For award-winning photographer Oliver Grunewald, the medium of capturing images offers the ability to document, share, and investigate the natural forces which shape our world. Grunewald, along with his partner, journalist Bernadette Gilbertas, travel the globe, focusing on natural wonder, which for the French photographer offers, “…a pretext for immersing himself in the world as it was in the early days of its creation, and his patient quest for the magical, ephemeral light that best underscores the wild primitive side of nature pays off.”
As part of a massive body of work focused on volcanic activity around the world, Serfdom of Sulphur Night, offers some of the more intense photographs taken at the Kawah Ijen Volcano in Indonesia. Grunewald explains the genesis of the series, “For over 40 years, miners have been extracting sulfur from the crater of Kawah Ijen in Indonesia. To double their meager income, the hardiest of these men work nights, by the electric blue light of the sulfuric acid exhaled by the volcano before climbing up to the top of the volcano with their heavy charge.” (via myampgoesto11)
Chinese artist Ann Hoi creates beautifully bizarre paper figurative sculptures. Usually depicting images of children and fantastical animal creatures within an air of melancholia, her work simultaneously achieves an essence of preciousness and unsettlement. Since graduating from Ontario College of Art and Design University in 2010, Hoi has only crafted around a dozen pieces; each work is made through a long meticulous process. Her sculptures are created with a method that begins with the extremely clever use of a 3D animation software that allows her to develop, edit, and manipulate her characters digitally. She then prints her designs onto paper and has to build her works essentially through a version of intense puzzle piecing. Their monochromatic and literal xerox copied aesthetic allows them to almost exist as a physical representation of a digital hologram. They create a real virtual reality. They seem to exist on a strange border of futuristic and nostalgic — their “digital” quality allows them to be referential of that of a technological manifestation and therefore science fiction, however, the graphics, again, the monochrome palette, as well as the sort of “glitch” like feel, makes them seem like they are that of an old technology, a reminiscent one. Hoi’s work is undoubtedly unique. Each piece has the true ability to draw the viewer into a world that they have yet to experience. However, despite how removed from reality these works are, they some how do not feel out of place. It almost feels voyeuristic, as if the viewer is the one that doesn’t belong. (via Hi-Frustose)
The detailed paintings of Shawn Huckins portray common, day-to-day imagery while flawlessly integrating it into what seems to be miniature paint swatches. Although you may think that the artist paints directly on tiny paint cards used as color samples at hardware stores, but they aren’t actually small at all. In fact, these are not real paint cards, they are fairly large paintings that, thanks to Huckins’ finely crafted skill, are made to replicate exactly the different hues and segments of a paint card. If this was not impressive enough, the realistic imagery included in this series titled The Paint Chip Series, seem to fit perfectly into their settings. He creates a breathtaking mountain range on top of ”Cool Jazz” blue, and a “Pacific Sea Teal” has a pool splash erupting from its color patch. However, not all of Huckins’ imagery perfectly matches their chosen color. Many of the swatches have an unexpected twist, as his “Spring Moss” yellow has a car melting and sinking into the rich tone.
Huckins’ work is inspired by the beauty in the everyday, along with influential artists like Ed Ruscha and Andy Warhol. His work explores common imagery, like people sitting in chairs and an employee pushing a shopping cart, and their role in our lives. Even the paint cards are familiar objects that one might find in any home improvement store. Huckins explains these universal commonalities as a way to connect to our everyday surroundings and explore their meanings.
Mimicking the exact proportions, font, layout, and hues of miniature paint cards found at a nation-wide home improvement store, bands of color we may choose for our most intimate spaces—bedrooms, kitchens, family rooms—are an ideal stage to examine the everyday people and objects that occupy our world.
MOMO is a street artist working internationally. His pieces can range in size from relatively small to the size of city blocks. It is his style, though that is peculiar. His murals forgo text or figuration in favor of an abstract form. His work often has a deceptively simple composition. MOMO’s technique resembles simple print aesthetics while even referencing mid-century abstract painters.
Australian artist Ben Frost creates image mashups that combine fast food, pills, and iconic figures of popular culture. He paints these celebrities on things like McDonald’s french fry sleeves and boxes for prescription drugs. We see Superman, Popeye, Mr. T, and even Snoopy the Dog all painted on objects that symbolize excess and gluttony.
Frost finds inspiration for his work from graffiti, collage, photo-realism, and sign writing. It’s not a surprise, as he tags things much like a graffiti artist would. His work is subversive and doesn’t hold back any punches. I’ve included stuff here that’s generally safe for work, but if you check out his website, you’ll see a lot of hyper-sexualized manga-inspired characters. But even with these relatively tame images, you can still sense the scathing critique of the mainstream. Greasy meals, too many pills, and processed foods are rotting our health in a similar fashion that television, media, and politics are rotting our brain.
Kevin Hayes is a Los Angeles based photographer with some really interesting and compelling imagery. What I find most interesting about his work it’s the way he captures and unveils the many characters in the photographs. Playing with the muted colors, lighting and backgrounds there’s is the sensation that time has stopped and a tension of what would have happened next after the shot was taken.
Headed over to Brooklyn this morning to Evan Gruzis’s studio, and got to take some photos of his new work – which looks great. Gruzis is on the Deitch Projects roster, and I asked him if he knows anything about Jeffrey Deitch’s plans for his New York operation and he gave me a flat “No,” but said that the people involved are having a meeting sometime next week. Gruzis is known for his hyper-skillful use of ink, and his sardonic re-purposing of advertising’s seductive imagery. In a recent interview he wrote about the work as being “… not product vehicles, but hollow gestures that create a feedback-loop between a familiar aesthetic and a desire for meaning.” Gruzis has a show in Athens in April at Andreas Melas Presents.
With his collection of delightful three-dimensional GIFs, the illustrator Dain Fagerholm creates whimsical universes that are both wondrous and terrifying. Filled with monsters reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s “wild things,” the precious animations exist in a space caught between childhood nightmares and dreams. The artist draws each by hand, and the illusion of three-dimensionally of the work is expressed by a fast-paced alternating between a few images drawn from similar but differing perspectives.
Fagerholm’s lovely work is infused with a playful sense of anxiety; his characters, both human and otherwise, curl on the ground of tightly enclosed spaces like affrighted children. Wide-eyed and appearing to move manically back and forth, they hold their knees close to their chest. In these strange, surreal narratives, we are invited to feel the claustrophobia of a time out, recalling the lonesomeness and isolation of being bound to our rooms. One girl seems to be trapped within a TV screen, seemingly sucked into a blue, static-filled haze by her own imagination, peering curiously and excitedly outward.
These sweet, solitary creatures play and daydream in a dark state of nighttime unease. A seven-headed dragon evokes images of the beast from the biblical text Revelations, recalling (in an unexpectedly adorable way) frightful notions of eternity and punishment. As if pulled from films like The Shining or Poltergeist, Fagerholm’s characters transcend the real world, reaching instead for a chaotic, nervous aesthetic. With eyes dazed like hypnotic spirals, these little monsters seem to wait impatiently for sunrise and open air, for someone to keep them company. (via Demilked)