Just because everyone and their mother is doing graffiti and “street art” these days -rendering the talent pool watered down and chunky like a hasty batch of kool-aid, doesn’t mean the form has reached its peak and the guys who actually know what they’re doing should hang up the gloves. James Reka, of Melbourne, Australia, knows what he’s doing. Reka just killed a solo show at Backwoods Gallery in Melbourne, and released “Pissing in the Wind”, a book of risograph prints documenting the life and times of the Aussie artist. Hope to see him in the ‘States soon.
Lauren Pelc McArthur is a multi-disiplinary artist from Toronto,Ontario currently attending the Ontario College of Art and Design. Through a back and forth process of collage, painting and digital art she explores the inter-connectivity of modern media and technology along with science fiction influenced concepts of the assimilation of technology, pop culture and the human form.
A seemingly unlikely source of inspiration for contemporary artists, figurative sculpture has a long history. From the classical figure sculpture of Greek antiquity to African Yourba figurines artists have always had an inclination to depict the human form. Meeting the challenges of making such an old tradition new and relevant, these contemporary artists re-imagine the human form.
Contemporary master Jim Dine, often categorized as a pop artist, appropriated from art history. He selects icons, such as the Venus de Milo, to re-contextualize for a modern audience. Nathan Mabry draws from archaeology, Dadaism, surrealism and minimalism. He makes references across the art historical timeline, “crashing,” as he calls it, multiple aesthetics together. Interested in the impact of historical and mythological events on our collective consciousness, Katy Schimert creates sculptures that feel like they might have walked out of history. Fascinated with surface, Schimert uses her mediums to make the forms feel new, evoking a unique kind of introspection. Kevin Francis Gray’s work addresses the complex relationship between abstraction and figuration. He combines Neoclassical sculpture with an urban aesthetic. Fernando Botero is a Colombian artist who creates sculptures depicting people and other figures in large, exaggerated volume. The overstated features are meant to be humorous and generate political criticism.
Interested in landscapes, San Francisco artist Jenny Odell spends quite a bit of time looking at places viewed from above on Google Maps. Searching for industrial forms and shapes that, when combined create an unusual and striking kind of landscape. Odell then creates digital prints, the likes of which have even been exhibited in the Google Maps headquarters. Of her work Odell says:
“Much of the strangest architecture associated with humanity is infrastructural. We have vast arrays of rusting cylinders, oil rigs dotting wastelands like lonely insects, and jewel-toned, rhomboid ponds of chemical waste. We have gray and terraced landfills, 5-story tall wastewater digester eggs, and striped areas of the desert that look as though they rendered incorrectly until we realize that the lines are made of thousands of solar panels. Massive cooling towers of power plants slope away from dense, unidentifiable networks on the ground and are obscured in their own ominous fog. If there is something unsettling about these structures, it might be that they are deeply, fully human at the same time that they are unrecognizably technological. These mammoth devices unblinkingly process our waste, accept our trash, distribute our electricity. They are our prostheses. They keep us alive and able, for a minute, to forget the precariousness of our existence here and of our total biological dependence on a series of machines, wires, and tubes, humming loudly in some far off place.”
Drawing attention to our dependent, but odd relationship with this infrastructure Odell is also exploring what it has to reveal about our habits, patterns and the elements of our everyday life. She is also interested in viewing this infrastructure in a way where it takes on the quality of being the remains from a time and civilization gone by. In other words, her images take on “tragic air: they look already like dinosaurs, like relics of a failed time from the perspective of a time when we will know better—or when we are no longer here.”
For your consideration: a $500,000 ring mounted with a tanned sliver of hairy human skin. The piece, titled the Forget Me Knot ring, is the creation of boundary-pushing Icelandic fashion and jewelry designer Sruli Recht. For these one-of-a-kind works of art, Recht had a 110 by 10 millimeter a strip of his skin surgically removed from his abdomen; the artist then salted it, tanned it, and embedded it on a gold ring.
The work, though grisly, carries with it a raw sexual potency. Its title refers, of course, to marriage, or “tying the knot;” in this way, the piece is unabashedly intimate, tying literal bodily fleshiness with the idea of love and intimacy. The ring’s beauty lies in its refusal to be pretty; its hairy, gray, and it’s gruesome physicality operates as a strangely comforting promise that two people might become “one flesh.”
The medicinal and scientific references of the rings strangely reinforce this idea of devotion. Complicating the relationship between jeweler and client, the ring comes with a certificate of authenticity, providing DNA validation that the slash is in fact the artist’s, and a DVD graphically documenting the making of the ring, including the surgical removal of flesh. With these items, Recht creates a personal catalog of both his molecular and artistic existence, offering himself to a potential wearer in uncomfortable yet touching ways.
Recht’s other rings, composed of rare black diamonds and other precious stones, remain authentic to his gritty, viscerally demanding aesthetic. Take a look, and let us know what you think! (via Oddity Central)
Alberto Seveso’s high speed photographs of ink mixing with water are hypnotic and fascinating. Each shot depicts pushes of color twisting and bending with an emotive cadence, lulling itself into an ephemeral sculpture, detailed with sharp visceral attention.
Although such imagery is not new, per se, this specific collection feels intrinsically magnetic due to the captive nature of submerged color naturally bonding or relating before diluting. It’s more about documenting the ease of abstraction than pushing a forced abstract agenda.