These may look like your grandma’s needle point but they are in fact made entirely out of paint! Mixing a pixilated kind of neo-impressionist pointillism with the idea of textile weaving, Caroline Larsen‘s paintings are beautifully simple and yet hard to figure out. Her technique with oil paint is so expertly peculiar her viewer can be tempted to spend their time simply trying to figure out how she does it; this however, is a mistake, because her technique, impressive as it is, is fused to her subject matter in an inseparable way. Although her work balances formal interests with subjective ones, she invests fully in her imagery, culling series from her lived experience and most tenacious memories. Her current exhibition at Angell Gallery, P.A.N.A.M.A. R.E.N.A., records a strange and
menacing number of massive cargo ships, seen by the artist on her travels, notably in the Panama Canal. Reduced by her painting to pattern, surface and color but sacrificing little in terms of ability to reference the world (with all of its implications of economic and
environmental issues), these works are finally, simply of transportation machines hugely beyond our human scale. What they are about is the way those things affect us when we confront them.
San Diego-based artist Seyo Cizmic works largely within the realm of the surreal. From hammers that droop to knock nails into their own bodies to wooden pencils with thorns built into them, many of the objects Cizmic creates are meant to confound the viewer. Barely any of them are usable in the practical sense of the item, presenting a challenge to viewers about what exactly these objects could be meant for. Some are rife with humor, such as Cyclops’ Shades, a pair of tie-dyed flower child sunglasses with only one lens, or Fish Machine Bank, a gum ball machine filled with goldfish. They’re sculptures that are meant to be questioned, scrutinized, perhaps even laughed at. Cizmic’s objects are of a different world, one in which backwards is forwards, in which objects that don’t follow reason are a new, cockeyed normal.
Within the nonsensical nature of Cizmic’s objects, however, lie larger issues at play. There’s With God on Our Side, a gold-plated sword with a crucifix at the base, joining religious iconography with an image of violence. Then there’s the self-explanatory In God, Money, and Guns We Trust, in which a pair of disembodied gold arms in military regalia hold a dollar bill up as if in prayer. Despite having his tongue pressed firmly against his cheek, Cizmic often layers his sculptures and installations with these deeper meanings, making the scrutiny and perplexity they evoke all the more rewarding.
British/Turkish fashion designer Hussein Chalayan is not only an internationally known figure in the industry’s runway, he is also an artist and catalyst for change of what it means to wear something. With his progressive attitude to clothing as a decorate-able and manipulatable second layer of skin, Hussein Chalayan has expanded the the materials of construction to an awe-inspiring breadth of technology and innovation.
Christopher Gideon’s work is an ongoing collection of exorcisms, casting out the fears, ideologies, and suppressed visions implanted by American Culture. This expulsion is often expressed in imagery that’s as satirical as it is socially relevant. He searches for concepts that have counteractive potential, where religious and political iconography are reincarnated in the secular and mundane: unfolded boxes, bathroom tiles, and in this case, baseball cards. By extracting these symbols of ideology and placing them into foreign contexts, they become self-deprecating and defeated.
Marta Soul’s alter-ego unapologetically kisses 18 different men in the photography series “Idilios.” The red headed protagonist moves from idealized scene to idealized scene engaging in a single kiss with a different suitor each time. Soul says on her site, “immediate satisfaction is found in the kiss. It is the begin[ning] and end[ing] of the entire narrative scene and it is the iconographic element of the image too.”
It is true that the kiss is the central role of the series. Soul poses the lovers with their back turned towards us, bodies entirely choreographed, masking their expressions. Perfectly dressed and suited, the kiss is the only thing we know about the lovers, aside from the incredible wealth demonstrated by their scenarios. With these gestures, the passion between them is concealed from us and allows us to imagine the story between them.
In some ways, the saturation of colors in these passionately distanced and stylized environments are reminiscent of a 1950’s film. They might provide us with the possibility of Hollywood romance: exquisite clothes and remarkable vistas. But, more aptly, the unidentified lovers offer us a paperback romance experience where we can transfer our own fantasies into a world that does not exist outside a creative director’s imagination.
This Is It is a London film collective that make the great handmade-style films. Don’t Hug Me I’m Scared is one of their latest, and uses their arts and crafts aesthetic to make a hilarious mock-children’s PSA about creativity. It’s delightfully nihilistic, self-aware, and taps into something all of us have probably felt in any sort of Creative endeavor, namely that “creativity” isn’t just the purely positive act that popular culture makes it out to be. This is one you need to watch to the end, it’s 100% worth three of your minutes. Full video after the jump!
Pablo Picasso once said, “every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” The owners of Oh’ My Neko take this quote to heart, honoring children as artistic masterminds behind some pretty unique dolls . . . and this goes for everyone, not just a select few, as this would negate the purpose: each young vision is valuable and translatable. For only 35€ each, your child’s hipster princess, lunatic lady monster, or clowny bug can spring to plushy life. Check out the gallery after the jump to see some more pretty adorable examples.