Londoner Petra Storrs is not just a set, prop, and costume/fashion designer– she’s an artist who collaborates with performers to transcend ideas beyond the ephemeral and into a sturdy cult of fantasy. The “reflective mirror dress” she designed for Paloma Faith, for example, not only sharpens the singer’s playful theatrical identity, but further investigates this concept of “the gaze”. In Dazed and Confused Magazine, Faith elaborates on the intention, “Obviously, as a performer, I am normally the observed, but I wanted to flip that dynamic around and make the audience the focus.” Storrs response, of course, was to whip up a garment that literally does just that.
But it’s not just creative camaraderie that gets Storrs’ juices flowing– she also finds inspiration from everyday objects and history, or everyday objects that hold history such as . . . tea. Camellia & the Rabbit, her latest design endeavor (collected here), involves performance artist Rachel Snider, who uses “tea as a central motif/metaphor” and a narrative “like sea shanties” to interweave “historical facts and stories of tea”– thus, evoking our own personal relationship to this British afternoon tradition.
Yellena James uses pen and ink to create truly exquisite forms. What starts out as a single shape or line blossoms into magnificent mushroom-jellyfish hybrids, feeding my affinity for all things under the sea! Her artwork has been so perfectly described as “colorful arrangements of organic shapes and tangled lines (which) are at once floral and alien, organic and sci-fi, crafty and fantastic.” With each piece she tries to “create an intimate world that posesses its own ethos and its own emotional range.”
She’s done illustration work for clients such as Anthropologie and Nike, and her work has appeared in numerous art and design resources and publications like Vogue Australia and Giant Robot.
For his surreal photo manipulations, the Buenos Aires-based digital artist Martin De Pasquale contorts his own body to imbue the mundane rituals of daily life with a sense of humor that sometimes veers into the realm of terror. With the wonderfully oxymoronic title “Impossible Photography,” De Pasquale’s work stretches the medium to its limit, boldly questioning our assumption that the photographic object necessarily reflects reality. Though indeed impossible, the strange and comical mishaps— and horrors— of the work speak to very real existential anxieties.
Here, the human body emerges as mechanical, much like the the camera itself. Like the gears of an advanced automaton, heads and faces are replaced with ease, and the treat of mortality is abated with ever-renewed body parts. In some ways, the impossible photographs recall the paradox of the Ship of Theseus, a thought experiment which asks if a ship remains essentially the same after each of its parts are replaced. Here, the ship becomes a human being; in the daily grind of life, our protagonist is continually deconstructed and reassembled. Does he become generic, or does he hold fast to his identity?
In so questioning the individual, De Pasquale’s imaginative images challenge the notion of replication, which in turn examines the very nature of the photograph. Seen here many times over, the self is given over to a mysterious—and frightening— sort of duplication, giving rise to unnatural yet indistinguishable bodies that are ultimately mere simulacrums of the original. Take a look. (via Demilked)
Peter Schuyff’s favorite terms to describe himself are “irreverent,” “obsessive, ” and “spiritual. ” By irreverence, he means his confidence in what he is doing, his casual acceptance of an abstract vocabulary. The obsessiveness is in his technique. And through this process, his work becomes imbued with a kind of spirituality an apparition seems to build up within the layers of paint, and the light emanating from the canvas is, perhaps, a hint of its presence…he began painting one patterned surface over another, and then began to add semi translucent white grids to the two layers, further confusing the relationship between the patterns. Slightly claustrophobic, these paintings have been described as padded cells, albeit ones through which light mysteriously penetrates.
Kate Clements is artist whose primary focus is kiln-fired glass. These delicate icicly glass crowns are representative of many things: power, decadence, excess, and decorum, but the fragility of their forms undermine the seeming permanence of this status symbol. There’s something fanastical and menacing about these glass sculptures. The mythological associations one encounters upon regarding these crowns inspires a sense of wonder and magic, the consequences of which our old fairy tales can never seem to stop reminding us. Of her work, Clements says:
“I construct decorative, non-functional glass headdresses to initiate a new conversation about narcissistic female adornment. Throughout history the cultural construction of feminine identity has contributed to a persistent desire by women to transcend what nature has given them physically. I believe these gestures of transformation are made selfishly and with pleasure, in hopes to achieve a fantasy. The glass headdresses function as a separation between viewer and ‘wearer.’ This distance enables the ‘wearer’ to be transformed into the fantastical creature; however, this distance is only a counterfeit perfection.
I am interested in women’s attempts to fit popular cultural representation and how often this results in a suspension of their critical self-awareness. How women’s efforts to fulfill these representations can lead to feelings of guilt and the simultaneous assertion of individual power and the creation of a ‘feminine mystique.’ Finally I am interested in the adornments of the celebration of the ‘perfect’ woman. These celebrations can include beauty queens, exotic dancers, and ironically in it’s most extreme manifestation: the bride. ” (via my amp goes to 11)
Paris born London based Noemie Goudal‘s installation based photographs recreate rivers out of flowing fabric, bring large forests indoors, and transform a room into a cavernous hideout under the boardwalk.