In his latest series of drawings, Anthony Coicolea poetically engages with the term “pathetic fallacy” or our own egocentric inclination to prescribe human characteristics or qualities to all living things. His imagery, done beautifully with simple graphite on layered mylar, allows worlds to overflow with new pattens of transcendence despite an archaic old world order.
Of this series, the artist statement suggests, “In a new hybridized world of man and nature, nothing is permanent and nothing is safe. Humans, plants and animals have cross-pollinated; they have merged, evolved and adopted different features from each other. Objects acquire pathos and empathy while the decomposition of material things reflects the world in flux.
Linda Gass stitches together hand-painted silk crepe de chine to create these colorful aerial representations of the topography and geography of the San Francisco Bay. Some of the image designs she sources from other publications, while others are completely her own, like her depiction of an imagined restoration of Bair Island. Other land features represented include the original Dumbarton bridge (opened 1927), the Southern Pacific Railway bridge (opened 1910), the Fields of Salt, the South Bay, and salt ponds. In addition to these quilts, Gass also uses paint, mixed media, and even the land itself to create work that consistently addresses issues of land and water use.
From her artist statement, “I use the lure of beauty to both encourage people to look at the hard environmental issues we face and to give them hope. My paintings are done on silk, a naturally beautiful surface, and I gravitate towards luminous, saturated colors, giving my work an optimistic feeling. Although many of the landscapes I depict are ugly in reality, my landscapes are beautified as I prefer to engage the viewer through pleasure. I am trying to create an attitude shift from feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems to feeling inspired and empowered to take action through the experience of art.” (via skumar’s)
Tania Shcheglova and Roman Noven are a Ukrainian photography duo also known as Synchrodogs whose surreal imagery frames the human body in odd-yet-intimate relations with the surrounding landscapes. This particular series, Reverie Sleep, takes this theme of the “strange natural” a bit further, drawing on the expansive and unearthly realms of lucid dreams. Made with the support of the Pinchuk Art Foundation in 2013, this project emerged from visions the artists experienced while wandering somewhere between sleep and awakening:
“[Reverie Sleep] deals with the stage of Non Rapid Eye Movement sleep, during which some people may experience hypnagogic hallucinations caused by [the] natural process of falling asleep. Experimenting with those lucid dreaming techniques, [Synchrodogs] woke themselves up in the middle of the night to make a note of what they had just seen, gathering their dreams to be staged afterwards.” (Source)
In order to recreate their dream imagery, Synchrodogs traveled to Iceland where they immersed themselves in dangerous and bleakly beautiful environments. As they explained in an interview with NYMag, they shot near “glaciers where you can fall into an ice hole and be found in a week, or in hot lakes where you can get boiled alive if there is a geyser which decides to eject hot water while you are in [it]” (Source). This earthly threat lends the images an impassive quality, just like the intangible lands we explore in our sleep while uncertain of what threats or joys await us.
Inhabiting Synchrodogs’ eerily sublime landscapes are female figures, nude or bedecked in colorful paints and surreal costumes. Bodies morph into ferns and fruit, or lie on cold earth and exalt in the light of an alien sun. Each figure is simultaneously human and inhuman, existing in a hallucinogenic, unquestioning state that dissolves and realigns our notions of reality. Shifting between forms and consciousness, they represent creatures of a limitless and symbolic universe.
Frieke Janssens’ dramatic photographs of kids smoking stopped me dead in my tracks as I was going through various projects on the talented Belgian Photographers website. Here is more on the project in her own words.
“A YouTube video of a chain smoking Indonesian toddler inspired me to create this series, “Smoking Kids”. The video highlighted the cultural differences between the east and west, and questioned notions of smoking being a mainly adult activity. Adult smokers are the societal norm, so I wanted to isolate the viewer’s focus upon the issue of smoking itself. I felt that children smoking would have a surreal impact upon the viewer and compel them to truly see the acts of smoking rather than making assumptions about the person doing the act. Coincidentally around the time of the “Smoking Kids” gallery opening, a law was passed, and smoking has been banned from Belgian bars. There was an outcry from the public about government intervention, feelings that freedom was being oppressed, and that adults were being treated like children. With health reasons driving many cities to ban smoking, the culture around smoking has a retro feel, like the time period of “Mad Men,” when smoking on a plane or in a restaurant was not unusual. The aesthetics of smoke and the particular way smokers gesticulate with their hands and posture cannot be denied, but among the different tribes of “Smoking Kids,” – Glamour, Jazz, and The Marginal – there is a nod to less attractive aspects, on the line between the beauty and ugliness of smoking.To assure you of the safety of the children, there were no real cigarettes on set. Instead, chalk and sticks of cheese were the prop stand ins, while candles and incense provided the wisps of smoke.”
Watch a video of the photo shoot after the jump and let us know what you think about this series.
I found Tadashi Moriyama‘s work during Bushwick Open Studios this past June and fell in love with the intricacy and obsessive mark making process that is evident in each ink and gouache work. Each painting is rife with apocalyptic imagery rendered in countless repetitions of a few motifs including waffle-like gridded squares forming architectural structures and tubular wobbly connectors slithering in and out of buildings and bodily orifices.
The second installment in our Monday B/D Apparel Artist Interview series is with artist Ryan Riss. Ryan designed the mind-bending head-scarfed hippie with a melting face graphic (literally), entitled Acid Trip.
If you think we’re way off on a peyote-trip describing Ryan’s works as residing in another dimension- you’d be surprised to hear what he has to say. “I like the idea of relating simple graphics to things like mandalas and other spiritual energy hippie training tee-pee type stuff.” Read the rest of the interview to find out what else makes Ryan’s third eye blink.
DI$COUNT UNIVER$E is a Melbourne-based brand that combines art and eccentricity in the creation of a highly successful (and undeniably unique) fashion line. Enter their webpage and you cross the threshold from dull reality into a psychedelic circus full of fashionable madcaps donned in acid-bright garb. DI$COUNT founders, Nadia Napreychikov and Cami James, describe their aim at the crossroads of art and fashion:
“[DI$COUNT is] a culmination of ideas, imagery, the dialogue between us and the world, the desire for transformation and evolution; it’s about personality, spontaneity, humor and irony, cliché and imitation. It’s our art!” (Source)
“Culmination” and “spontaneity” are indeed the perfect words to describe DI$COUNT’s designs. The fabric is bestrewn with sequins, glitter, and studding, and the graphics include sparkling and bleeding eyeballs, open mouths, and disembodied, groping hands. Radiating with humor and seemingly random absurdity, the hyperbolic strangeness of these styles pokes fun at the highly conventional and artistically-vacant designs that dominate the popular fashion industry.
Both graduates of RMIT University, Napreychikov and James began the company “with little business experience, no capital and no intention of taking out a loan” (Source). Their solution? To turn to the internet and foster a cult following using platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, and their blog. This way, they were able to connect with other people who view fashion as a potential form of alternative art and social satire. Visit their website and Facebook page and follow them as they explore the capacities of art, creativity, and social wit to explode the limitations of the fashion industry. FELLT also features an interesting interview with Napreychikov and James about their brand.
Credits: Photography from the Penthouse Mouse Midmouse Runway (March 2012) by Meagan Harding.
Mark Manders‘ sculptures seem to be driven by a poetic narrative, and the fact the he used to practice the linguistic form of poetry should then come as no surprise. His meticulously constructed figures are assemblages of furniture, metal, human and animal shapes, and other ephemera. Engaged in an ongoing project since 1986 entitled “Self-Portrait as a Building” that has come to define his practice, the form of language mediates his work in that his pieces are structured in a manner that replicates sentences. In this way, he creates physical spaces that mirror his mental spaces. At once fragmented, balanced, poignant, and resonant with the ineffable, Manders’ work evokes a personal poetic sentiment that is meant to provoke the viewer.