Perhaps the fascination for artists utilizing chrome and mirror in their works is the increasing divide between seeing ourselves more and more via social media, yet understanding ourselves less. This is particularly evident in the work of New York-based Korean multidisciplinary artist Kimsooja, which often deals with the self-perception and the self and the other. In her installation To Breathe – A Mirror Woman at the Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro, in Madrid, Kimsooja transformed a classic greenhouse by removing everything and replacing it with a mirrored floor. Next, the Tague, South Korean-born artist used a translucent, light-diffracting film to coat the windows, which cause an array of naturally occurring rainbows, which were in turn continuously reflected by a mirrored surface that covered the entire floor. Like many of her projects, an audio pairing accompanied the visuals. Visitors would experience a recording of Kimsooja breathing, enhancing the contemplative yet personal and relatable mystery of the installation.
Taken from Kimsooja’s description of the project, “Outside light filters through the glass of the pavilion and reflects off the diffraction film. It diffuses into rainbow spectrums, transforming the external panorama seen from within the palace. The resulting effect is that the entire structure as well as the rays of colour reflecting off the mirrored floor. Natural light, colour, and sound are all ethereal elements within the empty space. The artist’s breathing from the performance, The Weaving Factory, bounces off the mirrors and fills the entire building to intermix with it, breaking down barriers of inside and outside, self and other, and reality and fantasy.”
Chris Little is a photographer and a film maker. His images are grainy and have a washed out tone, but this makes them rather enticing. His subject matter varies, everything from portraits, to ladies drenching themselves in milk, to drag racing motor sports. I dig it.
How does our plastic/synthetic “throw away” culture affect not only our values, but also our environment? Walmart retail may seem cost effective and conservative, but in a glutton abundance, it’s possibly just as decadent as the upper echelons of collecting from the Renaissance or Baroque times. By placing disposal items such as Coors beer, shelves or detergent, and bargain bin t-shirts under a canopy of classically rich “painted” ceilings in her work, Jean Lowe cleverly examines these ironies and more.
Regarding this fiscal clashing, David Pagel suggests, “This compromise between high art and low culture suggests that splitting the difference between extremes creates a mutation both queasy and questionable.”
This is what makes each piece striking– Lowe is not just easily questioning consumerism’s role in art, but instead asking us to consider where art lives and who it lives for. It’s not just about “what” but “how” such blending or bleeding confuses, masks, or tempers our own sense of place and thought.
Ronald Kurniawan’s illustrations are inspired by ideograms, syllables, letterforms, beasts and heroic landscapes. He slowly but surely continues to create a visual language where the wilderness and civilization could merge happily together. With the belief that the sublime and nuclear age could coexist, he paints romantic environments and breaks the quiet scene with juxtaposed imagery taking the shape of icons and letterforms. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles where he paints meticulously and happily accompanied by his pug Ruffles, an avid artist himself.
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.”
Painter Jeff Muhs‘ latest series “Slipstream” features bright smears of color birthed from newsprint chaos. According to a press release, the series tries to bring the viewer to a “crossroad of intention and chance, where color and motion are freed from an objective context and becomes the subject itself.” The result is what feels almost like a vortex of hues that is floating in space, devoid of any real world shape or form.
According to Muhs’s biography, he draws much of his inspiration from the natural world. This influence is clear in the jewel-toned colors he uses and the organic way he allows the shapes to emerge from the background. Though there isn’t anything fabulously new about Muhs’s art, there is a meditative quality to it that makes you pause and take a moment to simply appreciate the colors of his work, much as you might do for a sunset. (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)
Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum. I smell the blood of an Englishman, Be he living, or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to mix my bread! Someone took the old British nursery rhyme a little too far it seems…In honor of the upcoming holiday, I’ll only be posting creepy art on the blog….In case you’re wondering, no, B/D has not gone into the gruesome business of baking humans- what you see is the artwork of Kittiwat Unarrom, a Thai artist and baker who sculpts macabre edible creations. He got his inspiration from working in his parents bakery- talk about playing with your food! I found a video on YouTube of the artist at work below- it seems to only be Thai but its cool to see the 3D works…