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Jonathan Robert LeBlanc

Landscape photography is a fickle mistress.  Jonathan Robert LeBlanc’s photographs weave an elaborate tapestry of cramped urban decay and endless country skies- facing history with little or no irony.

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B/D’s Best of 2010- Gao Brothers

Gao Brothers

Beijing based fraternal pair Gao Brothers have been collaborating on nstallation, performance, sculpture, photography works and writing now for three decades and shocking museums around the world with their guerrilla tactic art, one such featuring an apologetic Chairman Mao on his knees with a detachable head. Exhibitions by the Gao brothers, whose work the authorities find politically challenging, have been shut down in the past, and their studio has been raided. So they keep the head of Mao hidden in a separate location — reuniting it with its body only on special occasions to show friends and colleagues. Normally, the body of the statue remains headless, unidentifiable and nonthreatening.

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Sasha Zivkovic

The drawings of Sasha Zivkovic present office workers existing in strange, dystopian universes. He uses various art historical styles and sources to create allegorical transformations. Everyday working life is presented within frameworks such as religious symbolism, zoological observation, and ethnographic documentation. Detailed pencil drawings create zoological mini-habitats with strange medieval perspectives that feel at once displaced and at home in their cubicles and board rooms.

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Senhor Ricardo

Illustration by  Portuguese art director Senhor Ricardo.

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Linda Ford’s Somatic therapies BDSM Masks

Linda Ford’s drawings and collages were informed by hear early experiences of visiting the Worcester Insane Asylum where her father worked.

“My recent work is informed by Somatic therapies and BDSM practices. as well as other turn-the-century pseudosciences such as Phrenology. Early experiences of visiting the “Worcester Insane Asylum” (as it was called in the 1800’s) where my father worked during my childhood, as well as my own employment as a mental health counselor have had lasting affects on my preoccupation with bodies that transgress boundaries. Experiences with somatic therapies, which focus on mining bodily sensation in order to “release” traumatic experience, led me to research the early innovations of Wilhelm Reich. Reich proposed that mental states have a corresponding “physical attitude” that is expressed in the body as muscular rigidity or “body armor”. In his view, a response that begins in childhood as a defense against overwhelming anxiety or trauma can become an “emotional and physical straightjacket” in adulthood. By drawing on these disciplines, I am accessing the body as a sculptural object whose meaning and content is manifested in its skin, muscle and bone.

This work reconfigures the unified portrait, to investigate the fragmented nature of identity and self-knowledge. In the “Self-Discipline” charcoal drawings and their digitally dismantled and refashioned collages, I correlate female desire, monstrosity and excess. The family portrait collages, juxtapose turn-of-the-century photographs with hand-rendered self-portraiture elements, to merge contexts and time periods and explore the constricted body language of subjects uncomfortable in front of the camera and perhaps within their own skins. By creating “Composite Portraits” like those invented in 1881 by Francis Galton (the founder of eugenics) for the purpose of identifying physical, mental, and social deviance, I seek to excavate somatic inheritance as a tool for self-understanding. The play of outer and inner; surface and depth; what is hidden and what is revealed – is at the heart of my use of animal tissue as covering (armor/clothing/skin). The “Body Armor” series of altered fetish-wear, sutured from hog gut, identifies psychological/somatic accumulation in the body and fantasizes the ways in which internalized control, trauma and marginalization may be recuperated.”

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Old Navy Causes A Stir With Insulting Anti-Artist T-Shirts

Old Navy, T-Shirts - Product Design Steve Ogden, T-Shirts - Product Design

Anyone who has ever pursued a liberal arts career has probably heard the opinion: that there’s no future in the arts, or at the very least, it’s going to be extremely difficult. While the latter is probably true (Rome wasn’t built in a day, and so on), the bias against the arts—often in favor of science and the trades—is highly prevalent in our public discourse.

Old Navy recently attracted some heat by releasing two “funny” toddler tees, both emblazoned with the “YOUNG ASPIRING ARTIST” motto, with “ARTIST” crossed out. Scrawled beneath are two alternative career paths: “Astronaut” and “President” (although, really, we don’t think these careers are any easier to attain). Twitter users voiced their offense, and soon after, artist Steve Ogden humorously modified the designs, overwriting “YOUNG ASPIRING OLD NAVY EXEC” with “ARTIST” and “HUMAN.” Here’s a response from the company, as published on artnet News:

“At Old Navy we take our responsibility to our customers seriously. We would never intentionally offend anyone, and we are sorry if that has been the case. Our toddler tees come in a variety of designs including tees that feature ballerinas, unicorns, trucks, and dinosaurs, and [they] include phrases like ‘Free Spirit.’ They are meant to appeal to a wide range of aspirations. With this particular tee, as a result of customer feedback, we have decided to discontinue the design and will work to remove the item from our stores.” (Source)

Overall, the initial designs and the subsequent outcry reminds us that we shouldn’t disparage our artists. For those who are determined, it is plausible to develop a career in such fields—and there is value in it. After all, who could live in a world without art? (Via artnet News)

 

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David Ogle’s Ultraviolet Thread Installations

David Ogle installation3 David Ogle installation4

David Ogle‘s installations seem to glow right out of the space they effeminate from.  His work is mainly constructed with thread illuminated ultraviolet light.  However, Ogle’s installations are not only built of the thread, but the space they emphasize and the light itself.  Underscoring this Ogle says:

” Much of my work to date has dealt with exploring notions of materiality, of permanence and of the perception of objects in space. Using light as a sculptural medium, my work is innately ephemeral.”

If you like David Ogle’s work be sure to check out the work of JeongMoon Choi.

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Maarten Alexander vs Rul3rs

Maarten Alexander &  Rul3rs have come together to create a series of  arresting images combining Maarten’s clean photographic sensibilites and Rul3rs’ coded mathematical and religious symbols.

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