Kate Shaw captures the magnificence and mystery in nature in her hypnotizing landscapes created from acrylic paint, glitter, powder, and resin. Each piece exudes the undeniable and powerful force that the rolling hills and mountains hold. Shaw portrays monumental forms of beauty, such as glaciers and cliffs, in an environment swirling with vibrant color. These mesmerizing, whirling hues are created from pouring paint, letting the movement of the color form naturally. Although these paintings show nature and landscapes, they look anything but natural. The colors Shaw has chosen are completely abnormal. Her mountains drip with oranges and pink while her trees rage with rich reds and blues.
There is a strange balance of natural and artificial brilliance captured in Kate Shaw’s work. Her use of different types of materials creates different textures and reflective surfaces that transform the landscapes even further. They are like environments from another planet, just as incredible as they are unfamiliar. Kate Shaw’s landscapes conjure conflicting emotions of growth and manipulation, showing natural beauty with synthetic qualities. Kate Shaw explains her intentions behind this dichotomy.
“My practice aims to convey ideas of nature, alchemy and cycles of creation/destruction. The paintings and video works deal with the tensions and dichotomies in the depiction of the natural world and our relationship to it. I am concurrently exploring the sublime in nature whilst imbuing a sense of toxicity and artificiality in this depiction. My intention is to reflect upon the contradiction between our inherent connection to the natural world and continual distancing from it.”
Her captivating work will be on display at Mirus Gallery in San Francisco in February of 2016.
Documentary photographer Nina Berman’s recent “Eat To Win” series is not for the faint hearted. Through her observation of eating competitions across the United States, she documents what she calls “the ferocity of consumption” and delves into the notions of frenzy and excess while depicting food as more than a necessary part of human survival. In these competitions, food becomes a source of competition, not in a necessary sense, but for entertainment. The series is comprised of close up of contestants, with their faces covered in food and savage expressions on their faces.
The competitions themselves unfold within 2 to 6 minutes, which underlines the way in which time is the most vital element of the competition. Berman’s photographs are interesting in the sense that she has chosen not to document the end result of the competition but the competition process in itself. This has resulted in a series full of intense facial expressions, a loss of manners and a visceral illustration of unbridled humanity.
Berman’s high definition close up allow you to step inside the world of eating competitions in an almost tangible manner, that brings you quite literally, face to face with the more disgusting side of being a human. She brings you into a high contrast world of overconsumption and excess and does not stray away from the greasy details. She places eating competitions at the junction of pleasure and pain, and by doing so establishes a subtle and somewhat humoristic critique of consumer society at its peak.
There is no shortage of art and creativity in the City of Light. As Louise Fili shows us in her upcoming book Graphique de la Rue, even Paris’ signage has a resplendence that conveys generations of art styles, from Art Nouveau to Art Deco to Futurism. As an esteemed graphic designer, Fili wandered the streets of Paris for four decades, documenting signs that combined art with typography. Among her photo diary are images of ornate metro signs, vintage café signs, mosaics, and of course, the iconic Moulin Rouge cast in its red glow. In the press release for Graphique de la Rue, Fili describes the source of her inspiration:
“From my first visit to Paris at age twenty, just as I had begun to embrace the world of graphic design, my eyes were opened to the spectacular signage that appeared everywhere . . . With each successive visit, I would continue to be struck by the uniqueness of the signs; in no other city had I seen such distinctive typography on the likes of public school buildings, police stations, funeral parlors, and patisseries.”
Fili’s book comes at an important time, when such original signs are being replaced by their cheaper, poorly designed, and mass-produced versions. Sadly, many of the art pieces documented in Graphique de la Rue have already been destroyed. Fascinated by vernacular design—that is, the designs that give Paris its distinctness as an epicenter of art and history—Fili’s book is a “typographic love letter to Paris,” one that will both immortalize these signs and inspire the imaginations of designers and travellers alike (Source).
Touching on themes of the politically backwards, the environmentally compromised and the socially divided, Séguin’s “Illustrated Guide for Aliens”reveals deeper truths about the nature of humanity through images that are not only thought provoking but beautifully elegiac.
Brooklyn/Montreal artist Marc Séguin has a show with Mike Weiss Gallery in NYC through October 13th. In case you can’t make it out in person, we’ve got some snaps for you. The show is titled My Century (An Illustrated Guide for Aliens), and features fairly large works (most are 6 x 9 ft.) done in oil and charcoal on raw canvas. The paintings also contain unorthodox materials like taxidermy, locks of hair, and tar. This is Séguin’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, and it seems he’s taken things up a notch since his last show with Mike Weiss in the spring of 2011. The humorous works do a great job of illuminating the major imbalance of wealth and power in contemporary times, and don’t pull any punches. See more from My Century (An Illustrated Guide for Aliens) after the jump.
Kitty Valentine’s work is inspired by the anonymity of the discarded photographs that she finds in flea markets in East London. Creating images that are darkly humorous yet poignant, Valentine’s images are memento mori paintings that raise questions about identity, sexuality, memory and mortality. The stiffly posed, nameless people in the Victorian Mischief series have animal and bird skulls delicately painted onto them and are given new life, and yet are protected by a mask. There are references to the Victorian obsessions with seances, carnival freaks and sideshow attractions and our slightly shamed morbid curiosity in such things.
The lush, vibrant colored pencil drawings of Joe Sinness portray screen and stage stars, queer icons, and online erotica submitters, combining them with antique or thrift store items, flowers and jewels to create carefully constructed tableaus. The technical ability of the Minneapolis-based artist is what one immediately notices, and it is only after that the viewer must attempt to make sense of the laboriously drawn scene before them.
Sinness creates each still-life by hand before photographing and then meticulously executing them with Prismacolor pencils. “I want each still life to have a visual richness or lushness to highlight and celebrate the figures or kitsch objects presented (and I use the term ‘kitsch’ with the utmost seriousness)”.In works like the Shining Indiscretions triptych (seen above), Sinness created a loose mythology which the work is based on, but does not depend upon. Titled from a Tennesse Williams quote (“All good art is an indiscretion.”), Sinness built hundreds of scenes imagining what a queer,flamboyant spirit such as Williams might physically look like, eventually settling on a triptych of shapes formed from gold lamé. The triumph of this triptych is that the viewer most certainly does not need to know this backstory to enjoy the work, because the images are so visually striking and meditative that they speak for themselves. However, they also have a strong conceptual intention and purpose which informs the work for those who wish to dig deeper.
Sinness continues, “I am interested in how objects and people seeking fame become consumable products, a paradox that sees their artistic endeavors pursuing immortality become disposable and commodified. My imagery and subjects are first looted and then loved… In mining these subjects and devotedly recasting them together in shrine-like still lifes, they are given new life in narratives which mirror their subject’s original aspiration and desire for fame and immortality.”