Canadian photographer, Amy Friend revisits the past and explores themes of memory and impermanence through the alteration and re-imagination of vintage photographs. The artist inserts a charming glow to the silhouettes of her subjects; the additions makes the images come to life, almost as if the aura of the deceased is alive. “By re-using lights”, she says “I return the subject of the photographs back to the light, while simultaneously bringing them forward.”
I employ materials and surroundings that are familiar to me using them as starting points for my investigations. These materials become the substance I use to inform the work I create. In my practice I tend to work within the medium of photography, however, I am not concerned with capturing a “concrete” reality. Instead, I aim to use photography as a medium that offers the possibility of exploring the relationship between what is visible and non-visible.
Holiday, Vissarion sect, City of the Sun, Krasnoyarsk Territory, 2006
Koryak foothills, Kamchatka, 2000
Newlyweds, suburbs of Novosibirsk, November 2010
A new photography exhibition at the American University Museum wants to show you that Siberia is more than just a cold, barren place. Titled Siberia in the Eyes of Russian Photographers, it paints the Russian region in a different light. Photographs boast impressive landscapes and even some warm weather; We see children swimming and people wearing short-sleeved shirts. Anton Fedyashin, the executive director of the Initiative for Russian Culture at American University, spoke with Slate about stereotypes of Siberia. “Notions of Siberia in the United States come from Hollywood,” he said. “They come from films that emphasize the morbid exoticism of Siberia, the endless white plains, the sparse villages. Those are the kinds of images that are most widespread in the West. Of course, Siberia during winter does look like that, but there’s another side of the story.”
Siberia makes up about 75 perfect of Russia’s landmass, but only 25 percent of its population. The people who live there are described as having an independent spirit, much like pioneers who settled in the American West during the 19th century. The exhibition draws comparisons between the two places. “It’s an image that overemphasizes the negative aspects of this enormous part of the Eurasian continent and one that completely underrepresents the enormous geographical variety, which is breathtakingly beautiful. The exhibit shows that it’s equally as beautiful and eerily similar to the American West.” Fedyashin explains. While many Western photographers chose to accentuate the emptiness of Siberia, the Russian photographers in this exhibition depict a multifaceted place, spanning from the 1860’s to 2011. (Via Slate)
Adam Hosmer’s delightfully strange photographs are created by mixing the medium of drawing and photography but with a digital slant. Hosmer starts each image by taking a photograph and then drawing on top of it on the computer. Hundreds of digital lines create hairy deconstructed figures that are coming together, falling apart, and constantly morphing. The results are a strange hybrid of the grotesque and humorous, the digital and analog and formal and experimental.
Photographer E.E. McCollum’s heavenly figures are both encased and exploding out of their shell in The Cocoon Series. The translucent film covering the figures in the photos transforms the bodies as it mimics that of a butterfly cocoon. McCowell’s work is both stunning and absolutely transcendent, as they seem to be not of this world. Each stretch and fold molds the figures into new shapes as they try to erupt from their form. A master of light and shadow, McCollum started in photography using traditional darkroom processes. This influence can be seen in his current series because they have a stark contrast of lights and darks, much like analogue photography.
The film cast engulfing his figures is lit so well that you we can see every fine line of the body underneath, showing the mesmerizing positions of the bodies. These majestic and elegant poses are not unlike those of dancers, who McCollum often photographs in his other work. Each figure becomes sculptural as the lighting and film engulfing it reshapes and morphs it into another state of being, just like the caterpillar changing into a butterfly. McCollum’s most dramatic and captivating photos are those in which the body is finally erupting out of its “cocoon.” The incredible movement created in these photos is as intense and magical as the transformational act of the creation of butterfly. (via artfucksme)
I love the mystery of these images; the way the material distorts our perception of the body, the layers of the images. -E.E. McCollum
Color is the name of the game for Beatriz Milhazes, a multidisciplinary artist from Rio de Janeiro. Wild colors in fact, and wild geometric forms to boot. Milhazes has exhibited in museums around the world and even represented Brazil at the Venice Biennale in 2003. If you are in the New York area, make sure to go and see her Gold Rose Series at James Cohan Gallery, an edition of seven silkscreen and wood block prints that were made at Durham Press in Pennsylvania.
Tim Noble And Sue Webster make art that directly addresses the waste and aesthetic vulgarity of advanced consumerism and repositions the litter and gaudiness as a powerful visual allegory of human mortality, love and hope. The duo’s recent monograph British Rubbish, showcases their work from 1996 to present day in all its meticulously crafted glory— including the die cut book cover itself revealing the portraits of the artists.
Extravagant, irreverent, and always sharply clever, British Rubbish is both a paean to and sly denunciation of conspicuous consumption.
Seattle artist Kyler Martz is an illustrator, painter, and tattoo artist with an expressionist style so unique within his field that it seems to take the whole concept of tattoo work into uncharted territory. While the work of famous tattoo personas like Ed Hardy has mass commercialized the basic styles of sailor tattoo art and tattoo graphics into a nearly bland generalized version of itself, Martz is pushing the genre forward and taking it back to weird, in the best way possible. Having mastered the basics of line work and image building, what stands out about Martz is his use of layered objects and elements to create a woven narrative that is surprisingly dense within a compact space. Using both abstract and figurative symbology, Martz has found an interesting balance between the literal and the ethereal that makes his work conceptually vivid and involved. Many hidden aspects lie in wait: faces and skulls within landscapes, pocket knives folding open into mountainscapes, and often you can find the Eye of Hamsa nestled within the architecture of the piece. Russian nesting dolls, houses on snails backs, and boats made of sea creatures are other strange metaphorical pockets Martz’s work has inhabited and enlivened. Allusions to the omnipresent spirit of the northwest drift in and out of his work: campfires, trees, The Puget Sound, log cabins, mountains, and wildlife; items detailing the Filson/Pendleton lifestyle that is deeply embedded in the historical northwest culture. These abstract notions add a sense of timeless mystery and allow his work to be interpreted on multiple tiers of thought. It will be really fun to see where he is at and what he is making a few years from now.