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Tom Phillips’ “A Humument”: An Ongoing Transformation From Forgotten Victorian Text To Colorfully Illustrated Digital Oracle

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British artist Tom Phillips released the first edition of A Humument in 1970. To create this stunning book, Phillips illustrated and/or collaged each page of a found Victorian text – WH Mallock’s A Human Document – leaving parts of the original text exposed and uncovering a new story line with a new protagonist named Bill Toge, whose name appears only when the word “together” or “altogether” appears in Mallock’s original text. Of the text and his project, Phillips says,”It is a forgotten Victorian novel found by chance …I plundered, mined, and undermined its text to make it yield the ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems, erotic incidents, and surrealist catastrophes which seemed to lurk within its wall of words. As I worked on it, I replaced the text I’d stripped away with visual images of all kinds. It began to tell and depict, among other memories, dreams, and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love’s casualties.”

Over the years, Phillips has revised and replaced pages of the text, resulting in updated editions. The most recent 5th edition was published in 2012. In 2010, A Humument made its digital debut as an app for the iPad and iPhone. Assisting in its develop, Phillips is very pleased with his work’s transition to the digital realm. For Phillips, a bright screen enhances his illustrations, lending them a glow his pens and paints couldn’t achieve, “almost like church windows at times.” After Phillips started working on the book in the 60s, he dreamed that it could one day be used as an oracle. Forty years of technology later, Phillips’ dream has been realized, and he’s become his own consumer: “Each night after midnight I consult, somewhat furtively (even though alone), the Oracle I have made. I’m often surprised by pages made long ago and almost forgotten, as well as by the sometimes uncanny predictions they offer their maker.” (via the guardian)

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ANDY BURKHOLDER

Chicago-based Andy Burkholder has been posting a consistant supply of mind-clearing one-pagers on his wonderful tumblr. He’s got something special going, and he’s just riding the wave real hard. His work outside of the one-page bits is just as impressive, but more focused on experimentation, as opposed to a formally consistent body of work. Check out his web, his flick, and visit him at CAKE. A buttery smooth man.

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Amy Boone-McCreesh’s Vibrant Works Immerse You In Colorful Complexity

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Amy Boone-McCreesh’s sculptures and 2-D mixed-media works are both self-referential and highlight a larger aesthetic idea, which is the visual aspect of celebrations. For years, she’s explored the way in which different cultures commemorate events in their lives, particularly how they express it with decoration and objects. Now, with a new body of work, Boone-McCreesh goes beyond this initial inspiration and uses things she’s previously created as raw material for new pieces.  They debuted at a recent two-person exhibition with artist Sarah Knobel entitled Anything Sacred at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC.

The delightfully dizzying pieces are full of texture, color, and have the same sensibilities that we’ve seen in her previous works. Boone-McCreesh explains the idea behind her rich and vibrant aesthetic:

Anything Sacred is a birth of new from the old. Through digital manipulation, collage, printing, and reworking, I allow visual elements from an extant body of work to become new imagery printed on vinyl, paper, and custom fabric. The complex layering, stripping, and blending of the digital with the handmade gives birth to a new visual language.
In sampling my own imagery and re-contextualizing it in an immersive visual experience that is both cyclical and unifying, I am challenging traditional notions about value and pushing for a more complex, dynamic personal aesthetic. Simultaneously, my work in Anything Sacred continues to examine the use and meaning of decoration through formal arrangement and design.

You can view Anything Sacred now at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC until June 21 of this year. More shots of the candy-colored walls and lively work after the jump.

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Kour Pour Recreates Carpets In Every Painstaking Detail

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Taking images from auction catalogs, artist Kour Pour translates intricately-patterned carpets onto paneled surfaces. The multi-step process is labor intensive, not to mention large – his work is 8 feet tall. First, Pour scans in the image of a rug and burns it on a silk screen. Then, he uses a broom to begin his underpainting (the texture gives it an appearance of a textile). Afterwards, he silkscreens the design to the panel and begins the work of painting every painstaking detail. The final step is to use an electrical sander to erase the painted surface and expose the layers of the under-painting. What results is work that looks like an faded, well-worn rug.

Pour is both British and Persian, and when he was younger, his father owned a rug shop in England. His work is tied to this past, as he explains in his artist statement:

Carpets were a part of my childhood growing up in England. I remember my Father’s rug shop, and how he would hand-dye sections of carpets that had faded away, in order to bring them back to their original colours. I felt that in doing this, my Father was making an effort to maintain all their history and meaning, as if he was bringing the carpets back to life. When I first moved to Los Angeles I had feelings of displacement and much like the faded carpets, I too felt a part of my history disappear. I started the carpet painting series and noticed how art and objects could play an increasingly important role in our diverse society. Through making these paintings I am constantly learning more about my background and the rich mix of culture that surrounds me and the carpets.

By recreating carpets, Pour highlights their meaning as object, as well as the implications of their surface design. They signify an object of privilege (as their originals come from an auction catalog), and our commodity-based consumer culture. Beyond that, the patterns of animals and men on horses is representational of globalization, a culture’s history, and more.  (Via Bmore Art and Flat Surface)

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Aaron Axelrod

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Aaron Axelrod is a Los Angeles based painter, who you should definitely keep your eye on.  He’s painted portraits of famous musicians from Madonna to Kanye West, for the Coachella Music Festival.  Axelrod exhibited paintings in Manifest Hope, an art show supporting Barack Obama’s movement (which featured the likes of Shepard Fairey and Ron English).  Lately Aaron has been scrambling everything from political imagery to pornography, probably even down to his eggs.  Believe it or not, the above image is a scrambled painting of Chris Matthews.  Aaron is represented by the David DeSanctis Gallery.

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Sasha Zivkovic

The drawings of Sasha Zivkovic present office workers existing in strange, dystopian universes. He uses various art historical styles and sources to create allegorical transformations. Everyday working life is presented within frameworks such as religious symbolism, zoological observation, and ethnographic documentation. Detailed pencil drawings create zoological mini-habitats with strange medieval perspectives that feel at once displaced and at home in their cubicles and board rooms.

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Nest Made from 10,000 Reclaimed Wood Boards By Mark Reigelman

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Artist Mark Reigelman‘s new site-specific installation is aptly titled Reading Nest.  The structure was created just outside the Cleveland Public Library using thousands of reclaimed wood boards.  Reading Nest acts as an alternative setting for learning and growth.  In his statement Reigleman says of the installation’s symbolism:

“For centuries objects in nature have been associated with knowledge and wisdom. Trees of enlightenment and scholarly owls have been particularly prominent in this history of mythological objects of knowledge. The Reading Nest is a visual intermediary between forest and fowl. It symbolizes growth, community and knowledge while continuing to embody mythical roots.”   [via]

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Tatiana Blass’s Wax Figures Melt From Within

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Metade da fala no chão_ Piano surdo, Tatiana Blass [Half of the speech on the ground – deaf piano] from Tatiana Blass on Vimeo.

Tatiana Blass built a human body that leans over the spine of a chair. She built this body out of wax and gave it a spotlight to shine; however, its glow not only illuminated, but also curdled the figure’s shape with heat. Arms broke off and bone emerged. Soon the body itself was only spine.

Spine against spine.

On another day, at another location or time, Blass built another body, a lying down one. The heat was not on the back, but instead rising from below. The body melted and there was no bone. Only a puddle of wax, something similar to where the body began.

The dissolution is the performance, the performer is the object: it moves to mirror our horror, to show its aliveness: our aliveness.

This concept of sculpture as a temporary structure feels relative to Urs Fischer’s own monolithic candlelit figures which also weaken over time. Both generate a sense of narrative that we relate to instantly– feelings of loss or devastation amidst chaos. Ashes to ashes. Dust to dust. Wax to wax. What slips through our fingers: a certain temperature from day to day. We cannot gauge. An inevitable ritual.

The music must come to an end, and it does, especially for Blass’s other installation (video above), as Thiago Curry pounds five easy pieces on the keys, while two men pour melted paraffin into the grand piano.

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