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Morgan Herrin’s Carved Forms

Check out Morgan Herrin’s amazing hand carved wooden sculptures. I could only find a few images of his work but perhaps that’s because they take him years to make!

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PEPA PRIETO’s Private World

Pepa Prieto’s work represents a private world of invented characters and imagined environments. For Pepa, this is the equivalent of a visual diary where she can freely explore the world of relationships and their consequences. In order to do this, she creates circumstances and fictional landscapes that take both the viewer and the inhabitants of her paintings on challenging and diverse journeys.

The formal aspects of her works are intuitive and are reflected most clearly in the areas that she paints with a playful, lose gesture. She balance’s the compositions in her work by combining these painterly areas with more abstract geometrical forms.  In Pepa’s work, she seeks to create an inner, personal conversation with the hope inspiring reflection on the part of the viewer as well.

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Jamie Warren’s Americana Photographs

We posted about Jamie a few years back, but four years have passed since then and she’s only gotten better. Her images about gross, awkward, uncomfortable, and funny moments that would be really easy to make poorly, and a lot of people do. What sets her apart from the herd, though, is her smart, tight framing; focusing us in on exactly what makes this country great–mystery meat, batman, butts, and birthday cake. She even photographs middle America (Jamie’s based out of Kansas City) with the American style that ranges from family to paparazzi photos–bright, garish flash. More Americana after the jump! ( via )

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Marni Kotak Turns Giving Birth Into Performance Art

The Birth of Baby X, 2012 digital video, color, sound 4 minutes 30 seconds

The Birth of Baby X, 2012 digital video, color, sound 4 minutes 30 seconds

Marni Kotak, “Surviving 6 Karpas (Beth Israel Psych Ward)”, 2014, photographic plaque, 40 x 24 inches (detail)

Marni Kotak, “Surviving 6 Karpas (Beth Israel Psych Ward)”, 2014, photographic plaque, 40 x 24 inches (detail)

All the Meds I Took

All the Meds I Took

Marni Kotak is off her meds. At least, she’s aiming for that. Prescribed a potent mixture of psychotropic medications in 2012 for her port-partum depression, Kotak’s latest work of performance art, “Marni Kotak: Mad Meds,” features her attempt to wean herself off medication.

Kotak’s 2011 work, “The Birth of Baby X,” was the literal progenitor of “Mad Meds,” culminating in the birth of Kotak’s son Ajax in front of an audience in the gallery space. This controversial exhibition was meant to “convey the authentic experience of [her] life as it is being lived, simultaneously engaging with audience members who become active participants in the actual events unfolding,” Kotak says. “The Birth of Baby X” was followed up by “Raising Baby X” (2011-ongoing), “Postpartum Depression” (2012), “Raising Baby X: The First Year” (2012), “Ajax’s First Birthday Party” (2012), “Raising Baby X: Playtime!” (2013), “Raising Baby X: Family Jam Session” (2013), and “Raising Baby X: Little Brother” (2012-ongoing). Is involving her son in her performances from literally the moment of his birth exploitive? What will it be like for Ajax when he’s old enough to realize that his childhood has been a public spectacle in the name of art?

“Mad Meds” does not involve other people in the performance, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not without its own complex issues.

The 6-week durational performance exhibition and installation finds Kotak addressing her personal struggles with her own mind, the US medical system, and the pharmaceutical industry as she attempts to withdraw from psychiatric medicines prescribed as follow-up treatment for post-partum depression more than two and a half years ago. (Source)

Depression can be agonizing; depression after childbirth can be especially isolating in its opposition to the socially acceptable construct of happy new mommy. Of course, Kotak is completely within her rights to wean herself from her medications if she feels that they’re not working correctly, or if the side-effects have become too overwhelming, or if she just wants to. Naming the 10-foot trophy in the work “Med-free and Happy,” though, has implications about psych meds and depression that go far beyond her performance. If Marni Kotak is able to publicly stop taking psychiatric medication as a work of art, that would be a personal act that she has chosen to share, as she did the literal moment of her son’s birth. If Marni Kotak is using her art to suggest that it is some kind of achievement to stop taking meds, the many, many people who are thankful every day that they are functioning and whole and able to live their lives because of the medication they take may have a different point of view.

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Pieter Hugo’s Portraits Reveal Skin Impurities To Comment On Race And Beauty

Federica Angelucci, Cape Town, 2011

Federica Angelucci, Cape Town, 2011

Ulrica Knutsdotter, Cape Town, 2011

Ulrica Knutsdotter, Cape Town, 2011

Rob van Vuuren, Cape Town, 2011

Rob van Vuuren, Cape Town, 2011

Pieter Hugo, a South African photographer, plays with color channel manipulation to create portraits that highlight the impurities on his subject’s skin to make a statement about race, the colonial experiment in South Africa, and contemporary ideas of beauty.

There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends entails portraits of the artist’s friends- all whom call South Africa their home. Through the manipulation of color, Hugo emphasizes the sitter’s blemishes and sun damage making them look darker than they would normally appear without the editing process.

In these portraits one sees how the sitters’ environment, a place where there is incredibly harsh sunlight, has started to ‘corrode’ our epidermis. This speaks to me about the South African colonial experiment – all these people from all over the world, thrown together within the confines of a nation by the forces of history. The damage left by the sun and the environment becomes allegorical of the burden of South Africa’s tempestuous and fraught past. History leaves its marks on us. It eats away at us. We cannot escape its heavy weight.

Besides the political allegories found in the work, Hugo is also interested in highlighting the errors of racial distinction by revealing that beneath it all, beneath our skin, we all look the same. As the critic Aaron Schuman writes about Hugo’s work, “although at first glance we may look ‘black’ or ‘white’, the components that remain ‘active’ beneath the surface consist of a much broader spectrum. What superficially appears to divide us is in fact something that we all share, and like these photographs, we are not merely black and white – we are red, yellow, brown, and so on; we are all, in fact, colored.” (Images via Stevenson)

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Aryz Only Paints Massive Murals

 

Some people live life large not having time for life’s small obstacles. such is the case with street artist Aryz whose massive murals start with size xlarge and go up. Aryz’s murals of invisible men, bathing beauties, and humble farmers in fields of flowers demand our attention not only with their massive scale but with their gorgeous and bold colors which can be seen from miles away.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Fred Tomaselli

Shot in 2005, this  video takes viewers on a tour of painter Fred Tomaselli’s studio where the artist discusses his elaborate process of maximalist collage and poured resin. Tomaselli throws everything but the kitchen sink into his psychedelic and psychological works from plants grown in his garden, prescription pills, to hundreds of magazine cut outs. The result is an explosive mix of obsessive and ornate pieces that delve into the darkest inner corridor of the human psyche.

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Klaas Van der Linden

Klaas Van der Linden
Mysteriously dark images from Belgian artist Klaas Van der Linden. Almost all his paintings are set against a black background, and many are self-portraits. The obscured nature of this work reminds me a little bit of paintings by German artist Henning Kles.

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