Casa Tomada is a project of traveling installations started in 2007 by Colombian artist Rafael Gómezbarros in which giant sculptures of ants are fixed in swarms on buildings and structures. Self-described as “urban intervention” by Gómezbarros, the ants have been showcased in locations varying from London to Cuba with a very specific goal in mind: shedding light on immigration, forced displacement, and uprooting through historical points of departure for travelers and immigrants. The 2-foot ants themselves are crafted out of tree branches for legs and two joined skull casts made of fiberglass resin and fabric to make up the torso, making for a particularly morbid, visceral depiction of migrant workers in Latin America who are looked at as nothing more than vermin.
When placed on the facades of government buildings and blank gallery walls alike, the ants give off a chilling sense of foreboding and encroachment. By placing them in swarms, Gómezbarros makes the insects even more strikingly representative of the peasants displaced by war and strife in Gómezbarros’ native Colombia. The giant insects that make up Casa Tomada, which translates to Seized House, are certainly works that are bound to linger with viewers, whether in nightmares or otherwise.
Australian based artist Rebecca Baumann often uses what appear to be party supplies to build sculptures and installations. Her art interacts with the surrounding air – the space it occupies and even the breeze that makes it dance. From a bus station teeming inside with colorful streamers to vibrant books flapping in the wind, Baumann’s work is unexpectedly playful. However, the temporary nature of her materials and the relatively short-lived ‘performances’ of her installations hint at something much more weighty behind each piece.
British collaborators LITTLEWHITEHEAD combine humor and violence to create amazing sculptures, paintings, and installations that shock, awe, and amuse all at once. Check out the above video and here the duo discuss various pieces and their creative process. Also make sure to purchase our recent book Beautiful/Decay: Book 7 which has a massive 20 page interview with the talented young artists!
Vincent Fournier is a talented Belgium based photographer who enjoys documenting his extensive travels. In one of my favorite series of his, Space Project, Vincent visits space centers around the world and documents his visits through photography. But what truly makes Vincent’s work so enjoyable is that in nearly every shot, he creates within it beautiful, and sometimes troubling, imagery of contradictions. Such elements I noticed a lot in this series is technology vs. nature; the human imprint within the world. He seems to be particularly interested in the transformation of the environment as we progressively construct ourselves a society moving further away from nature.
Souther Salazar‘s works are full of life and narrative. He uses a variety of techniques really well, putting everything in it’s right place. His personal style allows you to jump right in and, even with so much going on, you feel like you get what’s going on. Salazar recently closed a show at NARWHAL Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto. See more paintings after the jump.
When Sally Mann published a series of photographs of her children titled Immediate Family in 1992, she spotlighted childhood with a rich tonal backdrop of a Virginia riverside summer house, and she was met with accusations of child pornography. About twenty years later, caught in a starkly different contemporary artistic current, the photographer Alain LaBoile presents La Famillie, a series that for its distinctive silver gelatin aesthetic and subject matter seems to pick up where Mann left off.
LaBoile’s work, unlike Mann’s, lacks the suggestion of immediacy, binding viewers within the nostalgic frame of childhood play, entirely carefree and unabashed. Mann’s work is urgent: she reveals a haloed shot of her daughter, blonde hair dancing in pool of water like some inexperienced Ophelia, and she tragically subverts its innocence with image of the last nude swimming photo her son let her take. Childhood for Mann is something to be beautifully lost, but for LaBoile, it’s more of a constant realm, easily returned to with a flash and made blindingly undeniable by jarring accents of white.
The innovative power of this contemporary work relies upon oh-so-subtle symbols of purity and incorruptibility of youth; a boy digs himself from mud filled and grave-like abyss, resurrected in glowing white to a young girl who prances about the Edenic verdure. Similarly, another daughter remains preserved in a class case, safely nuzzled between fine china and a white cat. Bums innocently moon the camera like those of cherubs. A boy printed in a blinding sort of white appears to hang from a tree; yet upon closer inspection, he’s just climbing, playing the part of a-not-yet-fallen Adam for an onlooking sister. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)
Mike Leavitt’s Intuition Kitchen churns out a plethora of playful and multidimensional pieces. From portable homeless shelters to wedding cake toppers and DIY vending machines, his career in the creative world knows no boundaries and ignores all stigmas. He just grabs inspiration and goes for it. For instance, Leavitt pays homage to Christo by shaping his image from polymer clay, a staple at Michaels or any craft supply store. This, and other Art Army Action Figures, embrace a lovely contrast between materials and content in an loveable and pitch perfect manner. It’s not just cheap plastics imported from overseas factories, nor is it about elitism in the commercial art world, nor is it a rebellion against any of it. Each art star figurine is simply built from hand in a limited edition of 10 with a raw passion and appreciation for the entire spectrum.