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Infectious Desires: Margarita Sampson Creates Soft Sculptures Of Chairs Bursting With Organic Life

Margarita Sampson - Soft Sculpture

“Zsa Zsa” (2011).

Margarita Sampson - Soft Sculpture

“Anemone Incursions: Klaus” (2011).

Margarita Sampson - Soft Sculpture

“Anemone Incursions – Bev & Eli” (2014).

Margarita Sampson - Soft Sculpture

“Anemone Incursions: Pussy Galore” (2012).

If you ever worry about the microbes living unseen inside your own home, beware: artist Margarita Sampson has beautifully manifested your worst fears — but with good intentions. In a series of soft sculptures currently being exhibited at the Stanley Street Gallery in Sydney, Sampson upholstered found chairs with colonies of organic growth. All of the sprouting nodules and budding orifices are meticulously hand-sewn with brightly colored textile materials, giving the hairy and spiny lifeforms both an endearing and unsettling quality. Inspired by Sampson’s upbringing on Norfolk Island, the coral- and urchin-like growths seem to take on a presence and consciousness of their own; leave them for a few weeks, and they might consume the entire room.

Titled Infectious Desires, Sampson’s exhibition explores the false dichotomy of domestic sterility and messy, organic life. We often imagine our bodies as detached from the chaotic and “dirty” processes of proliferation and decay — indeed, separate from the microscopic worlds that breed and die on every surface we encounter — when in fact we are already enmeshed within those environments. As Sampson eloquently expresses on the Stanley Street Gallery exhibition page, the “glamour” of interior life is illusory:

“Glamour is the strict control of the body or the environment, sublimated to an ideal — there’s no body fluids or stains in glamour. It’s about boundaries, zones of comfort. We feel we are betrayed by our bodies — a lot of this work is about my own aging, my body, about death and disease, about fear and surrender, tightening and release” (Source).

With their hyperbolic size and sexually suggestive shapes, Samspon’s sculptures boldly encounter us with the material realities of our bodies. There is no need to fear the lifeforms inhabiting our favorite furniture — we (and anything we shed, ooze, or excrete) are already hosts to invisible, microbial landscapes.

Visit Sampson’s website and Facebook page to learn more about her work. The exhibition page for Infectious Desires (which runs until March 14th) can be found here. (Via beautiful.bizarre)

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Aaron Draper Poignant Yet Hopeful Photographs Of The Homeless

Aaron Draper - Photography 6 Aaron Draper - Photography 1

The Underexposed series illuminates outsiders of the world, homeless people of our streets. Aaron Draper has made the deliberate decision to literally put in the spotlight a dozen of men and women living on the streets, giving an authentic representation of what could happen to any of us. Not wanting to fall into the cliche of taking black and white photographs or insisting on the harsh features of his subjects, Aaron Draper is applying a commercial tone to the way he envisions their lives, giving the viewers a more positive imagery of scenes not so pleasant to usually watch.

That’s the reason the series has gone viral, the viewer is not in a position of guilt, he doesn’t need to feel bad. He is invited to share that special connection the photographer encountered when meeting his subjects. Inspired by John Steinbeck’s vision on dispossessed families struggling to carve their way into life, he spent a lot of time and money getting to know the personalities behind the facade of their humble lives. Using a camera strobe and a documentary effect, Aaron Draper wants to turn around the false perception one might have about homeless life. He says if he can only initiate that shift, his work will be successful in his heart.

The video below details the photography process of the Underexposed series and shows a passionate Aaron Draper at work. (via Trenf)

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CANSON WET PAINT GRANT RECIPIENT: Skinner

The art of Skinner is full of mullets, monsters and metal heads, not to mention the lurkers, samurai and lil’ devils. The self-proclaimed nerd for life takes inspiration from the world of fantasy, giving life to the dreams (or sometimes nightmares) of Slayer fans and Dungeon masters everywhere. The beautifully detailed works combine the aesthetics of street art, comic book illustrations, and something akin to black velvet paintings on acid. Each work has such an immense sense of epicness, it’s hard to not get caught up in the world created. And while many of the paintings and drawings convey infinitely complex scenes that you could look at for hours, Skinner also makes lighter works that are hard not to love, especially when they’re called things like Eternal Jamnation, and have a dark, glowing monster jamming on a guitar, surrounded by bats. It’s the kind of work that just oozes passion, because no one could make images so far from reality without being totally immersed in the process. It’s like a Metalocolypse Halloween episode 365 days a year. But, despite the awesome appearance of his work, Skinner is extremely introspective and self-critical, constantly challenging himself as an artist and working to create something completely innovative. His determination to return to a more childlike inspiration, a time when “it was just raw freedom, there were no expectations, there were no ideas of good or bad it was just being in the moment and trying [his] best to do something that looks good.”

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Paper Sculptures Of 80s And 90s Nostalgia

Paper Sculptures 12

zimzou Paper Sculptures

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Zim & Zou are a French design studio created by Thibault Zimmermann and Lucie Thomas. In addition to paper sculptures, they also explore graphic design, illustration, and installation work. Rather than use a computer, the duo prefer to use paper to design and sculpt many of their images before photographing them. From a series entitled “Back to Basics,” these brightly sculpted electronic devices represent 80s and 90s nostalgia and employ color schemes that remind me of the Nickelodeon shows I grew up watching. Each item is meticulously sculpted to real-life size and shape dimensions and includes thoughtful details that give the appearance of full functionality. The use of paper to recreate outdated technological objects also confronts the current modern tension between print and digital media.

The duo told Don’t Panic, “…[A]t first sight it’s a tribute to vintage technologies which marked the technological evolution of the last years, and all the nostalgia of the memories that each have with them. By bringing those ‘dead’ objects back to life, we tried to highlight the very fast evolution of our everyday objects. The devices we use nowadays will, in a few years, be considered as relics too. We wanted to ask a question as well: where will this evolution lead us to?

What inspired us personally for this project are the original objects themselves. Every day we use some of those objects, such as the Polaroid camera and we often play Tetris on the original grey Gameboy.”

Their website has a gallery full of other paper sculpture designs, including paper birds, food, spaceships, and a Higgs Boson. You can watch a time-lapse video of their construction process here. (via unknown editors)

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Frozen Flying Birds and Seed Installations By Claire Morgan

The work of British artist Claire Morgan is alive with natural forces.  Birds appear to fly, flail, or fall through lighter-than-air formations of seeds.  Using nylon thread Morgan suspends her installations giving the impression of an event caught in time.  Peculiarly, she is able to express the idea of passing time and motion by appearing magically to stop it.  Morgan’s interest in natural forces is clearly apparent in her work.  The installations are nearly a way she can manipulate these otherwise immutable forces.

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Sculptor Dirk Staschke’s Morbid Recreations Of Classical Still Lifes Critique Vanity And Excessive Desire

"Swan Song" (2009). Ceramic and mixed media.

“Swan Song” (2009). Ceramic and mixed media.

"Translation #1" (2014). Ceramic, wood, leather, epoxy.

“Translation #1″ (2014). Ceramic, wood, leather, epoxy.

"Translation #1" (2014). Rear view.

“Translation #1″ (2014). Rear view.

"Cataclysm" (2009). Ceramic.

“Cataclysm” (2009). Ceramic.

Dirk Staschke is a sculptor who knows how to stimulate the appetite while also turning the stomach. Drawing on the 16th century artistic tradition of vanitas — referring to morbid still life paintings from Northern Europe that depicted arrangements of bones, decaying fruit, and hourglasses — Staschke creates ceramic mountains of pastries and piles of organ meats and root vegetables. Initially, the soft colors and glistening glazes make the cornucopias seem innocent or even beautiful. However, like vanitas (“vanity” in Latin) — which symbolize the futility of life and the temporary nature of all earthly materials — Staschke’s works critique the fleeting and destructive power of human desire. Beautiful abundance becomes disturbing; the skinned animals and raw meats, although carefully arranged, remind us of our own bodily death and decay. Even the sweet pastries — flesh-toned and topped with a cherry — become gross and oddly cannibalistic, representing an insatiable urge to horde and consume that ends in self-destruction.

Not all of Staschke’s works are so obviously grotesque. In a series titled Translation, he features framed sculptural still lifes of flowers (in addition to the more obviously macabre meat arrangements). The 3D medium, however, unveils the compositions’ inner vanity and morbidity; look behind the sculptures, and you will see messy hollows, buttresses, and layers of sculpted construction. An appealing and seemingly flawless work of art becomes a false edifice for a grim and roughly-hewn interior. Whether comprising ceramic flowers or flesh, Staschke’s works demonstrate how beautified desires cover up an earthly reality of transience and rot.

Visit Staschke’s website to see more detailed images of his creations. He exhibited recently at Winston Wächter in Seattle, and you can see his artist page here.

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Video Watch: Scotland’s Django Django Hand of Man

Photograph by David Drake

Django Django released their self-titled debut record last fall on Ribbon Music and was not only nominated for a Mercury Prize, but was also listed in Rolling Stone and NME‘s top 50 albums of 2012. They’ve been touring since last January when their album was initially released overseas. I missed them when they performed at Bardot in Los Angeles for School Night last September and they unfortunately had to cancel their Iceland Airwaves appearance due to illness. Lucky for me and you, they are back on the road with dates across the U.S. starting in March including two nights at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg with the last show of the tour arriving on March 23rd at LA’s Fonda Theatre.

Last week they premiered their new video on Nowness for the Hand of Man directed by Bafta Award winner John Maclean, brother to Django drummer/producer Dave Maclean. Way to keep it in the family guys! Check out the video and grab some tickets for an upcoming show via Ticketmaster.

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Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven’s Haunting Photography Out of Eastern Europe

 

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.

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