Louise Despont explores drawing as abstract meditations, balancing and integrating symbols and forms to link her art to the inscription of narratives and to mystical or literary concerns. Employing and recasting a vocabulary of elements and constructions found within a set of architectural stencils and compasses, the artist renders her drawings on the pages of antique ledger books.
Despont has borrowed the geometries of Indian labyrinths, gardens, architecture, vessels and ancient Buddhist and Jain caves to offer balanced forms – particularly masculine and feminine principles—that engage past and present as indicators and provocations. While leaning towards strong poetic and lyrical translations, these drawings unlock a spatial perceptual field to reveal the formal qualities of surface, texture, scale and form.
While reinvesting introspection and the metaphysical into tropes of abstraction, Despont’s drawings are notable for their levels of sincerity, intricacy and refinement. Even in her larger works, the artist evokes an intimate experience with fine lines and subtle hatch marks revealing themselves only when viewed up close. The resulting works, charged with alternative legacies of cultural and personal, confront the binaries of abstraction and figuration through their encoded compositions.
Paris’ Avalanche Design Studio is a collaboration between Alexandra Roucheray and Delfine Roux. These two definitely have a unique take on process, which seems to lead each piece down a path very distant and varied from the one previously worked. Perhaps it’s the hint of Dadaist influence I’m detecting?
Chinese artist Shu Yong created an atypical waterfall using upwards of 10,000 recycled toilets, sinks and urinals. The project took two months for Shu Young and his team to complete and covers a wall 100 meters long and 5 meters high. Originally designed for the Foshan Pottery and Porcelain Festival, a porcelain product tradeshow, the piece is now installed as a permanent piece of public art. Each toilet was connected to a tap so that they could be flushed—the point being to give a viewer an idea of just how much water is used in a city as large as Foshan.
Shu Yong typically works in many mediums, ranging from painting, photography, sculpture and performance, always interested in “bubbles.” For Shu, bubbles are not just a symbol, they’re also a concept. Shu says, “I use various methods to deduce bubble, making it a totem in both conception and form.” Alongside the Toilet Waterfall Shu installed one of his “Bubble Women,” a sculpture of ballooning women’s breasts. A seemingly unusual pairing, Shu uses the Bubble Women as a reflection of the motivations and interests of modern day society. Juxtaposing the two works makes for a bizarre, yet strangely effective, commentary on contemporary culture. Shu believes in using such provocative work to address cultural mythology, politics and contemporary anxiety in China, or as he calls it, “his laboratory.” (via amusingplanet)
Jamie Campbell works with the themes of insecurity, burden, vulnerability and desperation, but does it with self-deprecation and humor and profound honesty, leaving you unsure of whether you want to hit him or hug him. Our favorite images by Jamie are of the ghosts wandering around and the living who are stopped in their tracks and drawn into the light.
A native of Hungary, Rita Ackermann moved to New York City in the mid-1990s, arriving to find a culture— and art world—in transition. Rave and zine culture was in full swing; collaborations between artists, musicians, and magazine and book publishers were pervasive; and the age of the Internet was upon us. Within a few short months, Ackermann received widespread attention for her work, particularly a group of canvases populated with figures inspired by the cult German film We Children from Bahnhof Zoo about the heroin subculture of the 1970s. Her work forged a new visual language: paintings, drawings, and collages which telescoped between a virtuoso—and sometimes brutalistic—expressionism and taut, precise figurative drawing. Ackermann’s work explores the paradoxical relationship between fragility and violence, as she derives inspiration from literature, film, philosophy, and popular culture.
Bill McRight, of Philly powerhouse Space 1026, employs gnarly printmaking skills in the creation of images not confined to a place in time. In McRight’s work, Garish figures sans-pupils populate a stark environment of violence, movement, and open mouths containing sharp teeth. But it all looks so good that the reaction of the viewer is inclined toward pleasure rather than pain.
Brooklyn-based photographer Ji Yeo creates Somewhere on the Path, I See You, a project in which the photographer captures two different types of women: one with extreme self-regulation and distorted notions of beauty that suffer from eating disorders, and the other women are aspiring actresses and models living in Hollywood, California, who are interested in the process of being represented because they carry dreams of fame.
By carefully selecting various body and personality types ,Yeo creates a sample of photos (and people) that further examine larger societal issues regarding ideas of beauty, self-definition, and self-respect.
By forcing viewers to confront images of women who by definition had been judged continuously by themselves, it brought focus to the viewers natural impulse to judge. In doing so it implicates them in the complex relationship we have with making aesthetic judgments.