Although he was educated as an economist, Sebastiao Selgado understands the world most clearly in images, as demonstrated in his incredibly moving photography. His most recent series, Genesis, is his most ambitious and long-term project, spanning eight years as he visited 30 of the earth’s most pure and untouched sites. He was inspired to do the project because up until that point people had been the central subject of his work. He says that he “… wished to photograph the other animals, to photograph the landscapes, to photograph us, but us from the beginning, the time we lived in equilibrium with nature.”
His imagery is completely enthralling. It is obvious the time he spent for each one to capture just the right moment. The fact that his photographs are in black and white emphasizes their impact further, and creates a greater romanticism. What is truly incredible about Selgado is his investment that gives him such a great return in his artwork. For a while he was disillusioned by the world and his photography, having seen so much devastation as a photojournalist based mostly in Rwanda at the time.
Selgado returned home for his own health and sanity, to Brazil, where his parents had left him their land. It was almost completely cleared of the forest “paradise” it once was to him, and so he and a friend worked to replant the eco-system. This experience seems to have shaped Selgado’s view of the state of our planet as a whole. He has seen the atrocities we have inflicted upon it and ourselves, but he has also successfully restored a piece of it to its original strength and beauty. His images, therefore, are not caught in time as a momento of the world we were once a part of, but a reminder of what we might still participate in for the foreseeable future if we can recognize it as something worth reviving.
Selgado speaks about his practice and the Genesis photo-series in a TED talk that you can see here. (Quotations in this article from TED talk) (Via Dazed Digital)
Hitoshi Kuriyama creates elaborate light installations using complex clusters of shattered fluorescent light bulbs. With Kuriyama, fluorescent lights and LEDs become life forces that animate the darkness of the universe with an irregular, unpredictable rhythm.
If ever a designer could be labeled Cult Couture, Aoi Kotsuhiroi would be it. Kotsuhiroi’s “body objects” blur the line between fashion and fine art, with each handmade, one-of-a-kind piece embodying a sense of primal energy, like relics of an ancient gothic warrior tribe. Through her juxtaposition of precious materials like cherry tree wood, phantom crystals, and pit-fired porcelain with once living, borderline grotesque elements like human and horse hair, lacquered horns, and elephant, buffalo, and crocodile leathers, Kotsuhiroi breathes animalistic life into her wearable sculptures, imbuing the wearer with a spirit of strength, mystery, and a little bit of danger. Her most recent collection, entitled “Exotic Regrets,” is a post-apocalyptic masterpiece, featuring talon-shaped rings that could double as primitive weapons in an end of the world showdown, and a pair of sinewy, scorpion-like shoes which give new meaning to the term “killer heels.”
Sharon Moody’s gorgeously painted trompe l’oeil paintings of comic books freeze the page turning excitement of comic books and build suspense for what super heroic feats will take place with the advancement of each page.
These may look like photographs of abandoned buildings but in fact they are photographs of meticulously made dioramas by Lori Nix. Each image is painstakingly created by hand, taking into consideration scale and lighting over the course of seven months. The result is an apocalyptic vision of the world where everything has fallen apart, decayed, and is slowly returning back to nature.
Will Cotton has created a very successful career from painting fluffy cotton-candy cloudscapes and supple naked women. His body of work can be divisive, as it can easily be seen as gimmicky. Beautiful/Decay covered his portraits of Katy Perry a few years ago, and did not hold back any punches. In his more recent work in the past two years, though, I think there are some exciting, if subtle, developments taking place. Sentiments that have always been on the periphery of his work, but ones that I hope will begin to come through more strongly.
First, I will say that I do enjoy Cotton’s aesthetic to begin with. I mean, sorry, but I literally want to lick every part of every painting, and I’m not even into women. They’re delectable, and I know that’s his aim. He certainly isn’t challenging anything with his work; he adds a spoonful of sugar, and then another, and then shovels in more after that to seduce you with succulent sweetness. Maybe I’m even a little disgusted with myself for becoming rapt in his opulent fantasies. That said, I think his work is very apropos of our contemporary circumstance, and damn, does he capture our plushy, overabundant lifestyle with imagination and skill.
Honestly, I think the joke is on us for eating it all up. If anything, Cotton’s practice provides a mirror to reflect the image of the art world, at least some of us totally ready to douse ourselves in oozy sweetness so easy to swallow. I enjoy the beastly undertones, though. In the past two years, Cotton has painted two fish-looking creatures ridden by nude women, and I’m curious to see how this narrative develops. I find these works the most compelling, as the women seem to have more depth in their expressions, as well as an air of command. I think it would be tacky to suddenly have ghoulish creatures descend upon the candy lands and their nymph inhabitants, but the gradual emergence of a threatening presence would be a welcome addition to my eyes.
David Mach creates sculptures using a wide variety of materials from coat hangers to collaged paper but his bold portraits made out of thousands of matchsticks are some of my favorites. Gluing tens of thousands of matchsticks together, Mach (appropriate last name huh?) uses matches with various colored tips to create the realistic heads that have a psychedelic meets tribal art feel to them.