Robb Stone is a friend and colleague that I had the pleasure of getting to know during my time at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Stone is experimental with materials, using bleach and acrylic on satin, acrylic on drop cloth and army tent material, and even acrylic on shower curtain. He works in a very washy style and usually makes large-scale paintings, layering several of them along the wall to induce a cinematic and narrative quality.
His earlier work showed his interest in pop culture and current events as he painted what can be described as infamous, narcissistic train wrecks – Lindsay Lohan and Heidi Fleiss in particular stand out among others. The paintings are executed unsympathetically, mocking celebrities most people would like to see buried under the ground. The themes of ‘narcissism’ and ‘train wrecks’ in a more meaningful sense reoccur prominently in the work he has made over the past 3 years, which features subjects who are acutely aware of being filmed, yet appear unthreatened by the film’s permanence and choose to partake in immoral, incriminating acts of violence and lewd behavior. Robb focuses on this behavior to the extent that it has been present in the US’s recent military involvement in the Middle East. So far he has focused on a series of isolated incidences, such as US soldiers urinating on dead Afghan bodies and the US Embassy’s guards in Kabul’s hazing rituals. The content of his paintings raises many questions: were these soldiers inherently immoral individuals, or did war make them that way? Is it possible to be in a situation so far from normal reality that anyone in that situation will lose their sense of morality? Does the context of these soldiers’ surroundings allow for them to believe they are partaking in acceptable behavior? The show-off behavior of these soldiers is perplexing; they are not at all compelled by the presence of the camera to hide their face in shame. Instead, they embrace the exposure.
Kaeleen Wescoat-O’Neill has recently been working on series based on mugshots from her hometown in Florida. She recently flew out of Art Center with a Bachelor of Fine Art. Her work has a beautiful air, like Elizabeth Peyton or Alex Katz, but offers something uniquely her own.
In the newly-published book titled Hollywood Frame by Frame, author Karina Longworth examines the contact sheet, a necessity in film making before the advent of digital technology. The prints were used by photographer as a way to review and edit their work, and the sheets contain small thumbnails of multiple shots. They were marked, scribbled on, carefully examined to find the perfect shot later used in advertising.
These sheets are alluring; not for how interesting and different each individual frame is, but it’s a tiny glimpse into what went on behind the scenes in famous films. You’re able to see what was and wasn’t chosen, as well as the outtakes. A description for Hollywood Frame by Frame describes it as, “…it’s often the photos not chosen that best capture the true spirit of their subjects and the life they lead after the director yells cut. This was never truer than in the classic Hollywood era, where behind-the-scenes photos were carefully vetted for marketing purposes and unapproved shots were never expected to be seen again.”
Some of the films included in the book are: Some Like It Hot, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Taxi Driver, and Silence of the Lambs. It was published by Princeton Architectural Press.
Using a Cabinet of Curiosity aesthetic, Femke Hiemstra creates a carnivalistic fantasy world. In her oeuvre the roles of humans and animals are blurred placed in odd scenarios which offer humorous and dark tales of sacrifice, war and performance. Taking references from classic novels such as Gulliver’s Travels and ancient folk tales, it’s obvious that these should be made into cinema because the images are so fully animated. However, their 2D nature turns them into fine art illustration and allows the viewer to look further and take a lasting moment to linger in their imagination.
Hiemstra’s play on words further enhance the narrative in her paintings. One called “groupies” is especially humorous showing a female singing apple watched in awe by her grouper audience. It’s a classic example of the type of work Hiemstra makes which combines the bizarre with popular culture to tell stories which recall nursery rhymes and absurdist commentary. Her style brings to mind an artist I was very fond of years ago called Elizabeth Albert. She also used animals in odd narratives to tell stories about human behavior and circumstance.
Hiemstra’s illustrations are created using a light acrylic paint and water. She often tops her work with colored pencils which give it that extra definition. She mostly uses paper or panel but occasionally will paint on old books and wooden antiques like clocks or religious objects. She sells prints of her original artwork at a very reasonable price of 100 euros on average. (via hifructose)
A new invention redesigning sticky notes has a 50/50 chance of becoming successful. Switch Notes by suck uk stationary store, was created with the same thought in mind as a refrigerator magnet or bulletin board; used as a simple tool to help remember “things to do”. The original sticky note was invented in 1968 by 3M chemist Dr. Spencer Silver. At the time, he was looking for an adhesive that could stick to things and be reused or repositioned multiple times. He proceeded to invent low-tack tape. This was released on the first sticky note marketed as Press ‘n Peel back in 1977. Its yellow color came from the scrap paper used in tests and in 1980, the product was reintroduced as Post-it Notes.
The new and improved humorous design of Switch Notes is slightly different from post-its, because it has a light hole switch in the middle. This added feature enables the user to put it on a light switch doubling the reminder value. The design is greener and saves paper, but according to initial feedback, isn’t sticky enough and tends to fall off when placed. If so, it kinda defeats the purpose of “no brainer convenience”. Does it really make sense to take another step and place something deliberately on a light switch? And what if you forget to shut off the light, then what? Late fee.
Still, those who love anything new and different will buy into it. The company suck uk who makes Switch Notes, specializes in unique items for the home. Some of their bestsellers include an LED light which turns old bottles into lamps and an umbrella which changes colors when rain hits it. (via lostateminor.com)
Tania Scheglova and Roman Noven, based in the Ukraine, are frequent collaborators, especially in the realm of fashion photography. They also work together on more personal material as well, and often post the results to Synchrodogs, a website they share. Perhaps due to a lingering Cold War sensibility or some other intangible, Eastern Europe maintains a dark, unknown quality. Full of strong emotion and isolated coldness, the photographs created by these two perfectly illustrate such atmosphere, reminding us how easy it is to get lost sometimes.
Ever wonder what it actually looks like when you’re making out – really going at it – tongue and all? One photographer took it upon himself to shoot couples doing just that. Often tongue on tongue action can be kind of grotesque, and rarely are we given the chance to examine it closely. Participating is always a good time, but witnessing from a relatively objective perspective – as someone not really invested – is kind of odd, and definitely uncomfortable if you linger too long watching. In film, if you’re lucky, you see a big juicy tongue slide its way in between hungry lips, but just for a second then it’s gone. Whether in public or in document, it’s hard to get up close and personal with a kiss when you’re not one of the ones doing it.
Rankin, a publisher, director, and commercial photographer living in London, set out for closer inspection of the French kiss in his series Snog. The most compelling of the images is one where you barely see the faces of the couple, just a hint of nose, some stubble around the mouth, and some foundation overtop the occasional blemish. You can feel the intensity of the kiss, as one lip lifts the other to reveal a bit of tooth, and the tong in front veers right as the other presses against it.
What Rankin achieves that others don’t is a balance between staging and reality. He maintains an appealing aesthetic while still staying true to the sentiment of french kissing. The funniest is the older couple both staring back at the camera. It looks on the one hand totally unnatural, but then it also seems to be something so appropriate for the character of the couple. It looks like their tongues are holding hands. (via Feature Shoot)