Drawn to the material for aesthetic or symbolic reasons, many artists have incorporated glass or dinnerware into their work. Julian Schnabel is probably the most prominent artist who has incorporated dinnerware into his practice. He created his famous “plate paintings” in the 1970s/80s and they became some of his best-known work. Judy Chicago’sThe Dinner Party is another famous instance, but with a feminist theme. Chicago depicted place settings for 39 mythical and historical well-known women. Each setting features symbols relating to a specific woman’s accomplishments. Josiah McElheny creates finely crafted, handmade glass objects that he uses to make museological displays depicting one’s attempts to learn about historical peoples from their household possessions and objects. Molly Hatch is an artist and designer who grew up on a dairy farm in Vermont. She studied ceramics alongside painting, drawing and printmaking and incorporates all of them into her work. Jason Kraus uses glasses and flatware to generate reiterations of the same setup. For instance, for his installation at Redling Fine Art Kraus served a nearly identical meal for the first seven nights of his exhibition. After the meal he would clean the dishes and stack them inside a plywood cabinet, creating remnants of an ephemeral performance. Esther Horchner is an illustrator whose clever teacups depict bathing figures. Cheryl Pope incorporates dinnerware and other objects in unexpected ways. Her Balancing Stacks, for instance, was a performance where a woman stacked dishes on a precariously balanced table. Like the feminization of a ritual like clearing or setting the table, Pope uses her stacks as a symbol for something destined to collapse.
Each of these artists finds symbolic or artistic value in the typically utilitarian objects. Using these almost universally recognizable items for art and performance enables a kind of storytelling or metaphor that is unique to each artist.
Brooklyn based artist Scott Albrecht has a new show opening this coming Friday July 3rd at Andenken Gallery in Amsterdam. Called Here And Now, it is an exploration of themes central to his work: time, inter-connectivity, perception, and consciousness. Albrecht has a holistic approach to his practice – working out different techniques and approaches to the same subjects. He uses a multitude of materials, but they are all definitely from the same collection, and have the same optimistic message: to appreciate life as it is and to live in the moment. He wants us perhaps, to sharpen our awareness of the moment.
The exhibition includes spiritual mottos inscribed on paper: “That brief moment when we forget where we are” “A moment in time”, “All things change”; psychedelic multi-textured star bursts assembled and collaged from paper, and carefully constructed wooden displays filled with philosophical musings.
Nostalgic and romantic, his work has titles that will pull at your heart strings: The Spark, The Visionary, Leaf Life Span, Adventurer, Easy Goer. They seem like personal tarot cards or affirmations for Albrecht. He explains the symbolism behind the leaves, hands and eyes in his work:
The hands are meant to be representative of personalities or character traits. I like using the hand as a canvas with the idea that you can be defined by your actions, and the hands are symbolic to helping facilitate those actions. The eyes are similar but represent observing individual situations. Here the focus is on the idea of those pivotal moments that we’ve all encountered. It’s also about being slightly more aware in your day to day. (Source)
We normally think of the Playboy Bunnies as busty blondes with smiles on their faces. Taylor Marie Prendergast, however, shatters that stereotype in her pen and ink drawings that feature the women in a much different light. The models that she depicts, while still in “sexy” poses, aren’t glowing. Instead we see every brush stroke that’s paired with muddy, dirty-yellow hair and a blank expression on their faces. While Prendergast has handled the media well and demonstrates a variety of techniques, we can’t escape the fact that these women wouldn’t be the “Playboy type.” And, according the artist, that’s the point. From her statement:
I’m challenging the contemporary zeitgeist by incorporating historically loaded images and abstracted figurations. The juxtaposition of the glamorous and the repulsive are necessary tools in order to create this reaction in the audience. At first the piece entices the viewer with aesthetically pleasing elements, and as the viewers settles into the work they’re confronted with disturbing details.
While the ink is still wet, Prendergast loads the drawing with more pigment and allows it to bleed onto the paper. It creates a dripping effect that’s both beautiful but in the context of a figure, a little gruesome. This allows the artist to subvert popular culture, and as she explains, “They [the viewer] are invited to re-consider the cultural state of both themselves and humanity. As the viewer inhales the work, there is a subtle yet significant revolting shock.”
Artist Brian Cooper‘s paintings explore the idea of landscape and space through abstract representation. His work features surreal situations that appear to explode from their ‘real’ counterparts. Check out the way he uses depth by contrasting the ” tension between flat and far” to create eerie and fantastical environments. I love how, as the viewer, I get sucked into the padded rooms and sharp angles of his creative, dali-esque compositions. The structures and strange shapes become more enticing through Cooper’s use of rich colors. There’s a cool tangible quality to the visual textures of the abstract surfaces, especially in Bulge, posted after the jump.
Benedetta Falugi only recently discovered her love for photography, but in the space of a couple years, she has taught herself how to work with film with incredible results. She prefers an unplanned approach to her work, taking long walks in the Tuscan Maremma in her native Italy and effortlessly letting shots compose themselves.
Painting something like Lolita crossed with David Lynch crossed with a crude porn site, the works of Lisa Yuskavage seem to have people divided. Her luscious images of nude women and girls have been described as both vulgar and earnest, affectionate and alienating. She has developed a unique style that blends Renaissance techniques, landscapes, still lifes, cartoon-like figures, porn and religious iconography that both delights and disturbs viewers. Yuskavage’s world is full of innocent yet flirtatious vixens parading around in their undies and getting into mischief in meadows or apartments. Her characters seem a bit narcissistic, and self loving, and in some cases maybe even self loathing. Yet they are definitely interesting and magnetic; a commentary on the complexities of the modern woman and her sexuality.
Drawing on her own childhood experiences, Yuskavage explains her encounters with, and understandings of sexiness and power:
As a little girl, in Catholic school, they were the first feminists I met. It seems counterintuitive, but these women rejected the normal system of life. The ones that taught me were quite smart. When I came to my senses, I realized it would actually be awful for me to live that particular life. I guess I liked the idea of a calling, the intensity of it. (Source)
Works from the last 25 years of Yuskavage’s career is now on show at The Rose Art Museum of Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Be sure to visit and make up your own mind if you love or loathe her style and content. Her solo show Lisa Yuskavage: The Brood is on display from September 12 to December 13, 2015 at David Zwirner Gallery in NYC.
The incredibly innovative, tech-infused work of artist Sprios Hadjidjanos is created from an impressive variety of methods using modern technology. He combines the amazing world of 3D printing and other modern devices with the natural, tranquil world of plants. When you first glance at his series titled “Displacement/Height Maps,” it is almost impossiple to tell how the work was made. Using UV prints on carbon fiber, Hadjidjanos miraculously births an amazing hybrid representation of a part of our natural environment and made-man substances. Large-format, Technicolor images of different flora are created, colored brilliantly in all different hues of the spectrum.
Sprios Hadjidjanos beautifully captures the balance of the natural world in juxtapose to artificial elements in his other series, which transforms the photography in the historical book Uniform der Kunst from 1928. The artist’s unbelievable techniques have rendered these blooming flowers three dimensional, allowing you to see every line and detail. He did by scanning the original photographs, then using intricate algorithms, printed the images onto hundred of points. The artist’s version of the photography looks similar to the original, but look much more mechanical in an almost science fictional way. He not only uses modern technology in his processes, but also displays them in his art, like his larger than life iphone. His installations, like Network Gradient, use a combination of wireless routers, optic lights, and electronic circuits to forms beams of light like that of another world. His artwork ingeniously lays our world of technology out in a strange, futuristic way that is both strange and beautiful. (via Hi-Fructose)