Abraham McNally merges things. Things like powerlines and houses, industry and nature, drawings and photographs. The result is an exploration of what’s organic — organic in the sense of what’s natural and organic in the sense of what’s essential. McNally’s additional sculptural and site-specific work rounds an examination of the schism between “a romantic return to the rural” and “a return to the comforts and realities of American society.”
Right off the bat, Venezuelan Nelson Garrido states the following: “To know limits is to begin to know that one does not have limits.” His work, brash and unapologetic, throws together Catholicism and American consumer culture, yielding incredibly fascinating results. Actually, to call his photographs “fascinating” would be an understatement. We’ll go with “riotous” after seeing Jesus depicted with three jumbo penises!
And for those with a strong stomach, check out one of his blog posts entitled “La Gruta de la Virgen.” You have been warned! This project in particular goes along with his passion for showcasing concepts deemed unacceptable by society.
Tony Matelli‘s realistic “Sleepwalker” sculpture has created a bit of controversy among students at Wellesley, where the sculpture was installed outside of the college’s Davis Musuem. For Lisa Fischman, the museum’s director, the sculpture addresses the boundary of what we expect from art inside a museum versus the outside. Junior Zoe Magdid, the student who initiated a petition to have the sculpture removed, disagrees. “We were really disappointed that she seemed to articulate that she was glad it was starting discussion, but didn’t respond to the fact that it’s making students on campus feel unsafe, which is not appropriate,” Magid said. “We really feel that if a piece of art makes students feel unsafe, that steps over a line.” More than 300 students have signed the petition so far.
While I can see how Wellesley students could find the sculpture threatening or triggering, I am curious how they would have reacted if Matelli’s female sleepwalker sculpture were installed instead. Most students would probably not feel as threatened by its presence, but that sort of perception would only perpetuate the idea that men alone embody a physical threat, though women are also capable of sexual abuse against others.
However you choose to perceive the sculpture, Matelli’s work provokes viewers and asks them to consider not only the absurdity of a “schlumpy” man sleepwalking campus in his underwear, but also how certain bodies and genders are perceived inside and outside the art gallery. Some of Matelli’s other sculpture work can also be perceived as creepy, but they all seem to address notions of boundaries and gravity, and the defiance of particular expectations. (via gawker)
When I close my eyes and dream of outdoor furniture, I see visions of Loll’s cheery Vang Chairs, or whiling away the hours in their rocking Racer Chair , or napping in the shade on a 405 Chaise. Loll’s furniture has a strong architectural presence while remaining friendly and homey. See more after the jump.
Tim Noble and Sue Webster are a creative duo who assemble trash heaps that project shadows of recognizable—and often grotesque—forms: lumps of scrap metal cast the shapes of fornicating rats, and elsewhere shattered wood pieces align into a bickering couple. As a critique of human consumption and waste, their work falls under the category of “Gluttony” in Beautiful/Decay’s Book 9: “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Also featured in Book 9 are Tom Dilly Littleson’s wrathful portraits of self-mutilation (who we wrote about last August) and illustrator Brendan Danielsson’s crude, bloated portraits of sloth.
The concept of gluttony in Noble and Webster’s works arises from the idea of “perceptual psychology,” which concerns itself with how humans identify and interpret images. As it states on their biography page:
“Noble and Webster are familiar with this process and how people evaluate abstract forms. Throughout their careers they have played with the idea of how humans perceive abstract images and define them with meaning. The result is surprising and powerful as it redefines how abstract forms can transform into figurative ones.” (Source)
The junk heaps and their shadows produce startlingly different (yet somehow thematically similar) images—a ball of congealed road kill, for example, projects a human head impaled on a stake. This disparity compels the viewer to produce an interpretation and discern how the images are related. Bridging the gap, one may read the figurative signs of human over-indulgence, waste, and destruction.
To learn more about Noble and Webster and how other contemporary artists explore the seven deadly sins, grab a copy of Beautiful/Decay’s Book 9. Limited copies are still available at our shop.
Max Gärtner is a man with seriously good cutting skills. And an amazing talent for line work. He draws the heads of bears, tigers, birds, wolves and humans with an incredible intricacy. The Berlin based illustrator transforms hundreds of pencil-drawn lines into interwoven, floating stencils and then pins the result onto backing boards. Drawing inspiration from the original masters of line work – Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele, Gärtner is concentrated on rendering elegant forms from flat lines.
Currently showing an exhibition at BC Gallery in Berlin titled “No Lie In Fire“, Gärtner pays tribute to animals that have either metaphorical or subliminal importance to him. Trying to close the gap between the ‘supernatural’ and ‘natural’ world, the artist embarks on journeys through the woods and takes note of different animal forms that influence him while there. He says:
There are encounters in life, which are accompanied by an incredible force and which, once experienced, leave you convinced of their significance as messages from a higher universal power. [No Lie In Fire] is an exhibition of portraits of some of the creatures I have encountered and who have influenced the course of my life on a fundamental level. I do not know how else to describe it, other than encounters with extremely old souls, which I would like to identity here, free from any religious connotations, as gods. (Source)
Because of his obsession with, and respect for the natural world, Gärtner has garnered himself a reputation as ‘an explorer among artists’. He is continually interested in the role that the creatures around us play, and how they influence us. To him, reality and dreams are one and the same. His exhibition runs from Nov 14 – Dec 27. Watch the trailer for the show after the jump.
Brett Wilkinson’s experiments in minimalism and geometry have led him to create Onesidezero, a collection of his latest works in illustration. Whimsical and playful, his style reflects the cheerful shapes and colors of childhood toys and coloring books. Not only does he specialize in prints, but his works are also featured on mugs, laptop skins, and wall vinyls. Wilkinson has also designed for Panasonic and the Big Chill Festival 2009, and created the cover for Digital Arts Magazine.
Adela Andea’s light installations and sculptures seem otherworldly. They almost feel organic, reminiscent of vivid underwater scenes, but the lights, wires and other tech that make them seem more like alien landscapes. The Romanian-born, Texas-based artist seeks to explore the line between actuality and virtual reality. Weaving LED and CCL lights with pulsing electrical components Andea creates installations that transport a viewer to a place where art becomes experience, and that experience is all encompassing.
Andea likes to think of her work as incorporating many layers of truth. She embraces the possibility that there isn’t one reality, and her work strives to capture that notion visually. With the fast and overwhelming advancement of technology, Andea’s installations represent the dialogue between people and new technologies. The desire for a viewer to have a personal experience with her work, but to also think about the way that information can be manipulated to form one’s notion of reality is the driving force behind her complex installations.
In her artist statement Andea writes: “The numerous transitions in my life made me think about the enormous capability of people to adapt to situations and even more, search for the new possibilities of personal development through inquisitive experiences.” A witness to the Romanian Revolution in 1989, and eventually forced to immigrate to the United States in 1999, Andea is certainly qualified to make work that comments on the experience of experiences.
Her work is currently on view at the Texas Biennale, now through November 9th at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas.