The work of Ryan De La Hoz exists in a very particular world, a world comprised of hauntingly nostalgic paper cut outs and drawings that look like a spooky cartoon reduced to the absolute minimum of expression. Delicate flowers, leaves and skeleton gloves contrast with gaping holes filled with dizzying Op-Art to create a landscape that seems like Tim Burton got together with Henri Matisse to make their own paradise. The works are so simplified they leave it up to viewers to project their own narrative on the scene. We each have our own idea of where each ladder leads, and what is hiding behind those geodes and mounds of slime. The compositions are mysteriously devoid of humans, yet laced with the shadows of human characters. The gloves of skeleton costumes pepper many of his works, as if to signify not only death, but a human representation of death. Another common symbol used by De La Hoz is the ladder, one loaded with symbolism. Ladders leaning into a spiraling abyss, or simply leading to no where, bring to mind the question of where are we going and where have we been. While De La Hoz does have the tendency to appear Halloween-ish, with his frequent use of pointed witches’ hats, cob webs, skeletons and blobby mounds with gaping mouths, the work transcends the threat of kitsch in its minimalism and precision. We are drawn to wonder about the age old truths, about death and what is left behind, and about what is hidden and what is revealed.
Anna Sladmann’s Little Adults series explores what it feels like to grow up as a privileged child in Russia, a country where its radical history still rules the daily life. It is the exploration of the recently growing society of the “Noveau-Riche” in which children have been raised to become the “Elite” and behave like little adults. Photographing Russia’s new generation of children reflects the extreme contrast between social hierarchies, touches on the control of family aspirations, ideas of normality, the loss of childhood and the constant desire for fame.
Toyin Odutola’s arresting drawings map every curve, line, and pore on the human body.
Hamidou Maiga’s career as a photographer was launched in the early 1950s when he purchased his first camera, a medium format Souflex. At the age of twenty he learnt the rudiments of photography and printing through photojournalism, and in 1958 Maiga opened his first studio in N’Gouma. For two years he traced the route of the River Niger developing a clientele for his distinctive outdoor studio portraits. In 1960 he returned to Timbuktu with a successful business.
German artist Lars Teichmann goops on the black and white paint in his rich textured works.
Jake Fried takes us through a journey deep into a dense forest of the unknown where mythical beasts appear under nightfall and coded ancient hieroglyphics hold dark secrets. Watch the full video after the jump.
Donna J. Wan’s Promised Lands series documents the merging of nature and urbanization. Wan’s work asks “how has our perceptions of the landscape have changed over the two centuries, after we have remade a considerable part of it in our image. Does the land, sea or mountain still represent places onto which we can project our hopes and desires? Or, have we become alienated from it and only respond strongly to it when we are shown images of its devastation?”