Akira Nagaya is a Japanese artist whose intricate cut-paper creations largely depict the beauty of nature. They are so skillfully done that you might be surprised to learn that Nagaya is self taught in paper-cutting, also known as kirie in Japan. He first discovered this type of art about 30 years while working at a sushi shop. There, he had to learn sasabaran, which is a technique used to create decorations by cutting slices into bamboo leaves. Nagaya found that he was naturally talented and enjoyed the process, too.
These small cut paper pieces fool the eye into thinking that they’re something like energetic pen sketches or decomposing leaves. The precise craft makes them appear as though they’ve been cut by machine, not by hand, because of the incredible, minuscule details.
Although the artist had been creating these pieces for years, it wasn’t until much later that his work was discovered. Eventually, he opened his own restaurant and displayed his kirie on the walls. A local newspaper came to write about the establishment, and while there remarked on his artwork. They encouraged him to show it in galleries, and you can follow Nagaya on Facebook to see his new cutouts. (Via Spoon and Tamago)
I am breaking all the rules for Sam Lubicz. By that I mean featuring both his collage work and photography IN THE SAME POST. Why? Because they’re both good and because I believe a dialogue exists between the two. Despite being two different modes of expression, Lubicz’s collage work and photographs share a certain playful moodiness that emphasizes the relationship between the two mediums. Like maybe one’s a pug and one’s a schnauzer but they’re both dogs. I love dogs.
Diana Chryzynska’s photoshop-ed female faces seem surprising natural upon first sight. With most of the pieces of a normal face present, the viewer’s brain mashes them together to make sense of them, when actually they’re quite reworked. It’s fascinating how well your brain is able to reconcile two noses and two mouths sandwiched between two hands with eyes on top. Somehow, it takes a few seconds to realize what you’re seeing is completely surreal. Of course you realize what you’re looking at isn’t quite right, but it takes a while for your brain to sort out exactly what that is.
Maybe what makes the images more consumable is the appealing features: big eyes, luscious lips, unblemished skin. I don’t think it’s that, though. It’s like when you read a word like baeufitul, and your brain is able to organize it into beautiful (with some coaxing). The see-through hands over the faces are the most interesting in terms of theme. They feel like veils, hiding the strange faces from view, though not entirely. It feels like the women are hiding their mixed up faces, but some are peaceful while others are confrontational. Most close their eyes, but the confrontational ones stare out from behind their hands, self-consciously aware of their strange arrangement.
A fantastic short video for the British Art Show of world renowned photographer Wolfgang Tillmans discussing abstract photography and its relationship to the history of painting. Watch the full video after the jump.
Hawaiian artist Sally Lundburg is greatly influenced by her native land’s “history of ecological and social invasions and it’s shifting cultural landscape, as well as personal experiences of self-reliance, independence, isolation, and exposure to spirituality and faith.” She is a multi faceted artist, as she works with sculpture, photography, film and video to explore notions of identity and social dynamics.
On her recent stunning body of work, Epiphytes and Invasives (totem series), Lundberg creates sculptural objects that serve as a medium to further investigate and literally envision the social history of post-contact Hawaii and the diverse family lineages that make up Hawaii today.
These ‘sculptures’ are nothing more that milled longs and branches that have been “punctured with commercial pine woodworking plugs, rusty fencing stakes, upholstery pins, rope, and dried ma’o hau hele flowers”. However, it is the archival portraits that Lundburg imprints on them that, together with the organic elements, make this series a remarkable artistic endeavor.
Her works look simple, however there are reasons for each and every detail that she ads on her sculptural objects. It is important to appreciate and put further thought upon the juxtapositions of organic and inorganic materials, as well as her emphasis of trying to mesh these two opposites together. On her description of this series, Lundburg explains that Epiphytes are plants that grow on other plants, and in rainforests [known for its tropical conditions, something that is an outright connection to Hawaii) just about any plant can grow epiphytically. Her usage of organic tropical flowers, plants and Koa logs together with the archival portraits work symbiotically to represent the social history of post-contact Hawaii and its diverse yet close-knitted family lineages that make up Hawaii today.
Argentinean artist Gabriel Grun paints in a style similar to the Renaissance and Baroque masters, but his work is charged with a subdued eroticism that produces a surreal effect. Grun paints the human body, often foregrounding them in natural landscapes, combining mythological and contemporary elements. Many of his human figures are contorted or shaped into grotesque or bestial shapes and poses – these distortions and manipulations could appear disturbing, but because Grun is so technically skilled at composing these eccentricities, they are merely curious and offer a contemporary and sexually-charged spin on a classical style. (via hi fructose)
The work of Karim Hamid, as the artist states is “interested in the process by which the female figure is objectified by the archetypal male gaze.” The naked figures are mutilated and leveled to one plane with the background making the main objects in the paintings create tension since they’re all sharing one dimension. The subtle muted colors, and the rough painting manner combined with bedrooms as backdrops, portray an indication of the women’s figure objectification throughout history, as well as today’s media insatiable need of it.
Hungarian artist Bence Hajdu digitally edited out all the characters from old master paintings for his aptly titled series Abandoned Paintings. What started as a simple study of perspectival drawing turned into a series about the environments of renaissance painting which, outside the world of art historians, is largely ignored. Previously encouraged by the painters to focus on the Virgin Mary, Jesus and his disciples, Horatii warriors, and baby angels, we now shift our attention to tiled floors, towns outside the window, empty dinner tables, arches, boats, and gardens. Work this flawless is always stunning to stare at, and will hopefully inspire lots of photoshop-savvy art history enthusiasts to do this with all their favorite paintings. Bence’s statement:
“I am a student at the university of fine arts, hungary. At one of the descriptive geometry classes we had a task to find and draw the perspective and horizon lines of renaissance and other pictures with significant perspective space. I thought it is not that interesting to just draw lines, so I decided to erase all the characters from them and examine how the painter really created the perspective space and how it actually looks. I saw this could be something exciting and continued thinking and working on it. After a while I found myself interested in the new atmosphere and the new thoughts the retouched pieces generated without their main subjects.”