Tragedy can yield new ways of working and thinking, especially in the case of artist Jess Landau. After a lifelong friend committed suicide in 2013, she was struck trying to come to terms with the loss, and it lead her to explore new ways to cope with the event. What resulted was a stunning series that conveys the fragility of life itself as expressed through nude figures on eggshells.
Before she landed on eggshells, Landau decided that the traditional materials of wood, papers, etc., just weren’t cutting it. She wanted something more delicate. The decision to use the shells coincided with her learning to use liquid emulsion, a chemical that makes paper light-sensitive and allows images to be projected onto it in a darkroom. “Liquid emulsion will only adhere to surfaces that have a tooth — shiny and smooth surfaces like glass and certain plastics don’t work unless you sand-blast them,” the artist explained to Huffington Post. “Eggshells have an appropriate texture for the emulsion to cling to.”
First, Landau photographed the models with a 35mm Minolta camera and then developed the images by hand in a wet lab using traditional darkroom methods and a few modifications. Because of the eggshells’ curved shape, Landau applied several layers of evenly-distributed emulsion to to them. The exposure would vary depending on the shape of the shell, making the process for each slightly unique.
The effort that went into the production of this series had therapeutic results in addition to its beautiful aesthetic qualities. “Life is fragile and temporary, and it should be cradled in the palms of our hands — which is the process that I engaged with as I delicately created each of these works manually, with my hands.” The nude bodies represent vulnerability of its subjects, and printed on a delicate surface demonstrates the fleeting nature of life itself. (Via Huffington Post)
Courtney Woodliff‘s paintings combine ideas of industrialism and the rigorous daily lives of the women in them. As mechanical and organic forms intertwine, they metaphorically and physically become one. They struggle one another to define who is in control, the cold machine or the human that wields it.
Brooklynite Gallery has been on some sort of weird hiatus for a while, apparently to focus on making arts related films. Well, they do make good shorts. This is one from a while back when they had an exhibition from collage artist DAIN. So there’s this unassuming elderly guy, right? Well he happens to be a fairly prolific street artist who makes collage work out of portrait photography. Just watch the video. And the next time you find yourself in a discussion lamenting what “Street Art” has become, remember DAIN, who pastes work on the street because it’s as natural to him as breathing. To him, it’s not about money or cool factor, this is just something that gives him a lot of satisfaction. Dude knows what it’s all about.
These images are from the design studio of the architecture and design firm Choi + Shine. The concept is to transform simple power line pylons into massive sculptures. The firm says, “Making only minor alterations to well established steel-framed tower design, we have created a series of towers that are powerful, solemn and variable.” The figures would be designed to interact with their function as well as the landscape. Some figures would appear to be climbing up hill. Others would crouch for increased strength as if to bear the weight of the wires on their shoulders. All would serve to enhance the landscape while also serving a utilitarian purpose.
The psychological effects of social media—seductive vortexes that they are—are well discussed. Every day, we are saturated with idealized bodies and enviable lifestyles—unreasonable standards of happiness and fulfillment that are based purely on constructed images. Seeking to criticize this culture of obsession and apparent emptiness, French artist Grégory Chatonsky has created a bizarre amalgam of Kim Kardashian’s face featuring more than 51,000 photos of her tagged on Instagram. Using a software program he designed using Unity3d, images of Kim K’s face are pulled and generated into a sea of amassed and distorted flesh. The effect is overwhelming and somewhat nauseating; facial features sink, expand, liquefy, and solidify like crushed and melted Barbie dolls. Chatonsky has literally transformed the celebrity’s face into an endless, empty landscape.
This project comes at a funny time, with Kim K’s book of never-before-seen photos, entitled Selfish, hitting the shelves last May. Chatonsky’s choice of her face is rooted in a blunt criticism, as he views her image as the benchmark of meaninglessness in the self-serving application of social media: “She has no talent, she has nothing exceptional, she is none other than our own design, that is to say the way she [is] represented to us,” he told The Creator’s Project. “It is simply an extended skin, everything is on the surface. There is nothing to look behind” (Source). Terrifyingly, the digital collage continues to grow and morph on its own. With intensity, humor, and a heavy dose of dizzying insanity, Perfect Skin II jabs us with a postmodern critique that visually demonstrates how the image—while highly valued in our digital culture—is a flat, empty simulacrum empowered by obsession and replicated beyond meaning or logic.
On a crowded bus ride in Beijing, Chinese artist Liu Di noticed his surroundings. “Looking out at the decrepit housing blocks”, he said, “I had a vague but strong feeling that there was something missing between the ground and the sky.” It was then that he had the idea for his 2008 series, Animal Regulation, an almost cinematic display of enlarged animals sitting amongst the ‘urban ruins’ of the city of Beijing. Using photoshop, he seamlessly embedded these wild, large animals into Beijing’s forgotten and depleted back streets, construction sites and tenement courtyards.
With the addition of the gigantic,exotic animals, Di not only tries to fill the void that he notices as he travels through the city, but most importantly, he attempts to draw attention to these spaces in a big and scandalous way. We cannot help but notice ‘the big panda in the room’, and that, I think, is the kind of reaction the artist is looking for. The metaphorical animal living amongst the city of Beijing alludes to deeper issues here–the void is filled with an unwanted visitor and in order for it to go away something must change.
Di’s political undertones cannot be missed.
“Between nature and human society, between the material world and the intellect, between obedience to and violation of the laws of nature. It is only when our preconceptions are jolted that we wake up and truly see.”
These photographs are part of Barbara Pollack’s My Generation, an exhibition that acts as the first in the U.S to focus solely on the new post-Mao generation of dissident Chinese artists. The catalogue includes works by Sun Xun, Lu Yang, Ai Wei Wei’s former assistant, Zhao Zhao and many more. The show is currently being co-presented in two venues simultaneously through a unique collaboration between Tampa Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in St.Petersburg, FL. My Generation will be on view until September 28th, 2014.