Eddie Martinez invited Beautiful/Decay over to his sunny Brooklyn studio to check out his new body of work. The next day the show was headed to Berlin, so it was excellent to get to talk to Eddie before the work shipped. I was able to take pics for over an hour while Martinez came in and out of the studio space. Martinez had shelves built to hold the work at nice heights, making it easier to get up close and examine the paintings. The reason I like Martinez’s work is that it doesn’t try to mimic reality, but instead the work represents reality. It works sort of the way a great story functions: there is a language which uncovers something hidden or reveals something new about the world. As far as we know, human beings are the only creatures which live with a sense of time. Because we are bound to our own time, each generation needs people who show us back to ourselves, which in turn allows us to conceptualize ourselves and the world. I think this is what Martinez is doing, and without a doubt his work does that for me. The show, Seeker, opens November 11th at Peres Projects Mitte, Berlin.
Slightly gory yet somehow charming and fun, SEKDEK is part performative, part sculptural, part photographic, and part ritualistic. The artists behind the work refer to it as a “spirit extraction kit/ demon extraction kit.”
The project, in their own words,
“is a series of fantastically colorful, expressive & psychedelically gory sculptured head and torso images that were caught using an expressionistic painting/ messy visual chaos technique that includes throwing, spreading and or spitting clay, acrylic paint, glitter, fake blood, wigs, fabrics and flour etc.. all over ourselves.”
The inspiration for SEKDEK comes from a large spanning vat of various sources. To name a few, the project takes visual cues from artist such as Mathew Barney, Björk, and H.R. Giger (the guy responsible for the creature from Alien [which he won an Oscar for] and apparently also the inspiration for “biomechanical” tattoos). They also name film influences such as the 1990 dark fantasy horror film Nightbreed, the 1988 satirical sci-fi movie They Live, and the opening scenes from Where The Wild Things Are. Also the heavy metal band Gwar(still not sure if this band is a joke or not) and images from National Geographic tribal indigenous documentaries.
Extensively absurdist yet clever and elaborate, SEKDEK is a unique project that invites imaginative thinking as it lives between the borders of fetish, gore, kitsch, and perhaps just plain ol’ innocent fun.
Christian Flynn has a knack for reducing a scene of mundane objects into basic shapes in order to reveal the optical art qualities inherent in them. Blinds, Gates, and Windows become powerful patterns in otherwise commonplace settings. His choice of color allows the paintings to operate as stylized landscapes and still lifes as well as early computer graphic renderings. His interest in technology is reinforced by a painting of a computer screen running Photoshop and another piece depicting a tablet on top of a cutting mat. (via)
The ink drawings of Anton Vill are exquisite and small – about the size of your average fork. Vill is highly skilled in wielding a pen, and he makes tiny marks so fine that they appear as a pencil drawing or even as an engraving from the 17th century. But, looking closely at the subject matter, you discover that they are wholly contemporary, like something out of a nightmare.
We see babies piled in a shopping cart, a grotesque separation of someone’s head, and countless people that are wrapped up in the long hair of a Cousin It-type character. Vill’s work is quietly visceral and bizarre, and it doesn’t immediately strike you as strange; this creates a greater impact when you study his drawings. The longer that you look, the more you’ll discover and get a glimpse into the artist’s imagination. (Via Faith is Torment)
Baltimore-based artist Jordan Kasey creates large-scale oil paintings of surreal scenes that include monumental figures and objects. In these strange worlds, her subjects occupy entire compositions and are often distorted by a canvas’ constraints. Although they could seemingly exist anywhere, we see them fused with both the aquatic and natural landscape.
There’s an emphasis on hands and fingers in Kasey’s paintings. We’ll often see pair of hands hugging or carefully cradling colorful, rock-like objects. Fingers on opposing hands match up to form tiny arches that make her faceless subjects look as though they’re plotting something. It doesn’t feel sinister, though, but almost absent of any emotion whatsoever.
While some of Kasey’s works are devoid of identifying details, others replace the expected with the unexpected. Facial features are altered with aquatic rocks, coral, and sea plants. It creates an odd-yet-familiar place whose tightly-rendered subjects begin to approach a level of uncanniness. While we know Kasey’s work is fantastical, it looks realistic enough that we might try and apply logic to it.
Swiss Origami artist Sipho Mabona creates a full-scale white elephant by using a single sheet of paper. By using one slice of white paper measuring 15 by 15 meters (50 by 50 feet), the skilled artist was able to craft up this grand ‘white elephant’, which stands more than 3 meters (10 feet) tall.
The project, apart from being living-proof of outstanding talent, was also treated as a performance; this live video [posted here] shows Mabona doing what he does best. As we intently watch it, we see a slow progression, a focused Mabona, and a paper-elephant slowly taking shape. “There is no limit in origami”, says Mabona.
Mabona financed the project through Indiegogo, the Internet-crowdfunding platform. He raised over $26,000 from 631 funders. In order to share with the donors, a webcam was installed where Mabona worked. The artist ran into some major challenges like figuring out how to spread a huge sheet of paper, measuring 15 meters by 15 meters (or 50 by 50 feet), in a hall, to transform the sheet of paper into the body of an elephant. There were moments during the folding process wherehe had to get the help of up to ten people to lift and fold the paper. (via My Modern Met)
I first met Juka Araikawa during my stint at UCLA as a teachers assistant for a drawing class. She was a quiet girl who had moved across the world to LA to study art. Even though she didn’t say much her work always stood out as some of my favorite in the class.