Typically, the art of drawing focuses on the finished product – the marks left on the paper that form an image. Heather Hansen‘s Emptied Gestures is as much a performance piece as it is a drawing. Appearing to use charcoal or pastel, Hansen literally steps on to the paper and begins to draw. She allows the natural movements of her body – the movements of joints, the extension of her back, stretching and contracting – to define her lines. The large-scale drawing becomes a kind of record of her moving body. Interestingly she says:
“Emptying Gestures is an experiment in kinetic drawing. In this series, I am searching for ways to download my movement directly onto paper, emptying gestures from one form to another and creating something new in the process.”
At times strangely numb, and at other points echoing a modernist affection for the coldest of structures and surfaces, the most recent work by Philadelphia painter Erin Murray certainly doesn’t lack in focus. Murray’s fixation on the bland, eerily coded architecture of American cities reveals an underlying criticism (or slightly tongue-in-cheek reference) to the simultaneous banality and sinister intentionality that exists in the spaces around us. Rather than allowing these ever-present backdrops of contemporary life to fade quietly into the background, she brings them forward in the hopes that the viewer will find the same suspicious significance in each graphic, expertly rendered façade.
Where her graphite works are dark and slightly ominous, the lush, surrealistic landscapes Murray has sketched out are deliciously disorienting. As a group, they reflect a curious interest in space, place and structure—something that might eventually push Murray’s works off the page and into the 3D realm.
Photographer Justin Bettman‘s Bagel Project is much more than a series of well produced photographs. Bettman meets with homeless people throughout California and exchanges a bagel for a story. He then documents each story with a photograph.
Bettman admits, “The homeless in our cities are often forgotten, as after a while they become a part of the city themselves; blending in like streetlights and bus stops, or any of the other things we walk by hundreds of times a day.”
His images, though, reveal incredible depths of narrative in simple subtle facial expressions. He goes on to say, “I’ve been continually surprised by the fact that these people are content with their lives; if anything, they are happier to have a friend to talk to rather than the food provided.”
Bettman’s blog accompanies each photo with a story – an extremely interesting read that is difficult leaving.
Jake Winiski creates blurry deconstructed alien worlds using 3d sets that are photographed and then drawn on top of with ink. His multimedia process opens the door for a free-associative exploration, which is directly drawn from contemporary folklore laden with blurry photographs in which the human myth-building impulse has found Sasquatches, Chupacabras, aliens, and devils.By painting directly into the photographic print with an airbrush and India ink (aping the photographic surface) Jake explores the image as a shared space between the fabrication of the model, it’s expansion and metamorphosis behind the window of the photograph, and the free-associative manner in which internal fantasy can project itself into the world.
Portlander Kyle Jorgensen combines ethereal, cosmic subject matter with explicitly tactile media selections, and it really works. In the age of Photoshop, a lot of this type of imagery is often generated through digital means. It’s really nice to see a guy just go all out homegrown. Great palette here as well. Click past the jump, and then check out his blog for more.
Australian sculptor, Paul Kaptein creates unusual but skillful wooden sculptures that question our ability to look past missing pieces in the bigger picture. Kaptein, interested in the Buddhist term sunyata (Sanskrit word for ideas of emptiness as a way to achieve wholeness), integrates (and questions) notions of substance, emptiness, and temporality into his highly skilled pieces of wooden work.
By seamlessly incorporating empty gaps (usually long empty rectangles) into busts and entire recreations of human bodies, Kaptein imposes the viewer with questions as to why these pieces are missing. The simple fact that viewers will directly and promptly question this characteristic first, further enables Kaptein’s interest in challenging the viewer’s resistance, and/or apprehension to accept something that is not complete. The main idea here relies on getting the spectator to react to Kaptein’s work for what it is: seamless, beautiful wooden sculptures that happen to be missing a piece or two.
It can also be said that these gaps are indicative of conceptions of time:
I’m exploring the notion of the now as a remix of past and future potentialities. This facilitates a renegotiation of perceptual truths resulting in an expression of things not quite truth, yet not quite fiction.
Ramsey Dau, an LA-based artist, loves America, Disneyland and you. Well, actually, not really, but he makes wonderful art that makes you smile and cry a little at the same… only because it’s so colorful (not in the example above, obviously.. unless you’re colorblind, then I’m very, very sorry if I’ve offended you). Ramsey uses typography as artistic expression, forcing your eye to read the page and take in the flow.