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Mario Zoots’ Modernly Surreal Collages

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Collage inherently involves nothing less than altering existence. By taking found imagery, Mario Zoots makes changes both hand-made and (occasionally) digital to alter the perception of the everyday, and continue their evolution towards new definitions. The Denver, Colorado-based Zoots is on the forefront of the modern collage movement, and was featured in Gestalten’s recent The Age of Collage: Contemporary Collage in Modern Artthe definitive investigation into how collage has become one the most vital forms of current visual expression. Separate from the concerns of any loosely-affiliated movement, Zoots describes his own practice from a more personal perspective, “I would like to think that my work is about tapping into the unconscious and setting up parameters to allow chance to work its magic.”

Typically focusing on the human figure, and often in portraiture genre, Zoots utilizes geometric pattern, layers, and physical manipulations like scratches, drips, and tears to obscure, thereby creating new faces to interpret. In an interview with Monster Children, Zoots describes his attention and focus on the face of his subject, “It’s really about the eyes for me. When I disrupt someone’s gaze, I find some mysterious, surreal quality. It makes you forget who you’re looking at. I try to create collages from dreams. When I dream I know who the people are, but I usually can’t see their faces. There’s a real energy behind that.”

Mario Zoots will take part in the upcoming travelling exhibition INTERNATIONAL WEIRD COLLAGE SHOW (IWCS) at The Invisible Dog in Brooklyn, New York. The 8th Edition of the IWCS opens Saturday April 19, 2014, from 6 to 10pm, and runs through May 11th, 2014. 

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JUSTIN CLIFFORD RHODY


Justin Clifford Rhody is the proprietor of Friends and Relatives Records, a Ypsilanti, Michigan-based music and zine label. I first became acquainted with Rhody through Smut, his powerviolence band, and through his eponymous acoustic project. He currently plays in (D)(B)(H) but has turned most of his creative energy toward photography. His photos capture the melancholy of declinist America; the decaying Fords in the moldering suburbs of the Rust Belt, the plastic-casts of statuary standing sentry over the overgrown lawn – the physical forms of our economic and spiritual malaise.

2012 looks to be busy for Rhody: a book of his photography, Sliding Glass Door, is slated to be published this spring by Bathetic Records,  a solo exhibition of Rhody’s photography opens at Skylab Gallery this March in Columbus, Ohio, and Rhody has an exhibit with the painter Peter Shear planned for the summer in Bloomington, Indiana.

In the meantime, Rhody plans to continue touring the states with his slideshow and to revisit Guatemala, the setting of a few of the photographs found after the jump.

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Ziggy, Protector Of B/D Shirts

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If you ever thought about breaking into the B/D office and stealing all the boxes of shirts going to stores think again. Ziggy the B/D mascot will hunt you down and slaughter you.  Look at the photo after the jump to see his vicious tactics. I nearly lost a finger.

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Nandan Ghiya’s Error Message Portraits

Something is not quite right with Nandan Ghiya‘s portraits.  Indeed, several are titled Download Error.  Ghiya’s antique portraits of upper class men and women from the past seem to be physical manifestations of garbled JPEG files.  Each portrait is collaged and each frame carefully modified in a ways that resemble corrupted digital photographs.  The now forgotten subjects of these portraits may have sought posterity through these images and the artist seems to communicate this in a familiar visual language of the digital.  He uses life documented through JPEG’s, glitches, and error messages to reflect the modern plastic identity.

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Michael Ward’s Hyperrealistic Paintings Depict Southern California Nostalgia

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Michael Ward

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Michael Ward’s hyperrealistic paintings remind me of the type of photographs I take when I travel to new cities. I am always drawn to graphic elements and the juxtapositions of buildings, signs, and their locations. And, indeed, most of Ward’s paintings are based off of photographs he’s taken over the years, primarily of Southern California. Though his work was not intended to address the nostalgia of these places, most of the images’ places he’s recreated have been altered or have entirely disappeared, his work becoming an archive of transitional places. Ward’s influences include Edward Hopper, Charles Scheeler, RIchard Estes, and Vermeer. A self-taught painter, Ward began his artistic career drawing pen and ink renditions of historical architecture, before experimenting first in gouache, then in acrylics. Of his work, Ward says,”I am most interested in depicting what Alan Watts called the mystery of the ordinary; the workaday world we live in without seeing until we are forced to focus upon it, as in a painting.”

Phyliss Lutjeans, a museum educator and curator observes,“Although Michael Ward may be called a neo-realist painter his work can ultimately be described as abstract realism. The picture image is photographically realistic, but within the context of the painting his compositions are complex and almost abstract. Deciphering the work section by section one sees how a multitiude of individual complete compositions are put together to form the entire work. For me the viewer is confronted by a realistic image that puzzles us and clearly tells the story simultaneously.” (via the paris review)

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David Jay’s Portraits Of Injured Soldiers Expose The Impact Of War On Individual Lives

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In a powerful series of black-and-white portraits entitled The Unknown Soldier, New York-based photographer David Jay captures the devastation of war and the marks it leaves on individual lives. The project began while David was shooting The SCAR Project, a documentation of breast cancer survivors. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were in full tilt, and David decided that the public needed to see the intimate, bodily consequences of a system that perpetuates the mass injury and destruction of human lives.

Photographed at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Brooke Army Medical Center, The Unknown Soldier features men and women who have been shot, struck by roadside bombs, and severely burned — stories of trauma which are bravely told by their scars and amputations. The essence of the photos, however, lies in the enduring strengths conveyed in each face as the individual confronts the viewer with their experience. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, David explains the greater aim of his project:

“[U]ltimately, The Unknown Soldier is not about war. It is about many things: Humanity, acceptance, responsibility. An understanding that [what] we do matters. What we say, what we think, matters . . . and [it] has repercussions that quite literally change the course of history.”

In a world where media coverage often turns injuries and deaths into abstract numbers, David has brought human subjects deeply into focus. Seeing these surviving soldiers evokes a sense of social responsibility that extends from the people we know in our immediate lives to those engaged in war. The Unknown Soldier reminds everyone that soldiers are not faceless causalities, and even though people may feel distant from such violent events, there exists a vital responsibility to examine and criticize a system and media that imperils and objectifies human lives. As David continues:

“I hope the images transcend the narrow and simplistic confines of ‘war’ and encourage us to examine the way we engage each other — both friend and stranger — at its most basic, day to day level, as it is these subtle, seemingly innocuous interactions that will ultimately lead us either to peace . . . or the continuum and carnage of war.”

Visit David Jay’s website to see more photos from The Unknown Soldier, as well as his other projects. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Sadao Hasegawa

Sadao Hasegawa
Prominent homoerotic artist Sadao Hasegawa’s amazing work. His work combined cultural icons from all over Asia: his native Japan, Thailand, Bali and India, creating graphically and sexually compelling images.

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Best Of 2012: Robert Fontenot’s Bread Dough Sculptures

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Robert Fontenot’s sculptures, made out of bread dough, present the viewer with extremely humorous, yet severely violent worlds. He’s the author and designer of three books. Two of which are about the histories of ancient mythologies and the other of which is an illustrated history of performance art – that is, in my opinion, far more entertaining than Roselee Goldberg’s classic Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present. However, skillfully sculpting the human form’s most revealing gestures is not Robert Fontenot’s only mastered practice. He also has an ongoing series, where he embroiders textiles, as well as another project entitled Recycle LACMA – in which he buys deaccessioned items from the museum at auction and then turns them into items of use. For example, he transformed a Brocade evening dress into a fully functional fanny pack. If you have your wits about you, then it won’t take long to recognize the awesomeness of Robert Fontenot’s work.

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