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Illustrations From 1960s Book Depict People In Absurd Masochistic Situations

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Roland Topor (1938–1997) was a French illustrator, painter, writer, filmmaker, actor and whatnot mostly known for his macabre and surreal cartoons. His illustrated book “Les Masochistes” was first published in 1960 and features a number of absurdly humorous masochistic actions that people perform on themselves.

The grotesque situations depicted in “Les Masochistes” perfectly convey Topor’s artistic style and approach towards the world. He infuses the grim reality of Nazi dictatorship (Topor and his family were Polish refugees of Jewish origin) with humor which was probably the best coping mechanism at that time. As described by Bernard Vehmeyer, a quote from Topor’s novel “The Tenant” perfectly sums up his world view:

He was perfectly conscious of the absurdity of his behavior, but he was incapable of changing it. This absurdity was an essential part of him. It was probably the most basic element of his personality.

Most often, Topor’s illustrations were based on surreal scenarios with deeper allusions to sex, erotica, rotting mankind and such. According to closer friends, artist had repetitive periods of extreme depression where he would balance on the verge of death and it reflects in his work.

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Sarah Palmer

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When looking at the photographs of Sarah Palmer you can’t help but notice the playfulness with light and colors. I find her body of work from the series, “The Riddle of Lumen”, quite interesting, and although clearly documenting an urban landscape, I also find it quite mystical. As if unfolding an urban exploration of a city, or finding a hidden gem in plain view. At least when I look at her work, it almost seems to portray and unidentifiable sentimentalism of the unknown urban setting depicted. It plays quite well with the colors and spacial composition in the photographs.

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Allison Shulnik for Grizzy Bear

Allison Shulnik recently created a wondrously hallucinogenic claymation short film set to Grizzly Bear’s song, “ready, able.” Her hauntingly hypercolor vision starring an eyeless, melting psychedelic-priest from mars are dazzling, surreal and beautiful.

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Josh Keyes Solo Exhibition: “Sprout”

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Josh Keyes‘s new solo exhibition, Sprout, will be on display at the David B. Smith Gallery (located at 825 Santa Fe Drive), beginning May 30th through July 3rd. Presenting a series of new paintings with a focus on the theme of overgrowth, Sprout delves into Keyes’s vocabulary of imagery, intertwining animals and objects to create a simultaneously mysterious and unsettling juxtaposition between the natural and the manmade landscape. Keyes’s body of work conveys anxious and realistic visions of a possible future due to current global warming predictions. 

 

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Kristy Milliken’s Drawings Of Luscious Fat People Confronts Body Image Issues

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Australian artist Kristy Milliken knows nudity. A former photographer in the amateur porn industry, she became inured to capturing images of stereotypically attractive, thin women on film and moved to paper and ink and a new point of view.

“We see skinny women everywhere. I always forced ‘flaws’ into any of the skinny women I painted, the bigger ladies are what they evolved into. Something far more interesting, of course different pieces have different intent behind them, but there’s a naivety to them. An unaffectedness that I aspire to in my own life. I draw them as beautiful because I think they are.” Source

Milliken’s ink drawings are adorably subversive. The women are gorgeously fat, rosy and delicious. They look luscious, like ripe fruit, plump and sweet. Round tummies, thick thighs, heavy breasts, all kissed with pink and purple, topped with adorable round cheeked faces. They’re sexy, these large women, bound and gagged, smoking and eating, covered with food. The whimsical execution contrasts with the overtly sexual nature of the work.

“It’s a weird time for fat. Fat is both confronting and can be the most normal thing in the world, It’s the context that’s important. Plus I’m sick of all the pictures of skinny girls that seem to be everywhere.” Source

According to the artist, the themes of greed and beauty reoccur in her work, paired in an unusual way. Luxuriant pasta cascades over the women, sating and draping and entangling them. But despite her claim that these images are about avarice, the images feel affirming, even charming.

Body positive art can sometimes be confrontational, taking a focused, warts and all approach. Asserting that she’s not attempting to be political, Milliken’s work feels joyous and sweet— a light perspective on a weighty subject.

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Victo Ngai

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Ngai Chuen Ching a.k.a Victo Ngai’s work entices you. Her illustrations are detailed narratives, that inspire you make up a story of your own to go along with each one. Victo uses illustration as a way to find her true identity and explore her different cultural backgrounds.  She recently graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and has already been featured in Communication Arts as well as Society of Illustrators NY. Who knows what she will amaze us with in the future!

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Bethany Krull’s Dominance and Affection

 

Bethany Krull’s ‘Dominance and Affection’ revolves around the exploration of this duality as it can be seen in the relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world. In today’s increasingly nature-deprived society, our most intimate connection tends to be with plants and animals that we ourselves have drastically altered through the process of domestication. We have turned wild animals into companions, genetically sculpting them into sweeter, cuter, less dangerous versions of themselves. We shower our pets with love at the same time we cage and contain them and it is this affection contradicting complete control that Krull is interested in illustrating in her work. For no amount of love lavished upon these creatures will erase the fact that the success of the relationship lies in our complete domination over all aspects of their existence.

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Gruesome, Hyperrealist Oil Paintings Of Hacked Up Body Parts By Fábio Magalhães

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For Brazilian artist Fábio Magalhães’ hyperrealist oil paintings, the more grotesque the better. Using gruesome body horror imagery such as hacked up, barely identifiable body parts and suffocated faces in plastic bags, Magalhães’ work is as incisive as it is skillfully rendered. The breaking down of recognizably human appendages and entrails into chopped up, stomach churning chunks is purposefully reminiscent of a real-life counterpart: that of animal cruelty. Although we’re accustomed to seeing animals deconstructed into bright, vacuum-sealed packages of meat every time we go to a supermarket, it’s only when faced with the sickening sight of what our own bodies would look like if sold in similar plastic bags that truth of the cruelty behind the meat industry becomes stunningly clear. Magalhães’ paintings are nightmarish in portrayal, and certainly something you’d never want to see in real life, but when put to canvas are strong, provocative, and memorable works. Magalhães studied at the Federal University of Bahia in the city of Salvador, where he is currently based. (via Illusion)

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