On his website, the street artist Spidertag describes his work simply by writing “It´s all about nails + pure wool + geometry + abstraction + streets + abandoned”. It can hardly be described more accurately. Using nails and wool yarn, Spidertag installs geometric abstractions in beautifully lonely locations. The work, as pure abstraction, doesn’t appear to reference any figurative object (except perhaps spiderwebs). Though maybe burgeoning trend within street art, this type abstraction and material sets Spidertag’s work apart as understated and unique.
New Levels, the title of John Chae‘s new series of work, captures its dual nature succinctly. While the phrase New Levels may partly refer to higher levels of perception or consciousness, you may likely have had the same first impression as I did: video games. Chae’s paintings use both elements of fine art history and throw-away pop culture imagery – he visually cites Magritte and Escher alongside manga artists. Chae moves beyond the highbrow/lowbrow juxtaposition of our pop-art grandparents. Rather, his paintings are for and from a generation that doesn’t consume images as much as it puts them to use as a recyclable tool of self-expression.
According to the Daily Mail artist Stuart Murdoch created a massive tank out of 5,000 empty egg cartons, 26 litres of glue, 10,100 nails, 15 litres of paint, 80 square metres of steel and 5,013 staples. The piece took over 512 hours to build and was made to raise money for Help For Heroes which helps wounded British servicemen and women returning from conflict. More images of the tank after the jump.
Rebecca Morgan is a wonderfully playful, expressive artist producing mostly drawings, paintings, ceramics and cutouts, all based on characters and stereotypes from her native Appalachian area in America. Long term fans of Morgan’s, we have actually featured her previous series of portraits of rednecks and peasants- ‘Deliverance‘, here on B/D. This time we are enamored with her latest ceramic collection of gnarled, twisted, almost gruesome jugs. As with her 2D work, Morgan takes inspiration from the off-beat “bumpkin” (as she calls them) folk she grew up around.
Her ceramics are quite the sight – with bulging eyes, leering at you, and with crooked smiles, mouths full of oddly shaped and yellowed teeth. Their colors are quite unsettling as well, some vases a sickly blue-green tone; another is bright pus yellow; some vases glazed in a metallic sheen; and yet another made from a dull grey ceramic with ghastly warts plastered all over it’s face.
Stylistically, Morgan embraces hyper-detailed naturalism, influenced by Dutch painters such as Memling, Brueghel, and Van Eyck, as well as absurd, repulsive caricature suggestive of underground cartoonists like R.Crumb. (Source)
The influence of underground comics are definitely evident in Morgan’s work and she makes sure to embrace a healthy dose of lewdness, as does Crumb. She obviously delights in pushing the boundary between repulsion and attraction; the grotesque and the ordinary. Thankfully these vases are neither repulsive, nor grotesque, and they are far from being ordinary.
We normally think of the Playboy Bunnies as busty blondes with smiles on their faces. Taylor Marie Prendergast, however, shatters that stereotype in her pen and ink drawings that feature the women in a much different light. The models that she depicts, while still in “sexy” poses, aren’t glowing. Instead we see every brush stroke that’s paired with muddy, dirty-yellow hair and a blank expression on their faces. While Prendergast has handled the media well and demonstrates a variety of techniques, we can’t escape the fact that these women wouldn’t be the “Playboy type.” And, according the artist, that’s the point. From her statement:
I’m challenging the contemporary zeitgeist by incorporating historically loaded images and abstracted figurations. The juxtaposition of the glamorous and the repulsive are necessary tools in order to create this reaction in the audience. At first the piece entices the viewer with aesthetically pleasing elements, and as the viewers settles into the work they’re confronted with disturbing details.
While the ink is still wet, Prendergast loads the drawing with more pigment and allows it to bleed onto the paper. It creates a dripping effect that’s both beautiful but in the context of a figure, a little gruesome. This allows the artist to subvert popular culture, and as she explains, “They [the viewer] are invited to re-consider the cultural state of both themselves and humanity. As the viewer inhales the work, there is a subtle yet significant revolting shock.”
Artist Romain Crelier has transformed the already ornate and beautiful interior of Bellelay Abbey with reflective pools of used motor oil. This unique and unlikely installation is created by pouring pools of motor oil into an extensive and organic-shaped vessel that holds the oil into its form, brilliantly complimenting the architecture. This Swiss Abbey contains intricate and ornate 12th century architecture, including Baroque style monasteries and elaborate stucco paintings. The dark, glossy oil is a stark contrast to the bright, white interior, creating a harsh but remarkable juxtaposition. The already dramatic interior is complimented by this reflective source, mirroring not only its complex architecture, but also the viewer.
Motor oil is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an attractive, shiny material. This is definitely not your traditional installation. Normally thought of as a messy material, the deep, sleek liquid creates a deep impact on the viewer, full of mystery and awe. The church is often a place of reflection, where you can go to experience a sense of stillness or tranquility. Crelier furthers this experience by giving you a literal reflective liquid to gaze into while you roam this space. The wonder you might feel by entering such a monumental place is magnified through this installation, moving you to a place of awe. This installation has a seemingly simple concept, but results in an immeasurable effect on the viewer, creating layers of visual possibilities. Romain Crelier’s installation, titled La Mise en Abime, is just one of the incredibly colossal installations the very talented, Swiss artist has under his belt. (via MyModernMet)
Argentinian artist, Alexandra Kehayoglou creates rugs that look like pastures and meadows. The grassland carpet seeks to mimic the appearance of naturally occurring, but fast disappearing Argentinian landscapes.
Kehayoglou grew up around textile artists, her family followed a textile tradition that was developed thousands of years ago in Asia Minor. After graduating with a degree in visual arts, Kehayoglou returned to her roots making carpets as her ancestors did, but with a twist. As varied as the grasslands and natural scenery of South America, the carpets are beautiful representations of natural and cultural heritage.
Carpet weaving is innate knowledge for me. It makes me feel connected to another time. It is a way of building meanings throughout my life and that of my ancestors.
Her creations carry a strong message of sustainability; these carpets are made from wool often found in mounds of leftover fabrics behind factories. (Via DD.AA.)