Brea Souders, New York photographer, is opening up her studio for the public while she takes part in the Bushwick Open Studios and Arts Festival on June 7th. The image above is from an older series in her portfolio that explores the human desire to develop superstitions as a reaction to their “need for control in an uncertain world.” Each photograph plays on this theme through candid and staged scenes, where Souders believes her subjects are mentally returning to a “childhood sensibility,” what she believes is the root to superstition. I think her photographs carry an interesting feeling of stillness; they all feel quiet and calm, but also a little haunted.
Former art critic William Powhida unpacks his feelings about the art world and community by craftily using the medium itself to exemplify, deconstruct, and evaluate. Whether it’s an installation piece, abstract painting, or neon structure, the essence of art criticism and commercial machine surrounding an artist’s success or failure is heavily examined in his work.
However, Powhida’s recent emerging sentiment is not completely sardonic nor too serious or precious. Of his recent show, “Bill by Bill,” the LA Timessuggests, “What saves the work from grating sarcasm or smart aleck cleverness — toward which the artist has erred in the past — is a curious undertone of sincerity. Powhida is not mean-spirited or bitter but seems genuinely driven to understand his subject: the internal mechanisms of this peculiar social and economic ecosystem. How does the art world work and how should we feel about that? How much of ourselves should we reconcile to it?”
Igor Eskinja’s simplistic installations are elegant and optical illusory. Using basic and inexpensive materials such as tape, wires, and cords, Eskinja practices his art with precise measurements and an architectural eye. His work straddles the transition between 2D and 3D perception. He thoughtfully uses the space of the wall and floor of his installations, requiring viewers to stand at a particular angle in order to experience the effect given in these photos. The simplicity of his form and the perception between what is visible and not introduce space for interpretation and meaning. Oftentimes, after the installation is over, the work is thrown out due to the instability of his work, drawing attention to the impermanence of the forms he creates.
Animal sculptures by Australian artist Natalie Ryan are inspired by taxidermy. While conventional taxidermy practices dictate that she preserve the skin/fur of the animal she is preparing, Ryan instead uses synthetic materials to cover casts of squirrels, bears, and monkeys. Her current portfolio cloaks these animals entirely in blue velvet.
While Ryan’s web presence is limited, her gallery representation, Dianne Tanzer Gallery in Melbourne writes about Ryan’s latest exhibition, Evanescere, stating:
Continuing to explore notions of the cadaver as a secondary form, a shadow of it’s living self, these works depict the internals of animals stripped of their dermis and identifying features. Evanescere looks at the body in a suspended state of disappearing. In conjunction with this, these works also explore the idea of the animal cadaver on display and museology as a resting place. These works combine bodies and elements of the landscape that reference the paradigm of Natural History Museum displays. They seek to question the role the body plays in the Museum and the loss of the individual as it becomes a subject to represent an entire species.
Ryan’s decision to color her work bright blue introduces a contemporary aesthetic to taxidermy. It references the trends of home decor over the past few years, in which loud, unnatural colors are applied to natural objects. When thinking about traditional taxidermy and how it uses real feathers and fur, the artist makes a statement about craft and preservation. The prevailing attitude of culture champions innovation and exploration of the new. Ryan is stripping this practice of its ritual, simply using foam casts and not real animals. She’s chosen a color and material that’s more en vogue. We are drawn to this work because it’s a twist on an old practice. She makes taxidermy fresh rather than just feeling old.
Llobet & Pons installations and site interventions include a basketball hoop too small to fit a basket, creating a collective sculpture by collecting a single strand of hair from gallery goers, and creating geometric shapes out of broomsticks and floormats.
A graduate of the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, Jeremy Pettis is an up-and-coming graphic designer specializing in a sort of 1970s American style hand-drawn typography. As his 2007 thesis project, Jeremy created a sort of logotype for 26 different animals (A-Z), attempting to evoke certain characteristics of each animal through clever visual cues and tricks.
Francine Spiegl is kind of like the painterly female counterpart to Paul McCarthy’s chocolatey, syrupy, Santa, violent, chopping, dripping, slopping performances. In fact, for her upcoming exhibition “Mud and Milk” at Deitch projects, Spiegel created a massive performance that called for “10 pounds of grits, 5 jugs of pancake syrup, 10 squirt bottles of grape jelly, 5 bottles of Pepto-Bismol, 20 buckets of tempura paint, 20 cans of whipped cream; plus silly string, shaving cream, Fruit Loops, flour, Kool-Aid, glitter, pie, marshmallow Fluff, fake arms, fake blood and chocolate syrup.” These ingredients were researched and taken from Fangoria Magazine’s behind the scene horror movie ingredients.