Yesterday I posted Brian Vu’s digital collages. Well if you were a fan of those then let me introduce you to Roxana Azar. Roxana mixes obscure images with basic photoshop repeating effects to create trippy worlds full of surrealism and mystery.
For a plastic doll, Barbie can be polarizing. Emiliano Paolini and Marianela Perelli discovered this recently when their exhibit “Barbie: The Plastic Religion” at POPA gallery in Buenos Aires was cancelled. “Given repeated anonymous threats concerning the event, the artists decided not to exhibit his work, fearing for the physical safety of visitors,” a notice on the gallery’s website announced.
The 33 pieces in the controversial collection are each one-of-a-kind, and they include Barbie dolls as the Virgin Mary; Joan of Arc; Kali, the Hindu goddess of destruction; and the Virgin of Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. Ken becomes Christ on the cross, Buddha, Moses, St. Sebastian and the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The sculptures represent figures from Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Argentine folk religion. The Muslim prophet Muhammad is not included in the series—the artists told Reuters that since Islam prohibits the creation of his image they omitted him out of respect.
Questions of taste and faith have been raised by Argentine Catholic Priests, Italian Bishops, and Hindu Clerics, much to the surprise of the artists. “We have a sanctuary in the kitchen that has more saints than the Vatican,” Paolini told the Associated Press. Some have accused the artists of grandstanding—disrespecting religion in order to gain notoriety. They disagree.
“The true message of our work was mutilated by magazines and television. That’s a shame. The media is killing our art.” (Source)
The sculpted dolls are additional portrayals in the canon of religious iconography, weighted down with the 55-year legacy of a plastic girl and her boyfriend.
Flicking through Colin Crane‘s photography is like playing a game of hide and seek. It’s joyful, light-hearted, flirty, a bit adventurous, and will make you smile. Crane has the knack for capturing the happiness in his subjects and images. It may sound so simple, but the effect is not to be underestimated. His photographs are like a celebration of many different aspects of life, but mostly about curiosity, enjoyment, wonder and inhibition (or lack of).
Crane’s series Dreaming In Color is a collection of intimate, dreamy moments caught on camera. Coquettish girls lie basking in a meadow, zoned out in a blissful state. A grown adult is engrossed in a pair of binoculars as if they were discovering them for the very first time. We see a figure mysteriously emerging from colored lights placed in a forest – and can only dream about what they are up to – where they have come from and why. Adventurous faces are captured, ready to create another memorable experience that they will no doubt tell around the next campfire. Friends are profiled in surreal light, flares, and orbs, sharing something magical with each other.
Crane has a naivety to his work – but most certainly not in a negative way. It’s almost as if he is experiencing the world for the first time, with virgin eyes, and we get to share in his astonishment. His work has titles like Life Is Elsewhere, A Dream That Could Come True, and Nicaraguan Afternoon – and it certainly feels like we have entered a fictional, surreal reality when we enter the world of this young talented photographer.
The artwork of James Payne is a visceral microcosm of xerox fuzz and highlighter smears. He is currently the co-curator of the seminal midwest noise space and art gallery; Skylab, has had a chap book of his poetry published by Monster House Press entitled “Austerity Pleasures”, is the lead singer of the punk band Lose the Tude, and continues to self publish a myriad of zines, comics, and exhibition catalogues.
Alva Bernadine is a British photographer, so dedicated to his craft that he risks his freedom… literally. He has a new book called Gratuitous Sex and Violence: My Favourites. The images investigate the violent nature of sex and the sexual nature of violence. The images make you feel uncomfortable, but command your attention. Alva is a seasoned veteran, having worked for 25 years as a photographer for many publications like GQ, Elle and Vogue. Get mesmerized by Alva’s erotic surrealism!
Artist Sam Songailo uses bright colors, straight lines, and bold, graphic shapes in his outdoor and indoor installations. Geometric repeating patterns span span floors, ceilings, and walls. Lighting plays a role in his work as it enhances color and gives the work a sense of space and a depth of field. Once the viewer is immersed in the space, all of the elements of Songailo’s work transports them to another place.
Outdoor installations, like the ones on a city street, work with the existing landscape. Songailo’s patterns fill and conform to every inch of the given space like a mutating organism. The high-contrast colors and intricate trellis-like shapes create a disorienting effect. Not so much when viewing it as a whole from above, but walking through it leaves little indication of direction.
Before he started large-scale installations, Songailo was a graphic designer. This is evident in the execution of his work, especially in one of his few indoor installations, Zen Garden (directly above). The piece mimics the lines of sand, with a few “rocks” that are spread throughout the gallery floor. Songailo is able to have full control over the space, and uses principles of design to make it not only attractive, but to effectively transport the viewer to a minimalist, geometric zen garden.
Roland Topor (1938–1997) was a French illustrator, painter, writer, filmmaker, actor and whatnot mostly known for his macabre and surreal cartoons. His illustrated book “Les Masochistes” was first published in 1960 and features a number of absurdly humorous masochistic actions that people perform on themselves.
The grotesque situations depicted in “Les Masochistes” perfectly convey Topor’s artistic style and approach towards the world. He infuses the grim reality of Nazi dictatorship (Topor and his family were Polish refugees of Jewish origin) with humor which was probably the best coping mechanism at that time. As described by Bernard Vehmeyer, a quote from Topor’s novel “The Tenant” perfectly sums up his world view:
He was perfectly conscious of the absurdity of his behavior, but he was incapable of changing it. This absurdity was an essential part of him. It was probably the most basic element of his personality.
Most often, Topor’s illustrations were based on surreal scenarios with deeper allusions to sex, erotica, rotting mankind and such. According to closer friends, artist had repetitive periods of extreme depression where he would balance on the verge of death and it reflects in his work.
In addition to creating public work in cities, Spanish street artist Borondo has recently used spray paint to recreate monochromatic portraits using a hay stack as as a canvas. Although he’s using this unconventional material (even for a public artist), his classically-inspired style and flawless technique are sustained. No matter the materials used, each piece of Borondo’s is blended artfully into its surroundings, creating a subtle, ghostly effect. While touring Italy this summer, Borondo painted a few large public pieces, including this haystack work in Cotignola, but his work can seen around the globe. (via from89)