Joel Galvin, or Ventral Is Golden (origin: late Middle English : from Latin venter, ventr- ‘belly’ + -al . Thanks Dictionary.) uses a plethora of different medium. Wonderfully, they all seem to correlate with each other. Perhaps it’s just how odd and familiar they are.
Lucy McLauchlan of Birmingham, UK has been painting on every imaginable surface for over ten years. She has created everything from large murals to graphics for baby clothes. She usually works in flat black and white, depicting birds, trees, and whatever strikes her fancy. Most recently, she’s put up a lot of public work in East London, celebrating the Olympic Games. McLauchlan’s subdued compositions don’t scream “look at me!” (a message proliferated by many “street” artists), but -instead- “look at this!”. Honest, pure beautification of our public urban space without any ego.
Brooklyn artist Monica Cook is a woman of many talents, with multiple personalities and identities. She loves to explore the revolting, disgusting side of being human that we often try to hide. The range of her art practice is broad, and includes grotesque hairy sculptures, to highly detailed bizarre animations, meticulous drawings of naked women in surreal settings and beautifully rich oil paintings of slippery and slimy intimate scenes. Cook says all that she produces is in some way a representation of her, a kind of self portrait, or an attempt to digest the things about her that she doesn’t understand.
“When I’m painting, it’s more about my relationship with the object than it is about me. It’s hard for me to separate myself from the experience. It could be a fish or an octopus. I handle it until it becomes unfamiliar to me so I can see it in a new way. People might want to read into those paintings but for me, it’s just about finding magic in the mundane and exploring further.” (Source)
Her drawings are combinations of miniature versions of herself acting out strange activities on large body/landscapes. Her work usually explores the range of human emotions, including anything from girls on laughing gas in the middle of a doctor’s examination or celebrating some personal triumph while riding a balloon. Cook is able to exaggerate the awkwardness of being human, and how gross and disgusting it can be to live with flesh and bones.
“I can be extremely awkward, yes. I can be really shy, too. I put myself in a position where I am really uncomfortable interacting with something, and work with it until I become comfortable with it, and capture that private moment of surrender or acceptance. It’s all about private performance, and amplifying the absurdity of a situation – and making myself laugh.” (Source) (Via Juxtapoz)
Portland painter Hickory Mertsching has a penchant for life, death and nature: both wild and man-made. His still lifes, done in oil, showcase a confluence of symbolism with many conflicting elements. Throughout his work, one sees a running commentary of environmental negligence, and human impact through littering and deforestation. Animals juxtaposed with crushed beer cans and chainsaws showcase not only the symbolic reference of destruction but also the aesthetics of defacing the environment through litter and clear-cutting. The animals interact, oblivious to the objects, as in real life: nature cannot defend itself nor comment on our treatment of it.
It is hard to view Mertsching’s paintings without feeling a paroxysm of guilt toward existing and participating in a time of such extreme usability; within a culture that bulldozes through natural resources, sidelines scientific research in the name of profit and economic interests, everyone meets a moment where they have to wonder just how bad their impact is on the world and what they could be doing differently.
Even so, Mertsching’s paintings focus on a larger set of paradoxes than just that. There is the implied confusion within viewing the animals, of which it is uncertain whether they are alive or dead. Many of the landscapes, some on fire and under immediate threat, are not fully realized and hover curiously within the white, negative space of the canvas. The direct confrontation between life force and waste, is beautifully arranged and painted in such a light that the garbage gains an antique presence, a glowing look, one that only highlights the ridiculousness of how we treat our environment.
Mertsching’s words on his own work:
“My paintings are about illustrating and presenting unavoidable natural realities by utilizing mundane objects as symbols. The realities constantly challenge our existence and are powerful enough to be beyond our control, always offering more to wonder and question. Such as the rise and fall of a garden in the span of summer it offers sustenance but requires toil for any reward of consumption. Within this cycle all allegorical manners of life occur, crossing paths, pursuits of enlightenment, conflicts of survival, and the passing of time.”
In master paintings, beauty lies in the romance of an instant, with movement expressed only through form, balance, and color; for the animation artist Rino Stefano Tagliafierro, emotional potency is lost in immobility, their dramatic narratives lost to the stationary canvas. By animating famous Renaissance, Romantic, and Neoclassical paintings using modern technology, he revels in the joy of storytelling through art.
In his video Beauty, Tagliafierro uses mostly Academic paintings, relying on the balance and mythos of Neo-Classicism and the sentimentalist nature of Romanticism to celebrate the female body in motion. Animating mostly paintings by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, he heightens the sensuality of the work by adding slow, gentle movements and soft musical notes. The delicacy of both the young female and the mother figure is exalted to the angelic, her creamy flesh revealed through the coy lifting of her skirt.
Tagliafierro subverts the traditional gentleness of his woman subjects by including Baroque heroines, whose rapid movements only heighten their power. In Caravaggio’s Judith Beheading Holofernes, we are given the just moment of impact, left breathless in the moment before the kill; in his adaptation, the modern artist affords viewers the satisfaction of closure, allowing Judith’s weapon to effortlessly glide through the neck of her enemy.
The gifs of Caravaggio’s Isaac and Luis Ricardo Falero’s witches, played in a loop, relieve viewers of the suspense of the famous biblical and mythological images, allowing us follow a visual story that moves from terror to a sort of redemption. The human body is seen as a creative force, in constant flux between tension and release. (via Design Boom)
We are please to announce the release of our newest book, Beautiful/Decay: Future Perfect. Presented by Toyota Prius Projects, Beautiful/Decay brings together over 100 artists from around the US creating new imagery revolving around the books “future perfect” theme.
We asked artists to “show us what your ideal future would look like.” and over 300 submissions poured in, spanning every medium, technique, and style. From the 300 submissions, one Grand Prize winner was selected and over 100 finalist’s work will be featured throughout the publication.
The book also includes a feature length article with notable, emerging, New York artist, Robin Williams whose surreal paintings give us a view into her very own Future Perfect. Only 1,500 copies were made, all of which are ad-free and hand numbered. 80% of the 1,500 books are already sent to subscribers so make sure you grab your copy before they inevitably sell out!
The view looking out of a window is often one filled with daydreaming and contemplation. Artist Jim Darling creates abstracted images inspired by the view of looking out of an airplane window. His brilliant, wispy use of color and impressionistic style perfectly breaks down the fleeting shapes and colors seen through the perspective from an airplane. His thick, impasto style depicts the aerial views just as they are seen in real life, swift and in motion. The abstract scenes seem to rush in and out of your view as you get a glimpse of the many wonderful colors lighting up the sky at different types of day.
Created from acrylic paint, aerosol, and woodwork, the artist constructs the frame of each piece to appear just like the window in an airplane would, with the window shade and all. He depicts purple mountains, cool, blue skies, a bustling cityscape, and even a wing of an airplane in his scenes from above. Darling takes us on a journey through the sky through different ecological forms, environments, and cities. Because the scenes are abstracted, we cannot tell exactly where his window views are taking us. Even the city is not specific to one exact location. This allows everyone to insert their own memories of travel into the paintings so that we can feel a connection to his work. Darling evokes strong emotions of nostalgia of travel and adventure, as many of us feel while we are aboard a flight.
British artist Philippa Beveridge fosters mystery through her series of glass change purses. In an on-going project titled Lost and Found, she reconstructs the dainty-looking accessories with trace amounts of what was left inside. The thick glass resembles an ice sculpture that also gives her work a fleeting, ethereal feel. She describes the sculptures in her writing:
[These] on-going series of works deal with the concept of collective and individual identity through the everyday form of a purse: a belonging which is often lost, stolen or mislaid, full of sentimental value and charged with personal memories. I began to make this work during a three-month long artist’s residency in Northern France. I invited local residents to visit me at the studio and show me the contents of their purses. Building on the theme of traces, I highlighted the objects and details found in the purses to forge histories and construct identities. The resulting imagery, trapped in the material, expresses notions of time, memories and sentiments which lean towards metaphorical interpretations in relation to one’s own past. (Via The Jealous Curator)