Ebony G. Patterson constructs immense and elaborate installations filled with everything you can think of. The artist creates intricate work both attractive and kitschy, using mannequins, sunglasses, beads, beer bottles, and lots of gaudy jewelry. Interested in mixed media tapestries, video, and photography, she often incorporates one or all of these different techniques into her work, creating a complexity of objects and imagery. Exploring racial and gender politics, she uses photographs, mannequins, and clothing to make reference to ‘popular black’ culture in her art. Her work, so filled with patterns and flashy objects, is highly satirical, commenting on race, questioning stereotypes often associated with the culture she is representing. Concepts on beauty are also questioned, as the figures in her work are adorned with jewelry, bright colors, and flashy clothing. Although the mannequins appear to be making an attempt to look attractive, they inevitably look over-the-top and ridiculous.
When you see Patterson’s installations, there is an overwhelming sense of color and pattern inviting you to examine every last detail of the chaotic mass of objects. You get lost in a see of mismatched clothing and clashing patterns, all shown like a department store display. Transforming her mannequins into striking objects participating in her art, their individual genders are often blurred, pointing out pre-conceived notions concerning the masculine and feminine. Her installations not only have mannequins, but also still humans that appear to be inanimate until they spring to life, turning her installation into a performance piece. This talented Chicago-based artist creates confrontational work that, due to content and appearance, is not easily ignored
Artist Allen Hampton‘s drawings are foreboding as they are. The medium for this series, though, makes them especially grim: blood on paper. Obscure texts, doilies, birds (both flying and dead) fill each sinister landscape of the Blood Drawings series. The blood at once references itself as splatters in its liquid form and a versatile ink staining each yellowed page. Hampton also turns his attention to the portrait, ironically drawing the human body with the fluid that animates it on the page and biologically.
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Charles Clary, a paper artist, has begun a body of work calling to the nostalgia of the 80s and 90s. Taking VHS boxes from old movie favorites and the containers for childhood games, like Operation and Monopoly, he cuts into the cardboard and weaves through a layered paper sculpture.
The concept is interesting although it is not absolutely clear what purpose the paper layering is serving in reference to the found items. While I find Clary’s work to be provocative and unique in most of the settings he has explored, in this specific scenario, the nostalgic entertainment pieces and the paper formations seem more to detract from one another as opposed to enhancing or adding to the viewer’s experience.
As explained in his artist statement:
“I use paper to create a world of fiction that challenges the viewer to suspend disbelief and venture into my fabricated reality. By layering paper I am able to build intriguing land formations that mimic viral colonies and concentric sound waves. These strange landmasses contaminate and infect the surfaces they inhabit transforming the space into something suitable for their gestation. Towers of paper and color jut into the viewer’s space inviting playful interactions between the viewer and this conceived world.”
British artist Charlotte Mann is known for her elaborate wall drawings and drawn room installations. These densely detailed 1:1 scale drawings of rooms in rooms are invariably made with thick black marker pen on a white ground. The medium may be simple but Mann’s obsessive attention to detail pushes her work into a new realm creating dizzying installations that make you take a second look at your surroundings.(via)
Victoria Williams, Valley State Prison for Women, Chowchilla, California.
Anonymous , Ionia Maximum Correctional Facility, Ionia, Michigan.
James Bowlin, United States Penitentiary, Marion, Illinois.
Anonymous Backdrop Painted in State Correctional Facility, Otisiville, New York.
Photographer Alyse Emdur offers a fascinating look into the world of prisoner portraiture in her ongoing project Prison Landscapes. If you aren’t familiar with the concept, visitation rooms of penitentiaries have backdrops where friends and family can get pictures taken of/with the inmate to commemorate the time they spent together. Often, these backgrounds are idyllic landscapes that offer the inmate a moment to emotionally escape their sentence. Emdur’s series is two-fold; It features inmates posing in front of these faux scenes, as well as the rooms that the giant paintings inhabit.
There’s a stark and ironic contrast between the prisoner-painted backdrops and the rest of their interiors. “Prison visiting room portraits are constructed to intentionally leave out the reality of prison. The aim of my project is not to be an authority on that which is left out, but to rather make the artifice visible. Although the paintings on the backdrops represent freedom, they are vehicles to control the representation of prisons and prisoners.” Emdur explains to Featureshoot.
To obtain the some of the portraits seen here, Emdur spent years corresponding with inmates. “My role was to document a system that I did not have physical access to. I did this by asking those with access, to send me their own photographs,” she says. The limitation of her available sources adds to the institutional critique of prisons that are inherent within the scope of this project. (Via Featureshoot)
Many thanks to Jakob Nylund/Form Conspiracy. The founder and designer of Just-My-Type is offering up amazing editable fonts to the public, free of charge. All of the typefaces on Just-My-Type are available in Illustrator AI format and we, the public are free to use and manipulate in whichever way we like. I must say, it’s nice to see such an amazing designer share their work for free. I’m interested to see how this project turns out and what the public will make of it. My personal favorites- Sorya and Pyramid. Happy fonting.