Celebrated artist Alberto Giacometti once said, “The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.” Giacometti was an artist noted for his abstraction and deconstruction of the human form, which he depicted through a multitude of sculptures, paintings and drawings in elongated shape and scumbled lines. Figurative paintings and portraiture are nothing new, yet subgenres of portraiture continue to emerge, survive and move us. The common phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” aptly applies, and the activation of perception, observation and process are represented in beautiful and intricate ways in the four contemporary artists whose work is featured here. Featured artists include: Karim Hamid, Colin Chillag, Borondo and Angela Fraleigh.
From setting hipster traps to designing tourist lanes on sidewalks, Jeff Greenspan’s work consistently employs a certain playful cleverness that questions our social norms in relation to spaces, New York City in particular. The Statue Experiment (pictured above) is no exception. Examining our own reality as far as engaging with art and its contextual expectations is concerned, Greenspan adds a little bowl of change in front of Frank Benson’s statue for a whole new effect. In fact, it just might be the best street performance art performed by an actual object . . . or maybe it’s the audience members who are the real performers? Click on the video after the jump to see what we mean.
Nick Farrell is a photographer with the ability to capture the essence of sex. And while he primarily shoots naked or next-to-naked girls for his personal projects, he has a diversity and range that has allowed him to work on everything from editorials with Mickey Avalon, short films for fashion brands like Han Cholo, to even the occasional shower shot of pornstar Jessie Andrews. But his real skillset is in his ability to make everyone feel relaxed and comfortable while they’re on set. That’s why there’s still this genuine quality to his nudes and his models look naturally flirtatious, rather than aggressive and overly posed. WARNING: This post contains images that are NSFW.
Los Angeles based artist Bovey Lee uses one single sheet of Chinese rice paper to cut and construct her unbelievably intricate urban scenes. The winding compositions she creates with simple positive and negative space forms a topsy-turvy world of concrete jungles, mountains, and wild flora. Even the clouds present in her work are fantastical as they swirl around the buildings like smoke. Bovey Lee’s process begins with rendering the composition digitally on a computer. She then prints these images and hand cuts each little detail into creation. These whimsical, impossible worlds are so complex you can search through the cut paper for hours, noticing small details like a person balancing across a tightrope, or a city floating on a cloud in the distance. Even the trucks passing by have unique patterns on each one.
Bovey Lee explains that her work is full of tension between mankind and our environment; a power struggle between two forces. Her work explores the intensions and actions of humans and the affect it has on our surroundings. Lee’s process can be tedious and time consuming, but at the same time meditative. The artist further explains her relationship with working with cut paper. (via Faith is Torment)
“My work is like drawing with a knife and is rooted in my study of Chinese calligraphy and pencil drawing. Cutting paper is a visceral reaction and natural response to my affection for immediacy, detail, and subtlety. The physical and mental demand from cutting is extreme and thrilling, slows me down and allows me to think clearly and decisively.”
Gianna Commito’s paintings weave in and out, go inside and outside, appear minimal and expressionistic all at once. Much like the architecture that inspires them.
Bjorn Copeland mashes up neon colors, geometric patterns, and disparate collaged elements into one big distorted reality. This Brooklyn based artist also makes up one third of the experimental rock group Black Dice, and creates all the bands posters, artwork and t-shirts. Sound a little bit like to me like a similar path that this other guy Raymond Pettibon took all the way to the top. Keep up the good work Bjorn!
Black Hole is a project by Stockholm-based artist, Orestes Grediaga. A feeling of “void” and “emptiness” had struck the artist almost instantly – a feeling he had yet to experience. That day, the artist was drawn to a large piece of paper, on which he drew a black hole. “When it was dry, it seemed to absorb all of me as I looked at it. Inside, there were no thoughts nor feelings, no memories, no physicality, nothing. It was like a black hole. At that moment a sense of abiding calm came over me from inside, from the very same place this enigmatic void was coming from.” – Orestes Grediaga
In the large Ivory Coast city of Abidjan it was once common to see Hââbré, the ancient custom of scarification. Today only the older people wear scarifications and when Joana Choumali decided to photograph them for her series “Haabre, The Last Generation 2013-2014” she had a hard time finding people to pose for her.
“Scarification is the practice of performing a superficial incision in the human skin. This practice is disappearing due to the pressure of religious and state authorities, urban practices and the introduction of clothing in tribes.”
Choumali photographed the participants against a neutral backdrop in the attempt to remove any stigma or judgment from the images. On her website she pairs two images for each portrait—one from behind and one from the front or side, showing the scars. This is an interesting choice which seems to reinforce the idea that the scarification serves as an identity card of sorts. Where people are interchangeable from the back, they are marked and classified and unmistakable from the front. The images are also accompanied by quotes.
“Opinions (sometimes conflicting) of our witnesses illustrate the complexity of African identity today in a contemporary Africa torn between its past and its future. This “last generation” of people bearing the imprint of the past on their faces, went from being the norm and having a high social value to being somewhat ‘excluded.’”
It’s intriguing to note that while Hââbré is becoming extinct in Africa, it is gaining popularity as “body modification” in other areas of the world. According to National Geographic “over the last seven or eight years scarification has become remarkably widespread in the U.S. and Australia and across Europe, from London to Prague.” Is it cultural appropriation or appreciation? Will these scars start as emblems of individuality and end up, as in Africa, visual reminders of regret? (via feature shoot)