Safwat Saleem’sBunch of Crock project is a response to the current public discourse and the political landscape in the US. Being a Pakistani immigrant living in Arizona, Safwat has been inspired by both by his location and his experiences as an immigrant. His body of work includes beautifully designed prints, video installations, audio installations, and a game (aptly titled Fling Some Shit Game) . For more info visit his site and help him raise awarness about the absurdities of the political system and the unfortunate role of minorities.
Barcelona-based artist Elisa Ancori‘s illustrations are somewhat arcane in nature, like drawings of dryads or nymphs. A common characteristic in Ancori’s artwork seems to be that of metamorphosis, blending animal and human forms. One of her collections is a play on the word: “Metamorfish,” with an aquatic theme throughout.
The allure of her work is in the matter-of-fact anatomical nature of each piece. Even though the subject is fantastical, she isn’t heavyhanded or tongue-in-cheek with her flavor of surrealism. There’s a subtlety to her illustrations. She treats both the grotesque and the sensual with a light hand; the crook of an inviting finger is shaded just as delicately as the soft petal pink of a mermaid’s innards. (via I Need a Guide)
Johnston Foster will be showing a variety of recent works at POVevolving in Chinatown tomorrow including an 8ft mixed media sculptural installation featuring an intricately crafted skeleton ( made from plastic lawn chairs ) riding a small pony that has been assembled from pieces of old tables and misc scraps of wood. The entirety of the work is surrounded by a swarm of wasps, each and every one, hand crafted from bits of recycled material. In addition to the epic centerpiece, the artist will be showing 15 wall mounted ‘masks’ – each one, incredibly expressive and created from random bits of detritus, including tires, hair brushes, shoes, car parts and a wide range of other reclaimed materials. More info about the show at Povevoling.com.
João Ruas is a Brazilian visual artist who paints esoteric scenes of ghostly bodies and mysterious symbols. Each image appears to be filled with a chiaroscuro-like fog that dissolves form into shadow. Recurring motifs include animal skulls, red tattoos, and medieval weapons that drift amongst hooded figures and undead dogs. There is a sense of arcane mythology mixed with everyday banality, for intermingling with strange and ancient-looking objects are scissors, helmets, and electrical cords.
By unfolding layers of time and myth, Ruas’ paintings emit a deep emotional timbre, unsettling the soul with their dark scenes. A boy with what appears to be animal ears growing down his face evokes something akin to despair and alienation, while a blindfolded woman on the back of a red horse (a reference to Lady Godiva) emanates with vulnerability, fear, and strength. With mystifying combinations of symbols, Ruas’ paintings function like open tomes that can be inscribed with the viewer’s own imagination and spiritual significance.
Crystal Barbre, a Seattle painter, has created an alternate universe where women call the shots, their raw glory shining prominently through the head of an animal. These hungry scenes, at first glance, just look like a skillfully painted playground of lust: voluptuous animal-headed women in the throes of passion, yet there is much more at work here. The mysterious and enigmatic quality of rawness within the animal expression offers more to interpret than just sex. Barbre is giving these animals a power they may not otherwise have; with an animal head the women are operating on an instinctual basis; one not vulnerable to the persuasive effect of emotions.Their strength lies in the fact that they cannot be conned, by themselves or others. They are eternally present, and they engage with their sexuality while remaining a powerful, wild, and even threatening figure. Theriocephaly, or, the condition of having the head of an animal, dates back to Greek mythology and is often used in art and storytelling as a symbolic element. Barbre has used this subject matter to explore dealing with sexual abuse, as a way of allotting power where, for many women, there sometimes isn’t any.
The pieces of Xuan Alyfe arrive from a variety of influences rarely found in street art. His work is largely abstract, but peppered with figures and other recognizable objects. The murals seems to subtly reference minimalist, surrealist, and even graphic design styles. Aylfe’s art even seems to piece together various influences of other street artists into his own distinct style. Perhaps appropriately, then, he has exhibited and painted murals worldwide.
Loving photographer Martin Usborne’s series on dog shows. Here is more about the project in the artists own words.
“Crufts, the world’s biggest dog show that takes place in Birmingham each year, was under intense scrutiny a few years ago when a secret TV documentary argued that dog inbreeding was essentially unhealthy and cruel. As a dog-lover and a pedigree owner I thought I had better see what it was all about.
Much to my surprise (and slight disappointment) Crufts is decidedly pleasant. I half expected to capture malicious owners that looked fully like their pets. But the impression is of a prosaic middle-England gathering of weekend enthusiasts. The dog owners are friendly and, dare I say it, normal. Although they trim their dogs’ heads into perfect spheres and their tails into cascades of pure silk they couldn’t be more down to earth. They remind me of Sunday gardeners who trim their hedges into the shape of leaping dolphins and then go inside to watch Antiques Roadshow on TV. The vast halls, despite being full of thousands of different breeds are strangely quiet and more surprising than this – almost turd-free. The merchandising stalls, which sit around the perimeter of the space and sell marginally tasteless doggy-tat (buy two bottles of ‘Urine-off’ and receive a free 100% fish-based dog chew) are harmless enough. And amongst this the dogs themselves seem to be willing, as if they too have read the convention guide and know they must wait their turn to appear on the green carpet.