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Lee Mawdsley

Lee Mawdsley

Lee Mawdsley is a British photographer whose work spans the medium’s breadth- advertising, brand, editorial, he’s done it all! I love these shots from his “High speed test” series.

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Dima Rebus

The illustrations of young Russian artist Dima Rebus may not be in-your-face flashy or neon bright, but they are bright in a different way. Less is more in these cases, as he inserts subtle humor into just about every piece he makes. He imagines a world in which handcuffed delinquents enjoy a spot of tea before their booking and where the riot police cavort with rioters in the streets – and any art that lets me use words like ‘cavort’ when talking about it, well, it’s alright by me.

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Haunting Portraits Of Rape Survivors Bravely Confront Sexual Abuse

article-2522955-1a08ca1900000578-148_634x844“Before it happened, I thought about going to the Peace Corps. I wanted to be somewhere, get somewhere bigger. I wanted to grow.” “Every part of me was altered.” Rochester, NY – 2013

article-2522955-1a08ca5600000578-790_634x844“The officer asked me if I could describe my rapist. When I told him it was my husband, he dropped his notebook on the table and asked me, ‘Why are you wasting my time?’ They never did anything” “Once we have a place to talk about it, it’s like releasing a poison from inside us.” Rochester, NY- 2013

article-2522955-1a08ca5100000578-667_634x879“Imagine if someone erased your personality at age twenty. You have to figure out what kind of person you are without the first twenty years.” Ithaca, NY – 2012

article-2522955-1a08ca3500000578-18_634x843“I’m no longer afraid of what it means to be me. I refuse to let fear turn to regret. I am strong, and will be stronger.” Rochester, NY 2013

With her stunning series Trigger Warning, the photographer Lydia Billings works to “craft [a] collective voice” for survivors of rape and sexual abuse, and in doing so, she creates a complex visual and narrative mapping of diverse stages of human coping, healing, and experience. She powerfully avoids any impulse to re-victimize her subjects, granting them the power to speak out and to reveal only what they are ready to share. She first meets with each subject without a camera, allowing organic and intimate conversations to flow for as long as three hours. When she returns with her camera, she gets her shot in as little as ten minutes to one hour.

She cherishes her connection to her subjects and aims simply to make all “feel like they’re being seen honestly.” She explains, “I can celebrate every day the strength […] and beauty of survivors.” And her intent resounds throughout each piece; her sharp focus on the individual highlights steady tears, streaming locks of hair, set wrinkled brows, and unrelentingly magnificent eyes that stare straight ahead. With the focus on her subject, the various backgrounds take a back seat, becoming blurred and out of focus, and ultimately resting in peaceful deference to the details of the human face.

Trigger Warning also features a complimentary series of third person stories of assault alongside topographical shots of places in which rape could conceivably occur (note: none of the locations photographed are actual reported sites of rape or abuse). Sprinkled amidst the emotionally charged human portraits, the jarringly objective images are evocative of the work of 1970s New Topographics photographers, who shot man-made industrial structures and landscapes without the sentimentality or emotionality of early landscape photography. The power of this chapter of Billing’s work lies in an elegant slippage between fact and very real possibility, between emotional impulses and objective aesthetics; the dizzying relationship between neutral and candidly seen places familiar to us all—a wood, a church, a home— and simply told yet harrowing stories of very real traumas forces viewers to acknowledge the faces before us, to enter into dialogue with their experience, and ultimately, to applaud their courage. (via Bust, Daily Mail, and Huff Post)

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Tokyo Museum Hosts Interactive Haunted Art Playhouse

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TorafuInstallation6

Torafu Architects has installed an interactive haunted playhouse in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. Paintings move, portrait eyes dart back and forth, and children climb through picture frames installed at the museum. A secret passageway exists within the installation, allowing children to interact with nearly all of the featured art, most of them re-creations of classic works. Museums and galleries are usually places reserved for more serious contemplative reflection, discouraging touching and interaction of any kind. Torafu Architects has transformed this perception, creating a space that encourages engagement and creativity. Be sure to check out our previous post about Torafu’s kid-friendly designer information kiosk here.

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Nobody Notices Artist Lays Dead In A Public Park To Protest Michael Brown’s Killing

protest11protest12protest2In the wake of the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by a policeman, and the subsequent protests of police brutality, tensions have been high among many communities. On Saturday August 16 in Philadelphia, artist activists draped yellow CAUTION ribbon around the iconic LOVE statue in Love Park and actor Keith Wallace positioned himself face-down in front of the statue, wearing a white t-shirt that appeared to be stained with blood, as if he were shot from behind. Standing near him, two people alternated the holding of a sign that read “Call Us By Our Names.” For an hour, Wallace lay in front of the emblematic, tourist-attracting statue – all the while, tourists continued to pose in front of the statue, usually while framing Wallace out of the photo, or blocking the view of his body in some way.

For Wallace, an idea like this had been brewing for quite some time. “I just tried to think about a way I could use my spirit of activism coupled with my artistic passion to make a statement about what’s going on. So I just decided that for me, I’m a very image-driven artist. I think images speak louder than words can, most times. And so there’s some value in forcing a society to look at the most ugly parts of itself and just putting it out there for them to examine and discussed, and to be disgusted by, in the hopes of provoking some sort of dialogue or provoking some social change in an effort to eradicate some social ill, whatever that is.”

The phrase “Call Us By Our Names” was born from the knowledge that though we know the names of victims like Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, there are countless other victims of police brutality whose faces go unrecognized and unnamed. “I was tired,” Wallace says. “No, we’re NOT thugs, we’re not this, we’re not that. We’re unarmed citizens, so call us who we are. Call us by our names. Say ‘Michael Brown’ instead of ‘unarmed robbery suspect.’ When you give a face and a name to a victim, the public becomes socially responsible in a different way.”

According to Lee Edward Colston, a theater student who was helping with the protest, visitors to the statue expressed a variety of feelings and opinions. “There was an older white couple that wanted to take a picture in front of the LOVE statue,” recounts Colston. “The older white gentleman said, ‘Why do they have to shove their politics down our throats?’ The woman replied, ‘They’re black kids, honey. They don’t have anything better to do.'” In another account, Colston says, “There was one group of white guys who wanted to take a picture in front of the statue, but one of the guys in the group couldn’t take his eyes off of Keith’s body. His friends were trying to convince him to get in the picture. He told his friends, ‘Something about this doesn’t feel right, guys. I don’t think we should.’ One of his friends replied, ‘Dude, come on … he’s already dead.’ Then they all laughed.” Additionally, “There was a guy who yelled at us… ‘We need more dead like them. Yay for the white man!’

Colston did relate two more positive reactions to the performance. Recounting one, he says, “One young guy just cried and then gave me a hug and said ‘thank you. It’s nice to know SOMEBODY sees me.’” And in another, “There was a Latina woman with two young boys. She held her boys’ hands and said to them, ‘I want you to see this. This is important. Never be afraid to tell the truth.'”

Accompanying the silent protest, a sheet of paper was handed out that included information about rights and responsibilities, and a statement that partially reads, “I am racially charged not because I want to be, but because I have to be. I am racially charged because in certain instances, that hyper awareness may ensure that I make it home to my family at the end of the day. I am racially charged because I am not afforded the luxury to wander through life with my head in the (nonexistent) ‘post-racial America’ clouds. I see color because my color is seen, dismissed, devalued, and implicated as a threat everywhere I go. I am racially charged and if I make you uncomfortable by speaking out about it and calling attention to it, then I implore you to eradicate the ugliness I see every day in the world.” (via ra’s al ghul is dead, thinkprogress, philadelphia magazine)

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Rocks And Crystals As Inspiration For Carly Waito And Three Other Artists

Amy Brener

Amy Brener

Carly Waito

Carly Waito

Jonathan Latiano

Jonathan Latiano

Debra Baxter, You have to believe we are magic, (barf bag)

Debra Baxter, You have to believe we are magic, (barf bag)

These four artists are interested in exploring nature through crystals, minerals and natural stones.  Toronto-based Carly Waito makes small oil paintings (about 5×6 inches) of crystals and minerals.  Inspired by the natural world Waito is interested in geology, geometry and light.  With a sense of wonder and curiosity, Waito explores via paint tiny mineral specimens, revealing the beauty and magic nature is capable of creating.

Seattle-based Debra Baxter uses stones and minerals, and their contrasts or relationships to investigate human interactions.  To address notions such as human power plays, vulnerability and gender differences, Baxter plays titles like You have to believe we are magic (barf bag), 2010 off visual displays of ceramic, minerals and reflective acrylic.  Her sculptures become small visual metaphors replete with symbols and juxtapositions that form ideas and narrative.

Amy Brener works by layering resin, glass and Fresnel lens to create light sensitive sculptures that resemble large crystals or minerals.  Brener’s process involves mixing and pouring pigmented resin into wooden frameworks.  Only able to control certain aspects of the process, Brener embraces the surprises that happen along the way.  The process gives her sculptures a quality that exists between the geological and the man-made.

Jonathan Latiano’s Points of Contention, 2011, was an installation at School 33 Art Center in Baltimore.  The piece was made out of plastics, resins and polymers and appeared to be exploding out of the floor.  Meant to address the effects the sculpture’s materials have on the geological landscape, Latiano’s work is a visual reminder of our impact on nature.

 

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Design Watch: Bernhard Burkard

Bernhard Bukard’s Curt Deck Chair is probably the coolest outdoor furniture we’ve seen in a while. On his site Bernard assures us that, “even though it looks dangerous it provides comfort seating and relaxing in every occasion. To achieve best stability, it needs to be leaned against walls or rails in a flat angle. The anti-slip coated stand provides safe grip on every surface.”

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Chubby, Tattooed Yogis by Peter Taylor

They may be a little rotund, but Peter Taylor‘s illustrations of tattooed figures in yoga poses all seem to be in a state of incredible peace. His characters bend and fold their bodies into soft but flexible poses with a look of blissful calm. Taylor writes that his work focuses on “finding balance, and finding joy in the search for balance”, and this is certainly reflected in his figures’ serene smiles. Taylor is a Vancouver-based artist, with a background in graffiti, who has begun to experiment with illustration and collage. He has most recently been working with pen and pencil, and including cut paper elements into his work.

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