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Rafael Gómezbarros’ Giant Ant Installations Shed Light on the Plight Of Migrant Workers

Rafael Gómezbarros
Rafael Gómezbarros
Rafael Gómezbarros
 Rafael Gómezbarros

Casa Tomada is a project of traveling installations started in 2007 by Colombian artist Rafael Gómezbarros in which giant sculptures of ants are fixed in swarms on buildings and structures. Self-described as “urban intervention” by Gómezbarros, the ants have been showcased in locations varying from London to Cuba with a very specific goal in mind: shedding light on immigration, forced displacement, and uprooting through historical points of departure for travelers and immigrants. The 2-foot ants themselves are crafted out of tree branches for legs and two joined skull casts made of fiberglass resin and fabric to make up the torso, making for a particularly morbid, visceral depiction of migrant workers in Latin America who are looked at as nothing more than vermin.

When placed on the facades of government buildings and blank gallery walls alike, the ants give off a chilling sense of foreboding and encroachment. By placing them in swarms, Gómezbarros makes the insects even more strikingly representative of the peasants displaced by war and strife in Gómezbarros’ native Colombia. The giant insects that make up Casa Tomada, which translates to Seized House, are certainly works that are bound to linger with viewers, whether in nightmares or otherwise.

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Tongue In Cheek: A Photo Series Of Couples French Kissing

Rankin - PhotographyRankin - PhotographyRankin - Photography

Ever wonder what it actually looks like when you’re making out – really going at it – tongue and all? One photographer took it upon himself to shoot couples doing just that. Often tongue on tongue action can be kind of grotesque, and rarely are we given the chance to examine it closely. Participating is always a good time, but witnessing from a relatively objective perspective – as someone not really invested – is kind of odd, and definitely uncomfortable if you linger too long watching. In film, if you’re lucky, you see a big juicy tongue slide its way in between hungry lips, but just for a second then it’s gone. Whether in public or in document, it’s hard to get up close and personal with a kiss when you’re not one of the ones doing it.

Rankin, a publisher, director, and commercial photographer living in London, set out for closer inspection of the French kiss in his series Snog. The most compelling of the images is one where you barely see the faces of the couple, just a hint of nose, some stubble around the mouth, and some foundation overtop the occasional blemish. You can feel the intensity of the kiss, as one lip lifts the other to reveal a bit of tooth, and the tong in front veers right as the other presses against it.

What Rankin achieves that others don’t is a balance between staging and reality. He maintains an appealing aesthetic while still staying true to the sentiment of french kissing. The funniest is the older couple both staring back at the camera. It looks on the one hand totally unnatural, but then it also seems to be something so appropriate for the character of the couple. It looks like their tongues are holding hands. (via Feature Shoot)

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Marcelo Daldoce’s Origami Watercolor Works Conceal And Reveal The Human Figure Between The Folds

In Memory of You Watercolor on Paper 19"x43"

Here Comes the Sun Acrylic on Paper 24"x18"

Here Comes the Sun (detail)

35-year old artist Marcelo Daldoce is literally bringing a new dimension to art with his folded portraits of women. A native of Brazil now living in New York, Daldoce is a self-taught artist who began painting at 16. Daldoce’s previous work included large scale nudes incorporated with sophisticated typography, as well as portraits using wine as a medium. His early employment as an illustrator in an advertising agency left him with a distaste for the conventional and a need to make work that is expressive and innovative.

In his current work, geometric patterns conceal and reveal the women beneath, contorting their bodies into impossible shapes. He says:

“In bringing to life a flat surface, I strive to create a puzzle between what is real and what is illusion, what is painted and what is manipulated, turning paint to flesh, paper to sculpture.”

Daldoce’s primary medium is watercolor, which he has modernized through his technique and style. Color, pattern, image. It’s almost too much to process, which is where the origami-like folds come into play. The shadows cast obscure parts of the artwork, giving the eye a place to rest. “It’s mathematic, a process of folding, folding, folding,” he says. “Folding is actually the biggest job now because it takes more time. It’s more complex than just paint.”

In the portraits, the sharp edged paper is paradoxical to the soft curves and valleys of the women’s bodies, and this contrast is carried through the diverse elements of his work: hidden/exposed, abstract/figurative, flat/peaked, colorful/neutral, traditional/contemporary. The paintings leap off the wall dimensionally, but the bold display doesn’t overshadow the beauty of Daldoce’s captured women. (via Hi-Fructose)

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Surreal Glowing Jellyfish Tank Installed In The Facade Of An Abandoned Building

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Artists Walter Hugo & Zoniel have created a surreal installation featuring a large-scale glowing jellyfish tank as part of the Liverpool Biennal. Located in the Toxteth district, the piece is installed in the facade of an abandoned garage. Closed during the day, it opens its shutters every evening at 10 pm and is live-streamed to the Gazelli Art House in London.

Unusual project, titled “The Physical Possibility of Inspiring Imagination in the Mind of Somebody Living”, is based on the juxtaposition between the harshness of an old derelict building and the dreamlike flow of these fragile underwater creatures. It aims to inspire local communities by showing that inspiration can happen anywhere at any time.

“We placed the work there so that it could be enjoyed outside of a gallery environment while people are just walking down the street, going to the shop or home. The response that we’ve had from people so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We’ve seen reactions ranging from excitement to disbelief to nonchalance.”

The psychedelic display was opened almost secretly from the public. Artists chose not to promote their project through press and marketing, rather focus on the residents of the area and rely on natural word-of-mouth. What’s more interesting is the link created between Liverpool and London by streaming live footage to the virtual screen at the Gazelli Art House.

The original installation is up until July 24 at 53 High Park Street in Liverpool. Digital versions of the artwork can be purchased here. (via thisiscolossal)

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Billowing Cloud Sculpture Represents The Amount Of Trash Accumulated In NYC In One Hour

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From afar, it’s unclear what this billowing, cloud-like sculpture is made of. Up close, however, you can see that it’s comprised of various plastic bottles that are strung together in round, pleasing shape. New York-based architects and designers  STUDIO KCA collected a combination of one gallon jugs, 16 and 24-ounce bottles and compiled them into this ethereal, massive structure. In total, the installation titled Head in the Clouds  is made from 53,780 containers to represent the amount of trash that’s thrown away in New York City in just one hour.

Beneath the cloud’s exterior is a small seating/dreaming pavilion that accommodates up to 50 people. It’s meant for visitors to contemplate the light and color filtering through the cloud, as well as our consumption problem and the impact on the environment. Sand, water, and a curved aluminum frame prove the structural integrity.

Head in the Clouds made its debut last year on New York’s Governor’s Island. The stay was temporary, and the studio is now looking for its next home. (Via Colossal)

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Dominic Wilcox And Four Other Artists Upcycle and Illuminate Found Objects

Dominic Wilcox

Dominic Wilcox

Sarah Frost

Sarah Frost

Gabriel Dishaw

Gabriel Dishaw

Robert Bradford

Robert Bradford

Through the metamorphic conversion of discarded paraphernalia given a second life, art created from materials otherwise destined for a landfill has turned waste into resource. In a conscious reflection of a recycled object’s inherent value as a cultural statement, the fragmented disarray of salvaged goods conjoin as a reflection on the surplus of consumerism. Computer relics and plastic toys from the 1990’s resurface as jarring, three-dimensional works that reestablish a value beyond their initial introduction as cultural commodities. Extending the life of goods long since forgotten, the immortalization of a wastefulness that continues to swell stands as not only a poignant reminder of the ecological decay resulting from our consumption, but the opportunity to revisit and remake otherwise quotidian, superfluous goods.

Working predominately, if not entirely, with upcycled goods, the following artists create stunning installation and sculptural works that are a visual whirlpool of texture, color and line.

Featured artists include Dominic Wilcox, Sarah Frost, Robert Bradford, Gabriel Dishaw and Elisabeth Higgins O’Conner.

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Harry Griffin’s Photos Paint A Bizzare Picture of Old Age

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What are you going to do when you’re retired? Will you tinker in your garage, enjoy making crafts, or go on giant sight-seeing trips? Photographer Harry Griffin paints portraits of old age in his series titled Gold Coast. Dentures, wrinkled hands, and an easy chair, and more showcase a quiet-yet-luxurious existence in a sunny place like South Florida.

The vividly-colored images are cropped compositions that are bizarre in the framing. Although we know that we’re looking at retirement, it’s hard to glean a lot of information about what we’re seeing. So, a guy taking out his dentures wrapped in green plastic is equal parts amusing and confusing. It doesn’t seem that different than the act of getting old itself – moving towards a life of easy living while at the same time finding yourself doing ridiculous-looking things to keep up  comfortable and entertained. (Via La Monda)

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Mystic Illustrations: Nicomi Nix Turner and Four Other Artists Illustrate The Occult

Nicomi Nix Turner

Daniel Martin Diaz

Amy Earles

William Crisafi

Playing on the enticement of the black mirror, or, the darker recesses of our own perceived realities, fascinations revolving around the occult has infiltrated and renegotiated the perceivable world as we know it to be. Contemporary examinations of the occult and mysticism has surged in creating a more modern vernacular of symbology rooted in spiritualism, skewing the tangible under the scope of what is sensed and experienced as opposed to what is seen. Confronting the enigma of the unknown, investigations of the preternatural have transformed the material world through its semi-erotic explorations of the unconscious and the supposed spirit world. Evoking a sense of histories long since passed, fascinations with the paranormal are found not only within its connotations with Surrealism and Dada, but has since found itself increasingly commercialized through a dilution into popular culture.

The following artists present an elusive understanding and reflection on mysticism and the occult. Straying from any form of irony, kitsch or inapt nostalgia, their employment of the occult acts instead as a new means of dialogue and spiritual resolve.

Featured artists include Nicomi Nix Turner, Daniel Martin Diaz, Jas Helena, Amy Earles, and William Crisafi.

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