The work of Stefanie Gutheil is a wonderful mess. Her current exhibit at the Mike Weiss gallery has the atmosphere of the precise moment a party becomes a riot. Gutheil’s paintings incorporate fleshy globs of oil and acrylic paint, fabric, glitter, hair, and fur. The seemingly turbid materials match the paintings’ libidinous subject matter. Even some of the paintings frames only seem to exist in order to be defied – cat’s tails, pants, hats all push past gilded frames and off the canvas. In what she portrays and how she portrays it, Gutheil’s work pinpoints a curious place precisely between fun and horror – the moment before the last finger loses its grip.
It’s hard to categorize the work of Boo Ritson. Is it photography, sculpture, painting or even performance. Boo creates photographs of figures doing all sorts of things from sitting on a park bench to sunbathing. But what makes Boo’s work remarkable isn’t just the formal qualities but her involved process of covering her subjects with head to toe “masks” of paint by literally painting on their clothes, face, and all their features. The result is a resurfacing of sorts of the subjects exterior, completely reimagining who they are, how they dress, and what they look like.
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A couple of years ago, Booooooom partnered with Adobe for a contest called the Remake Project that called for submissions of modern interpretations of classic art works using photography as the medium. The rules urged contestants to refrain from the use of special photography effects post-shoot, as the sponsors preferred all the work of the remakes to be done before the photograph was shot. Eventually, the submissions were narrowed down to ten finalists, some of which are included in this post. Though I haven’t come across the winner of this contest, Booooooom announced last year that they are working with Chronicle Books to release the very first Booooooom book, featuring images from the Remake Project. You can review all of the project’s submissions – totaling 7 pages – over on Booooooom. (via we the urban)
Artist Rik Garrett explores physical relationships in his series Symbiosis. By painting directly onto the photograph, Garrett literally fuses two bodies into one. Two writhing bodies seem to become one organism. It’s a nearly a literal interpretation of “two becoming one flesh”.
Garrett says, “Symbiosis is a new series exploring ideas regarding love, relationships, magic, Alchemy and mutually beneficial partnerships in nature.”
While the idea sounds romantic the imagery can appear otherwise. The single masses almost appear to be struggling against itself, perhaps alluding to the complexities of sexuality and relationships.
Photographer and grad student Kaija Straumanis has created a playful self-portrait series in which her image is captured right at the moment a random object seems to be thrown at her face. A pumpkin, book, dodgeball, boot, and even a mojito smash into Straumanis’ head, smooshing her face and glasses into an awkward contortion. Despite the impact of the objects, in each photo, Straumanus stares a seemingly unaffected gaze into the camera lens. The collisions are set during everyday tasks and among familiar environments, resulting in a humorous series of striking moments. According to HLN, Straumanis creates the photographs by layering images into a composite and artfully manipulating them until they appear seamless. She practices mashing objects into her face, looking into a mirror to create the perfect pose, then layers images accordingly. “I feel like it’s disappointing that I’m not actually getting beat up,” Straumanis admits. “I’m duping the Internet!” (via bored panda)
Delicate wood carvings by Satoru Koizumi.
As New York’s unofficial artistic ambassador to Copenhagen this September, Tom Sanford is presenting a possessed Charlie Sheen grinning while staring fixedly forward, blue flame lighter in hand, delicately pinching a glass pipe. Sheen is entwined with a bemused, half-dressed woman about to slur out something not worth hearing, or maybe she’ll recite Macbeth: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player. That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. And then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” She’s palming a cocktail tray piled with white powder and and balancing a can of Four Loko. Four Loko is the drink that famously mixed alcohol with stimulants (Wikipedia says it’s just alcohol now), confusingly allowing us to do more and experience less at the same time. This painting is funny, but it also digs in the human condition in ways that we can all relate too. Sheen’s grimacing face might as well be the anamorphic skull in Holbein’s The Ambassadors, because it carries the same warning. Tom Sanford is one of those guys, who if you’ve been around New York, you sort of know already. He speaks with the charisma and articulate precision of an evening news anchor, but instead of scaring you like the news anchor does, he creates strangely healing images. Tom Sanford’s newest show is “The Decline of Western Civilization (Part III),” and it opens at Gallery Poulsen in Copenhagen on September 2nd.