The characters in Tip Toland’s hyper realistic sculptures are fragile creatures that find themselves at the end of adulthood or at the beginning of childhood. Those stages in life have a certain vulnerability, isolation and innocence in common. Toland attempts to demonstrate the decline preceding death, and the increased separation from others it brings. Their expressions are unengaged and convey a sense of deep psychological detachment that is sad and enigmatic as well as dignified by the process of natural aging. In his article for, Ceramics: Art and Perception, Glen Brown states, “[The works] weigh upon [the viewer] for the simple reason that they reflect the profound, inevitable solitude that envelops the beginning and the end of life.”
While exploring age and aging, Toland’s work attempts to give voice to inner psychological and spiritual states of being. What is of primary importance to her is that the figures contain particular aspects of humanity, which they mirror back to the viewer. It’s the fragility and transient aspect of mankind that the artist is after. That is one reason for choosing very old or very young subjects; they both portray innocence as well as complexity. While her subjects are sometimes self-portraits, they are meant to convey universal truths about humanity, society and the self.
The hyper realism of Toland’s figures comes from her attention to detail and unique use of materials. Using an encaustic technique, Toland creates a waxy finish for the skin that mimics real flesh. She even goes so far as to incorporate actual human hair into the works. The porcelain eyes create a doll-like realism that is both haunting and entrancing, while carefully defined wrinkles, skin tone, tooth enamel, and bone structure, are remarkably realistic.
Widowspeak’s Molly Hamilton performing at the Echo in Los Angeles, April 2, 2013. Photo by Diane Lee
Brooklyn based duo Widowspeak released their sophomore record, “Almanac” this past January on Captured Tracks and they just played an incredible headlining set at the Echo in Los Angeles last week. The new record sounds amazing live, with the bewitching voice of Molly Hamilton and the flowing guitar riffs of Robert Earl Thomas it’s easy to see why. If you’re like me and have a soft spot for bands like Mazzy Star, then definitely seek them out.
Playing songs from Almanac as well as their self-titled debut, the band was in great spirits throughout their entire set even playing the perfect cover of Chris Isaak‘s, “Wicked Game” during their encore.
The band is in the midst of a US tour and will be stopping in at the Mohawk in Austin on April 8th, as well as Schubas in Chicago on April 13th before heading back to Brooklyn to play a show at the Knitting Factory on April 19th. You can also check them out in late April and all of May when they head out on a UK/European tour. Check out their video for ‘Locusts’ and do your best to grab a ticket to one of their many upcoming shows.
Hikaru Cho‘s method of painting could best be described as a physical and unconventional type of doodling. Cho primarily uses acrylic paints on bodies or food to create believably 3D surrealistic effects, and even transfers this skill to stop-motion film and other video work. Her work alters our perspective of seemingly stable universal concepts, creating new forms that demand our engagement using only the special effects rendered through paint.
Nathan Carter’s sculptures and drawings are certainly indebted to Alexander Calder but bring a modern twist to create colorful mobiles that reference abstract painting and and scatter sculptures all at once.
0s & 1s is the directing debut of LA-based filmmaker Eugene Kotlyarenko. The film, currently set for release in fall of 2009, is about a guy named James Pongo who loses his computer and finds that his “hyper-connected reality takes a nosedive.” 0s and 1s utilizes a unique visual system in which the viewer watches the movie through a barrage various computer-like windows, bringing a decontextualized computer environment to the silver screen and eschewing traditional expectations of cinema language.
André Tempel‘s alien sculptures look like they belong in the lair of an evil mastermind bent on destroying the planet. His works look like colorful WWII underwater mines, or rotors fitted with revolving saw blades. I feel like Frankenstein’s creature is about to emerge from this orange capsule.