Justin Clifford Rhody is the proprietor of Friends and Relatives Records, a Ypsilanti, Michigan-based music and zine label. I first became acquainted with Rhody through Smut, his powerviolence band, and through his eponymous acoustic project. He currently plays in (D)(B)(H) but has turned most of his creative energy toward photography. His photos capture the melancholy of declinist America; the decaying Fords in the moldering suburbs of the Rust Belt, the plastic-casts of statuary standing sentry over the overgrown lawn – the physical forms of our economic and spiritual malaise.
2012 looks to be busy for Rhody: a book of his photography, Sliding Glass Door, is slated to be published this spring by Bathetic Records, a solo exhibition of Rhody’s photography opens at Skylab Gallery this March in Columbus, Ohio, and Rhody has an exhibit with the painter Peter Shear planned for the summer in Bloomington, Indiana.
In the meantime, Rhody plans to continue touring the states with his slideshow and to revisit Guatemala, the setting of a few of the photographs found after the jump.
Bay Area-based printmaker Amber Fawn Keig‘s works on paper are a collection of colored pencil, gouache and lithographic prints—pulled together under the cohesive investigation of memory. The likenesses scratched out in her careful, stylistic black-and-white prints have the visually-loaded tinge of early 1990’s Americana. Keig usually works with imagery of her friends and family to create these works, although the narratives expressed are somewhat vague and seemingly fictional.
If anything, the litho prints pull the viewer in for a moment of intense technical examination, to look closely at Keig’s tiny, expert strokes, and to take in her careful thematic twists and turns, often embedded in the layered images she pulls together. While the black-and-white works stand well on their own, they’re complimented perfectly by the fluid, intuitive colorwork of her painted and pencil-drawn works. THe moments where the two mediums intersect are the most interesting, but each part of Keig’s current series seems to feed well into the same conceptual vein. While the scale is small, the subject matter is quite curious, and these works carry a kind of welcome, yet weary hominess in their portrayal of contemporary American experience.
Food artist Tisha Cherry turns the mundane into magical with the use of simple foodstuffs. She creates art on Oreos with the sweet frosting acting as her “paint.” The results are portraits of Yoda from Star Wars, Snoopy the dog, Mona Lisa’s face, and more. The small, impressive works look impeccable and present a conundrum for those who have a sweet tooth: to eat or not to eat?
Cherry’s food art extends beyond the twistable cookies. On her Instagram, you’ll find food arrangements, portraits, and a love for The Simpsons under the hashtag #ArtintheEats. Her Oreos are the most impressive, however, just based on their 2 inch scale and craftsmanship. The white icing has a luscious texture with subtleties that look like they were applied using a palette knife.
If you enjoy these portraits, check out the work of Judith G. Klausner. She also created relief sculptures on the iconic cookies. Is this a tasty new trend in art? (Via Illusion)
Recently deceased Hip Hop legend RAMMELLZEE was such an enigma. I often have a hard time deciphering some of his rhetoric. But his genius is so evident. His work (on any platform, vocal or visual) was always a cut above. He always had something slightly different going on. Take his “Letter Racers” (above), for example. Customized skateboard warriors fighting epic alphabet wars? Always on another level. See more from the late great artist after the jump, and listen to “Beat Bop”, the game-changing single that included cover art from Jean-Michel Basquiat.
All photos Copyright The Estate of Rammellzee, Courtesy the Suzanne Geiss Company, New York.
The artwork of Cassandra Smith exists in the space between juxtapositions. Taxidermied animals are often a bit creepy. However, Smith’s stuffed forest friends are also playfully decorated – fish covered in rhinestones, and fur in bright paint. The natural plays with the synthetic, old with the new, and utilitarian with the decorative. She says of her work:
“My work is about manipulations and transformation. It is about exploring the ways that I can enhance and change found objects to give them something they did not have in their former life.” [via]
Sculptor Monica Piloni takes body horror and gives it an acid bath in the surreal. Remember how traumatizing Labyrinth was? Specifically, the scene with the “helping hands”? Now imagine that times a million — sans David Bowie, but plus whatever Ziggy Stardust was on.
In one piece, named “Opium,” a constellation of body parts melt and fuse with each other. Hands, faces, genitalia, and everything in between are carved out perfectly from a chalky resin. A series of acrylic and vinyl fruits are shown bisected with gory ribs instead of the usual innocuous white pith.
Though of course the body horror is a highlight of Piloni’s work, there something more to it. Her art explores identity and otherness. “Triptych Self-Portrait,” is a sculpture of a woman as seen through a kaleidoscope. It’s a grotesque play of symmetry and perspective. Similarly, “Ballerina” is a woman deconstructed, each part of her isolated from the others in a clear box, as though she were some kind of pre-packaged Barbie doll.
There is something architectural about Piloni’s work, the way she calls your attention to the angles, negative spaces, and repeated motifs, like those many body parts are only building blocks. If anything, that makes it all the more disturbing. (via Hi-Fructose)
Utah photojournalist Trevor Christensen‘s latest photographic project Nude Portraits is not what it sounds like. He has come up with a clever twist on the usual relationship between photographer and subject and the normal practices of taking photographs. Toying with the idea of himself being naked, taking photos of people fully clothed, Christensen was intrigued by the idea enough to follow it through. He started out by taking snaps of his girlfriend in the kitchen while in the buff, and had continuing doubts about the direction he was going in. Feeling as if it was unnatural, or definitely not normal for a photographer to work in a state of undress, he pursued the activity further to see just what he could capture on the other side of the lens.
By creating a memorable experience for his subjects, he is able to record a variety of reactions and emotions, revealed only in this unique set up. People range from laughing awkwardly, to averting their eyes, to being quietly stern, mildly bemused, or completely unfazed. His project has turned out to be a comprehensive and interesting study into different individual’s and societies’ attitudes toward nudity, personal space and the borders between public and private.
Throughout the process Christensen is exposed and vulnerable, but sees it as a necessary tool to ease the tension between artist and muse, and to level the playing field – where everyone is just as nervous as each other. In one case he enters the domestic space of Kendal, a gay Mormon man and what follows is indeed interesting. For Christensen, he is very confronted by this particular photo and worries he is taking advantage of some one who is too uncomfortable with the situation.
He says his main aim is to show people something they have seen or experienced before, and is worth seeing again. He wants his models to go back to that place they were in during the portrait and to feel those same things once more. Check out more images on his Instagram account, and an interview with him here.
Weird digital sculptures (?) and installation scenarios by Ben Vickers. His work is all a big inside joke, and while I don’t get it, I think that not getting it is actually getting it? Regardless, I am chuckling along mirthfully.