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Lars Teichmann

German artist Lars Teichmann goops on the black and white paint in his rich textured works.

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Gil Batle Carves 20 Years Of Prison Life Onto Delicate Ostrich Eggs

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Gil Batle is an American artist who spent over 20 years in Californian prisons for fraud and forgery. He endured some of the state’s most infamous facilities, including San Quentin, Chuckawalla, and Jamestown, living in racially segregated conditions under the constant threat of gang violence. During that time, Gil’s astounding ability to draw and tattoo with extreme precision gave him an esteemed reputation among the inmates, thus protecting him from harm and intimidation.

In an exhibition titled “Hatched in Prison,” which will be featured at the Ricco/Maresca gallery in New York from November 5th–January 9th, 2016, Batle presents viewers with a fascinating, sensitive, and detailed glimpse into the hardship and abuse endured in prison by carving these experiences onto the surfaces of ostrich eggs. Brutal images of isolation, beatings from security guards, and chain gangs cover the delicate, ivory-colored surfaces. Barbed wire, gang symbols, and shivs create an ominous symmetry.

In this unique medium, Batle reveals scenes that are usually hidden away from the public eye. There is a special significance to carving trauma onto an egg—an object which Ricco/Maresca’s press release describes as “nature’s most perfect creation and manifestation of life and birth” (Source); Batle’s creations seem to convey vulnerability as well as a sense of hope, renewal, and redemption.

Visit Ricco/Maresca to learn more.

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Artist Lee Griggs Brings Internal Fears To The Surface In His Funhouse Mirror Portraits

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As if looking through a funhouse mirror where a likeness is seen in multiple forms, artist Lee Griggs creates funky portraits with the aid of 3d Scans. By distorting the face he achieves a physical illusion which plays on various fears and insecurities. Some of the faces are bloated into blockhead or more architectural shapes and through the aid of 3d Scans are manipulated into an aesthetic which bring out what someone might feel on the inside. It plays on different aspects of mood and personality which might be normally hidden and not seen. The physicality of the pieces find reference in masks but stay within strict perimeter of what is human and doesn’t divert into otherworldly fantasy. Instead it makes something fantastic out of the familiar and has a strong foothold in drawing.
Some of the specific pieces Griggs make look as if they’re about to burst from anxiety or stress. It metaphors sayings like “my head’s about to explode” and puts it in a literal sense. Some have called his drawings nightmarish which definitely holds true to some extent. There will be those who associate distortion with the unknown and therefore horror. Some actually look like the boulder-like creatures known as Gorons from the popular video game “Zelda”. When thought of in that context they lose a tiny bit of their scariness. (via thecreatorsproject)

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Marie Rime Creates Primitive Masks And Armor Using Board Game Pieces And Party Straws

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Using recycled objects like board game pieces, party straws, and paper fans, Swiss artist Marie Rime created a fantastic set of masks and armor. The separate-yet-similar series are composed of multi-faceted objects that cover the subjects’ entire face and part of their body, forming silhouettes made from the likes of chess pawns and popsicle sticks. It recontextualizes kitsch and transforms the use of these tiny individual elements into a cohesive veil that obscures its model’s face. In both bodies of work, the emphasis is on power and competition.  Rime explains her mask project and writes:

In this series, the notion of game is being questioned. I tried to express my fascination with the relationship between the players. I asked myself what the participants are looking for and whether they are trying to disturb, seduce or intimidate opponents. These reflections led to a series of pictures of a female model wearing masks inspired by primitive tribal art, yet created from elements of the games being played in the championships.

Likewise, with the armor, she states, “These costumes, realised with everyday objects, are the starting point of a reflexion of the relationship between power, war and ornament. These women lose their identity and become the support of their clothing.” (Via La Monda)

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Livio Scapella’s Haunting Sculptures Of Shrouded Ghosts Will Chill Your Bones

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The sculptor Livio Scapella‘s shrouded figures seem to be in eternal conflict with their materiality, trapped like lost souls within the confines of stone. In this strange work, titled “Ghosts Underground,” the artist uses the aesthetic dialogue normally associated with classical Renaissance masters, establishing the suggestion of movement within the frozen busts; necks contort, and mouths hang open as if to speak. Visual weight is distributed uncomfortably, and like Michelangelo’s Prisoners, Scapella’s figures yearn for escape, gasp for air.

Like a moving, writhing funeral shroud, the fabric is rendered with the utmost delicacy and softness, affording the busts a ghostly significance, as if they were invisible men and women defined only by the cloth in which they are contained. Like those caught frantically between life and death, the haunting figures seemingly do battle with the elements of the natural world and its order. As they strain against stone, they are powerfully anchored by spectacular quartz and amethyst held steadfastly to their chest. Like an external representation of the soul or spiritual self, the burdensome yet magnificent gemstones lie cradled within the airy fabric above the heart.

In a particularly powerful diptych, the “white soul” sits beside the “black soul;” where the white soul rests, embracing her permanent and immobile fate, the black soul strives against eternity, his mouth open in a frightful scream. The male, art historically associated with the intellectual and rational, is in turmoil; the female, on the other hand, becomes unified with nature and with the elements from which she is constructed. Within each of us lies this powerful duality: will we succumb to death or will we struggle to escape it? Take a look. (via Hi Fructose and Juxtapoz)

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Colorblind Cyborg Artist Neil Harbisson “Hears Color” Through Antenna Implanted In His Skull

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Though born without the ability to perceive color, artist and activist Neil Harbisson’s work, career, and life are anything but monochromatic. Recognized as the world’s first cyborg, Harbisson boasts an unusual aesthetic aid: an antenna implanted into his skull that enables him to “hear” colors.

“I am not using technology, or wearing technology.

I am technology.”

Extending from the back of his head forward, the appendage is comprised of a rod, a chip, and light sensor. Located at the tip of the antenna, the sensor picks up the frequencies of colors before him, and then sends them to the chip in the back of his head. The chip then transposes the frequencies into vibrations, which translate into sounds in his ears.

Through this process, Harbisson is able to create works of art—namely, his Sound Portraits. To create a portrait, Harbisson simply stands before an individual and aims his antenna toward his or her facial features. Each color found on the face creates a specific note, which he writes down on manuscript paper. Thus, the end result–unique microtone chords–become individual “portraits.”

With portraits of prominent figures ranging from Prince Charles to Woody Allen, it is clear that, through his unique practice, Harbisson has his art down to a science. (Via BBC News)

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Animals Being Human: Darren Holmes’ Photography Explores The Dichotomy Between Instinct And Intellect

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Darren Holmes is a photographer whose works explore the dichotomy between instinctual, “animal” life, and the rationalizing, “civilized” mind. Entitled animals being human, this series depicts nude (or nearly nude) paint-splattered men and women engaged in strange and frisky behaviors, such as crouching and crawling on the floor, burrowing in hay, and playing with cardboard props. Each image is abstract, elaborate, and tinged with humor, with a lot of “meaning” intentionally left to the imagination: what are they doing, and for what purpose? The confounding, playful absurdity is entirely Holmes’ intention, as he seeks to unravel our innate drives and behaviors from the constructions and constraints of intellect and social conditioning. As he explained in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay:

“To me, all of the things that unify us as really human are things beneath intellect, the guttural stuff like pain response, elation, pleasure, anguish, anger, the search for warmth and companionship, that kind of thing.  They’re all concerns of the body, instinctive and what we associate with animal behaviour.

Then we have these clever, intellectual, analytical minds which maybe sit over top of it all, rationalizing, regulating us, attempting to moderate all the stuff underneath.  There are probably good reasons we need to do this sometimes, to act civilly with each other.  But in some ways, I think intellect becomes how we distract ourselves from facing some truths.”

What Holmes’ work signifies, then, is a playful deconstruction of the “human,” a species category which is so often defined in opposition to “animals”. In many cases, contemporary (and intellectualized) humanity has actively separated itself from earthly “filth” — mud, blood, excrement, and anything “messy” — in order to achieve a sense of species-based superiority. “I mean, we must be more enlightened than those that came before us … right?” Holmes writes, tongue-in-cheek. “Maybe we just want to believe certain things to avoid facing issues, like how little we’ve changed … that we’re just dirty, shitting, fucking, fighting primates, and how temporary we really are in this world.”

Given the delightfully absurd energy of Holmes’ photos, I enquired about his method, which he described as a “live performance”; each scene is a holistic accumulation of energy and creativity, involving “like-minded people who want to use their bodies to capture something that can only come from a sort of lengthy, improvised dance punctuated by exchanges [and] ideas.” The props are similarly spontaneous; mostly limited to “cardboard, canvas, wood, [and] paint,” the models indulge in a youthful approach to these objects, making the props imaginative and representational rather than over-intellectualized and “concrete” in their meaning. In this way, Holmes deconstructs adulthood as well, that phase in our lives when we are taught to overanalyze and constantly moderate and rationalize our behaviors.

Visit Holmes’ website and Facebook page and follow him as he explores physicality and the intimate, pre-intellectual connections that exist between all of us human animals. (Via Art Fucks Me)

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Matthew Harlan

Gorgeous typography, beautiful color schemes, and hard edged geometric patterns can be found in the work of Matthew Harlan.

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