Kevin Cooley creates Controlled Burns, a series of striking images that showcase swirling and imposing clouds of black, white, and gray smoke. Inspired by the communicative purpose of smoke signals during Papal conclave, the series focuses on ideas and actions dealing with communication, specifically human interactions with nature.
Cooley creates and manufactures the images himself, the smoke is real, and so is the fire creating it, but the artist here is rendering an image, controlling it and taking charge of something that can potentially be uncontrollable. The project is indicative of something we are well aware of, particularly our impotence yet possibility to control natural, powerful elements in our world. The paradox makes us contemplate on something we know, but do not really think about often.
Fire is a powerful natural force that we harness for greater good, and it is the only Classical element that we can create on demand. Yet, when out of control, it has the potential for grave destruction. Controlled Burns is a visual representation of this inherit duality, symbolic of our desire to conquer and control, reminding us that sometimes we must fight fire with fire.
Beginning January 11th, 2014, the Kopeikin Gallery will present Cooley’s work in UNEXPLORED TERRITORY, an interdisciplinary exhibition that explores “the limits of human exploration and our desire to conquer and control nature.” Themes range from colonial exploration of the American West, harnessing fire in the form of combustion to launch rockets into space, to anthropomorphic actions of everyday objects such as box fans, and helium balloons.
It’s been three years since the competition, but we felt like the artists and the work that was contributed deserve to be featured. The event, Meeting Place FotoFest Beijing 2006, was a joint effort by FotoFest International and Hewlett Packard China. The competition was an attempt to create new opportunities and provide a platform for contemporary Chinese photographers, and their work, to become available to the global presence of the art. The four day event proved to be an incredible learning experience for hundreds of people who came together in Beijing.
The two artists in this post are of 36 photographers who were selected by international reviewers as “some of the most interesting artist/photographers they encountered at the Meeting Place Beijing”. To see the rest, click through their website, where all 36 artists have mini portfolios!
Some people just have a knack for color and Toronto based Liz Wolfe is one of those people. Here bold still life and photographs radiate with electric colors in every corner and her juxtaposition of gorgeous floral motifs with dead chickens, maggots, and flies is the perfect mix of the sweet and the grotesque. (via feature shoot)
Sean Mahan’s refreshing acrylic paintings on wood depict girls as creative spirits deeply empowered by and engaged with their own crafty muses. Unlike the classical order, where female figures were often shown as objects that inspire– here, the buzz of breathing maker is most present within the the young lady subjects themselves. Each portrait shows a confident furrowed brow or contemplative daze completely focused inward on a project at hand, unaware of the artist’s gaze. Their identities appear to be emerging from within, not dependent on an external eye.
Jodi.org (Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans) has always been the pioneers of the net art movement subverting websurfing logics and breaking your browsers since the mid ’90s and have been deconstructing web platforms such as Google Maps, Blogger, and now Twitter too has fallen victim. Taking place last Monday in the Netherlands, “Sk8monkey” involved a group of skaters using wheeled wireless keyboards instead of regular boards which were connected to a number of computers logged-on to a Twitter account, which was subsequently overloaded with nonsense “tweets”, made solely of random characters. Maybe these nonsensical keyboard mash sessions are actually more interesting than some users’ sensical ones, ha!
Christopher Charles Curtis A.K.A. C3’s drawings explores a world the artist has created to better understand the darker parts of himself and humanity as a whole. This world is best described as a fairytale western with some horror film aspects. The characters are in a constant struggle to find their place in a world that is slowly crumbling all around them. As they foolishly try to save this world they find that not only are their attempts futile but their very efforts are contributing to the decline in civilization. It is a basic story of the few vs the many, honor and glory vs power and corruption.
Contrary to what these photographs might lead you to believe, the people in them are dead; they represent a special kind of funerary service that involves anything but laying down. Instead, the deceased are posed doing things that you’d see them doing while they were alive. Miriam Burbank is seen with a can of Busch beer and menthol cigarette between her fingers, while the body of Christopher Rivera is propped up in a faux boxing ring.
These strange and creepy displays aren’t anything new, although they are unusual. The phenomenon first appeared as early as the 1984 funeral of Willie Stokes Jr., a Chicago gambler known as the Wimp. He sat through his services behind the wheel of a coffin made to look like a Cadillac Seville. And even earlier than that are the post-mortem photographs of the Victorian era, where the recently deceased were captured while sitting in their finest clothing. While it’s not a funeral, they show how throughout time, we’re trying to remember those passed for how they lived.
Elsie Rodríguez, vice president of the funeral home that organized Rivera’s service, explains some of benefits of these situations, telling the New York Times, “This is not a fun or funny event; the family is going through a lot of pain. With these kinds of arrangements, “the family literally suffers less, because they see their loved one in a way that would have made them happy — they see them in a way in which they still look alive.” (Via The New York Times)