Being an only child I’ve always been jealous of talented siblings who can team up to take over the world. So it is with great saddness and extreme envy that I post the work of the talented Michael C. Hsiung, brother of Pearl C. Hsiung who graced the pages of Issue: V with her brilliantly disgusting yet pretty paintings.
Edgar Martins might be taking photographs but his work is in dialogue with some of my favorite minimalist painters.
Chicago artist Mike Rea builds hyper-realistic wooden replicas of objects that have a connection to the culture of a stereotypical heterosexual male. His sculptures are either props from science fiction cinema, or personal memories – made primarily from wood, burlap and Styrofoam. Rea builds things like jail cells, video cameras used for filming pornography, Anaconda snakes, pick axes, robots, strange bits of machinery, Scuba diving tanks, and amplifiers. All are meticulously crafted and are rooted in pop culture. Rea is a self confessed film geek, watching up to 3 films a day and draws a lot of inspiration from the ‘swagger’ and macho attitudes in films like Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.
Rea describes his own take on his practice:
There is a kind of wry sense of humor to the work, but at the same time it’s coupled with this process—this meticulous, very specific kind of over-detailed expression of these contradictions and maybe the most stupid stuff for subject matter. I’ll spend six months on a stupid joke seeing if that makes it better. They’re these large wooden sculptures that are hopefully a little funny and a little bit dark. They’re probably over-built, which is usually just a process of me making lots of mistakes and having to add another layer to cover up where a seam didn’t match. (Source)
Using humor and wit, Rea is trying to see how our desires and obsessions (usually those of a hetero male – weapons, substance abuse and the opposite sex) are tied into popular culture. Whether you are a nerd or not, you will no doubt be delighted by the incredible wooden wonderland Rea creates. See more sculptures after the jump.
New York based Conor Backman recently opened a solo exhibition entitled The Other Real at Nudashank in Baltimore. From the press release: “Backman’s work conflates and oscillates between sculpture and painting, authentic and simulation, material and image, ironic and actual. For this exhibition Backman will present pieces informed by visual illustrations of otherness, physicality, mimesis, and deception in classical mythology and allegory. Specifically, examples that have been sited or recontextualized in modern psychology and philosophy as metaphors for the unconscious, perception, desire, and understanding.” The show in on view through April 28th, 2013.
Most know Liz Harris as the wonderfully effecting ambient/drone project that is Grouper, but the Portland artist has steadily begun to bring her visual work to the public as well. It makes sense that the source of Grouper’s haunting, rhythmic drive would also produce these meticulous, ghostly patterns and figures. Employing ink on paper, Harris provides images that suck the viewer into her world and spit them back out as quickly as they came. These drawings and prints on paper are concentrated visual doses of a Grouper album’s sonic power, yet maintain a presence all their own. It is clear that Harris has one vision, and is skilled enough to express this (strong) artistic inclination within multiple forms.
Catching and throwing light from all the right angles, the peculiar, prismatic acrylic pieces from sculptor Phillip Low look like something from outer space. Tip-toeing on the line between art and design, these objects make excellent use of the medium—giving a sense of weight, depth and cellophane-like luminosity to the dense material. The expertly carved shapes combine crystal-like angles and precise areas of coloration to create a series of constantly-shifting reflections that use simple daylight to dazzling effect.
Alex Da Corte is a Philadelphia-based installation artist who recently created a “dollhouse” of fragmented memories and rainbow-colored horrors out of Luxembourg & Dayan‘s three-story townhouse in New York. Entitled “Die Hexe” (German for “The Witch”), Da Corte’s work guided the visitor on a hallucinogenic journey through a mash-up of absurdist cultural and historical imagery: a wooden rocking chair with overlapping backs; a section of Nicolas Poussin’s Midas and Bacchus beside a coffee shaped like a bondage-clad stripper; and a dove sitting atop a pair of goaltender masks reminiscent of Friday the 13th’s Jason.
The experience went something like this: a drain by Robert Gober was viewed through a peephole in the foyer. From there on, the visitor passed through a series of rooms and hallways filled with seemingly disconnected artifacts — from the mundane, to the absurd, to works of art by Haim Steinbach (who created the “framing devices”, or shelves) and Bjarne Melgaard (the stripper coffee table) (Source). The final room featured green tiles nauseatingly reminiscent of the place where Kurt Cobain shot himself. By overwhelming the visitor with strange imagery that haunts the imagination on an almost subconscious level, “Die Hexe” evoked a variety of emotions and sensations: fear, repulsion, delight, and desire.
Da Corte’s rooms drew on more personal memories, as well. As Luxembourg & Dayan’s press release reveals, “Die Hexe” included “a pantry smelling of spices and filled with anonymous products,” recalling the artist’s grandfathers, who both “worked along the food supply chain” (Source). Elsewhere, Da Corte has transferred childhood emotions into objects remindful of his grandmother’s house, including “craft-based décor such as woven rugs, quilt patterns, and wreathes.” Such intimate artifacts, when coupled with dislocated bits of cultural imagery, express identity as a patchwork, one that repeatedly falls apart and is sewn together again by memories and emotion.
While “Die Hexe” ended April 11th, you are not out of luck; Da Corte will be opening his first museum solo exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in March 2016. For more pictures and thoughts on “Die Hexe,” check out Hi-Fructose’s fascinating summary, as well as this insightful article on artnet News. (Via Hi-Fructose).