Alaina Varrone is a Connecticut-based artist who reinvests the folk art of embroidery with her off-the-cuff brand of weirdness. Many of her works explore nudity, and some are candidly erotic, displaying cross-stitched pornographic stills endowed with traces of memory and fantasy. Other pieces are humorous and somewhat morbid (don’t let the masked man’s “smile” deceive you, with those severed arms of his). More recently, Varrone has embroidered a series of portraits of empowered young women simply hanging out — often dressed in rock metal clothes — and indulging in the occasional bawdy behavior, such as the poolside alien “kiss.”
Despite the apparent clash of a traditional medium with contemporary “deviance,” Varrone’s intention is not to shock, but rather to raise questions, provoke absurdity, and induce laughter (you can read more about this in her interview with Evil Tender). Indeed, her raw, unapologetic style and bizarre subject matter is humorous; like the amusingly strange marginalia people have found in medieval tomes, Varrone’s works participate in a very human tradition of wanting to create lightness and celebrate fun and absurdity. With her skill, creativity, and wit, Varrone’s pieces are uniquely entertaining. You can view more on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr. (Via Juxtapoz)
Seattle based artist Vincent Pacheco also known as “Mudchicken” creates beautiful mixed media collages and paintings. These cigarette paintings are hilarious. I feel the cancer coming on just by looking at them.
Jonathan Schipper‘s work is slowly self destructing. Very slowly self destructing. In this first series of photos, To Dust, two classical sculptures hang upside down from one mechanism. The mechanism slowly grinds the sculptures together. A pile of fine dust gathers beneath the sculptures as they wear each other away. Over the course of several years the sculptures are expected to eventually destroy each other.
Slow self destruction unfolds in another series pictured in this post, Slow Inevitable Death of American Muscle Slow Motion Car Crash. A head on collision is almost painfully stretched out over six days. Two cars set on a track slowly advance toward each other simulating an ultra-slow car wreck. Schipper transforms destruction that was once dangerous into a harmless act – a perverse spectacle into a near boring and slow non-drama.
Iva Gueorguieva, currently a Lux Art Institute resident, is a Bulgarian-born artist that paintings are incredibly filled with energy portrayed with color, composition and expressionist brushstrokes. The dreamlike abstract landscapes are highly energized by the amazing intensity in colors and the layers create such dynamic organic like environments, they can’t help but captivate the viewers attention with the exuberant hues and dizzy brushstrokes.
Florentijn Hofman, mostly known for her interactive, cutsey and giant sculptures of children’s toys (ie. Rubber Duck, Max), has created Sunbathing Hare, another eye-catching and adorable installation for everyone to find their inner child with, yet again. It was taken down yesterday Oct.13th, 2013 as it was part of the Netherlands Bilateral Year and the Russian public arts program and was only allowed to be on site for a few months.
With outstretched arms, the over-sized lazy creature suggests a lazy, happy pose, as it lays on the green grass of Hare Island near the St. Peter and St. Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia. It has contagious vibe; people lie and sit next to it with intentions to relax and forget about their problems for a moment.
Sunbathing Hare measured 15 meters long by 8 meters wide and 2.5 meters high. It was made out of plywood boards, a pink painted nose, eyes, and smile with a touch of charm and humorousness. (via designboom)
“My sculptures cause an uproar, astonishment and put a smile on your face. They give people a break from their daily routines. Passers-by stop in front of them, get off their bicycle and enter into conversation with other spectators. People are making contact with each other again. That is the effect of my sculptures in the public domain.”
A young photographer named Mahdi Ehsaei has published a book of photographs depicting a little known minority in the Middle East. Afro-Iranians are a group of people descendent from slaves and traders who were brought over from Africa in the 8th century. These illicit transactions were conducted through slave markets in the region continuing through the 19th century. The demographic Ehsaei photographs is interesting because it represents a group mainly unknown in the Arab world.
In his new book Afro-IranEhsaei photographs beautiful children who in their smiles hold a link to their history but most likely are unfamiliar with how their ancestors initially arrived in the region they call home. Using youthful energy he creates a narrative focusing on the future set against a backdrop of the past since many are photographed close to the ocean which is how their ancestors first arrived. In others we see women dressed in traditional African garments, a sign mentioned in Ehsaei’s statement as a way to keep their African heritage alive. This is also true of the segment’s strong culture which is rich in music, dance, oral tradition and ritual.
Ehsaei is of German-Iranian descent and has completed photo essays on boxing, Iran and the nature of photography. He currently resides in Berlin.
Personal space, something that’s cherished in the United States, is put to the test in Brooklyn-based artist George Ferrandi’s series, I Felt Like I Knew You. This site-specific performance features Ferrandi on the crowded New York City subway. In her words, she transforms the space between two people from being stiff and guarded to something that resembles a space friends would share. Essentially, she sits in a packed subway car, rests her head on a stranger’s shoulders, and documents what happens through iPhone videos shot by Angela Gilland.
Not surprisingly, not everyone is receptive to Ferrandi’s invasion of their “personal bubble.” Some people wake her up or passive aggressively move their shoulder. Some, however, just let her rest. In an interview with Katherine Brooks of the Huffington Post, Ferrandi was asked if she learned anything from the project. Her response:
For me, this piece taps into the mystery and fragility of how we relate and communicate to each other as human animals, full of signs secret even to ourselves. It’s given me a deeper understanding of the way New Yorkers evolve to maintain their privacy in public spaces. We carry our energy so closely. We’re often pressed up against each other on the train with a kind of “I wish I wasn’t touching you” energy that is invisible but respected. This is part of why so many people are touched by a photo of one man resting his head on the shoulder of another; it challenges a preconception about tenderness between strangers, especially in New York. And it offers a tiny counterpoint to the Culture of Fear being cultivated in America.
All images are stills from iPhone videos. They make you ponder how you would act if Ferrandi put her head on your shoulder. Would you engage her or move your shoulder? (Via Huffington Post)
“My recent work references a variety of artistic techniques and influences from traditional oil painting and modern digital photography to the iconography of ancient Egypt , the American pin-up and nineteenth-century taxidermy. In this group of work, I seek to chronicle the relationship between the genesis of female icon objectification and its historical development. These works describe the psychological juxtaposition between the inherent urge to exploit one’s own short-lived youth and the pressures of adhering to social expectation. I explore the push and pull of these two concepts, asking how they have affected the female psyche and as well as how society has actively created its own vision of the idealized female.
My source material includes a range of visual elements, attempting to portray diverse visualized vernaculars, both past and present, into single compositions. My centralizing of the female figure illustrates the tensions and conflicts between the power of their beauty and strength of their character, as well as their inevitable vulnerability. Historically, artists have exploited the tradition of realistic oil portraiture not only to create a likeness, but also to embody the essential character of the subject. My paintings reconcile traditional portraiture with the more modern idea of an active subject, depicted not solely based upon her social status, but immortalized for her beauty and appeal. Similarly, the inclusion of taxidermied trophy animal heads alludes to the vulnerability of a creature that is prized for its beauty, complicating the notion of power attributed to the anthropomorphized deities of the ancient Egyptians. Finally, the figures are foregrounded against fragmented views of digital interruption and pixilation, serving to remind one of how computerized communication has profoundly affected how we reimagine the female form.”