation is the common thread that weaves together the ancient and futuristic aspects of my work.”
Kahn’s fragmented women give form to the futility of capturing the essence of a life.
At the grave of a fallen soldier stands a pale white horse, regal and majestic, with his mane in tight braids. In Anima, the photographer Charlotte Dumas delves into the quiet moments in the lives of burial horses, known for participating in the funeral ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery. The magnificent equine creatures— who by day serve as living manifestations of moral ideals, patriotism, and righteousness— are caught by Dumas’s lens in nighttime moments of introspection and rest.
After the flags are folded, after the firearms have rang out, the horses remain in their small box stalls, resting on humble beds of shavings and hay. Shot under Dumas’s gleaming twilight lighting, the animals are pictured in the final minutes before sleep. In stark contrast with the colorful visions of their burial services, they are bathed in a moody Rembrandt-esque glow that streams in from metal bars, seemingly retreating into an unknowable equine psychology.
Yet within these peaceful moments, Dumas captures an anxious sense of unrest. A horse’s glinting black eye remains open as he twists his neck, revealing waves of muscle under short-clipped fur; a long nose, its hair worn away by a bridle’s noseband, pokes out into the light, emerging from sleepy darkness. The neck and back of the creature is fixed in the frame, isolated from the rest of the body, as he goes to stand upright, his withers stained with manure.
The horses range in age: some wear the grey fur of youth, while others are pure flea-bitten white. Seen here, it is as though the horses cannot escape the atmosphere of the cemetery, confined within their dark stalls forever by some invisible knowledge of death. Take a look.