Dutch photographer Paul Kooiker‘s latest exhibition, “Sunday,” takes erotic portraiture out for a new spin. His subject, an anonymous pale woman, stretches and contorts herself in the nude against a lush background, at once reminiscent of classical cherubs as well as modern pin-ups. The result is suggestive and sexually charged, yet also awkward and voyeuristic. Without a glimpse of her face or expression, viewers are left wondering what emotional state she’s in. Is this a peepshow for one? Or is she showing off for a paramour?
Kooiker describes the series of erotic nudes as “robustly built women with flesh so palpably rendered that their bodies attain an artless poetic grandeur.” Duality is ever-present in the series. The words “flesh” and “grandeur”; the contrast of “artless” and “poetic”; and the fact that the series seems to be many women yet one woman at once. The bright colors and sumptuous shades of burnt autumn reds and oranges in the background only serves to highlight the dreaminess of the photos, as though the woman is being viewed at a distance, various emotions roused but suppressed at once.
Jowhara AlSaud makes hybrid photo/drawings that dance with anonymity and censorship. Jowhara started working with this subject after noticing commercial photos altered in Saudi Arabia, seeing “…skirts lengthened and sleeves crudely added with black markers in magazines or blurred out faces on billboards.” She then applied the censors’ language to her personal photographs. The work is strangely readable for giving so few clues away.
Do you stay awake at night dreaming of the day when you can interact with artists and designers from around the world? Do you get a warm & fuzzy feeling every time you walk by a bookstore or magazine stand? Have you always wanted to work side by side with the an elite group of creative minds who only use the finest office supplies such as golden staples? Do you enjoy nothing more than resizing and cropping a pile of photographs as tall as a 3 story building? If you answered yes to any of these (or none of these questions) then this just may be the internship for you!
Now that you feel excited about our internship opening read the fine detail after the jump!
The new work from Australian photographer Jana Maré in a way presents different relationships. Maré’s nude body is found throughout a deteriorating house, interacting with various rooms and structures. The physical relationship expressed in the photos at once recalls the structure’s past incarnation as a home and emphasizes its current dilapidation. At the same time, though, Maré, in using her own body and refusing to use digital manipulation seems to have a nearly uneasy relationship with the camera and viewer – her posing a kind of performance that has been frozen.
Born in Vietnam but raised in the USA, illustrator Tran Nguyen earned her BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in 2009. Fascinated with the human psyche and interested in the psychologically therapeutic potential of art, Nguyen’s creations are often surreal, dream-like scenes. Sometimes tree stumps have eyes, twigs grow through ear canals, and miniature figures live in the folds of a gown. Besides being visually arresting, often the titles of her works are quite intriguing as well — for instance, “I Came Across a Wilting Cognition” (seen above), “We Vomit Carcasses of Unattended Thoughts,” and “Living Parallel To an Infectious Pigment,” to select a few.
The exact color of that Ginger Ale can is important to artist Sara Cwynar. Her work revolves around the careful curation of both fantastic and banal objects. She arranges and later photographs these assemblages, which range from color studies to chaotic interpretations of old works of art.
You might be familiar with 16th and 17th century Dutch Flower paintings. If not, then they are exactly as they sound; Still life paintings of flower arrangements. They are colorful and realistically rendered pictures. Their realism is almost boring, until you find out that these paintings were meant to brighten up the interior of homes during the winter months when real flowers were dead. In her Flat Death series, Cwynar took old reproduced pictures of these flowers and overtop placed it with the likes of cheap plastic toys, fake leaves, rolls of tape, and dish gloves. A sophisticated painting is recreated out of junk, creating a cognitive dissonance.
Color Studies is another still life series. Instead of parodying of an already existing work, Cwynar gathers objects of a similar color. They include old marching band uniforms, encyclopedias, lemons, old slide film, cigarettes, and so much more. Photographs feel really dated, like a teenager’s room in the 1970’s. This is Cwynar’s intention. In an interview with Lavalette, she states:
I thought a lot about the aesthetic patterns you see in these pictures – a particular lighting, a slickness, a high level of detail. I’m also trying to recycle and subvert conventions of product and commercial photography by using elements that aren’t normally associated with these genres – objects that are now discarded or forgotten, intentional scuffing, not glossy at all.
It’s easy to be intrigued by Cwynar’s work. She utilizes conventional objects and through assemblage, allows us to experience them in a new way.
Beijing artist Wang Ruilin dreams of animal/nature hybrids, surreal and beautiful, influenced by fine art techniques and aesthetics. In his ongoing series, “Pursuit of Dreams,” these unreal images come to life as large copper sculptures.
Some of the animals carry landscapes: cloud lined mountains rest on deer-like antlers; a relief map spreads across the back of a yak; the backs of a crocodile and a whale hold mountain ranges. In Ark, another whale serves as vessel, holding an ocean and icebergs on its back. The play of scale in familiar forms makes these sculptures somewhat whimsical, despite their literal interpretation. The integration of living creature with land mass and body of water lends an added dimension to the idea of “nature.”
“The Ark series is the result of my most recent efforts. Infused with my true feelings and emotions, they send the message that life sustains nature. As I grew older with more life experience, I started to doubt what I used to learn. These works are the denial of our current world and a depiction of an ideal one. I oppose the self-centeredness of human beings and the ruthless exploitation of other species and natural resources. I seek harmony with the nature. Nature’s greatness lies in her inclusion of everything on earth, while man’s greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.”
Some of the “Pursuit of Dreams” sculptures are more streamlined versions of actual animals. With their smooth surfaces and self-contained air, the Horse, Rhino and Bird sculptures reveal Ruilin’s life-long interest in animals. His art influences are also long-standing:
“Eastern classical art also gives me inspiration. I like deep and pure Chinese flowers and bright and cool verdigris with rich colors and full of profoundness and uniqueness.”
Brent Harada and Rusty Jordan have a bi-coastal collaboration going where they make zines by alternating panels. Their pages are a cartoon documentary of a gnarly, drug induced mystic state where everything veers unpredictably from panel to panel, and there is isn’t a story – it’s more of an experience. I like the 60’s underground comix meets Monty Python’s Flying Circus animation vibe, and feel that these two put their own stamp on it.