As New York’s unofficial artistic ambassador to Copenhagen this September, Tom Sanford is presenting a possessed Charlie Sheen grinning while staring fixedly forward, blue flame lighter in hand, delicately pinching a glass pipe. Sheen is entwined with a bemused, half-dressed woman about to slur out something not worth hearing, or maybe she’ll recite Macbeth: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player. That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. And then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” She’s palming a cocktail tray piled with white powder and and balancing a can of Four Loko. Four Loko is the drink that famously mixed alcohol with stimulants (Wikipedia says it’s just alcohol now), confusingly allowing us to do more and experience less at the same time. This painting is funny, but it also digs in the human condition in ways that we can all relate too. Sheen’s grimacing face might as well be the anamorphic skull in Holbein’s The Ambassadors, because it carries the same warning. Tom Sanford is one of those guys, who if you’ve been around New York, you sort of know already. He speaks with the charisma and articulate precision of an evening news anchor, but instead of scaring you like the news anchor does, he creates strangely healing images. Tom Sanford’s newest show is “The Decline of Western Civilization (Part III),” and it opens at Gallery Poulsen in Copenhagen on September 2nd.
Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou’s photographs of the people of Porto-Novo, Benin (formerly Republic of Dahomey) are drawn from street life, his friends, family and studio customers. Benin is all about colour – Porto Novo is like a visual assault.In Leonce’s impressive portraits, wild combinations of locally designed Dutch imported textiles create extreme gradations between background, foreground, person and clothing. Leonce is part of a generation experiencing rapid change and his photographs capture the energy and unfettered zest for life of a people caught between tradition and progress.
William Edmonds is one of three artists that are a part of London’s prolific Nous Vous art collective. On top of his precise attention to detail and color, Edmonds also has an unconventional perspective that shines through within every single one of his illustrations.
Beth Livensperger’s painterly canvases are full of confusingly convincing visual miscues. Fluorescent lighting, mirrors, and expanses of reflective glass complicate vision by blinding, doubling, and flipping what we see. Livensperger uses these illusions in ways which prompt the question “what exactly am I looking at?” She makes us pay attention to places we would normally ignore, like store fronts, wood shops and laundry rooms. In the process bringing us into a one on one confrontation with our sense of sight.
Ian Addison Hall’s Patterns of Science series is named after a program created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) shortly after World War II. The program’s purpose was to prevent an apocalyptic third world war by promoting intercultural understanding. At the time many thought the fundamental cause of international conflict was humanity’s failure to realize the ideals of a world community and that we are all grounded in common values.
Using vintage catalog imagery, each piece in this series explores the relationship between the patterns that exist in fashion and the patterns that comprise human genetics. While a clothing pattern is designed to make the wearer look and feel different than everyone else, when expanded over the model’s exposed skin it instead represents the common biological and emotional framework that we all share. Acknowledging the shared traits that we all share will encourage empathy, compassion, and better understanding.
Collage typeography illustration from Alexis Anne Mackenzie has an air of playfulness without being overly girly, or illustrated. She shows a beautiful balance between image and letter, with I’m sure a lot of painstaking thought put into each piece. Nicely done!