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Stefano Bonazzi’s Smoke Portraits Of People Mysteriously Vanishing Into Velvety Wisps

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Italian photographer Stefano Bonazzi melds smoke and body together in his lush series Smoke. These high contrast black and white photographs feature naked bodies melting into the atmosphere, drifting off in a plume of velvety smoke. They feel soft, mysterious, and cinematic.

Bonazzi, who has a multitude of different series, speaks about this body of work in a very compelling way:

Smoke fascinates me because it is hypnotic, evanescent and impalpable. The smoke you can perceive it with your sense of smell and can even be fatal despite being a natural element devoid of texture and weight. I often compare the smoke to the human soul and in my series “Smoke” I just try to contrast the weight and consistency of the human body with the lightness and elusiveness of his soul, that in these shots I try to represent their with the use of the smoke. The “smoky” of the subjects is in fact their own feelings and emotions. The protagonists of these shots express sexual desire, more anxiety and melancholy, loneliness and suffering. These feelings are so powerful that they evaporate, split from the body and rise into the unknown, which in this case is represented by the black background of the shots.” (Excerpt from Source)

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Sascha Braunig’s Hypnotic Paintings

Portland, Maine based artist Sascha Braunig is a portrait painter of sorts.  She uses traditional baroque portraiture techniques with a nod to Op art and a wink at Surrealism.  Braunig’s figures seem to barely emerge out of a hypnotic (and nearly seizure inducing) patterned background.  Her canvases are striped with colors that contrast so much they nearly appear to glow.  The effect is hallucinatory and almost a bit haunting.  The gallery statement from her current exhibit describe the various concepts at play saying:

” Braunig’s geometric figures have a visual fluidity, as if their delicate skins can barely contain their bodies. Subject and background merge, creating ambiguity and optical tension. An alliance is forced between flat patterned designs and observed, mimetic representation.”

Sascha Braunig is exhibiting her work through December 22 at Manhattan’s Foxy Production.

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The Censored Landscapes of Lukasz Patelczyk

Polish artist Lukasz Patelczyk paints censored landscapes.  The series, actually titled Censored Landscape, depicts natural scenes in severe blacks and whites.  Portions of each landscape is hidden behind a white block.  Some of the paintings titled variations of Avalanche and Tornado censor the effects of such natural disasters.  The censorship leaves a monument like shape in the foreground of indifferent, even harsh landscapes.

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Faye Moorhouse’s Amusingly Weird Movie Poster Illustrations Are Better Than The Real Thing

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Faye Moorhouse is a Brighton-based freelance artist known for her raw and weird paintings. Messy lines, odd proportions, and smeared watercolors characterize her highly stylized work. Her subject matter is similarly strange — from violent animal attacks to eerie midnight gatherings to depressed-looking people loitering around rundown towns, everything she paints is a complex mix of childlike play and adult absurdity.

Featured here is Moorhouse’s new series called the Wonky Movie Poster Show, wherein she has illustrated twenty movie posters. As she wrote in an email to It’s Nice That last week, the paintings are intended to be “weird and ugly and hopefully funny” (Source). Her assessment is correct; the eros of the Nymphomania poster is reduced to a bedraggled woman who appears to be yawning, and the stately lion of The Lion King looks apathetically over the white void of his kingdom. By filtering these familiar images through her own bizarre lens, Moorhouse strips away the hype and seriousness surrounding these films and makes us laugh.

Moorhouse’s unique style has gotten her work recognized. In addition to her fun and bizarre self-initiated projects, her clients include The New York Times, Salt Hill Journal, and Epiphany Zine. Visit Moorhouse’s website, Instagram, and Twitter to follow her work. Prints, ceramics, and other goods can be purchased via her Etsy shop. (Via It’s Nice That)

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Salão Coboi’s High Fashion Monsters

The 9 Worthies is a series of sculptures produced by art project Salão Coboi.  Each sculpture highlights pieces from the autumn/winter 2012 fashion collections…as worn by polymer resin monsters.  The creatures model clothing from brands and designers such as Maison Martin Margiela, Jil Sander, Raf Simons, ACNE and Paul Smith.  Sculpted, hand painted and signed by Salão Coboi, each piece is part of an edition of twenty.

Salão Coboi (Portuguese for Cowboy Salon) is the personal project of artist Apolinário Pereira.  Originally, the project began as a “collective that was born in 2009 two days after Michael Jackson’s death in the European Wild West (Portugal)”.  Pereira now operates Salão Coboi as a solo project.

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STRANGE/LOVE

POVevolving Gallery

939 Chung King Road

Los Angeles, CA ~ 90012

Reception:February 12th, 2011, 7 to 11pm.
Closes: March 12th, 2011

Preview of the show after the jump.

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Claire Falkenberg’s Eerily Painted Apparitions

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With a toxic mix of oil-based paint, the surfaces of artist Claire Falkenberg‘s large-scale photos are transformed into mysterious and eerie clouds.  The ominous, milky clouds obscure the space directly in front of the photographer, delaying the viewer’s ability to understand what lies just under the surface of each picture plane. This inclusion is generous, because it offers another layer of surface detail to the viewer who is willing to inspect the ghostly swirls of oil paint. The slick, snapshot-style images of trash slowly begin to reveal themselves—vanishing almost entirely at the center, and bringing into question just exactly what Falkenberg has chosen to cover up in her series.

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Mike Rea’s Meticulously Crafted Wooden Sculptures Are A Film Nerd’s Heaven

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Chicago artist Mike Rea builds hyper-realistic wooden replicas of objects that have a connection to the culture of a stereotypical heterosexual male. His sculptures are either props from science fiction cinema, or personal memories – made primarily from wood, burlap and Styrofoam. Rea builds things like jail cells, video cameras used for filming pornography, Anaconda snakes, pick axes, robots, strange bits of machinery, Scuba diving tanks, and amplifiers. All are meticulously crafted and are rooted in pop culture. Rea is a self confessed film geek, watching up to 3 films a day and draws a lot of inspiration from the ‘swagger’ and macho attitudes in films like Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.

Rea describes his own take on his practice:

There is a kind of wry sense of humor to the work, but at the same time it’s coupled with this process—this meticulous, very specific kind of over-detailed expression of these contradictions and maybe the most stupid stuff for subject matter. I’ll spend six months on a stupid joke seeing if that makes it better. They’re these large wooden sculptures that are hopefully a little funny and a little bit dark. They’re probably over-built, which is usually just a process of me making lots of mistakes and having to add another layer to cover up where a seam didn’t match. (Source)

Using humor and wit, Rea is trying to see how our desires and obsessions (usually those of a hetero male – weapons, substance abuse and the opposite sex) are tied into popular culture. Whether you are a nerd or not, you will no doubt be delighted by the incredible wooden wonderland Rea creates. See more sculptures after the jump.

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