Andrew Lyman, an artist and photographer living and working in Savannah, Georgia, creates “Fleeted Happenings”, a series in which the artist explores “the transcendence of memory through time in relation to space.”
These photographs envision the ephemerality of the body. Especially the reality of it being able to be in a state of being and becoming, of transcendence and disappearing. The photos feature ghostlike silhouettes that appear in scenic landscapes and surroundings that evoke feelings of nostalgia, but also of the sublime. The vast, endless, and empty spaces, not only seem beautiful because of its brilliant hues, but they also evoke fear, and anxiety, as these still remain unknown. Similarly, the transparent silhouettes suggest more of the same feelings. We are enthralled by their beauty and mysteriousness, yet, as we look at them, we acknowledge the possibility our body existing as a non-tangible, transparent form. Consequently, this brings forth questions of life after death, life before existence, and the reality of past memory an non-tangible ‘object’. As we look at these transparent, other-worldly, yet familiar forms, we have no other choice but to think about how one re-imagines memory; specifically how we envision a memory and its existence in a certain space at a given time in the past. (Via Feather of Me)
San Diego-based artist Seyo Cizmic works largely within the realm of the surreal. From hammers that droop to knock nails into their own bodies to wooden pencils with thorns built into them, many of the objects Cizmic creates are meant to confound the viewer. Barely any of them are usable in the practical sense of the item, presenting a challenge to viewers about what exactly these objects could be meant for. Some are rife with humor, such as Cyclops’ Shades, a pair of tie-dyed flower child sunglasses with only one lens, or Fish Machine Bank, a gum ball machine filled with goldfish. They’re sculptures that are meant to be questioned, scrutinized, perhaps even laughed at. Cizmic’s objects are of a different world, one in which backwards is forwards, in which objects that don’t follow reason are a new, cockeyed normal.
Within the nonsensical nature of Cizmic’s objects, however, lie larger issues at play. There’s With God on Our Side, a gold-plated sword with a crucifix at the base, joining religious iconography with an image of violence. Then there’s the self-explanatory In God, Money, and Guns We Trust, in which a pair of disembodied gold arms in military regalia hold a dollar bill up as if in prayer. Despite having his tongue pressed firmly against his cheek, Cizmic often layers his sculptures and installations with these deeper meanings, making the scrutiny and perplexity they evoke all the more rewarding.
British artist Ben Long works in a wide variety of mediums from billboards to dust drawings, to massive sculptures made out of scaffolding.
Using his finger to scribe into the layer of dirt built-up from exhaust emissions, Long creates elaborate drawings on the rear shutters of white haulage trucks. In this on-going series, collectively entitled The Great Traveling Art Exhibition, he expands upon the daubing and crude slogans that commonly adorn commercial freight vehicles.
By conceiving the project so that it may exist beyond the confines of the traditional gallery space, The Great Traveling Art Exhibition fulfilled Long’s desire to target and appeal to individuals unreceptive to the presentation of contemporary art in museums and art institutions. Furthermore, as a project born of pragmatic concerns, it enabled the artist to exercise creative expression early-on in his career without the need for a studio, gallery or financial backing.
Long’s Scaffolding sculptures are Inspired by his experiences working on building sites as a teenager, the project asserts the value of a disciplined working practice, the hard graft of manual employment and celebrates the role the construction industry plays in the advancement of urban development.
Thematically, Scaffolding Sculptures utilize cultural archetypes familiar in domestic and decorative art, whilst also making reference to art historical imagery such as Monarch of the Glen by Sir Edwin Landseer and Whistlejacket by George Stubbs. With each artwork the base structure serves to visually reinforce the sculptural intent of the project, making comparisons with the plinth, as well as reminding the viewer of a conventional use of scaffolding based on the familiar right-angle and cross bracing process.
If you thought the key-tar or Steve Vai’s triple- neck guitar was cool, try the outlandish custom musical creations of Ben Simon. They kind of look like the instruments muppets would fraggle-rock out on. The above piece also kind of looks like what San Rio’s Twin stars would shred on a cloud to. It even has a speaker built in with a sound circuit that makes a thunderclap sound! Talk about harnessing the power of Zeus! Hmm….what would your guitar look like? Mine might have to be a rhinestone studded silver leather lightening bolt that plays Queen’s “We Will Rock You” every time I do a powerslide! What’s yours…?
Artist Daniel Palacios‘ sculpture nearly seems alive. A length of rope is attached at to a machine at each end and spun. The spinning rope creates waves against a black backdrop, which are also audible as the rope cuts through the air. Visitors entering the gallery and their movement then influence the rope’s wave. The more a visitor moves in front of the installation, the more chaotic the wave pattern. It’s interesting to note a visitors surprise or sudden discomfort upon realizing their influence on the wave. The sculpture not only reveals a viewers impact on sonic surroundings, but also concretely presents also seems to eerily acknowledge each viewers existence in space and movement.
Deb Sokolow creates a vertiginous world of invented narratives. Her large-scale, ink on paper installations are hung in a kind of methodized-madness that call to mind police investigations bulletin boards, a mad scientist’s chaotic formulas and revelations, or the bedroom of an obsessive-compulsive conspiracy-obsessed fanatic. Sokolow leads viewers into the tangled web of an information-saturated schematic, leaving viewers at once disoriented and exhilarated. Sokolow talked to us about her creative process and sent us a bunch of behind-the-scenes shots, including her “research binders” detailing subjects such as “Ghosts, Email Scams, Pigeons & Squirrels.” Full interview after the jump.
Angela Strassheim is photographer who used to capture crime scene images for forensic study. Her series, “Evidence,” documents the inside and outside of homes where domestic homicides have occurred. While the homes’ outside images ring familiar in a non-intimate way, the black and white, long exposure images of the homes’ insides offer a haunting glimpse into a more intimate space. The most unsettling aspect of these images are the noticeable physical traces of disputes – the bright, white flecks and splatters observed in the photos are the result of “Blue Star” solution being applied to surfaces to activate the “physical memory of blood through contacting the remaining DNA proteins.”
Of her series, Strassheim says, “Perhaps we have all processed a question in certain love relationships: Could we be a victim of violence or perform an act of violence against a loved one out of our immense capacity to feel jealousy, anger, rage, and desperation in a moment of extreme emotion? These photographs allow for the viewer to entertain the idea that this situation could involve anyone of us…The crime scene is presented on two levels; it is both an accurate, tragic, and dramatic transcription of the event and a mysterious backdrop onto which one can project their imagination.” (via it’s nice that and women in photography)
Sometimes it seems that the more successful one is as a professional artist, the more important personal projects become. Such is the case for photographer Zhang Jingna who has partnered with video concept artist Tobias Kwan and several guest artists for the project “Motherland Chronicles.” A weekly project, the series of 52 images has recently been completed.
“It’s an exploration of sort. An attempt at putting together elements and themes I’ve loved since I was a child. It has a bit of a don’t-want-to-forget-my-childhood-dreams sort of thing going on; since I’ve been working for almost 7 years now, I don’t want to lose track of who I am, but it’s easy to as you grow and do too much commercial stuff, you know? So it goes back a lot more to my creative roots, more illustrative and painterly, like artworks that inspired me to create. Loosely linked together with hints of dark fantasy.” (Source)
The themes for the series developed organically. As the weeks progressed, the fantasy element became pronounced, colored with Jingna’s affinity for manga, Japanese rock, and fashion. The artists’ whose work she was inspired by includes Antoon van Welie, Suemi Jun, George Frederic Watts, and Yoshitaka Amano, and their illustrative influence can be seen in the work, particularly in the even light. Each image takes between 5–7 hours and a team of 5–6 people to complete. In her fascinating blog she writes about the process of beginning a personal project, using “Motherland Chronicles” as an example, and gives excellent, step-by-step instructions on what to consider and which pitfalls to avoid.
“Pictures always start from a single point; it could be an item, a piece of jewellery or even just a vague idea for a concept. Say I want to do a shoot with firs, I’ll ask myself questions such as: what kind of environment am I creating? What types of fire can I make? How does my character interact with it? What type of character does that? At the same time I do research on art, costumes, culture and sometimes also myths and legends.” (Source)
Jingna and Kwan hope to have a book for “Motherland Chronicles” completed and ready for sale in early 2015. (Via Juxtapoz)