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Chris Musina’s “Volatile Relationship” With Nature

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The human relationship with the natural world is a complex one that doesn’t seem to untangle anytime soon.  With animal life increasingly being abused and habitats encroached upon anxiety is understandably mounting.  Artist Chris Musina address these issues in painting and also sculpture.  Musina depicts the uglier side of the human/animal relationship.  Rather than highlight idyllic scenes of nature, he draws gruesome imagery of animal mistreatment to the forefront.  Animal carcasses are often kept as trophies, dead souvenirs of a once living creature.  Painting’s tradition of depicting killed animals is extensive – the fox hunt alone, for example, an entire genre.  Appropriately, then, Musina’s animal carcasses are not there to be admired but act as animals condemning the viewer.  They seem to be holding an accounting for their present condition in the painting as well as in a larger abstract sense. They act as a tool to deconstruct disassociation. Musina further explains his use of painting in addressing ecological and animal issues:

“Dealing directly with our increasingly volatile and uneasy relationship to the natural world, I draw from contemporary animal thought and a deep phylogeny of cultural cues. My work dismantles how we look at animals via “nature morte” painters, philosophy, hunting, museum dioramas, and the like. Manifested in life size compositions full of dark humor and bright color, I am addressing the animal as neither symbol nor object, but as subject, a subject aware of his or her own powerful symbolic nature. Painting represents the bulk of my practice precisely due to its place in the forefront of a history of representing animals. My paintings are populated with animal protagonists who stare back at the viewer in an uneasy gaze; aware of that place in our cultural history– asking for compassion, mercy, or simply to be put out of their misery.”

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Wim Delvoye’s Photographs Give Mundane Messages Monumental Exposure

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In 2000, Belgian multimedia artist Wim Delvoye composed a series of photographs which appear to capture text and note style messages etched on the side of mountain faces. Known for his quirky sculptural style, like his elaborately carved tires, Delvoye manipulated these photographs in order to juxtapose the mundanity of the displayed messages with the sublime, natural beauty of the world’s structures. With messages like “RUDE BUT CUTE 18 YEAR OLD BABE 018 83 87 480” and “HONEY, DON’T FORGET TO TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE. NINA,” Delvoye cleverly elevates the status of these banal declarations to a monumental scale. In Delvoye’s images, absurdities are reinforced while the overall importance of the messages – because of their ubiquity – is not entirely dismissed. Delvoye’s aesthetic is one of recontextualization and deconstruction – even the structure of website is a testament to his implementation well-known imagery in order to create an accessible and familiar user experience. (via public delivery)

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Pinar Yoldas

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Pinar Yoldas is a designer, artist, architect, and organic chemistry enthusiast. Her work is a reflection of her interests in neuroscience, evolution, gender studies and science fiction. In her work she explores new materials and new production tools in order to blend conventional media with digital media. I remember seeing these sculpture/organisms (often resembling the female anatomy) at the UCLA Design | Media Arts (both of our alma maters) 2nd Year grad show Exit Strategies. I was significantly and equal parts titillated and fascinated at these creatures, seemingly inanimate yet surreal-y possessing life like qualities. We’re also throwing a fundraiser party for her injuries and medical bills from multiple biking related accidents tonight in Echo Park (come come!). Check out the flyer after the jump!

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Kids Play Hard. Adults Play Harder.

The following series of photos are apart of an ad-campaign for Italian Based shoe firm, Luciano Carvari. Using these playfully surrealistic images, the photographer feeds off the wacky, bold, and daring styles of the shoes to create an intense visual. When viewing the photographs for the first time there is an obvious juxtaposition between child’s play and adult situations. The role reversal captures your attention and never lets it go.

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Thom Puckey

British sculptor Thom Puckey creates work that interestingly treads between old aesthetic sensibilities and materials and new content.  Not unlike Renaissance sculptors, Puckey’s pieces are large, constructed out of marble, and often involve female nudes. Yet at the same time the objects presented in the sculptures are fiercely contemporary – his nudes are holding AK-47s, or are donning the hoods of Abu Ghraib prisoners (edit: of which likenesses Thom went back into the future to collect as the pieces existed before Abu Ghraib).

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Huey Crowley Piles On The Paint

I’m loving these brutal and thick paintings by Wisconsin native Huey Crowley.

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Installation As Poetic Monument

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Christopher Lavery’s sculptures and installations work as poetic monuments– stretching beyond one particular brand or medium, and focusing, instead, on the art of humanity in relation to our natural state of dreaming.

For instance, Cloudscape (top image above), a collection of representational clouds, stands as tall as 42 feet and hovers alongside Pena Blvd. in Denver, Colorado. Each piece, made of steel, solar panels, polygal, and LED lighting, allows us to reconsider our own relationship with the sky– how a cloud is a talisman or connector: nature’s billboard, ephemerally reminding us to look up and inward.

Big Gold Word Bubble (plan and model, 2nd and 3rd image above), his latest endeavor, after completion, will stand 14’ tall and examine this idea of how, parallel to the clouds, language is both concrete and abstract: a beautifully harmonized collective word bubble and diversely individualized journey of interpretation. To help support its construction and transit to Art in the Park at Elm Park in Worcester, MA, click here. To view more Cloudscape installation shots, scroll down after the jump.

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Keith Allen Phillips Creates Subversive Images Of Nude Women Covered With Sweets

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Browsing through Keith Allen Phillips’ website, I found many sexy portraits of nude women, but with his series Messy, he takes his photography in a different direction. Phillips covers his models with a variety of foods from chocolate to Cheetos to sprinkles and icing sugar, and the results are pretty unexpected. Although some are still quite sexual, like when the model looks out at you from below a layer of creamy and chocolate while licking a finger, most don’t have that ‘food sex’ kind of vibe. By the time I reached the ones with a pink marshmallow mohawk, I realized I was barely processing the food as food, anymore.

Recently I wrote an article about Will Cotton, and Phillips feels like the anti-Cotton. Whereas Cotton’s world of food and women is soft, beautiful, and delectable, Messy has a harder edge, and one that I find more appealing. Once again, I’m drawn to the marshmallow mohawk woman, this time screaming out. She looks like a very intimidating alien. I find that although I have some difficulty with the idea of Phillips smearing food all over these women, the women rock it with a powerful presence, which is more than I can say of Cotton’s work. Each artist is experimenting with food, and beauty and sexuality in women. Phillips takes the viewer somewhere they didn’t expect to go. (Via Lost at E Minor)

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