Combining steel cast human body parts with various members of the animal kingdom, Rona Pondick has been riffing on the art world’s fascination with physical transformation for over a decade. Her animal/human hybrid sculptures look like the monsters in my nightmares!
We had written about the powerful duo photographer Zoren Gold, and graphic artist Minori Murakami back in May of this year. Now they are back with some new additions to their editorial section and it is just as packed with their wonderfully strong sense of collaborative design as before.
Since 1999, Brazilian artist Herbert Baglione has been populating the cracked walls and floors of forgotten places with shadowy, painted specters, which are characterized by their elongated limbs and emaciated, sinuous bodies. As the years have passed, his ghostly installations have emerged in dark corners all over the world, including Brazil, Germany, and France. In July 2013, Baglione found what might be his most eerie location to date: an abandoned psychiatric hospital in Parma, Italy. Down the building’s moldering, littered corridors, the artist’s ghosts aimlessly trail their wispy bodies up the walls and through open doors. At this time, the ongoing project was officially named 1000 Shadows. Describing his creative approach to forgotten places and their inhabiting spirits, Baglione has explained that “The ‘reading’ of these places allows [him] to take the shadow to a unique path, which usually feeds and broadens the discussion because it brings light to the abandoned environment […]. It is as if the soul is leaving an invisible trail on these places” (Source).
What makes Baglione’s work so simultaneously fascinating and unsettling for the psyche is that it plays with the dichotomy of presence and absence — two states of being that we often assume are fundamentally separate. By creating these shadows, not only has Baglione left his physical “mark” (his presence) for passersby to ponder (who was here? And what does it mean?), but he reminds us that other people were there long before us, and perhaps their energy still remains, making absence a form of presence. We feel drawn to these sad specters, and perhaps a bit frightened; they are traces of a persisting darkness that inspire us, emotionally and imaginatively, to close the gap in time. The wheelchair deserted in the hallway with its accompanying ghost is a particularly visceral referent for this troubling of past and present life.
Visit Baglione’s blog, Facebook page, and Instagram and follow him as he continues to occupy our imaginations and the world’s forgotten places with his signature shadows. (Via Bored Panda)
LA local Ashlie Chavez shoots only in film. Her images are captivating. I love the texture and depth in her work . Her photographs at times have minor imperfections that create beautiful images…reminds me of the human touch that you don’t see with digital. Ashlie collaborates with her twin sister Amber, also a very skilled photographer.
Using a unique surface Jason Middlebrook creates abstract motifs. He takes tree bark and combines its natural grooves with ideas which speak to nature in a way that celebrates its form and at the same time symbolically shows how man has put his stamp on it. In his plank series he takes different types of discarded wood such as maple, black birch and cottonwood to create paintings which follow the natural pattern of bark but in the process creates a beautiful design. They exaggerate what’s already there and makes beautiful process out of recycled materials.
In wall works Middlebrook takes it one step further and mimics the tree bark with materials such as bronze and stainless steel. These evoke more of a cave mystique. The darker surfaces and nature reference rocks and harder surfaces. The colors in a few are subdued hinting again at the random way things are formed in a natural state. While the wall works made of tree bark begin to resemble minerals found in rocks due to color and application of paint. Middlebrook finds a nice common ground to play with what’s found in nature and remaking it using another raw material. Middlebrook has been working with wood for many years. Some of the other projects he’s been involved include garden gnomes, park benches and birdhouses. He currently lives and works in Hudson, NY.
As we wave goodbye to Halloween, let’s take a minute to mediate on the innately striking work of Diane Arbus and her unbiased approach to documenting not just the spookier side of humanity, but even more so, the masks or costumes we present to the world as a species, as human beings, as ourselves . . . year-round.
Now, when I use the word “unbiased” here I am not suggesting Arbus’s eye is roaming and invisible. Quite the contrary. Her eye is always distinctly there: focused, from one frame to the next. This “unbiased” quality has more to do with her indiscriminate examination of each subject in the same oddly intimate and unflinching way– regardless of class, age, gender, sexual preference, or race. In other words, a child with a toy hand grenade in the park looks equally as strange as the a woman lounging next to a toy poodle or a handful of residents dressed up on Halloween at a home for the mentally retarded. No one person, group, or act is more privileged. No one is all the more beautiful. We are all playing dress-up as far as identity and image is concerned.
By seeking out each individual’s innate desire to present him or herself and critically or creatively twisting that into her own perception of costume in each person’s presentation, Arbus became not just a photographer, but an alchemist, shifting our ideas of self, reality, and personal intention. Whether you are a part of celebrity culture or a more marginalized society spread out along the fringe, Arbus’s certain way of looking did not glorify one way of living over the other.
What are you going to do when you’re retired? Will you tinker in your garage, enjoy making crafts, or go on giant sight-seeing trips? Photographer Harry Griffin paints portraits of old age in his series titled Gold Coast. Dentures, wrinkled hands, and an easy chair, and more showcase a quiet-yet-luxurious existence in a sunny place like South Florida.
The vividly-colored images are cropped compositions that are bizarre in the framing. Although we know that we’re looking at retirement, it’s hard to glean a lot of information about what we’re seeing. So, a guy taking out his dentures wrapped in green plastic is equal parts amusing and confusing. It doesn’t seem that different than the act of getting old itself – moving towards a life of easy living while at the same time finding yourself doing ridiculous-looking things to keep up comfortable and entertained. (Via La Monda)