“My recent paintings, which appropriate logos from hardcore punk bands, are meticulously hand painted to resemble silkscreen prints. I often incorporate drips of color that activate the surface and create a jarring contrast, which also references stain paintings of the 1950s and 60s. To compose the paintings, I combine images from various sources including vintage magazines, children’s activity books, websites, and my own drawings. The juxtaposition of these elements resembles the compositions of and mimics the tactics used in political messaging. The work also plays on the confrontation of violence and solidarity as expressed in a music genre that has roots based on a struggle for social justice.”
UFEX is a digital design collective comprised of Mikkel Møller Andersen and Kasper Fjederholt, based out of London and Copenhagen respectively. They recently opened an exhibition/collaborative show with Bora Tanay at Artary Off Space February 14th–dealing with “extemporaneous human sculptures” that subsequently explore the different aspects of “modern social constructions.” UFEX often create “analog” sculptures that are photographed and constructed in a way to make them appear inexplicably digital. Their series, “Eyes, Ears, Mouth,” is a fascinating example of sculpture that straddles the liminal and collapsable worlds of real/digital, handmade/photoshopped, showing that perhaps the boundaries are not as concrete as we thought. The result are hilarious meditations that push the boundaries of “reality,” authenticity and the absurd.
Michael Murphy is a Brooklyn-based artist known for his perception-challenging sculptural installations. Featured here is a new work titled “Branded,” commissioned by the Manhattan creative consultancy Lippincott. In an exploration of the term “brand identity,” Murphy used 100 laser-cut images of graphic logos to create a human face—more specifically, the face of his daughter, Iris Isadora. Portions of her photo where printed across each logo. From a distance, the image appears complete; move closer, however, and the portions break apart into distinct logos—Starbucks, Instagram, and KFC among them. Watch the video above and see how the installation changes form depending on one’s vantage point.
Lippincott believes that a company’s brand represents not only an identity, but a possibility; “it is who you are and who you aspire to be” (Source). By constructing a human face out of logos, Murphy’s work intends to represent how brands themselves can function similar to living entities, changing and growing along with the cultural trends. The fact that perspective changes the form and cohesion of the installation suggests that one’s own experience of a brand can function within a subjective framework.
In addition to Lippincott, Murphy’s other clientele have included TIME Magazine, Washington Life, and Art for Obama. For the past two years he has been collaborating with Michael Jordan and Nike in the creation of retail centerpieces for the Jordan Brand. View Murphy’s website to learn more. Isadora is a musician whose work can be heard here.
Manifest Destiny! is a temporary rustic cabin occupying on of the last remaining unclaimed spaces in downtown San Francisco. Positioned above and between well established city buildings the tiny cabin can be seen affixed to the side of the Hotel des Arts, floating above the restaurant Le Central like an anomalous outgrowth of the contemporary streetscape.
Created by Jenny Chapman and Mark Reigelman, Manifest Destiny is a commentary/critique on the unwavering perseverance of San Francisco’s early settlers. During the mid 19th century, as the eastern United States became over-crowded and expensive, the West offered limitless possibilities for those willing and able to make the journey. The drive to seek new possibilities and establish a better life at any cost is the conceptual motivation for this project. See more photos of this piece and some installation shots after the jump.
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)
Felice Varini’s site-specific paintings will have you dizzy as they distort your reality by altering your perception. Depending on where you stand or how you look her work, it looks completely different. One moment you are standing in front of a spiral of bright oranges, if you move to a different angle, skewed and broken. Her public works are painted on beams of buildings, walls of galleries, windows, and much more. The artist incorporates the entire space that her work inhabits into clever optical illusions, manipulating your eye into seeing something amazing.
Her eye-popping, bold shapes and vivid colors that she uses in her works make it impossible to ignore if you are lucky enough to spot one. Each shape the artist creates is like a piece to a puzzle that only fits together at the right moment, forcing you to pay attention to your surroundings. Varini’s optic art demands that you slow down and take a second to enjoy all that is around you, including her incredible artwork. If you don’t, you may just walk right pass it, only catching hints of blues and reds where there should have been squares and triangles. Felice Varini, originally hailing from Switzerland, now lives and works in Paris where she installs many of her brilliant works. (via Ignant)