Her toes were broken when she was a kid, then constantly bound to make them smaller until she couldn’t walk straight anymore. At the age of 88, Zhang Yun Ying is among the last witnesses of China’s infamous tradition of foot binding.
It has been recently brought to attention by a British photographer Jo Farrell who is already known for documenting endangered traditions and cultures. Her ongoing project “Living History” captures the lives of some of the last remaining women in China with bound feet. According to Farrell, in the past year alone, three women she’s been documenting have passed away so she feels it is “imperative to focus on recording their lives before it is too late”.
Tiny feet (with the ideal being no bigger than 3 to 4 inches) were once considered to be the symbol of beauty and social status. Young women would crush and bind their feet hoping to marry into money. Concealing the bound foot from men’s eyes also instigated an erotic approach towards it. Even though the inhumane custom was banned in 1912 by Chinese government, it was still practiced behind closed doors.
Apart from showcasing the shocking photos to the public, Farrell wants to make a point that modern women are not so different from the elders she works with:
“In every culture there are forms of body modification that adhere to that cultures’ perception of beauty. From Botox, FGM, breast augmentation, scarring and tattooing, to rib removals, toe tucks and labrets.”
Cinta Vidal Agulló‘s paintings depict a topsy turvy yet mundane world. There’s a dream-like quality to her work, like Alice falling down the rabbit hole and remarking on the various jars of marmalade. With a background in painting backdrops for the theater, Agullo excels and creating immersive worlds that, though they have an M.C. Escher-esque sense of physics, seem like they are a part of real life.
“With these un-gravity constructions, I want to show that we live in one world, but we live in it in very different ways – playing with everyday objects and spaces, placed in impossible ways to express that many times, the inner dimension of each one of us does not match the mental structures of those around us. The architectural spaces and day-to-day objects are part of a metaphor of how difficult it is to fit everything that shapes our daily space: our relationships, work, ambitions, and dreams.”
Agullo’s paintings are lushly illustrated like one of Graeme Base’s children’s books, almost playful in the way they explore the spatial and emotional connections between the tiny figures that inhabit them. Though they are definitely surreal, we’re invited to imagine how the different parts of each painting might fit together, like the puzzle pieces of our everyday lives.
What are the relationships between the people in her paintings? We can’t tell for certain, but it’s clear that the orbit around each other or, at the very least, they are neighbors in the same world — if not the same reality. (via Hi-Fructose)
Colorado based artist, Ashley Eliza Williams, creates paintings of geological phenomenons. At first glance, her images appear to be the findings of a microscope, or perhaps, the photographic documentation of some obscure landscape. Her paintings are vibrantly alien, yet convincingly recognizable. Through a “lifelong curiosity about the patterns and biological systems that organize the natural world” she has created a body of work that seems to exist between the realms of science fiction and genuine morphology.
Her choice of titles lift her paintings out of a solely biological and ecological fueled quandary and shift them into a metaphorical, self-reflective, meditative space. The series itself is titled Sentient, directly opening up the work to a channel of emotional conversation, each piece taking the sentiment a little further. For example; The Inner Balance of Things, which features a delicately faded pink rock floating through a soft clouded sky; The Appearance of Quiet Restraint, which focuses on a triumphant looking boulder with small, seemingly measly mountains in the background; or Maybe We Look Like This Inside, which displays a fleshy, internal-organ-esque looking rock hovering over an empty, gray landscape. These titles add a very honest, almost painfully personal aspect to the work, hinting that these pieces act as depictions of an internal space; it is as if she is allowing the viewer into her most personal contemplative thoughts. Through pairing each painting to titles such as these, Ashley Eliza Williams proves her work to be a genuine thoughtful reflection on being human. (Via Booooooom)
Right off the bat, Venezuelan Nelson Garrido states the following: “To know limits is to begin to know that one does not have limits.” His work, brash and unapologetic, throws together Catholicism and American consumer culture, yielding incredibly fascinating results. Actually, to call his photographs “fascinating” would be an understatement. We’ll go with “riotous” after seeing Jesus depicted with three jumbo penises!
And for those with a strong stomach, check out one of his blog posts entitled “La Gruta de la Virgen.” You have been warned! This project in particular goes along with his passion for showcasing concepts deemed unacceptable by society.
Italian artist Mimmo Rubino, also known as Rub Kandy, plays with the city. His art’s relationship with the city and its citizens is interactive, even fun. His newest project is simple but imaginative. Rubino uses an urban mainstay as a canvas for his spray paint work: a cement truck. While the mixer spins, Rubino keeps a spraying can of paint steady. Repeating the process with various colors eventually covers the mixer in near perfect stripes. Appropriately, the piece is titled Revolver.
I like these digital collage works from British artist Hayley Warnham. Solid, bright color meets vintage 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s personal photography in the pictures, which capture a nostalgic, innocent vibe. The use of flat color with found photography evokes the work of legendary American artist John Baldesarri. We wonder if he was a direct influence on Warnham. A lot of these are composed in such away that suggests the vantage point of a youngster, which reminds you of a time when things were much simpler. When skylines and relatives may as well have been flat blocks of color with very little texture as far as you were concerned. You didn’t yet grasp the complexities of every person and setting in your life, and everything was a mysterious wall of impenetrable brightness. (via)
Photographers Pierre Javelle and Akiko Ida(previously here) found love through photography while attending art school, but they also found a way to combine their interests in gourmet food and miniature worlds by combining them all into playful scenarios. Their most comprehesive series, MINIMIAM, has been an exploration of visual solutions in miniature since 2002. Says Ida, “We’re both food photographer in our daily work, and we’re both quite crazy about cooking, eating and everything about food. So when we started this small people series, naturally we created the stories related to the food.”
The series (a portmanteau from mini and miam, meaning yum! in French), sets miniature figures in whimsical settings, opening up the possibilities of food photography and creating stories from visual puns. The figures are found from model train set kits (usually 1/87 scale), and seen sledding through icing like snow, blowing air into raisins with a handpump to explain the origin of grapes, and recalling Michelangelo by carving away the shell of a peanut to set free the trapped sculpture (peanut) within.
Dilok Lak’s recent series “The rabbit ears” is the graphic designer’s respite from everyday tedium and a retreat into imaginative play. Drawing on children’s books and the trope of the talking animal, he imbues his illustrations with a minimalist innocence and charm. The title of the work harkens back to whimsical fables, but it also applies to the artist’s own persona, as he was born in the zodiac year of the rabbit. The work lightheartedly examines the existential questions of a young human mind: the caption for a few images reads, “Why is life so boring?”
Placed starkly against a white and pale pink backdrop like murals on a child’s bedroom wall, furry friends perform unlikely feats. Some of the illustrations are brilliantly nonsensical; in a sort of modern Dadaist exploration, Lak combines a vintage photograph of a young girl with a high-resolution duck and collaged orange. Collaged creatures appear to wander in and out of his frame of their own free will, teetering on its edges and leaving empty space in their wake.
“The rabbit ears” is a childlike ode to the imagination, bringing with it hints of critical self-parody. The brilliantly ironic series reads like a 21st century kind of pop art, using commercial graphic design techniques to satirize human behaviors and pretensions. An absurd cat sips on a cappuccino and sports classic hipster-style glasses; an erudite bunny proudly displays a portrait of himself in a suit. A bored kitty chews on bubble gum. In Lak’s delightful world, animals play as humans and humans play as rabbits, and ultimately, all our everyday worries seem a little less serious, and life feels a lot more fun. (via iGNANT)