Brazilian artist Luciana Urtiga creates black and white portraits that explore different aspects of self-discovery and the notion of multiple selves. By digitally altering her face and body, she creates images that showcase multiple faces/bodies or the absence of her identifiable face. By doing this, Urtiga enables her viewers to embark on a visual journey that seems to be indicative of Urtiga’s personal struggles and successes with self discovery.
The dark, eerie feel of the images help the work to become an even clearer visual testament to the the struggles of being young in today’s tough world. Who do I want to be? Where do I want to be? Should I try out different professions, and live with different people? or maybe it would all become easier if I just became invisible? These are all questions and thoughts that are visually conveyed by her work.
Simple, but strong and powerful, her work conveys universal themes that regard existential questions, most of which are more often encountered by young adults struggling to find their way in the world. (via IGNANT)
There’s a lot to look at in Stephanie Kunze‘s illustrations. Minnesota-based Kunze draws with pencil and colors with Photoshop for an overall style that is contoured and slightly textured. The compositions are feminine and detailed and should feel busy, but the dream-like subjects still seem rested and calm. Worth a look is Kunze’s personal blog for a clearer picture into her thought and execution processes.
Jason Hopkins creates digital sculptures that ooze with body horror. The collection, called “Abhominal,” is replete with organic blobs, sharp angles suggesting knees and elbows, and pink skin stretched over geometric frames, looking for all the world like fleshy jungle gyms. The similarity to the word “abominable” is surely not a coincidence. The sculptures look like science experiments gone horribly wrong.
As grotesque as they may already appear, the backstory ratchets up the queasiness: “Abhominal, an archaic word meaning inhuman, is an exploratory weblog of the human form,” Hopkins’ website says. “The digital sculptures are a fusion of geometric, architectural and biological abstract forms – a bleak evolutionary future where biotechnology has been used to make perfect posthuman beings.”
That’s right. The sculptures aren’t as innocuous as skin grafts or tumorous cell growths; they’re the imagined next step in human evolution. Hopkins takes the idea of genetic engineering and plays with the concept, mulling over and pulling out the dystopian possibilities like long strands of taffy. His artist’s statement continues:
“Humans have altered the genomes of species for thousands of years through artificial selection. Over the past 40 years scientists have made amazing technological progress to improve natures crops and mammals through genetic modifications; recently science has mapped the entire human genome and begun to realise the potential for modifying us.”
To complete the eerie effect of his digital renderings, Hopkins describes each piece with a kind of sinister optimism. One piece called, “Supermodel, Size Zero,” is a thin stretch of skin with barely human features: two sagging breasts, small clawed feet, and the occasional tiny nub. The description enthuses, “With genetic tinkering we will no longer need to fuss over what we eat.” (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)
Psychologically dark and a bit grotesque, the watercolors of Montreal based artist Tammy Salzl are meant to be like beautiful parasites. She wants the images of scared children, fragile adults or lonely humans to disturb viewers at first, then slowly over time, delight them with their unique beauty. These emotional studies have evolved from Salzl’s earlier work where she placed the disturbed characters based on Grimm fairy tales in lush, busy backgrounds. Wanting to isolate the figure to exaggerate their state of mind, she has cleared the background and focused on the complexities of skin and the different emotions it can express.
I want the flesh I paint to make a connection between the material of paint and the material of the body, to reflect not only a psychological makeup but to suggest an ‘objectness’ of the body – a medium that is vulnerable to the stresses of life. I want the flesh I make to embody the human condition. (Source)
The figures in Salzl’s art are all suffering from some kind of conflict or anguish. She says she is most interested in expressing the psychological and emotional aspects of human nature, and does it in a personal way rather than in a cliched, way about our society as a whole.
I use allegory and metaphor to to express my particular anxieties and what I perceive to be a generalized psychosis in society. Instead of portraying dead Afghanistan civilians or animals that are going extinct at exponential rates, I paint people with gnarled, anguished flesh and and haunted faces that place them in conflicting settings that are familiar yet foreign. (Source)
Will Kurtz lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Kurtz is well known for his life size sculptures made out of newspaper. He recently opened a solo exhibition at Mike Weiss Gallery NY entitled Another Shit Show. From the press release: “Using the empty gallery as a site on which to stage operatic, all-encompassing mise-en-scene, Kurtz makes an ambitious, multi-part figure installation that throws the facade off human nature – albeit in canine terms. Constructed of unlikely materials such as newspaper, glue, wire and wood, more than 20 dogs of every breed, size and color, strain and cavort off the leash of a single human handler, each rendered more expressively than the next. Kurtz, a master of anatomy, achieves an utterly believable aesthetic by building up layer upon layer of yesterday’s news, held together by exposed grommets and endless amounts of masking tape.” The exhibition is on view through April 27th, 2013.
Helle Mardahl holds nothing back in her work both in subject and materials. Her background in fashion is evident, but her collections are not made for any runway. Start with her show A Royal Orgy Of Consumptionwhich was on display atWAS gallery in Copenhagen, August 2008. Keep exploring; there’s a world of intricacies and complexities wanting to be seen.
What musings I have read by Peony Yip – aka The White Deer – express her true passion for drawing, something she has pursued, as she says, because it is the only thing she knows. The Hong Kong native of only 21 honestly asserts that she is no professional artist, instead describing herself as just a recent college graduate, broke, and looking to freelance a bit. Of course, the young woman can claim what she would like, but I think her talent is undeniable. Amateur or not, I have been loving her varied works. Take a look at some of her creations here, and maybe show this up-and-coming artist a bit of love after the jump.
Jee-Shaun Wang’s drawings are intricate, energetic, and tons of fun. He combines graphic novels with japanese woodblocks, cave painting, and indigenous art of the Americas, but instead of princesses or warriors, Wang gives us actresses eating hotdogs at drive-ins, RV campers, and army tanks. The flatness in these drawings gives everything equal importance which makes you look at every single part with a constantly wandering eye. And everywhere you look you get to find more stories and things you love–a spilled pot of boiling moodles, invented badges, patterns, etc. Stop what you’re doing and take your eyeballs for a walk!