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Kent Rogowski’s Book Alterations

Love these book alterations and rearrangements by New York based artist Kent Rogowski. Make sure to also check out his puzzle manipulations and inverted stuffed animals also featured on his site. (via)

“Everything that I wish I could be is an exploration of language, emotions and the desire to change and improve one’s self. There is a self-help book for almost every moment and problem in life; from relationship advice to dealing with the inevitability of death. Each large format photograph, pictures an arrangement of title pages and spines, from up to 100 self-help books that are based around a central theme. Together, the titles create larger narratives, which become portraits of emotions, people and events in life.

Because of the ubiquity of the books, an entire lifetime of events can be outlined and made to unfold using the books that were written to sooth those transitions and moments. Since advice often differs, the narratives in the images can change depending on which direction the viewer’s eye moves through the image. Some images have linear narratives (e.g.: From Birth to Death or Side by Side) while others look at patterns in language and resemble the random connections inherent in the thought process (e.g.: You and Me and Am I the only one?).

I am interested in the larger questions of how we communicate and deal with moments of pain and change and the commonalities of those experiences, as well as, the patterns and contradictions that are often inherent in language, advice and differing philosophies.”

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Adam Batchelor’s Socioeconomic Drawings

We have featured the work of UK artist Adam Batchelor on the blog (here) in the past. He continues to produce provocative mechanical and colored pencil drawings that shine a light on socioeconomic issues. Batchelor explains that he “…explores the breakdown and conflict between humanity, the man-made and the natural world, and looks into the ever rapid transition of developing cultures. I introduce themes of capitalism and consumerism and highlight the threat these have on global issues such as the rights for Indigenous people, the agricultural industry, corruption, health, war and conflict.”

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Nunzio Paci Paints Dissected Cadavers That Bloom With Plant Life

Nunzio Paci - painting Nunzio Paci - painting Nunzio Paci - painting Nunzio Paci - painting

Nunzio Paci is an artist from Bologna who paints human anatomy with a surrealist flourish. Recalling the studies of the body from the Italian Renaissance, male cadavers are flayed and opened up, exposing layers of raw muscle and twisted sinew. Body parts are numbered and labeled like dissection records, with marginalia scrawled softly along the sides. In the tradition of his Italian precursors, Paci takes an artistic approach to science, blending grim images of death and corporeality with a reverence for the complexity of the human form.

Paci brings his own style into these anatomical portraits by expressively exploring the body’s connection to nature; veins that unravel past the skeletal contours sprout into leaves, and branches twist upwards from shoulders with a spring-sapling fervor. Birds perch on the blooming dead, and in the corner, dissection instruments are curiously mixed with garden tools. Beautifully macabre, Paci’s mutating cadavers explore not only the interrelation of life and death, but the material links between all living matter—expressed, for example, by the similar structures of arteries and branches. On his biography page, Paci describes his creative approach:

“My whole work deals with the relationship between man and Nature, in particular with animals and plants. The focus of my observation is [the] body with its mutations. My intention is to explore the infinite possibilities of life, in search of a balance between reality and imagination.” (Source)

Visit Paci’s website, Facebook page, Tumblr, and Instagram to see more. (Via Hi-Fructose)

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The Paintings Of Femke Hiemstra Are An Incredibly Bold Cabinet Of Curiosities

femke hiemstra illustrationfemke hiemstra illustrationfemke hiemstra illustration femke hiemstra illustration

Using a Cabinet of Curiosity aesthetic, Femke Hiemstra creates a carnivalistic fantasy world. In her oeuvre the roles of humans and animals are blurred placed in odd scenarios which offer humorous and dark tales of sacrifice, war and performance. Taking references from classic novels such as Gulliver’s Travels and ancient folk tales, it’s obvious that these should be made into cinema because the images are so fully animated. However, their 2D nature turns them into fine art illustration and allows the viewer to look further and take a lasting moment to linger in their imagination.

Hiemstra’s play on words further enhance the narrative in her paintings. One called “groupies” is especially humorous showing a female singing apple watched in awe by her grouper audience. It’s a classic example of the type of work Hiemstra makes which combines the bizarre with popular culture to tell stories which recall nursery rhymes and absurdist commentary. Her style brings to mind an artist I was very fond of years ago called Elizabeth Albert. She also used animals in odd narratives to tell stories about human behavior and circumstance.

Hiemstra’s illustrations are created using a light acrylic paint and water. She often tops her work with colored pencils which give it that extra definition. She mostly uses paper or panel but occasionally will paint on old books and wooden antiques like clocks or religious objects. She sells prints of her original artwork at a very reasonable price of 100 euros on average. (via hifructose)

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Porcelain Figurines Depicting Power Struggle As Sexual Tension

AESF sculpture4 AESF sculpture1

AESF sculpture2

Europe-Europe is a series of porcelain figurines created by the collective AES+F – a group made up of the artists Tatiana Arzamasova, Lev Evzovitch, Evgeny Svyatsky, and Vladimir Fridkes.  A first quick glance they may seem like typical decorative figurines.  However, it soon becomes clear that something is terribly/wonderfully wrong.  The collection, exhibited together in a case, seems like an orgy – people caught in various sexual situations.

Yet, something else makes this series especially interesting: the characters are often thought of disliking or even hating each other in real life situations.  A Neo-Nazi strokes the locks of a Hasidic Jewish boy, sweat shop workers pet their capitalist supervisor, a police officer fondles a rioter.  While these can easily be read as a playful and optimistic depiction of global unity, a sinister feeling lingers on these figurines.  It seems as likely that these hateful feelings are depicted as a sexual tension.  Political power struggles are illustrated as sexual power struggles.

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Mark Nixon’s Photographs Of Vintage Teddy Bears

vintage teddy bears

Bobo-age: 34.Height: 12″
Belongs to: Shane Maher

vintage teddy bears

Beary (6) Height 12”
Belongs to: Tom O’Connor Jr

vintage teddy bears

Daddy Bunny (7 ½) Height 14” -Belongs to: Zoe Bracken

Flopsie (6) Height 14" Belongs to: Lua Spencer

Flopsie (6) Height 14″
Belongs to: Lua Spencer

Photographer Mark Nixon creates portraits of worn-out vintage teddy bears in the series Much Loved Bears. These nostalgic portraits immortalize the innocence of youth; better yet, the goodness and appreciation of a child, as they hold on to the old with no remorse. The photographs are paired with text provided by the owner and they are part of a book called Much Loved.

The funny looking portraits project a sense of irony, as seeing the teddy bear, a signifier of early age, and their ‘wear’ and ‘tear’, a signifier of old age, together generate an interesting tension between the two. The battered teddy bears are a symbol of love, respect and friendship- moreover an undenying preservation of a friend that was important, and therefore hard to replace.

“When you see these teddy bears and bunnies with missing noses and undone stuffing, you can’t help but think back to childhood and its earliest companions who asked for nothing and gave a lot back.”

It feels as if these photographs also expound on a critical string of thoughts regarding the journey of becoming older, and what it means to be an owner of something today. The fact that we so easily get rid of ‘damaged’ material things with the eagerness of wanting more and ‘better’ is something that contrasts Nixon’s attention to the teddy bear’s ‘battlescars’; for a kid,however, the damaged but useful and loved, is not something to easily get rid of. (Via My Modern Met)

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Susanna Bauer Threads And Weaves Over Small Natural Objects

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“Most of my pieces are small sculptural objects often based on found natural materials. I like giving time to the inconspicuous things that surround us and often go unnoticed, paying attention to small details and the tactile quality of objects. Appropriating traditional craft techniques like weaving and crochet as a means of sculpture brings a contemplative element to the development of my work. I am interested in unusual combinations of materials, the experimentation with fragility and strength and the individual stories that evolve and shape themselves in the process of making.” – Susanna Bauer

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Carly Janine Mazur Paints Nude Figures In Emotional, Metaphorical Settings

Repose - Metamorphosis (2015)

Repose – Metamorphosis (2015)

Cupid's Target (2014)

Cupid’s Target (2014)

Unearthed - Metamorphosis (2015)

Unearthed – Metamorphosis (2015)

Turmoil - Metamorphosis (2015)

Turmoil – Metamorphosis (2015)

Carly Janine Mazur is a Connecticut-based artist who paints portraits of realistic nude figures in metaphorical, emotional settings. One woman surrenders her heart to a monster; another is feverishly overcome by black, smothering roots; and another meditates deeply as shadows slowly arise around her. Each of Mazur’s portraits have an almost mythic or esoteric quality; using nudity and abstract forms together to unearth spiritual experiences, Mazur captures scenes of rapture and agony that transcend the limitations of the corporeal body.

Resonating with Mazur’s expressive content is the artist’s own experience of creating it. Several of the images here are from Mazur’s Metamorphosis series, which is currently being exhibited at the Arch Enemy Arts gallery in Philadelphia. Characterized by organic imagery and dark, flowing forms that both embrace and overwhelm the figures, this series teeters on the edge between life and death, ecstasy and despair, chaos and serenity. For Mazur, Metamorphosis involved finding balance in her process, and allowing art and emotion to flow naturally—although the journey was uncertain.

“While working on Metamorphosis, I broke, and I’m not afraid to admit it,” Mazur explains in her Artist Spotlight. “I was completely cut down by the challenge of creating a visual theme. My first attempt at pushing through the ‘cocoon’ left me disheartened and doubting my ability to create. The first piece in the series, then titled ‘Limbo,’ fell apart emotionally and compositionally, and I felt crushed by looming deadlines, although still a ways away, dominating the horizon.” (Source)

After a few days of creative purgatory, Mazur realized that “metamorphosis is an organic process, following a limited set of rules and drawing from a limited set of resources.” By setting these boundaries, Mazur was able to let her artwork and energies flow between them. The result is a series of stunning portraits that embody both intensity and clarity, bound seamlessly together by their style, theme, and emotional resonance.

Metamorphosis will be on view until August 30th. Visit Mazur’s website and Tumblr to view more. She also has a YouTube channel where she uploads time-lapse videos of her paintings. (Via Hi-Fructose)    

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