Some artists just have a way with drawing. Each line is exquisitely placed on the paper with the most delicate ease as if it had always been there. Sarah McNeil’s drawings do just that. Her marks are so refined and gentle that they can even make a skull with a mustache and a cat tumbler look cute.
Jack Ramunni is a graduating senior at the Columbus College of Art and Design, a school with a sclerotic curriculum geared toward producing graphic designers for local corporations, a place where “fine art” tends to begin and end at object-based art-making for commercial galleries. Ramunni, using this restrictive background as a catalyst, instigated an array of projects aimed at redefining what contemporary art is and what we should expect it to do.
Ramunni and Nikki Skrinak have coined the term “Social Heat” to describe the intent of his artwork. Social Heat is:
“…the spontaneous transfer of energy from one body, group of individuals, or larger social system to another due to a multiplicity of connections and modes of communication.”
Ramunni uses a variety of methods to achieve this goal. In Sweater Shoppe, he reworked the logic of the market system by co-founding a trade-based pop-up “store” replete with its own currency; with Late Lunch Live, a weekly USTREAM cooking show, Ramunni turned the banal activity of making lunch into free community entertainment; in EX-PDF Library, he exchanged lithographed bookmarks for PDF files from the public, which he printed out and made available in a public library; in Benches Gallery, Ramunni created a portable gallery for showcasing artwork in public spaces, excising commercial concerns from the gallery experience.
James Quigley, aka Gunsho, is a new breed of occult warrior attempting to restore the grandeur of epic mythology back into the awesome realms of the unreal. Paying homage to legends and ideas whispered down through alchemical charts and ancient texts, Gunsho materializes his vision of the other side. Many of his works tap into supernatural themes, from demonology and the Goetia to the black arts. Gunsho—first seen as a sign in the waking world, and later materialized in a dream, epitomizes his unique aesthetic, that plants one foot on the ground and a third eye gazing firmly at the stratosphere beyond. Gunsho recently created the shirt design “Chomp” for Beautiful/Decay Apparel.
“This spot is in a highway ghost town about three minutes from my house. I only ever go there to check the post office box or to waste my money on expensive petrol. The bag on the ground at the start of ledge has about a hundred tea candles in it. I had to use about fifteen of them before I was sliding at all. The wall is really rough and it’s a lot closer than it looks. The challenge was more to not cut my hand on the jagged bits of concrete poking out than to do the noseslide. The ledge is full of cracks and holes and isn’t really the easiest thing to skate. All those blurry yellowy/orange areas along the ground are leaves. Lots of little piles of dried out winter leaves; perfect for landing in and rolling through. The shot is taken not more than five meters from the edge of a road that happens to be the Pacific Highway – the segment of Highway 1 that joins Brisbane to Sydney and is thus a pretty intimidating audience of bikers, truck drivers and travellers to perform in front of.
But what I dig about this photo is that none of that is apparent.
The ledge appears smooth and seems to slide, the wall looks harmless, the leaves are more shimmering puddles of gold than they are crunchy yellow landing hazards and the composition isn’t concerned with the hundreds of people that would’ve driven past while we were skating there. I don’t usually like photos or videos of myself skating. It’s so easy to criticize yourself. But this photo has a lot more going on that just the trick…I love this photo.”
These photos were shot by Isaac’s brother, Gabe Roxburgh, with the new Lensbaby Spark. Lensbaby is running a photo story contest called Show and Tell over on their Facebook page. Check it out here to see more photo stories, and share your own for a chance to win.
Haitian born American artist Morel Doucet sculpts ceramic timepiece odes to coral reefs. His work simultaneously touches two seemingly unrelated issues, both of which have been created by constructs of complicated and sensitive histories ingrained into reality over time: climate change and societal taboos. His series, titled Clock Work, “examines the relationship between the dying of our environments (coral reefs) and skin color (Melanin) as a device for the passing of time.” Just as climate change manipulates elements of the environment, the conditioning of history’s exploits that have been created by unequal distribution of power and inequitable actions has influenced the way human tonality is considered. His work pairs moments of nature with notions of flesh tone. For example, his piece titled Blanc refers to how the solar irradiance is bleaching the coral reefs, as well as “how prevalent skin whitening cosmetic products are popular in the Caribbean and parts of Southeast Asia. Four out of ten women surveyed in Jamaica, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea used a skin whitening cream.”
Using various forces, including personal and cultural histories, dreams, and the “paradoxical beauty of nature,” Doucet’s quiet work finds a delicate manner in which to speak of overtly complex topic areas that are often let down by semantics. He states;
“I aim to create work that not only stands out for its regal impact but also for its sensitivity. My inspiration comes from an ongoing interest and profound respect for indigenous tribal cultures of the Amazon, Aboriginal natives of Australia and the Yoruba tribe of West Africa. I am fascinated with garments and textiles of Native Americans and Afro-futurism. With this vocabulary of indigenous art, along with my personal dreams, I make whimsical forms resulting in a diary of my personal mythology.”
His work, rooting in self exploration, effortlessly offers a soft platform to speak about the complex.
Mark Khaisman, born in Kiev, Russia and now living in Philly, has much more love for packaging tape than I can attest to. Using it as a “wide paint stroke,” Khaisman uses the packaging tape on light boxes, essentially creating a look that embodies pixels on a screen, but much more hands on.
Korean illustrator Kim Dong-Kyu gives technological updates to Girl With A Pearl Earring and other iconic works in Art History.
Kyu’s images, although hysterical, are quite critical of the way smartphones/gadgets have dramatically changed today’s social interaction. Themes of alienation, avoidance, self-centerness, and attachment prevail through the series of images. It is interesting to think back on the cultural history of most of these works [mostly the 19th and 20th century works on here]; the juxtaposition of the cultural implications of the scenes of each painting and today’s conception of socialization is quite amusing and very different, yet, at some points, very similar.
For instance, Degas’ The Absinthe Drinker’ from 1876, reveals the increasing social isolation in Paris due to a stage of rapid growth and confinement brought forth by the highly urbanized and elite-driven atmosphere of the new Paris. The woman, actress Ellen Andrée, blankly stares into the walls of a Parisian café. With a glass of absinthe in front of her, she solemnly contemplates the nothingness of what is going on around her. The man, painter Marcellin Desboutin, sits next to her but glaces towards the opposite direction, looking to catch on to something interesting outside of his close quarters. Similarly, on Kyu’s rendition, the woman find herself ignored and in a state of alienation as she is the only one not using a gadget.
These definitely leave us wondering if social interaction has been one of those things that evolve to become more of the same thing. With or without technology, it seems clear to me that the urban, and the elite societies, both rendered in these paintings (with and without Kyu’s additions), look to the outside, and inside, towards their phones, in order to fill some sort of void, and/or escape whatever lies in font of them. If this is true or not…that is up to you to decide.
Carol Inez Charney is a photographer based in San Francisco. Her newest body of work is a series of images that resemble colorful abstractions. In reality the photographs are close-ups of water on windows as well as the colors that surround them. In her own words: “My current photographic series, Interior Landscape, uses natural distortions present in our everyday world—namely, moisture on windows—to evoke a painterly image that recontextualizes our everyday architectural landscape. While focusing on the minute details of these natural distortions, we enter a space of quiet contemplation, which simultaneously inspires a new kind of internal and external vision. After several years of combining painting and photography with mixed results, one very cold day in Minnesota I looked through a window completely covered in condensation out to the frosty distant landscape. I realized I could use the camera to reinterpret the world around me into a form akin to that of painting.” (via)