Gestural fluid abstraction and geometric patterns usually don’t well together but Kent Michael Smith has figured out a way to make them live harmoniously on the same surface. By using resin inbetween layers of paint he manages to combine these two disparate forms of mark making that reference Nascar color schematics, hunting gear, camouflage, and graffiti.
I heard this discussion over the ethics of killer robots (ENERGETICALLY AUTONOMOUS TACTICAL ROBOT, appropriately shortened to “EATR”) on the battlefield on KPCC radio bright ‘n’ early this morning and became excited over the possibility of science fiction plot lines inching closer and closer to reality. This picture above will not be what they look like (a more accurate modeled depiction after the jump), but how frightening would it be if these self-refueling lovelies really did jump into the uncanny valley? The government is trying to make more “ethically” aware EAT(E)Rs that will reject tasty corpse morsels on the battlefield (this is apparently against the Geneva convention?) for more Brontosaurus-friendly scraps. The question comes then, if your robot kills someone on the battlefield, who’s moral dilemma does it become? Obviously robots are not of a sentient mind to make such decisions…or are they?
In the middle of the California desert (Slab City) there is a pretty cool collaboration and installation work checking out. Graffiti artist Christina Angelina has teamed up with Ease One to work on a impressive, emotional project called Kinetoscope. Taking over an abandoned water tank in the middle of a dusty plain, they have painted a massive circular mural reflecting on the ideas of women, intuition, gender, and the current zeitgeist.
Combining many different elements, the installation is a multi-sensory experience. After climbing up a 15 ft ladder, visitors then descend into the middle of the empty water tank to find themselves surrounded by larger than life faces and will hear amplified sound echo around the structure. While in the middle of the space and turning around, the visitor will experience a certain type of magic inspired by photographer Eadweard Muybridge. He was the originator of the Zoetrope – a machine and technique that animated still images, and would bring them to life, by quickly spinning them on a circular form.
The women’s faces Angelina has painted reflect on her own magical, personal moments when she has used her intuition – an attribute she feels is undervalued and overlooked by society. Additionally, she has painted a type of mysterious font around the border of the tank in a striking combination of Eastern and Western script. The words spell out lyrics to Society by Jerry Hannan and Eddie Vedder:
It’s a mystery to me
We have a greed with which we have agreed
You think you have to want more than you need
Until you have it all you won’t be free
Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Kintoscope was sponsored by Starfighter Studios. They have kept a diary of sorts reading more into the experience of being based in the desert, away from society, while putting the installation together. You can read more of their insights here.
Artist Damien Hirst is a polarizing figure in the art world. Hugely prolific, Hirst has been called both an inspiring innovator and a wealth-obsessed marketer. His new collection of jewelry, Cathedral Collection, from Hoorsenbuhs and Other Criteria supports both of these roles: with prices up to £43,200 ($68,000) for a single piece, buyers are paying for the materials and the concept.
The Cathedral Collection consists of “Pill Ring,” a cocktail ring of piled precious metal pills, some visibly filled with rubies and black and white diamonds, and “Pill Rosary,” a variation of the traditional Catholic string of beads. Where the cross would typically sit is instead a Hirst pill, opened and spilling out its literally precious contents. The collection is a limited edition of 25 pieces per design.
Hirst’s focus over the years has continually returned to pharmaceuticals and their role, literally and symbolically, in our lives. His first Pill Cabinet in 2007, “Standing Alone on the Precipice and Overlooking the Arctic Wastelands of Pure Terror,” includes thousands of resin pill replicas displayed on its shelves. He pursed this topic through at least 17 more Pill Cabinet installations, removing the pills from their therapeutic context in order to make new connections with content.
The aesthetic allure of the pills is rendered useless in the face of their unknown medical purpose; Hirst’s suggestion being that their power relies on an unquestioning belief that somehow our ills will be cured.
In 2007 Hirst re-imagined the pills from the cabinets as a limited edition Pill Charm Bracelet, which he sold through his website. 2011 saw Pill Cufflinks.
In this newest collection, the Pill Ring could be a cocktail party conversation starter. The Pill Rosary, though, with its co-opted religious overtones, begs the question: What are we revering? Is it science, bringing medication to placate the world? Or is it Damien Hirst?
Glen Green set off to document and explore the side of Africa that most people don’t see, things that are typically African but that may soon disappear. Armed with black and white film and a desire to go into the remote, Glen captures powerful images of tribes who keep their ancient traditions while trying to live in today’s modern world.
Scott Hazard ( featured here previously) is a North Carolina-based artist whose torn-paper landscapes engulf an entire gallery space. Titled Silent Geography, it’s currently site-specific installation at Mixed Greens gallery (in collaboration with Projective City) in New York that covers the floor with paper structures and punctuated with masses of text. These areas of words are meant to turn the space into a garden, meaning that it’s a cultivated and enclosed area that’s set apart (but close to) the wilderness.
From a distance, it’s not clear what Hazard’s soft, inviting installation is made from. It’s only upon closer inspection that you see incredible, carefully-torn sheets of paper and small details like block-printed letters. Silent Geography is meant to evoke the feel of nature but speak to those that live in cities. Mixed Greens writes:
Yet here the wilderness is not exactly that of nature but rather the din of flowing information, language, and symbol that surrounds most urban-dwellers on a daily basis. Into this flow Hazard creates a momentary pause, an immersive space of rest in which language is once again ordered and reduced to its simplest designative function.
Silent Georgraphy is on view until January 10, 2015.