Spanish Photographer Andres Medina has a knack for creating beauty with very little. There’s really not too much action in a lot of his photographs. Somehow, though, he frames such emptiness with beautiful lighting and technique in a way that amplifies the emptiness of the world in a really appealing way. Some of Medina’s best stuff is taken at night. You can almost feel the moist, cold air in his night photos, and your ears prick up as you are drawn into their silent world. The pictures celebrate our passive surroundings, as the lack of animated subject matter minimizes distraction. Some things are centered around such an internalized power source that you have to black out the rest of the world just to notice them.
Artist Gary Brewer combines the visual language of old school science illustrations (like the kind you’d find in a textbook from the 70s) with some extra imagination to create these otherworldly floating collections of plants, rocks, and other organic matter.
There is something fantastically unworldly yet alluringly familiar about Amy Joy Watson’s bright sculptures. Whether it’s a drooping bow or a glitter-filled orb, this Australian’s artful structures feel like a 1986 birthday party, translated or abstracted by a video game of that same era: there are no soft edges, only the disjointed illusion of it.
To make each piece, Watson stitches or glues together watercolor-stained balsa wood, occasionally adding a tasteful Gobstopper here, or helium balloon there, to garnish her own primal sense of whimsy and sacred geometry, resulting in a somewhat spiritual monument to another imaginative age and time.
Scott Hazard’s photo constructs blur the lines between photography, collage, and sculpture creating three dimensional portals into the urban landscape. (via laughing squid & colossal)
The objects I make serve as devices for poetic awareness. Looking into them creates an atmosphere of in-betweenness which helps frame the small extractions and resonances of the world featured in each work. Commonplace elements in the natural and built worlds provide points of origin for helping people gain insights and understandings of the landscape around them. My work incorporates extractions from sites in urban and pastoral landscapes, whether the material extracted is local stone or wood, video, or photographs.
In a world with a seemingly endless amount of stimulus available, most of us are concerned with our own business, unable to let some of the more subtle aspects of the world reveal themselves to us at times. Taking note of these details might help us better appreciate or gain an enhanced understanding of the world we live in. As Walt Whitman wrote in the preface to Leaves of Grass, “The greatest poet dilates any thing that was before thought small…with the grandeur and life of the universe. He is a seer.” My work temporarily removes or alters the viewer’s existing frame of reference to provide an opportunity for a different presence of mind, a distilled frame of reference.
Ren Ri is an artist who works with bees to make his contained beehive sculptures. He builds the plastic containers and places the wood dowels inside them to subtly guide the shape of the hive, and also rotates the sculpture every seven days to affect its form. The use of bees is especially relevant with the current affairs of suffering bee populations around the world, which could have a drastic and lasting effect on farming, but also the natural world in general.
Ri employs many strategies to work with bees. He performs with the bees, allowing them to sting his face, and has created a series of maps made of bees wax. According to Hi-Fructose, his aim in using the bees is to remove his subjectivity from the work. Although it certainly does remove a large degree of control, this is slightly problematic as he still intervenes by creating the object within which the bees form their hives, and further affects their process by rotating it. Complete objectivity seems pretty much unattainable in this scenario, as well as a false aspiration for any creative pursuit. Although there are obviously varying degrees of subjectivity, any intervention implies the influence of the author, and without the intervention Ri would be a beekeeper, not an artist. It’s interesting to experiment with degrees of control, but this is not an objective piece.
To me, the most interesting part of this project is the collaboration with the bees, as the final products are aesthetically appealing and call indirect attention to an issue of pertinence in the world today. (Via Hi-Fructose)
Pierre Commoy and Gilles Blanchard – Pierre and Gilles – have made portraits of Madonna, Jean Paul Gaultier, Andy Warhol, and Iggy Pop, just to name a few. The portraits are sexually charged and totally fantastical. Their subjects are placed under water, surrounded by flowers, or in what looks like a McDonalds ball pen (a not so subtle reference, in the tradition of most of their portraiture). Their kitschy and outlandish aesthetic has had them attain international recognition; they’re included in collections like the MoMA’s and have had a major retrospective at the New Museum in 2000.
Not only do they work together professionally, they have also been together as a couple for the duration of their shared career. Pierre is the photographer, and Gilles does the painting afterward. According to a VMagazine interview, the entire process of one portrait takes them about three weeks:
“We do everything from creating the décor to taking the picture to constructing the frame. We are always inspired by the person’s personality.”
Although their sexual orientation is a large part of their public persona, they say they are cautious not to pigeonhole themselves into what they call the “gay ghetto” and for this reason take portraits of a variety of celebrities they admire, while maintaining their own distinct style.
Their aesthetic is whimsical and edgy. Certainly setting a man up fully nude peeing into a garden of flowers is not an image you will see every day. It’s provocative, but not aggressive, probably because of the teasing, over-the-top nature of the accompanying imagery. They find a way to playfully bring the mainstream out of its comfort zone so it seems like every day should be filled with sexy nuns riding bedazzled horses!