Using the natural shapes and contours of the body, German artist Gisene Marwedel transforms the human body into a living, breathing work of art. Marwedel paints finely detailed images, ranging from animals to landscapes to abstraction. She first learned the art of body painting while in India, where she began painting with henna. This skill evolved into a full-time hobby (she has a day job as a speech therapist). Her work depicts scenes of movement and grace with a hauntingly surreal aesthetic. (via mirror)
Sculptor Loren Schwerd documents the wreckage hurricane Katrina left behind by building artwork from it in her series Mourning Portrait. While in New Orleans shortly after the storm Schwerd came upon the flooded St. Claude Beauty Supply shop, much of its inventory spilling out on to the sidewalk. She uses the human hair extension she picked up off the curb to build what she calls “commemorative objects”. Each piece is a “portrait” of a building in various stages of deterioration. The images of dilapidated homes give an indication of the massive amounts of damage from the storm while the hair alludes to the human loss. Schwerd explains her use of the human hair extensions in her work this way:
“The portraits draw on the nineteenth-century tradition of hairwork, in which family members or artisans would fashion the hair of the deceased into intricate jewelry and other objects as symbols of death and rebirth and remembrance.”
Pixels and Polaroids is a series of images created by Jherin Miller that combines pseudo-Polaroid photography and retro 80s era video game graphics. The concept behind Pixels and Polaroids was to blend these two elements into one world where pixelated characters live through the eye of a Polaroid camera. Miller’s goal was to combine retro film photography and retro digital graphics into one interesting world, where you get to view this world and it’s inhabitants through these this hybrid of new and old. (via oriental)
Australian artist Kristy Milliken knows nudity. A former photographer in the amateur porn industry, she became inured to capturing images of stereotypically attractive, thin women on film and moved to paper and ink and a new point of view.
“We see skinny women everywhere. I always forced ‘flaws’ into any of the skinny women I painted, the bigger ladies are what they evolved into. Something far more interesting, of course different pieces have different intent behind them, but there’s a naivety to them. An unaffectedness that I aspire to in my own life. I draw them as beautiful because I think they are.” Source
Milliken’s ink drawings are adorably subversive. The women are gorgeously fat, rosy and delicious. They look luscious, like ripe fruit, plump and sweet. Round tummies, thick thighs, heavy breasts, all kissed with pink and purple, topped with adorable round cheeked faces. They’re sexy, these large women, bound and gagged, smoking and eating, covered with food. The whimsical execution contrasts with the overtly sexual nature of the work.
“It’s a weird time for fat. Fat is both confronting and can be the most normal thing in the world, It’s the context that’s important. Plus I’m sick of all the pictures of skinny girls that seem to be everywhere.” Source
According to the artist, the themes of greed and beauty reoccur in her work, paired in an unusual way. Luxuriant pasta cascades over the women, sating and draping and entangling them. But despite her claim that these images are about avarice, the images feel affirming, even charming.
Body positive art can sometimes be confrontational, taking a focused, warts and all approach. Asserting that she’s not attempting to be political, Milliken’s work feels joyous and sweet— a light perspective on a weighty subject.
Using recycled objects like board game pieces, party straws, and paper fans, Swiss artist Marie Rime created a fantastic set of masks and armor. The separate-yet-similar series are composed of multi-faceted objects that cover the subjects’ entire face and part of their body, forming silhouettes made from the likes of chess pawns and popsicle sticks. It recontextualizes kitsch and transforms the use of these tiny individual elements into a cohesive veil that obscures its model’s face. In both bodies of work, the emphasis is on power and competition. Rime explains her mask project and writes:
In this series, the notion of game is being questioned. I tried to express my fascination with the relationship between the players. I asked myself what the participants are looking for and whether they are trying to disturb, seduce or intimidate opponents. These reflections led to a series of pictures of a female model wearing masks inspired by primitive tribal art, yet created from elements of the games being played in the championships.
Likewise, with the armor, she states, “These costumes, realised with everyday objects, are the starting point of a reflexion of the relationship between power, war and ornament. These women lose their identity and become the support of their clothing.” (Via La Monda)
Sven Lamme seems to playfully sit on the fence, so to say, between art and design. In collaboration with landscaper Terra Incognita, Lamme constructed these three “seating elements” throughout a nature preserve in the Netherlands. They at once serve as kind of landmark for the natural surroundings as well as a means to passively interact with the environment. Lamme also makes use of visual puns in the design of his seating elements. The first seat a literal interpretation of sitting on the fence, and the third resembling a buoy – a reference to the lands elevation below sea level.
In June 2012, a man named Andrew Shannon walked calmly into the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin, and after approaching Monet’s Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat (1874), he put his fist through it. To Shannon, the act of vandalism was a way to “get back at the state” — by punching a famous, 141-year-old painting, appraised (before the damage) at $10 million (Source). In court, he claimed he had fainted and fallen onto painting; video surveillance later revealed the act was deliberate. Recently, in December 2014, Shannon was sentenced to 5 years.
Since that day in 2012, conservators at the National Gallery have been hard at work trying to restore the painting to its former, beautiful, impressionist state — as Monet intended it. The damage was severe; the painting was split open in the middle, the torn pieces twisting outwards. The first step was to collect the tiny fragments that were on the painting’s surface and the ground nearby. Fragments that were found were then collected and classified under a microscope, as the conservators tried to figure out where they fitted into the painting. 7% of the fragments, however, were too small to be identified; these were sent to a lab and tested with a chemical staining dye, to figure out what types of materials Monet used.
The actual repair process was a long and delicate one. First, the painting was placed onto a padded cushion, and the front was covered with a conservation-grade tissue that was adhered to the surface of the painting using water-based, animal glue to stabilize it while it was being fixed. The actual “surgery” proceeded like this:
“With the aid of a high-powered microscope and appropriately small tools, the tear edges were carefully aligned thread-by-thread. Re-joining of the realigned, broken canvas fibres involved applying a specially formulated adhesive to achieve a strong but reversible bond between the thread ends. This adhesive material has been used and developed by painting conservators in Germany over the past 40 years.
Examples shown here include small steel surgical tools for working on tiny areas using a microscope; mini hot spatula for applying controlled and localised heat to the painting; warming plate and glass containers for keeping adhesive at a consistent temperature. Hydrated collagen adhesive was made in-studio.” (Source)
After delicately suturing the canvas back together, the conservators then went through and pieced the fragments back in. Gesso and watercolor were used to retouch the areas where there were still missing fragments. To make sure the painting is preserved for the future, the conservators built a climate box “to reduce exposure of the painting to environmental fluctuations” (Source). The box includes a humidity buffer as another preventative measure.
It was a long and delicate process, but despite the extent of the trauma, the repair was a success. Check out the National Gallery’s website for a longer description of the restoration project. More pictures of the process after the jump. (Via Gizmodo).