I feel like if Harm van den Dorpel’s gave a seminar about his work that he would be completely deadpanned and really matter-of-fact about it. Even though some of them look like 20-minute photoshop exercises, I can’t help but be mystified.
Kara Walker’s new sculpture “A Subtlety” is pure white, coated in 160,000 pounds of bleached sugar; with this modern take on the ancient sphinx, the legendary artist crafts a towering black face in honor of the slave laborers who worked in sugar cane fields. The powerful work is meant to address racial and sexual exploitation; like the sugar that coats her polystyrene core, this black female figure has been pressured, against nature, into succumbing to whiteness.
The work is now on display at the old Williamsburg, Brooklyn Domino sugar factory shed, where it reaches to the ceiling and extends for a magnificent 75 feet. The mythical creature is a powerful assertion of the black female self; the face quite resembles the artists’ own, and a carefully wrought bandana subtly references the stereotypical (and often offensive) symbol of the mammy, a slave woman who nurtured and brought up white children. Walker has been the subject of debate in the past for her use of contested imagery, and despite the controversy surrounding the “mammy” figure, she is presented here as powerful and divine.
Like the ancient sphinxes of Egypt and Greece, Walker’s monolithic creation is godly, simultaneously fearsome and comforting. The sphinx, known for protecting the tombs of royalty, becomes the guardian of history, interrupting a white-washed historical narrative to make visible the labor of the men and women who were kept enslaved. Her face is serene, assured, and unyielding. The sphinx character, in addition to being a protector, is also dangerous, renowned for devouring those who cannot answer her riddle; Walker’s sphinx is similarly confrontational in her overwhelming size, forcing viewers to confront the complex and painful history of American industry. (via The New York Times)
Marcos Montané is a Buenos Aires-based Art Director who says he is “experimenting in the fields of procedural design, generative graphics and visual music.” His work is expressed in typography, visual design and audio-reactive visuals for VJ sets. Perhaps his most striking work is what he differentiates as some of his ‘still’ works, wire sculptures that recall natural, repeating readouts from a Richter scale, echoes, orbital fields or cellular biology.
In works like his Flowfields I & Flowfields II (above, and below – grouped and singular), Montané explains his inspiration and process “I was always amazed by the visualizations of flowfields that return some 3d softwares. In this case I used a topology optimization software and export the resulting lines to turn them into wire structures. The final result is a compact mass of wires.” The mass of wires takes on the appearance of sound waves solidified, equal parts organized yet chaotic(-looking).
Montané’s One-Piece Structures (below, with white backgrounds) are generated structures from a single piece of wire. Although simpler in their construction, the One-Piece Structures (which are named and numbered as Variations) equally complicated geometries, such as computer landscapes, GPS-tracking fields or sonar readouts.
You can follow Marcos Montané’s work at his Tumblr and Flickr accounts.
Catherine Nelson’s newest series Expedition is comprised of hundreds of photographs, collaged and digitally “painted” together to make five imaginary landscapes. Using her experiences in the creation of visual effects for feature films like Moulin Rouge and Harry Potter, Nelson assembles the countless photographs into one seamless, vibrant, and surreal image. This style of working isn’t new for the artist, and we’ve previously featured her incredible floating worlds before.
In a short statement, she describes what her motivation was for her style, writing:
When I embraced the medium of photography, I felt that taking a picture that represented only what was within the frame of the lens wasn’t expressing my personal and inner experience of the world around me. With the eye and training of a painter and with years of experience behind me in film visual effects, I began to take my photos to another level.
When you see the images up close, you appreciate at her photo manipulating skills even more. They are flawlessly put together and not to mention rich with great details. She features luscious greens of all kinds, plants, animals, and even humans, making references to mythologies like the story of Narcissus. All elements were inspired by Nelson’s memories of growing up along the east coast of Australia. (Via Colossal)
Neil Mota brings together the beauty of fashion photography and Pirates of The Caribbean costumes and accessories. This certainly is a tough task but Neil has managed to create an accomplished body of work that does it with ease.
Tomoo Gokita’s abstracted erotic paintings have a very nostalgic feel. As a child, Gokita snuck to read his father’s playboys, which he says are still a big influence on him now. His father created the images for advertisements in Playboy for its launch in Japan in 1975. Gokita now keeps the entire collection in his studio, and this influence shows heavily in his work. The curves and teasing stances of his characters are obvious references to such imagery. The forms and colouring make for a very retro feel, but the strange dot-eyes or the patterned zigzag head of the tuxedoed man have more of an Internet age vibe.
Gokita never reveals faces, except for the subtle suggestions in the dots. Often he flattens them completely or creates intestinal-looking deformities oozing from their head. Gokita says that he doesn’t depict faces because he became tired of them, and now he is instead interested in masks: “to hide a face and to become a different character.” This too seems to relate to his fascination with the women in Playboy. Although the images are extremely revealing, they’re also highly composed, and act almost like a mask of sexuality. Both the paintings and the images they are inspired from are a fantasy or a caricature of a woman’s true and much more deeply complex sexuality. Gokita’s paintings reduce them to be even more elemental, and also reveal their oddity. This is done very acutely due to his respect and love for the imagery. It’s a fascinating way to examine the inner workings of commercial erotic images. (Via Hunted Projects)
Brazilian photographer Nádia Maria creates melancholic, visceral and nostalgic photography that resonates with her private life struggles and universal themes that are familiar to all, amongst them- anxiety, depression, confusion, and so on. The dark aesthetic of these photographs are not to be taken lightly. Contemplating about these will bring discomfort and unwanted past painful memories…it happened to me. However, Maria’s work is so hauntingly beautiful that can just can’t look away.
“It’s all about experiments, games and involvement with the camera, with the image, the feelings, with ourselves.”
‘Vacuum’ and ‘Perfume’ are the names of the two series of photographs that are shown here. Maria’s series ‘Vacuum’ was inspired by constant wars insides herself (and humanity in general). She brilliantly captures the essence of deep nostalgia and sadness, and eternal yearning for something more, or something different. Its darkness is not to be confused with complete destruction and agony, as her subtle feminine, delicate characteristics take on and leave us feeling hopeful. Similarly, ‘Perfume’ visualizes Maria’s mental state (post-partum depression) after having her first son. “It was a phase of deconstruction and transformation”, she says. (via IGNANT)
Yanobe Kenji’s incredible sculptures closely fits a modern Japanese consumer aesthetic. His pieces, often based on robots, appear to be the products of the most modern industrial design: bright colors, polished metal, articulable joints, and shiny finish. However, they betray a fear of nuclear war. Yanobe’s artwork includes brightly-colored hazmat suits and tiny action figures with built-in geiger counters.He has also constructed a steel boat in the shape of a dragon called “Lucky Dragon” which breathes fire to protect itself. These massive sculptures pose the question: Would life after a nuclear war be possible, and if it were, would it be worth living?