If you’re familiar with the films of David Lynch, then you know the subtle uneasiness that he makes you feel. It doesn’t just stop with movies, as Lynch is also a photographer. Between 1980 and 2000, he shot monochromatic images of factories in Berlin, Poland, New York, New Jersey, and England. The result is a book of photographs titled The Factory Photographs, selections of which are currently on view at The Photographers’ Gallery in London.
It’s clear that the filmmaker’s eye transfers effortlessly between the moving picture and a static one. These landscapes are beautiful, but desolate and haunting; Their moodiness makes them feel as if they are of a different time and dystopian future. “I love industry. Pipes. I love fluid and smoke. I love man-made things. I like to see people hard at work, and I like to see sludge and man-made waste,” Lynch writes in his book.
The photographer practices transcendental meditation, and his penchant for delving into the strange and unconscious part of ourselves is not lost on these photographs. In the exhibit’s press release, Lynch says, “I just like going into strange worlds. A lot more happens when you open yourself up to the work and let yourself act and react to it.” These provocative images invite us to do the same. (Via Fast Company)
It may be hard to believe, but these colorful creations of Jason Hackenwerth‘s are made from hundreds of balloons. He twists and sculpts latex balloons around each other to resemble different kinds of organic and biological forms. Hackenwerth creates all sorts of creepy shapes and forms that look like you are seeing something in a scientist’s laboratory magnified. Super colorful amoeba, cells, or rhizopods hang from the ceiling. Bacteria-shaped sculptures are grouped together, sprouting weird sorts of growths in every direction.
The artist is not only inspired by science – last year, Hackenwerth unveiled a large piece in Scotland at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Titled Pisces, it is an interpretation of the Greek myth about Aphrodite and Eros. Made from over 10,000 balloons, it was a massive twisting spiral of two fish and took three staff members almost 6 days to blow up. Hackenwerth says more about it:
I see this as a metaphor for the evolution for life and the unexpected ways we can transcend our greatest threats. My plan for Pisces is to create a complex spiral that will open into a huge seashell like form. This spiral will correspond with the dynamic with the motion of the universe – the double helix. It is the spiral from which all life is derived. (Source)
Hackenwerth starts his process with drawings and sketches to help visualize how his pieces will work on a large scale. He then inflates balloons and arranges them in various structures to see what will work for the final piece. He talks about the importance of his medium:
Using balloons as a medium for expression came from a desire to connect with a wider audience. Balloons are accessible and they seem to have a magic ability for people to feel joy. Perhaps it is a regression to childhood. (Source)
The work of artist Derek Paul Boyle can often seem humorous. Everyday objects are presented in simple juxtapositions that can be pleasantly surprising. His work begins with suppositions, trusted concepts, and expectations and ‘plays’ with them. Boyle depicts the familiar from a different conceptual angle to make his subject matter new. He says:
“I am interested in the power of contradiction, objects as events, and incompatible states of the self – what was once bound is made free, the known made unknown. In a wavering step between angst and serenity, fear and pleasure, I want to give form to anxiety, a shape to tension.”
Matthieu Bourel creates surreal collages that, despite their dream-like qualities, feel somehow rooted in reality. It might have something to do with his use of black and white photos, summoning up a specter of the past and lending a sort of mythic quality to his art.
In some of his pieces, it almost feels as though they’re still frames of a tall tale as opposed to utter fiction. They feel historically relevant, which, according to Bourel, is part of the intended effect. “When successful, all the elements fall together with irony and tension while all other realities are obliterated, leaving the viewer as participant inside the picture, with his own codes and connections,” Bourel explains. “The image then carries the weight of a personal reality.”
The phrase “personal reality” aptly encapsulates the quiet strangeness of his collages. Bloodless cross-sections of torsos and bodies are more contemplative than gruesome, as though they’re textbook diagrams.
Bourel describes his process as finding pictures and photographs that spark inspiration. He’s drawn to pictures that “evoke a fake history or inspire nostalgia for a period in time that never truly existed.”
“A piece often becomes about the search and desire to combine those emergent narrative symbols that seem charged with a familiar yet distant emotion,” Bourel says.
Erik Osberg seems like one of those photographers who documents happenings, letting images come to him naturally, and unadulterated. His portfolio is an understated mix of beautifuly simple photos, wit, surprise, and humor. I especially love his personal section, “Layla, Ryan, Erik, and Carl”, a collection of his photos featuring his friends/roommates, (such as the last one after the jump).
Artist Paul Rousso spent part of his career as an art director and freelance illustrator for big companies like Revlon, Clairol, and Bloomingdales. So, it’s fitting that his recent body of work relates to pop art and features realistic, larger-than-life sculptures of discarded candy wrappers, magazine pages, and money. He delicately forms acrylic into folds and creases of paper, and paints it to look like it’s been beat up, stepped on, and generally seen better days.
Rousso is specifically interested in these small pieces of ephemera that mean so much to us. From his artist statement:
Ever since I was a child I have been fascinated by the endless oscillation of the human condition through text and imagery. As alternating replicas of our day-to-day become transformed by the inexplicable need to create, I endeavor to illuminate the imagined, effervescent edges of our all but invisible lives through the flat, two-dimensional subject matter that is all around us. As these shifting forms become distorted through the lens of history, my work inscribes an epitaph to the printed reality that was our past existence.
By blowing up this forgettable part of popular culture, Rousso makes it inescapable. It’s in your face and won’t be ignored, reminding us about the obsessions that we have with it and eventually (try) and forget. (Via PICDIT and mashKULTURE)