Holding her Nikon Digital SLR camera up to a spotting scope, Carol E. Richards examines a surprising array of feathery emotions akin to her own.
The use of two surfaces or buffers, sometimes three, if shot through a window, create a fascinating ring around each figure, a soft focused vignette of sorts, comparable to that of a toy camera. The result is an ambient deepening, apparent not only in the composition, but also in the subject matter and the artist’s intrigue with trailing or meditating on each flighty movement.
Salvador Dali once said, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” On this note, Richards explores the act of bird watching as a certain mirroring, clearly exposing humanity’s inclination to anthropomorphize animals and as she asserts, “project qualities onto them that can be heartbreaking, sweet, or simply intriguing.”
Thus, in the vein of Dali’s quote, Richards shares with us her most recent collection: Birds Have Wings from Nazraeli Press.
Annie Marie Musselman’s photographic work has a very unique quality and strategic approach to capturing the soul of an animal. When browsing through the collections on her site, I couldn’t help but feel like I was looking at another human being, not a bird or a fox… Currently, Musselman is working on a project photographing animals in sanctuaries around the world in order to raise awareness around the fragility and beauty of endangered species – animals which if saved, would save countless other species as well.
Nathan Manire‘s work may seem more akin to printing than painting. These water color on paper pieces pleasantly blend digital and handmade imagery. The bleeding and absorption of paint into the grain of the paper reveals the passing of an artist’s hand. However, the paintings refer to the pixelized image. In a strange way, stepping back from each painting seems to reveal more detail, while stepping forward again turns the piece into a nearly abstract work. His skillful painting has won him high profile clients such as Nike, Wired magazine, and Cosmopolitan magazine.
Brian J. Hettler’s work is anything but subtle. He fuses digital imagery with saturated color and virtual elements. Even though Hettler works in digital media, he maintains the belief that his work acts as a painting built upon the directive of formalism. His work functions in a place between religion and science, emotion and sterility. He is a recent graduate from Kansas City Art Institute.
When photographer Jennifer Loeber’s mother died, Loeber began to photograph her belongs as a way of coping with her grief. She matched her photos with vintage pictures that her father had taken of her mother and posted the pairs on Instagram. The resulting series, “Left Behind,” is a poignant memorial, both deeply personal and universal.
The everyday objects that remain when loved one dies become an instant museum of sorts, freezing that person in time. A favorite pearl ring will never be replaced by a diamond; an unmatched glove will never be matched to its mate. A used lipstick, valueless in itself, becomes a cherished object, chosen and applied by the person so missed. Many times these everyday objects are the most touching and the most difficult to dispose of.
“I found myself deeply overwhelmed by the need to keep even the most mundane of my Mom’s belongings when she died suddenly this past February. Instead of providing comfort and good memories they became a source of deep sadness and anxiety and I knew the only way I would be able to move past that was to focus on a way to interact with them cathartically. I had recently become active on Instagram and realized that utilizing the casual aspects of sharing on the app was a way to diminish my own sentimentality towards the objects my Mom left behind.”
Reframing the objects allowed Loeber to experience them without searing grief. Instead of the items feeling haunted, they became imbued by fond memories of her mother’s life. By matching them with her father’s photos she was able to make a fitting memorial to her mother, one that was less about personal pain than about remembrance.
“My dad refused to hold a traditional funeral service because he and I believe you should celebrate a life, not mourn it. I’m sure this body of work falls in line with that concept.” (Source)
Bones automatically insinuate death, and often are the only physical remnant that insinuates life once existed. Shen Shaomin‘s bone works are equal parts terrifying and fascinating, man-made memorials to human intervention on the planet. Creatures that never have been or should be are pieced together from human and animal skeletons. The bones are carved and relief-carved with text taken from several sources, including the Bible, the Koran, and various sources. Inscribed in English, Arabic, and Chinese, the texts serve as warnings to the two largest industrial nations in the world of the damage being caused to the planet.
Related to the Chinese practice of bonsai, or long-term manipulation of a living tree to one’s will based on aesthetic and stylistic choices, Shaomin has also used bonsai in past works as a metaphor for human intervention upon nature.
In an interview with the University of Sydney’s ARTSPACE CHINA, Shaomin explains the terror he hopes to evoke in his skeletal works, “China’s current situation is very much like my bonsais. At first glance you will find it beautiful, but once you look more carefully you’ll see there are terrifying things behind that beauty. China has over a billion people, but over 800 million of those people are peasants. A peasant’s standard of life in China is still pretty basic. They say that if every one of those 800 Chinese peasants showered every day it would take more than all the water on the planet. That’s a scary thought.” (via myampgoesto11)