I am really enjoying Jane Benson’s work. One series in particular of hers I find to be quite intriguing; The Chronicles of Narcissim. Its narrative takes a closer look at people’s preoccupation with material and identity transformation as well as the tension that exists between both the natural and the artificial form of beauty. Benson was born in Thornbury, England and lives in both London and New York.
Robert Jackson is a contemporary still life painter. But don’t let the genre often associated with morbid colors, candles, skulls and wine bottles leave the wrong impression. This painter’s canvases are littered with bright colors, clean compositions and a healthy amount of humor. Jackson’s comical paintings feature assemblies of cakes, water balloons, candies, apple boxes, toy dinosaurs, cactus plants, and balloon dogs.
Jackson actually assembles his scenes in his studio, and is then able to accurately capture the playfulness of the mood – creating something that looks like it came from the Toy Story movies. He paints moments where we sneak a look in on the action figures setting up traps for each other, or skateboarding around the room, crashing into the other toys.
Eager to create moments full of narrative, Jackson develops a simple idea that will either pique your interest, or at the very least being a smile to your face. His balloon dogs go fishing for lobsters; the panda bear toys set up daring tight rope adventures for each other; the dinosaurs all fight over a slice of chocolate cake; and apples mischievously balance water balloons on their head, waiting for the impending disaster.
Jackson uses his whimsical, absurd and post-pop paintings as a tool for people to expand their imagination. He says by using mundane objects as stand ins for people, he can talk about deeper subjects without being too confrontational.
It’s like Star Trek addresses racism, but the audience doesn’t realize that until after the show is over. I have a couple of apples fighting and it’s not until a couple minutes after looking, that the viewer realizes that ‘Oh! This is talking about war!’ (Source)
(Via Faith Is Torment)
Bill McRight, of Philly powerhouse Space 1026, employs gnarly printmaking skills in the creation of images not confined to a place in time. In McRight’s work, Garish figures sans-pupils populate a stark environment of violence, movement, and open mouths containing sharp teeth. But it all looks so good that the reaction of the viewer is inclined toward pleasure rather than pain.
These four artists are interested in exploring nature through crystals, minerals and natural stones. Toronto-based Carly Waito makes small oil paintings (about 5×6 inches) of crystals and minerals. Inspired by the natural world Waito is interested in geology, geometry and light. With a sense of wonder and curiosity, Waito explores via paint tiny mineral specimens, revealing the beauty and magic nature is capable of creating.
Seattle-based Debra Baxter uses stones and minerals, and their contrasts or relationships to investigate human interactions. To address notions such as human power plays, vulnerability and gender differences, Baxter plays titles like You have to believe we are magic (barf bag), 2010 off visual displays of ceramic, minerals and reflective acrylic. Her sculptures become small visual metaphors replete with symbols and juxtapositions that form ideas and narrative.
Amy Brener works by layering resin, glass and Fresnel lens to create light sensitive sculptures that resemble large crystals or minerals. Brener’s process involves mixing and pouring pigmented resin into wooden frameworks. Only able to control certain aspects of the process, Brener embraces the surprises that happen along the way. The process gives her sculptures a quality that exists between the geological and the man-made.
Jonathan Latiano’s Points of Contention, 2011, was an installation at School 33 Art Center in Baltimore. The piece was made out of plastics, resins and polymers and appeared to be exploding out of the floor. Meant to address the effects the sculpture’s materials have on the geological landscape, Latiano’s work is a visual reminder of our impact on nature.
Whitney Hubbs‘s photographs, especially those featured in the series “To Fill the Unforgiving Moment,” seem to be infused with quiet suspense and mystery, while echoing a sense of deep loneliness (at least, for me).
Hubbs has exhibited her work all over California and Oregon, in addition to Germany and Scotland. She currently lives in Los Angeles, where, this fall, she will start the MFA program at UCLA.
Sweet Tooth is a gang of cool cats from London. Their music could soundtrack your rainy days and their new video is basically a moving graphic novel. Grab some popcorn and enjoy the show as the luscious voice of the lead singer guides you through your heartbreak you didn’t even know you had.
We’ve all seen the “Before and After Photoshop” versions of photographs, displaying the ways in which various media distort our perception of ideal beauty. But what would these images look like in other countries? With her series Before & After, Esther Honig, a radio journalist based out of Kansas City, asked just that. With the help of Fiverr, a website for freelancers, she got in touch with artists from forty different countries; emailing each a self-portrait, she wrote, “Hi, my name is Esther Honig. Make me look beautiful.” When they did not understand the assignment, she simply told them to make her look like the most popular fashion models.
When artists from twenty-seven countries replied, she was astonished with the results. Some edits were so dramatic that she yelped aloud; others, like the image from Morocco, in which she was given a hijab, stole her breath. Some cultures favor a bare face where others apply makeup. Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the work is the overwhelming presence of Western feminine ideals: pale white skin, pink cheeks, a dainty nose, and wide eyes contoured with trimmed brows.
In the end, the series expresses the extend to which often oppressive beauty ideals are meaningless; where a woman is declared beautiful in one culture, she might be plain in another. Yet for all women, regardless of ethnicity and background, the pressure to be beautiful remains, propagated by the whims of the contemporary media. Writes Honig, “Photoshop allows us to achieve our unobtainable standards of beauty, but when we compare those standards on a global scale, achieving the ideal remains all the more illusive.” (via Buzzfeed)