At the root of Matthew Monahan’s sculptures and drawings are physical attributes common to all humans: the face and the body itself.
Cyriak Harris is an artist living in Brighton. He makes splendid videos that remind me of the sensation of sugar on my tongue. I feel the urge to push and push, but each video tells me to sit down and understand that “everything is going to be okay.”
If there is one band that I associate with the art world it would have to be Sonic Youth. Over the last 30 years the band has collaborated with such blue chip artists such as Mike Kelley, John Cage, Yoko Ono, and Christian Marclay. So it’s no surprise that Kim Gordon, one of Sonic Youth’s founding members has just released a book of paintings and photographs with Rizzoli Books and Nieves Titled “Performing/Guzzling.”
Performing/Guzzling functions more as a hard bound artist journal than a monograph filled with page after page of Gordon’s ghost like watercolors, text paintings, lyrics/poetry, and photography. The watercolor works are by far the most accomplished, inspired by on-stage performances where the faces in the audience become a dreamy and ethereal blur of color.
The first printing of the book will be in a limited edition of 3,000 copies, with each containing a signed print by Kim Gordon. Performing/Guzzling is a must have book for both artist book enthusiasts and Sonic Youth fans alike!
Artist Alex Podesta creates life-sized sculptures that feature grown men in bunny costumes. The realistic-looking figures wear head-to-toe fluffy suits with two giant ears on top of their head. Podesta poses his characters and puts them into different settings that are both in and outside of a gallery. We see several identical statues looking over the roof of a building, as well sitting inside and playing with marionettes and trying to tame a snake. Their actions and attire don’t read as one of grown men, but of young boys. And, that’s partially the point of Podesta’s work. From his artist statement:
…I have culled the rich fantasies, daydreams, misconceptions and experiences of childhood and re-contextualized them through the filters of adulthood, experience and education. This effort has been made in an attempt to plumb the depths of the creative and comprehensive naiveté of youth; to illustrate, in engaging and serio-comic ways, the role of fantasy, “othering” and conflict in nascent self-awareness; and, through the time honored tradition of solipsistic navel gazing, to pick gently at the loose thread of wistful escapism inherent in a quiet, downhill slide into maturity.
These men exist in a liminal space that’s in between boyhood and manhood, and Podesta goes on to explain that his subjects “…will be forever locked in the Sisyphean toil of misapplication, miscomprehension and misunderstanding.” (Via ARTNAU)
Recent Ontario College of Art and Design graduate Sarah Joncas already has a distinct, characteristic style that has earned her several awards, as well as garnered the attentions of top galleries around the US. Her paintings often focus on a lone woman, drawing out her narrative in a combination of bold hues and shadowy tones. The themes explored in her works are at times dark but at other times quite whimsical. Currently, the Toronto-based artist is representing Canada in an all-female group show entitled ‘International Woman’ which can be caught at the UK’s Warrington Museum now through July 7th. Living on this side of the pond, as they say? Then check out the artist’s upcoming joint show with fellow painter Caia Koopman, opening June 16th at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California.
Dutch illustrator/designer Parra has done some seriously cool work. His posters, which he plasters throughout Amsterdam, are apparently highly sought after, as are his limited edition Nikes, shirts, skateboards…you name it, Parra has done an illustration for it. His style is very 1970s, with a hint of sleaze.
In a dark series of sculptures titled Broken Dreams, Brooklyn-based artist Sandra Osip captures the decline and decay of suburban Detroit. The works are inspired by Osip’s memories of the city: the streets she roamed as a child, the corner stores she visited, and the neighbourhood—now destroyed—that surrounded her former high school. She sculpts the skeletal husks of houses that are burnt down, collapsed, and decaying, evacuated of all life and purpose. In more abstract renderings, Osip has created “junk heaps” of urban ruin, crushed-up buildings that represent entire neighbourhoods left to the cruel forces of time and neglect. In the following statement, Osip explains the deeply personal inspiration for the series:
“Recently I visited my childhood neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, and to my disbelief my house was no longer standing; neither was the corner store where I bought my penny candy, nor my friend’s house down the street, nor the empty lot I used to ice skate on. This is now an empty wasteland and overgrown by nature. The day after my visit the news reported that a block away from where I lived they found two decomposing bodies. The news stated at least a dozen bodies in twelve months have been found in this abandoned and neglected part of the city.” (Source)
Nostalgia is a painful concept in these sculptures; instead of comforting childhood origins, Osip is left with rootless memories, and a sense of “home” that’s deteriorating and forever changed—haunted, even, by literal images of death in the form of human bodies. “Many of my fond memories have now vanished,” she goes on to write, explaining the pain of having part of one’s personal history obliterated. She approaches the series with a profound awareness tinged with irony; one work, titled “Beautiful Homes and Gardens,” incongruously depicts a stack of cadaver-like houses. However, by consciously reworking her attachments to the now-ruined streets of her youth, Osip’s work demonstrates a courageous exercise of healing through the release of the past.
Visit Osip’s website to view more of her works.
Antonella Arismendi is an Argentine fashion photographer and visual artist whose colorfully esoteric works explore alternate planes of consciousness. In a striking divergence from mainstream fashion photography, Antonella splices her work with dark symbols and glitch-like art, dissolving bodies into a white-noise fuzz and superimposing faces over volcanic eruptions. In some of her more quiet and scenic pieces — such as Tephra, for example — Antonella uses fashion to explore haunting-yet-spirituality rich worlds, depicting a model who stands in reverence beneath an empty, alien sky. By blending darkness with light and incorporating multiple symbols, Antonella produces beautifully obscure images of enigmatic and ever-transforming power.
Like a spiritual, chemical reaction, Antonella’s creative process is intuitive and experimental. As she explains in a fascinating interview with People of Shambhala,
What inspires me the most is to isolate myself from everything that has already been done visually and create something new. It’s an intense process to convert ideas from the ethereal to the tangible plane — it’s when the alchemical act happens. (Source)
By utilizing and fusing symbols of the occult, the Cabbala, and astrology, Antonella’s expressive photography reinvests such symbolism with contemporary meaning; like a visualization of cyber-age witchcraft, the images are portraits of inherited, ancient spiritual practices, blended with visual art to show the plateaus of meaning between apparently disparate traditions. As she continues in the interview, “I believe that the spiritual movements that have occurred in different times arise from the same origin and have simply reinterpreted it. […] One of my greatest motivations is based in astrology and spiritual knowledge. Photography is simply the tool to express them.” (Source)