Deb Sokolow creates a vertiginous world of invented narratives. Her large-scale, ink on paper installations are hung in a kind of methodized-madness that call to mind police investigations bulletin boards, a mad scientist’s chaotic formulas and revelations, or the bedroom of an obsessive-compulsive conspiracy-obsessed fanatic. Sokolow leads viewers into the tangled web of an information-saturated schematic, leaving viewers at once disoriented and exhilarated. Sokolow talked to us about her creative process and sent us a bunch of behind-the-scenes shots, including her “research binders” detailing subjects such as “Ghosts, Email Scams, Pigeons & Squirrels.” Full interview after the jump.
Artist Chris Wood likes to exploit the magic of light, and more particularly, the light that passes through glass. Working specifically with Dichroic glass (meaning two color), she installs pieces or shards of the material on walls at different angles, allowing the different color and reflections to play off each other. Arranging the glass in usually geometric, or circular forms, they take on the appearance of futuristic mandalas, or some complex physics experiment. The installations are wildly varied in color, at times the glass is completely transparent and subtle, or can be densely rainbow colored, or even entirely opaque and metallic.
Dichroic glass was actually developed by NASA in the late fifties to protect against harmful effects of direct sunlight and cosmic radiation, and is a very unique material. Due to it’s unique nature, it is a captivating material to work with with unlimited potential. Wood says of her interest in it:
Glass is a material which allows me to exploit the aesthetic potential of light. Minimal structures, support simple arrangements of glass, which interact with light to create complex patterns of light and shade, which change depending upon the position of the viewer and the angle of the light source. (Source)
Wood also works with the Dichroic glass outdoors, setting up quiet installations that play off the reflections and colors of the environment. Favoring water and greenery, she is able to make us look twice at the nature we take for granted around us.
I have to confess I am easily drawn to works of art that resemble or depict toys and other childhood objects. At face value these works are easy, as all of us have some form of relationship or pre-existing association with the referenced nostalgic icons. In other words, the works naturally engage us and draw us in. However, these works, specifically those featured here, use the familiar imagery to interject layers of conceptual content, moving far beyond catchy into heavier implications, through expert usage of scale, quantity and context.
Context is key in these pieces. Maurizio Cattelan is a conceptual master of context, as demonstrated in his piece Daddy Daddy, which features a large drowned figure of Pinocchio floating face down in a pool inside the Guggenheim. The result is ironic, tragic and flawless. As well, the practice of significantly altering scale such as Jeff Koons‘ balloon animal sculptures, Urs Fischer‘s Untitled (Lamp/Bear) and Yoram Wolberger‘s life-size sculptures of toy and trophy figurines, allows the objects to become monolithic, dwarf us and alter our sense of reality.
In 1998, Argentinian artist Nicola Constantino created ‘Peletería Humana’ (Human fur Boutique), a window display with twenty mannequins showing off Nicola’s heeled shoes, dresses and handbags. These elegant designs were fashion forward in a peculiar way: all pieces were made out of real human hair and colored latex cloth which patterns and textures imitated human nipples. The material, reminiscent of real human skin. was a definite erotic but also sickeningly monstrous and abnormal characteristic that made many recoil in disgust.
The attractive yet repulsive pieces delineate the artist’s ideas about two highly addictive societal desires: expensive consumer goods and sex. By creating these garments out of human hair and cloth that reproduced the human skin, she entices the viewer to see, simultaneously, both desires in the same object. We can also say that her ‘elegant’, high end creations (all which are wearable pieces of art) play with notions of the natural and the artificial, ideas of identity in a consumer society, and the materiality of the human body in contemporary times.
For six years the Dutch photographer Willeke Duijvekam followed the lives of Mandy and Eva, documenting their inner and outer attempts to align their sex assignments at birth with their gender identity — both girls were born as boys.
“Willeke Duijvekam reveals how for both girls the radical transformation into self-confident young women was chiefly an internal process. Her subdued photographs show how Mandy and Eva are absorbed in their everyday activities, or in their own thoughts. They are two remarkably normal girls — the one more vivacious, the other quieter — who do nothing other than live according to the dictates of their feelings.” (Source)
Duijvekam presents this series as an ingenious photo book, Mandy and Eva. The best designs enhance the subject matter, bringing new interpretations and depth to the work without taking over the narrative. In Duijvekam’s book, the subtle photos of the two transgender girls are incorporated into an interleaved book. In the video of the book, the pages are separate but related, each girl always present in the other’s spreads, advancing and retreating at the turn of a page. It is a masterful match of form and content. The book progresses backward through time, reversing the expected progression and reinforcing that these are two girls. The bodies that they were born into are much less important than the bodies in which they have become themselves.
“In my work I am guided by what moves and surprises me. … Ideas for projects are constantly unfolding and possibilities reveal themselves around every corner. The trick is to be open enough to recognize them the moment they appear and driven enough to pursue them. Diversity is what draws me to the people I meet, but at the same time I’m fascinated by our similarities.”
“Future Face” is an illustration project by graphic designer, animator, and videographer Billy Nunez, aka Biz20. Currently, this young talent is pursuing a BFA in Communications Design at Pratt Institute. Take a look at his feedback-loop-inducingly-awesome renderings of sexy cyborg ladies after the jump.
Stephanie Davidson’s works are, for lack of a better word, super bratty. Like she totally knows it, too. It’s loaded with post-modern irony lost in the throes of youthful know-it-allness. (My Swedish friend calls them: Besser-Vissers. Better knowers? I always liked this invented word.) It’s kinda like wearing a scrunchie and reading the Babysitter’s Club while blasting Boyz II Men just for the kicks of a patronizingly late 90’s obtuse reference, regardless of how little I actually like it. Or, like staring into a gradient-laden orb slowly rotating a white wizzard in the middle of space. (PS thanks to Jason Redwood for the link.)
Andre Beato aka MEDIA.ONE is a graphic designer/illustrator from Lisbon, Portugal. His work is mostly illustrations, corporate identities and typefaces. He has done all sorts of graphic work from print to editorial, working with a wide array of clients including record labels, magazines and clothing companies.