Strata #4 is a two channel video by the artist known simply as Quayola. For the video, Quayola used images of two grand altarpieces by Rubens and Van Dyck. He worked with an HDR photographer to obtain huge 20,000 by 20,000 pixel images of the work. Then using unbelievable computing power and algorithms Quayloa investigates each masterpiece’s underlying structure, composition, and color. Strata #4 at turn resembles 20th century abstract renditions of the baroque work. Yet his video squarely part of a New Aesthetic, part of a 21st century sensibility.
Photographer Juuke Schoorl‘s collection is called “Rek,” which means “stretch” in Dutch. It’s a fitting name for both the act observed as well as that demanded of viewers as they are asked to consider all manner of textures both natural and unnatural. In her artist’s statement, Schoorl says that she “[explores] aesthetic possibilities of the human skin through a mixture of image capturing techniques.”
Using nylon fishing rope and cello tape, she creates temporary perforations and artificial patterns on what she calls “this curious stretchable material.” Some of her experiments look natural, almost like scarification. Others approach alien, such as one that tugs the side of a woman’s neck into what look similar to gills or another kind of grittier protrusion.
Interestingly, Schoorl’s subjects all look composed, serene even as viewers might flinch back on instinct. Perhaps that is the point; Schoorl invites viewers to be curious, to wonder at these new patterns and human landscapes. She wants us to consider our “biological upholstery that aside from it’s [sic] protective capabilities could also serve as a medium for aesthetic expression.” (via Juxtapoz)
Jacek Yerka is a Polish painter whose work melts pastoral beauty into worlds of fantasy and psychedelic dreams. Featured here is the series 4siders, wherein the four “walls” of each scene have been staged and fused together to create multidimensional spaces; rotate the images, and a different room (or landscape) appears. In “Budoir,” for example, the furnishings of an entire house loop dizzyingly around each other; in “Four Seasons,” a lonely bungalow slides from winter’s chill to spring’s awakening while the eye is drawn to the uniting, empty sky beyond. Both logical and disorienting, the 4siders paintings demonstrate how slight shifts in perspective can alter our notions of the rational world.
Blending the classically creative styles of Bosch and Bruegel with reality-bending contemporary art, it is no surprise that Yerka has achieved much recognition in the world of fantasy art — fantasy, after all, derives from a melding of history with the outer edges of the imagination. Some of Yerka’s genre-related accomplishments include collaborating with fantasy author Harlan Ellison in the compositions of Mind Fields (a collection thirty short stories accompanied by Yerka’s surrealistic paintings), as well as the notable reception of the World Fantasy Award for best artist in 1995.
Yerka currently lives in rural Poland with his family, where he paints his immersive dreamscapes in the shade of an “old and mysterious” apple tree (Source). You can learn more about his work on his website, Facebook, and Twitter. (Via Fubiz)
David R Harper’s artwork is about the projection or imposition of meaning on an object, especially concerning memorial in death. He embroiders over taxidermy animals on prints of still life paintings from the 18th century. He sees the dead animals as a human way of addressing mortality; feeling empathy for the dead animal, but also as a way of avoiding grappling with our own inevitable demise. The embroidery creates a void or emptiness, especially literal in the white thread, and more dynamic but equally vacant with the use of green patterning in The Fall. Thread operates in most cases as a cold medium and Harper employs it extremely effectively in combination with his meticulous technique.
His most ambitious work is titled I Tried, and I Tried, and I Tried, presumably a quasi-reference to the Rolling Stones song (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction, as well as Napoleon’s conquests. Harper embroiders the entire horse of David’s Napoleon Crossing the Alps. In the original artwork the horse is mostly white with black on its tail and head, where Harper creates a gradient that transforms from black to light grey. What is truly incredible is that this process doesn’t flatten the horse; it retains its form in the sculpting of the flow of the thread. The beast becomes much more powerful and haunting
Art Info has a great slideshow that compares Harper’s sculpture and embroidery work to other well-known artists. See it here.
SVA grad Mu Pan brings East Asian woodblock aesthetics to his colorful, animated paintings. Not much of a “Zen” vibe is to be found here, though. Full of life, the Brooklyn artist’s work explodes off the canvas in a rush of sex and violence. Base, animalistic sensibilities are collected and processed en masse within each piece, and hardly any opportunity for impact is passed over. Really engrossing stuff, whether the focus is placed on a few central figures, or all-encompassing atmosphere.
Artist Alex Garant paints dizzying works of women that have multiple eyes and are seen in double vision. The traditionally-styled oil paintings are a unique take on the standard portrait, as they combine optical-illusions, realistic renderings, and repeat patterns. This offers a graphic element to her compositions where the background and foregrounds fuse to flatten the entire thing.
Garant finds inspiration in early ink printing, vintage pop surrealism, baroque tapestries, and retro kitsch. So, it’s no surprise that we see these patterns edging on and covering the faces of these subjects.
According to the artist’s website, she uses “patterns, duplication of elements, symmetry and image superposition as a way to engage the viewer into her imagery.” The standard, front-facing portraits are made unique with offset facial features and a clash of visual cultures throughout time. (Via L’ACTE GRATUIT)
No regrets in Life is a series of human-sized pencil and charcoal portraits of individuals artist Joel Daniel Phillips sees everyday on his street corner in the mission neighborhood of San Francisco. The interesting thing about them is that most are homeless and literally live on that corner. They come from all walks of life, all races young and old. The work Phillips creates allow these folk to become human again and puts them at the forefront so they are the focus of our attention not the shadowy part we look to brush away.
Phillips looks to define the similarities between people of various economic backgrounds and connect them through the unifying element which make us all human. By seeking extremes he captures a poetic narrative. He works similar to an investigative reporter getting up close and personal then taking photos of his subjects. These impressions become muse for powerful drawings. The drawing doesn’t lie and Phillips captures the core of these forgotten citizens with meticulous rendering. As an artist of skill he’s able to keep a record and preserve a moment of our time. In his intuitive statement Phillips talks about the narratives he tries to capture and thinks we cannot know the human race until we draw them.
When I think of New York City I imagine rough and tough grandma’s cussing you out and not taking shit from anyone. Other cities just don’t produce in your face, loud mouth senior citizens. This can get annoying in most situations but not when it comes to amazing Sister Helen Travis. In Sister Helen you’ll find one of the most unanimously acclaimed documentaries in recent years and winner of the coveted Sundance Film Festival Directing Award. A recovering alcoholic who lost her husband and sons to substance abuse Sister Helen fights the South Bronx’s drug wars one person at a time with more off-the-top catch phrases than a 1990’s rap song.
Sister Helen is an inspiring documentary filled with an equal dose of comedy and drama. The love/hate relationship between this tough-as-nails nun and the men who both fear her and rely on her to help them battle their own inner demons is unreal. Inspired by Sinatra’s “my-way-or-the-highway” mantra, Sister Helen runs a tight ship in which everyone must obey her rules and the hand that writes them. For the residents who wish to permanently kick the habit, this sobering dose of tough love may be their last and only hope.