Ben Grasso is wired for telekinesis. Before painting he warms up, surrounded by mystic runes and burning incense, by bending spoons with his mind. Just kidding, but that is what I want to believe. His paintings are filled with magical forces; it’s to do with buildings and de/construction, but there are other characters – namely beer cans, explosions, and scarecrows. It’s entertaining to be presented with something walking the fine line between real and totally illusory, Grasso is making work in that sweet spot.
Casa Tomada is a project of traveling installations started in 2007 by Colombian artist Rafael Gómezbarros in which giant sculptures of ants are fixed in swarms on buildings and structures. Self-described as “urban intervention” by Gómezbarros, the ants have been showcased in locations varying from London to Cuba with a very specific goal in mind: shedding light on immigration, forced displacement, and uprooting through historical points of departure for travelers and immigrants. The 2-foot ants themselves are crafted out of tree branches for legs and two joined skull casts made of fiberglass resin and fabric to make up the torso, making for a particularly morbid, visceral depiction of migrant workers in Latin America who are looked at as nothing more than vermin.
When placed on the facades of government buildings and blank gallery walls alike, the ants give off a chilling sense of foreboding and encroachment. By placing them in swarms, Gómezbarros makes the insects even more strikingly representative of the peasants displaced by war and strife in Gómezbarros’ native Colombia. The giant insects that make up Casa Tomada, which translates to Seized House, are certainly works that are bound to linger with viewers, whether in nightmares or otherwise.
So you’ve endured months of deconstructing every sentence of each presidential candidate’s rhetoric. It’s only fitting that on the eve of Election Day we also visually deconstruct the president, both past and present. French artist Olivier Ratsi produced these presidential digital collages – glitch-like reconstructions of the presidential portrait. Each piece of the series Once Upon a Time the Presidents is made up of various facial features of past American presidents. For example while a portrait’s eyes may have been snatched from Harry Truman, his mouth may be Barack Obama’s and his hair Teddy Roosevelt’s (or is that that John F. Kennedy’s?) The clean shaven cheek, toothy smile, and neatly combed hair appear repeatedly and feel eerily ubiquitous. Ratsi forgoes overt political references in favor of a subtler idea. Each portrait doesn’t so much portray past presidents as it does the idea of the presidential image.
Glass artist Mike Gong crafts incredibly detailed, psychedelic marbles ranging from 13 to 63 mm in diameter. Each marble is uniquely designed with remarkable attention to detail. Gong creates small galaxies of color and depth, bringing a sharp eye and highly attuned craftsmanship to the medium of glass. Some of his designs even have silly faces, and even the ones that don’t all reflect Gong’s trippy aesthetic (some of his designs are named Acid Eaters). While you can get an idea of the intricacies of Gong’s marbles with a two dimensional photograph, his designs really come to life when they are allowed to spin and turn at the touch of a human hand. Not Just Marbles has a selection of Gong’s marbles available for purchase, ranging from $275 to 1,100. Brian Bowden at Pbase also has a substantial image archive of Gong’s marbles, some available for purchase. (via my modern met)
New York based painter Brad Kunkle’s luminous paintings of girls floating through a world covered in gold and silver leaf depict a fictitious world where precious stones cover everything and nature rules all.
Chris Dents‘ illustrations on architecture explore the modern metropolis. His unique pen style shows the energy of the city through intricate and detailed drawings.
Peruvian artist Cecilia Paredes gives new meaning to the term “wallflower.” In her recent collection of photographs, entitled “Landscapes,” Paredes seamlessly disappears into a dizzying array of patterned wallpapers, using only paint and, in some cases, simple costumes to complete the transformation. Paredes’ self-painting is so precise that, oftentimes, the only hint of her presence is a flash of sleek brown hair or a pair of gleaming white eyes peering out from the background. Through this disappearing act, Paredes explores themes of displacement and migration, illustrating the difficulties of blending in to new surroundings without completely casting off one’s roots.