Aron Wiesenfeld’s moody paintings of young women in desolate, unfortunate circumstances are close to being beyond reproach. The figures in these works -usually young and female- are characterized by a certain hardiness. Despite their thin frames, there seemingly isn’t any malevolent force (weather, isolation, disaster, etc.) in the world that can bring them down. Where others might place less significant elements in a corner to fill a canvas, each of Wiesenfeld’s brushstrokes seem to have a purpose. Each mark on canvas contributes to a stronger emotional impression overall. And that’s really what makes these so great. Sure they’re gorgeously rendered, but these paintings’ potential for emotional impact is their greatest strength.
Matthew Woodward’s large scale drawings are truly examples of “beautiful decay” with violently drawn, torn, erased, and collaged decorative motifs that one would find on old industrial buildings of yesteryear. These floral and elaborate patterns and flourishes are taken through an intense process of aging where Woodward attacks the surface like an artistic jackhammer mining the paper for undiscovered imagery. The result is a brutal and rich surface that is continuously falling apart, being built up, and of course beautifully decaying.
Ben Vickers (who I blogged about a couple months ago) has joined up with Sarah Hartnett to create Sopping Granite. I love the colors and forms, and the manifestation of Vickers’ digital sculptures into the third dimension via shiny stretchy tents. Maybe this is what sopping granite looks like?
Everyone needs a break from the hectic workloads and congested traffic that comes with living in LA. So we decided to get some R&R time and head down to Puerto Aventuras. Any plane trip for me and my fellow dark complexioned friends involves a long line of song and dance with the airport security. As I scanned my passport I was treated with this friendly yet vague note. After 15 minutes of waiting around a mysterious lady came by and asked a few questions. I gave her my best wink and smile and she decided that I wasn’t a terrorist threat and let me go.
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Eli Durst takes photographs of things that should be boring. Somehow his point of view makes them completely captivating. Each one described in its essence, such as a turtle in a tank, or two men eating in a McDonalds parking lot, seems utterly unexciting. Seeing the photograph, though, there will always be something that will catch your eye and draw you in. A lot of it has to do with timing. He picks exactly the right moment, when the turtle pokes its head out of the water, or the woman with red hair tilts her head just so. The moments he captures seem pristine, although often they are anything but. How hard is it to ascribe pristine as the adjective to a teepeed tree? Still for Durst it seems the only appropriate word.
His series’ are eclectic, and so it is his aesthetic that holds them together, though patterns can emerge in the subject matter. There is a great deal of portraiture and focus on food, for instance. Together, each mix tells a story of a place (America), its people (normal), and their accompanying details (pets, a deep burn in someone’s back, or the most uninspired food spread I’ve ever seen). It’s really in these details that you get lost in wonder. Durst makes the normal totally enthralling.