The exquisitely painted portraits of figures with their bodies floating away from them by Henrietta Harris reminds me of those moments when your body is present but your mind drifts away to another place far away with the reality that you’re in. Each figure blankly looks out into the world not seeing what’s in front of them but envisioning another moment and time. (via)
Former art critic William Powhida unpacks his feelings about the art world and community by craftily using the medium itself to exemplify, deconstruct, and evaluate. Whether it’s an installation piece, abstract painting, or neon structure, the essence of art criticism and commercial machine surrounding an artist’s success or failure is heavily examined in his work.
However, Powhida’s recent emerging sentiment is not completely sardonic nor too serious or precious. Of his recent show, “Bill by Bill,” the LA Timessuggests, “What saves the work from grating sarcasm or smart aleck cleverness — toward which the artist has erred in the past — is a curious undertone of sincerity. Powhida is not mean-spirited or bitter but seems genuinely driven to understand his subject: the internal mechanisms of this peculiar social and economic ecosystem. How does the art world work and how should we feel about that? How much of ourselves should we reconcile to it?”
Small Victories, the latest project by Booooooom, opens Thursday May 20th at Hong Kong’s Above Second gallery. This collaborative experiment came together by requesting 4×6 photographic prints from numerous participants, and aims to be “a photographic celebration of the quietly beautiful, unintentionally funny, people and things all around us. It is these little moments that make life worth living.” If you can’t make it to Hong Kong, Booooooom.com will be posting the submissions.
May 20th at Above Second gallery, 31 Eastern Street Hong Kong.
If you haven’t yet heard the news, Photographer Umida Akhmedova was convicted for slandering the Uzbek nation. Umida’s works under scrutiny are a short film, “The Burden of Virginity” and a published book, “Women and Men: From Dawn to Dusk”; which both investigate gender roles in rural Uzbekistan. In a strange turn of events, the judge who convicted Umida granted her amnesty, as a salute to the 18th anniversary of Uzbek independence. Umida still plans to appeal the conviction. What baffles so many is the fact that her photographs merely document, and do not really push forth an agenda or opinion. You can take a look at some of the ‘slanderous’ photographs after the jump. Do you find Umida’s portrayal of Uzbeki people as malicious? Have you ever experienced censorship? Weigh in on the matter and leave us a comment with your thoughts.
Kamolpan Chotvichai explores the limitations of paper by carefully hand-cutting portraits of herself and rendering an effect of dissolution based on the Buddha’s teaching on anatta (no self). Parts of Chotvichai’s human form appear warped and melted, almost glitchy, as if they are about to disintegrate; the artist’s careful attention to the direction and shape of her cuts produces an elegant illusory effect. Chotvichai explains,
One’s adhering to something can cause the greatest misery in life especially being attached to self-existing. The idea of this self-existing is actually self-formed and leads to variety of emotions. The temper, the mind and the body altogether gradually form the idea of being alive but when putting into consideration, without any substance, it is merely the thought that we think we are existing…The way I create my work is to set consciousness and concentration by slitting and cutting on the portrait of myself which is considered to be the unconditional action of effort and attempt. This action is therefore to destroy and create the emptiness which will lead to the stage of naught.
Chotvichai was born, raised, and educated in Bangkok, where she currently resides. (via my amp goes to 11)
Step into the world of photographer Phebe Schmidt, where everything is carefully constructed into a sickening sweet perfection. Her candy-colored world is filled with Barbie-like subjects, some even encased in plastic. Each hyperreal photograph seems almost too good to be true, like we have stepped inside a house of a Stepford wife. This draws the viewer in closer as we inspect the dark undertones of each photo that are surrounded by cheery colors. The objects in Schmidt’s photography, including her figures who look more like inanimate objects than people, are flawless and glossy, making everything seem like an advertisement. This viewpoint and concept is no doubt a comment on commodities and how contemporary culture is overcome with it. It has been said that “plasticity” is a term that defines Schmidt’s style.
Her work has a stylized plasticity and bright surface that acts as a mask that plays with ideas of self, theatrical role-playing, and what lies beneath. Plasticity is a key term Schmidt uses to describe her work and marks a contemporary obsession with homogenized, generic beauty ideals that conform to gender, social, and cultural norms.
It is true that generic beauty ideas are very apparent in Schmidt’s body of work. Each person shown in her photography seems nameless and ambiguous due to his or her impossible perfection. The figures do not look toward the camera, but out into space with a numbingly blank stare. This absence of humanity creates a futuristic atmosphere where commodity and beauty have altered our state of being. Schmidt’s seductive and incredibly intriguing photography evokes both a sci-fi future, and a mod, mid-century feel. Each photograph filled with sweetly colored backgrounds and flawless subjects keeps us curious in what lies beneath the generic beauty.