Reed Barrow fixes his extraordinary mind’s eye simultaneously on the vast and infinite possibility of the cosmos, and the potential for the extraordinary within the ordinary materials of the mundane word. In this simultaneous macrocosmic/microcosmic perspective, Barrow creates works that change earthly goods into symbols loaded with magic, humor and poetic reflections on the nature of the human experience. His work shifts ordinary perception to create works that are, like the universe, simultaneously collapsing and expanding with infinite twinkling stars and thoughts.
“The colorful seductive nature of cosmetics act to mask, conceal and deceive while drawing attention to the surface and the superficial. By emphasizing both the facade of glamour and the physicality of the body I am interested in what can be revealed through these surfaces.
In this collection of photographs of my mother she performs certain tropes used to visualize female beauty and sexuality. This act is further complicated as her appearance and gestures fluctuate between my overt stylized ideals and her own physical body. These photographs expose an awkwardness and tension in being looked at and scrutinized while also implying a longing to be seen as desirable and beautiful. By creating images that can be perceived as both garish and seductive, I question the fantasy of idealized beauty and what culture designates as flattering and desirable.” (via)
Project Nim is a powerful look at how science can go from studying an animal to exploiting it. In this doc we follow Nim, an adorable baby chimpanzee who was taken from his mother and placed with a foster human mother as part of a “nature vs. nurture” academic experiment. Nim was to grow up around humans and learn language and communicate like a human being.
Although each artwork has a unique look, the group relates through the consistent use of found and vintage papers. By using materials from the past in a contemporary moment, ordinary notions of linear time are subverted. Lamarche’s works exist in a cultural context all their own.
Greg Lamarche opens Timeless, a solo show with Joshua Liner Gallery, on October 4th. The show will present a mixture of collages, assemblage, and paintings from the New York-based artist. There’s a natural reference to graffiti here, but we’re talking about so much more than that now. Most of these are a product of the artist’s personal archive of found material, and Lamarche’s buttery flow is almost unparalleled. Timeless will be up through the 27th. Get excited.
Dreams, memories, and bodies melt together in the hazy, surreal work of Los Angeles-based photographer Davis Ayer. We featured his otherworldly landscape and double exposure shots last year, wherein Lindsey Rae Gjording eloquently describes him as a “true nostalgist” whose timeless work “allows the viewer to insert their own subconscious desires into the narrative” (Source). In regards to Ayer’s ability to compress emotion, time, space, and consciousness into his photography, this stunning series, entitled Time Travel, is no exception. Here, Ayer again pulls on the magic and semi-lucidity of dreamworlds, using nude bodies as a projection screen for vintage images; among them, you will see trees, beaches, rushing street lights, and the moon, all mapped onto the surfaces and contours of the nude body, turning skin into a visual narrative, like the one that plays in our heads as we close our eyes to sleep while remembering the past and visualizing our feelings.
What makes this series even more curious for discussion is the idea that the images and memories projected onto the bodies are not the models’ own. Certainly, our bodies are vessels of our own experience, but how much can we embody or touch the past? When we feel nostalgia for the “old days” and vintage culture, what are we missing or mourning? By projecting foreign memories (“foreign,” in that no one’s inner experience can ever be exactly simulated), Time Travel moves the human body — vulnerable, powerful, and honest in its nudity — through time and space, transcending memory and lived experience, and connecting a present lifetime with a past one in moments of intensity and reverie.
AKA, the summation of my love affair with the internet. I saw this site on Rhizome.org 6 months ago, truly loved it for a day, forgot about it for a little bit, then wasn’t able to find it again and instantly regretted it (I remembered it as “MATHLAB” instead of “MATHWRATH”). Fortunately I was able to reunite with it yesterday when I saw it on VVork. I feel as if a part of my life has come full circle…
Photographer Donna J. Wan’s ongoing series “Death Wooed Us” is gorgeous, unsettling, and deeply empathetic. “In 2011 after the birth of my daughter I developed a severe case of postpartum depression and considered taking my own life,” she writes in the description of the work, all photos taken in “suicide destinations”—places where people have taken their lives.
“Using research gathered from media reports, I found several locations in the Bay Area and travelled to them. I walked along the paths taken by these people before they ended their lives. Most of these photographs were taken from bridges, including the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the most well-known ‘suicide destinations,’ but also lesser-known beaches and overlooks. I purposely photographed from the perspective of looking up at the sky, down at the water or crags, or straight ahead but far away, thinking that these views might have resembled the ones seen by others moments before dying. Many of my images have a hazy and elusive quality, which I believe reflects the clouded state of mind of the suicidal.”
Suicide is such a sensitive subject. There are many people—probably the majority of people—who cannot imagine losing the will to live. Whether because of religious beliefs, or ties to family and friends, or just the innate need to stay alive, these people believe that they would never end their own lives. Then there are others, who have lived with pain and grief and the loss of hope. Those who, because of sickness of body or brain, struggle through every day. Once you have crossed this line, between life at all costs and death as a merciful end, the world never looks the same to you again. In Wan’s series, her experience is what makes the photos haunting and peaceful. She has looked into the cracks of her own soul, and that has enabled her to walk in the footsteps of those without hope and capture their last sights with kindness. The last view of a suicidal person could be macabre, an intrusion into someone else’s pain. These photos offer beauty, the acknowledgement of despair, and the desire for peace.
“There are some who may think that my photographs romanticize these places of death. I can understand that point of view, although that is not my intention. Death is not beautiful – in fact, jumping from a bridge 200 feet high is a very painful and violent way to die. Yet the sublimity of these places continues to lure people to them. I do not intend for my work to glorify the allure of these places. Instead, I hope that it may offer a glimpse into the minds of those who may have thought that dying by these beautiful places was a peaceful way to end their suffering.”