U.S. Marshals is American photographer Brian Finke’s fourth and most recent series. The artist documents the everyday activities of the law enforcement officers. The photos are particularly relevant in light of police violence in the U.S. The most recent case is in Ferguson, Missouri, where an unarmed teenager was shot by a police officer, the issue of race, of course, being a huge factor. The photographs provide a privileged glimpse of the conduct of these federal officers, something that should certainly be available for examination.
U.S. marshals function at a federal jurisdiction, transporting prisoners, judges, prosecutors, witnesses, and arresting “the country’s most dangerous fugitives”. According to Finke’s website, they have been involved in “missions ranging from tracking down train robbers in the Wild West, to protecting African American school children segregating the south in the Civil Rights Era, from enforcing all U.S. laws in Antartica, to seizing and auctioning off fraudster Bernie Madoff’s property.” A diverse resume to be sure.
The photographs are not surprising in what they portray – men and women in uniform and bulletproof gear – but there are moments of intrigue. I’m definitely interested to know what the story is behind the pink cuffs when all of the other gear in the photographs is so much more severe. I’m also curious to know what’s going on with the shirtless and shoeless man in nothing but a bathing suit being escorted away by a marshal.
Finke is releasing a book of his U.S. Marshal series November 20th and will coincide with a solo exhibition at ClampArt.
Ryan McGinley recently completed an entire new suite of photographs entitled “Moonmilk” exploring nude figures set within kaleidoscopic, quasi-mystical caves and rock permutations. At its core there is something wondrous and fantastical about these dramatic, cinematic style faux/real fo’ real(?) backdrops. Disneyland-esque even, equal parts Space Mountain/Matterhorn/Thundermountain….(Does anyone remember the one ride that had some kind of stalagtite-ridden ice cave with multi-colored changing pools that everyone threw pennies in?) With the figures inserted often in semi-Yogic poses, an air of impermeable esoteric rites combined with Sci-fi futurism collapse….on a strange planet in a distant retro-future, a new race of innocent cave-dwelling Adams and Eves is born? Hmm….They’re really all so flawlessly, amazingly beautiful that I had to post about 10 of them below, but you should definitely check out the entire series on his site.
When you first witness Francesca Dimattio’s work you forget post-modernism and pummel head long into post-apocalyptic armageddon. Strongly resembling totems ingrained with furniture design, their melting quality give off surreal messages but ultimately speak to something totally present. There’s a mystical side to their nature akin to religious artifacts. A link to the distant past where certain angles become figurative channeling idols you might come across on a hike through an enchanted forest. Their formal aesthetic fuses pieces of ceramic together and creates organic patterns that zig zag through collage-like patches of cracked elegance. The tiny shards of porcelain build a narrative out of tea cups and plates a metaphor to the memories of one life lived.
The unusual technique Dimattio uses eventually manifests into porcelain-laden structures which ultimately resemble chairs and chandeliers. These account for the title “Domestic Sculpture” her latest exhibition at Salon 94 in NYC. Dimattio’s history in painting comes across when viewing these magnificent pieces in person. Up close the work has a thick impastoed paint quality which make them come alive in another sense. Whereas her paintings referenced architecture and collage, her sculptures embrace all of the above including ceramic traditions.
Dev Harlan is a multidisciplinary artist whose hybrid practice combines the physical and the virtual with the use of sculpture, light and projection. Utilizing innovative video projection mapping techniques, Harlan controls and shapes the projected image into precision alignment with his sculptural forms. Through his masterful use of this hybrid video technique Harlan makes the intuitive a reality and gives the works rhythms and a dialogue that set their own pace. Using a palette of strong, assertive colors, kinetic geometries, and varying vantage points the artist projects an intuitive dialogue onto the sculptures that is succinct and cohesive. (via stacythinx)
Taking cues from a 17th century practice known as taolennou, Gurt Swanenberg creates a new series of compelling sculptures. The original idea of taolennou was intended to provoke awareness of the seven deadly sins to a largely illiterate population through visual imagery.
Swanenberg takes the same idea and brings it into the present. Using various animal skulls he paints commercial logos related to each of the seven sins and makes statement about how they’re interpreted in the present day. Ideas such as gluttony are depicted on a pig skull with junk food logos painted on it. Wrath shows violent imagery on a lion head skull which includes gun and nazi references.
Even though the skeletons are painted Swanenberg takes references from sticker culture and collage. His overall aesthetic uses anthropology with brand name culture to comment on society’s ills. The original seven deadly sins surfaced around the 14th century. It was put forth by the Catholic Church to call awareness to man’s tendency to sin in the areas mentioned. According to the church there are two types of sin; venial which is relatively minor and the more serious mortal or deadly which is considered to compromise the grace and charity of a person’s nature. (via supersonic)
Image maker Suzy Poling seems to believe in the unreal. Her work breaks the formalities of typical photography, by utilizing many different methods for production. Some of her work has hints of Andreas Gursky, while other parts have the the surreal air of Tim Walker. Her work feels like a documented rapture, where nothing exists where everything once did.
Rusty Shackleford creates collages, sculptures, and arrangements that investigate the relationship between image and form, engaging vintage printed matter to extrude its inherent qualities, of color, context, and nostalgia. The resulting images are delicately poised between abstraction and representation, paint and print. Shackleford does not treat his images preciously: he ravages them with swaths of paint, but he strikes a surprising equilibrium between readymade and intervention. His sculptures function similarly to his collages, where color and form, executed boldly in a minimal, Modernist style, integrate smoothly with the colors and forms in their surroundings.
Brian Willmont (who we featured in Book 3) recently added a new selection of works to his portfolio. His wacky wild west cast of cacti include Clint Eastwood style brambly bandoleers and prickly pistol-iers. The spook of the frontier’s ghost towns, outlaws and mining carts are infused with Brian’s unique sense of humor. I mean really, what’s better than a desert plant sporting oversized cowboy hats and shades?