The fact that the minds eye can watch in rapid succession a forest turn from barren winterland to the growth of spring clearly means we have become Gods of The Earth. Anyways, happy New Year’s Eve! Watch the year pass in ways only Sorcerers have known.
Léonard Condemine is a French mixed media artist who sculpts enigmatic masks and photographs them in haunting contexts. His work is influenced by occultism, mythology, and the tribal arts, representing the body in arcane relation with the earth; nude figures crouch by the fire, in the forest, and beneath starry skies. Decorated with paint, feathers, and mirror shards, the masks are stunning works of art that transform the subjects into mythic (or perhaps monstrous) beings. Impressively, none of his images have been digitally manipulated; the magic of his work arises from a brilliant synthesis of setting, costume, composition, and light, thereby transforming reality into the realm of dreams.
Condemine is interested in the dual forces of identity formation and identity loss. The masks, albeit on a human body, are extremely adept at obscuring the figures’ humanity; with their faces (and thus their emotions) inaccessible to the viewer, the figures become embodiments of mystical forces and the wilderness around them. This effect is so powerful, that when Condemine and his brothers posed for the final series of photos last November, not even their closest friends could identify them beneath their masks. This alienation from subjectivity is both unsettling and compelling, revealing identity as a construct, and also opening the images up to endless interpretation.
Lorna Barnshaw likes to experiment with digital renderings of human faces. In her series of 3D art prints Replicants, Barnshaw used a different computer, software, application, and printing method with minimal interference with each computer’s rendering. The results are geometric, cubed, and warped mask-like representations of the human face. Complementary to this work, Barnshaw’s gif series Reality Reduction, depicts human figure images reduced to their basic geometry using a digital filter. Together these series engage us with their reflections on technological influences in contemporary culture.
Beautiful/Decay Apparel artist, Pablo Alfieri, has updated his website… in Neon HD!! Pablo has put up a lot of new work. You don’t want to miss it! And, if you like what you see, check out some of his t-shirt designs for our Artist Series Apparel line after the jump, which are available on our online shop.
Lucas Soi is a Canadian artist living and working in Vancouver, B.C. His interdisciplinary
practice involves work on paper, installation and video.
Collaborators Marquismontes must be a fashion shoot chameleon, able to shoot in hundreds of various styles, looks, and techniques that keeps the viewer on their toes and wondering what they’ll do next!
Documentary portrait photographer Probal Rashid captures the dark side of labor in his recent series Innocence Lost. Profiling the underage workforce in Bangladesh, his candid snaps focus on children who must earn what little money they can in order to provide for their families. The jobs range from brick-chipping, construction and refuse collecting, and are all low-paid jobs. The minimum age for employment is 14 years of age, but because a majority of the work is carried out in small factories, workshops and on the street, laws and guidelines are almost impossible to enforce. This means that some labor is even unpaid. Rashid explains more about the situation:
Children are paid less than adults, with many working up to twelve hours a day. Full-time work frequently prevents children from attending school. Long hours, low or no wages, poor food, isolation and hazards in the working environment can severely affect children’s physical and mental health. (Source)
The portraits of the children are simple, stark and striking images situated in their place of work. Surrounded by the objects they manufacture, you can get an accurate sense of just how long the children labor away for. All framed similarly, and as close ups, the hardships they experience are evident in their faces.
Rashid is a long time advocate of the people of Bangladesh, India, and Nepal. He captures the unspoken side of local life, spirituality and economy in those countries. His past series include Faces In Black Oxide (a further exploration into the workforce, this time in the iron oxide manufacturing industry); Life, Death and Salvation in Varanasi (about the pilgrimage to the Ganges); and Faces of Climate Survivors (portraits of some of the 154 million Bangladeshi who have been affected by natural disasters between 1990 and 2009).
The objects I make serve as devices for poetic awareness. Looking into them creates an atmosphere of in-betweenness which helps frame the small extractions and resonances of the world featured in each work. Commonplace elements in the natural and built worlds provide points of origin for helping people gain insights and understandings of the landscape around them. My work incorporates extractions from sites in urban and pastoral landscapes, whether the material extracted is local stone or wood, video, or photographs.
In a world with a seemingly endless amount of stimulus available, most of us are concerned with our own business, unable to let some of the more subtle aspects of the world reveal themselves to us at times. Taking note of these details might help us better appreciate or gain an enhanced understanding of the world we live in. As Walt Whitman wrote in the preface to Leaves of Grass, “The greatest poet dilates any thing that was before thought small…with the grandeur and life of the universe. He is a seer.” My work temporarily removes or alters the viewer’s existing frame of reference to provide an opportunity for a different presence of mind, a distilled frame of reference.