When the cold and snow are as harsh as this winter, the idea of an outdoor art fair sounds less than ideal to most. But, when cabin fever kicks in, anyone stuck indoors for too long understands the need to take drastic action to make the Hibernation Months bearable. Taking inspiration from the omnipresent winter ice fishing communities that spontaneously gather upon frozen lakes and ponds across the Midwest, the Art Shanties Project groups together to various themed ice shanties into a small winter attraction to give warm-blooded (and hot chocolate drinking) Minnesotans something to get through the cold months.
Proposals for these art-minded ice house are selected by committee, and run by volunteers for a few weeks in the dead of winter, creating an outdoor happening which explores the potential of new ideas in community-driven art. As the Shanties’ mission statement explains, “Art Shanty Projects is an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which relatively unregulated public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments to expand notions of what art can be.”
Taking place in Minnesota since 2006, and operating every other year to protect the water quality and natural wildlife after the ice’s thaw, this year’s was the first on the ice of the Twin Cities suburb of White Bear Lake (hence the 25 foot, Bear-shaped bicycle-powered Pedal Bear). Each shanties’ theme range from winter-related like Ice Ice Maybe (which encases boutique items in ice) and the history museum/training course Curling Clubhouse Ice Shanty, to more participatory (such as the boogie-down Dance Shanty and the kite-making Wind Shanty) to the more conceptual (the Lost Found and Wanting Shanty, which collects actual lost belongings as well as existential yearnings). Citing artist-audience involvement to the spontaneous community which gathers on the ice as its main goal, the Art Shanties Project “…provides a unique opportunity for artists to interact with their audience, and vice versa, in an un-intimidating, non-gallery like environment.” (via l’étoile)
Andreas Fischer’s “Ghost Town” is currently on view in our lovely city of Chicago. Ghost Town, which is on view at two separate venues, Hyde Park Art Center and The Gahlberg Gallery, shows us two distinct selections of Andreas’s portraiture and imagined landscapes. There is a nice anonymous quality to these locations and figures, with titles like “Original Location” and “Sunday Best”. Plus, the work actually becomes more engaging after you read about it, which in my opinion, is often not the case.
I first met Wendell after we interviewed him for an issue of B/D a few years back. You never know what artists will be like when you actually meet them but Wendell’s been one of the most sincere artists I’ve met in a while. We’ve been trading studio visits for around a year now and will be in a group show together later this month at Pedersen Projects in Pomona. Wendell is also getting ready for a solo show in October at Kravets|Wehby and a group show at Galerie Jean-Luc&Takako Richard in Paris so I stopped by his studio to check out the progress. Turns out Wendell had a studio jam packed full of massive paintings well on their way to being finished.
Scott King is bringing some interesting ideas to the table concerning celebrity culture, social revolution, and Globalism. He often includes humorous elements in his work, which is hardly ever a bad thing. King has produced conceptual graphic design, print design, and installation work (large and small) with equal skill and insight. From a piece depicting Ulrike Meinhof as the Mona Lisa, to punk flyers, sculpture, and altered magazine covers, King is doing it. And he’s doing it well.
Margi Geerlinks’ work is concerned with the ways the human species creates an identity for themselves, and the forces that seem to govern this process. She takes four of the Ten Commandments and digitally imprints them on children. She portrays the ageing process by commenting on the ways modern society tries to slow that same process down. The directness of these images may come across as quite blunt, but every visible detail is there to warn us not to jump to conclusions. The children may bear these condemning moral codes on their chests, their pose and actions display a very human insecurity.
Being deeply physical, her art confronts us with the many things that literally mold our beings into shape. Displaying the effects of science, religion, morality and time, Geerlinks photographs are a timeless testament of the human condition. Taking the body as a canvas she tries to show both the current identity of the person photographed and the things that make her become someone else. She seems to categorize the different stages of a human life by representing them symbolically, but at the same time she makes us question the necessity of an age divided society.
Husband and wife visual artist team Hillerbrand+Magsamen crafted a series of twists on the traditional mandala. More commonly known through the Tibetan sand mandala, the original, ancient process consists of intricate patterns of sand that are later destroyed. Hillberbrand+Magsamen’s interpretation is similarly meticulous, but has a pop culture twist. Using things like books, Legos, shoes, sippy cups, things that are blue and others green, they arrange these objects in a circular, radiating formation. This light-hearted assemblage has a deeper meaning to the artists, who explain:
Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. We have created mandala’s within our own home out of the stuff we have found lying around in our own creative exploration.
So often, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The act of creating these works is a slow, meditative process. As these objects form a circle, there is consideration to not only placement, but the associations we have to them. It allows us to think about how the things we own are a reflection of who we are. (Via Faith is Torment)
Here at B/D we love funny lighthearted drawings! There’s nothing like seeing a colorful little critter give you a quizzical look to start your day off with a smile. Well friends, if you agree, then you will love the work of London based illustrator Marcus Oakley. His mischievously whimsical creations start with a vibrant palette, and always seem to have furry little creatures running around acting like humans. What’s not to like about that?
Lukasz Wierzbowski is a freelance photographer from Wroclaw, Poland. His photographs exude youthful energy and a sense of humor. With a keen eye for composition and a love for nature his work often features a figure playfully interacting with an environment. The result is a body of work that serves as pictorial allegories involving our relationship with the world around us.