Steed Taylor uses the open road as a metaphor to skin in his “Road Tattoo” series. Taking designs usually found in tattoo art, Steed uses the same aesthetic and principle but on a much grander scale. He produces commemorative public installations on roads throughout the US much in the same way people add tattoos to their bodies to document a life event. The designs are mostly generic tribal tattoos and loop art seen most commonly on the body as bands around arms and legs. He uses these same ideas on a much larger scale inscribed underneath with names of specific groups he wants to commemorate.
Some ideas Steed has turned into “Road Tattoos” have been Aids and domestic abuse survivors, families of deceased war heroes, and non-denominational prayer groups. They have appeared all over the country and are on display until the paint fades. It documents a part of popular culture that crosses over into a larger scale to draw attention to a segment once thought of as alternative and brings it to the masses where it acts as a way for more of society to identify with the original sentiment since most are familiar with these designs in mainstream culture.
Photographer Maja Daniels is studying aging. Her photo series “Into Oblivion,” shows the raw and fragile lives of those living in an Alzheimer’s ward. Working in a geriatric unit in France, the Swedish photographer Daniels spent three years documenting life for the residents. Those suffering from Alzheimer’s were kept in a locked ward as a protective precaution due to their innate tendencies to wander and get lost.
“This series documents not only the day-to-day challenges in an often ignored sector, but also the wider implications of the growing populations of elderly in modern society as an increasing life span has coincided with the breakdown of the family unit. These aspects have caused a growing disregard for the elderly, swept aside by a commercially driven, youth-obsessed culture. As growing old and being dependent is more taboo than ever, the geriatric institution hides our elders away, safely out of sight.”
Children do not care for their parents as they once did, and national healthcare often fails to meet the needs of those who need it. Bringing the viewer into the heart of this lifestyle, Daniels is hoping to motivate us to view our own personal role within healthcare policy:
“While giving a vision about what living with Alzheimer’s in an institution might mean, I want to motivate people to think about current care policies and the effects it can have on somebody’s life. This project gives a rare insight to a part of the modern geriatric institution. It attempts to create a discussion about our institutionalized, modern way of living as well as the use of confinement as an aspect of care.”
Artist Yoon Ji Seon crafts her collection of self-portraits by intricately stitching photographs with a sewing machine. It’s an ongoing series titled Rag Face, and her facial expressions change with every piece. While they appear to us as similar-looking individuals, Seon changes it up with different colors and hairstyles. Despite these idiosyncrasies, each portrait has the same features. Most notably, these are hanging threads that mimic hair or tattered rags. The multiple layers of colors and stitches give these works a painterly effect, as if they are gestural and loosely handled; Seon obscures her images by working with her materials in this way.
In 2015, the artist will have a show at the Yossi Milo Gallery in New York City. They describe the her underlying concepts:
By sewing the photograph, a second image is generated on the back that is both a reflection of the front and a completely new image. The two images, combined with the original photograph as a third representation, recall the Buddhist theory that an object exists in many forms and there is no true form. Yoon Ji Seon’s work addresses Buddhist ideology deeply rooted in contemporary Korean society and confronts issues such as plastic surgery and suppression of speech. (Via My Amp Goes to 11)
Will Cotton’s new show at Mary Boone brings together the artists signature imagery of cotton candy and frosting with pop singer Katy Perry. This seems like nothing more than a cheap gimmick to sell a few paintings but I’m sure Mr.Cotton isn’t losing much sleep over my opinions of his hugely successful career. I wish that there was a moment of tension in these works or that they weren’t just pretty paintings of pretty things but for me the work falls flat. Each masterfully painted work looks like another precious thing to hang over your designer couch, and that’s not a good thing. Read the below press release and see additional images from Cotton’s Katy Perry paintings and decide for yourself. Is this interesting art or just extravagant illustrations of a mediocre pop star that will soon fade away?
“Conjuring his signature land of plentiful sweets, for the touchstone of this group of new works the Artist depicts Katy Perry (Cotton served as Artistic Director for her 2010 California Gurls music video) as the reluctant queen of an imagined Utopia. In Crown, she stands before a palisade of pastel cakes, holding the headpiece as if wary of its obligations and consequences, realizing that a reign of opulence and profusion will inevitably conclude in decline and decay.
Cotton evokes the memory of a time before this awareness in Candy Forest, an idyllic landscape that merits bright color but is instead painted in the monochromatic palette of an old sepia photograph. Yet even in that distant past this Utopia harbored an underside – a truth underscored in the paintings Landfill and Trash Pile. Here, doughnuts, pastry, and tarts are nothing but layers in a garbage heap, their allure diminished in a realm of infinite riches.”
Chicago based illustrator and type designer Jesse Hora will make you smile with his delicate designs. Hora’s dainty line work and limited pallet lend his designs that warm, fuzzy feeling, while his humorous commentary maintains elements of surprise.
Aaron Johnson’s sunny Brooklyn studio is full of riotous, colorfully undulating, larger-than-life monsters. He’s getting ready for a show that opens next week. Luckily, he had some paintings in progress so we can see how he puts his paint on. Known for making paintings that are both incredibly gorgeous and politically aggressive, Johnson continues to develop and has upped the ante with his new work. Now he’s including Old-Master appropriations, political satire, religious abominations, gender-benders, and personal references, all played out in monstrous iconography.
Photographer Eolo Perfido’s series Clownville is a place where nightmares are real. In this series, Perfido photographs a hodgepodge group of bloody, cackling, and all together demented-looking clowns. What makes this set of clowns so horrifying is the incredible attention to detail the photographer has taken into account when developing such a dark, desolate atmosphere. We are able to see each crusty hair on the clown’s body, every white, chalky flake of skin. They have become just as grotesque as they are unwanted. The clown, who can be thought about in a cheery, amusing way, is often a subject that many people fear. Among all of the classic, cult horror films lies the infamous and terrifying clown. It has been appropriated to suit every child’s nightmare. Still, there is something incredibly sad about the clown, even in some of the characters in Clownville. Although frightening, many of Perfido’s clown seem worn out and used, as if they are just misunderstood and unfortunate. This sense of hopelessness can be seen in the photograph exhibiting a fairly large-sized clown smoking on a couch. Another representation of this is found in the face of the big, teary-eyed clown staring straight into the viewer, with no smile. The entertainers are perhaps tired of entertaining us.
Eolo Perfido’s heavily stylized approach to photography is very apparent in his series Clownville. Many of his photos have a very staged look, almost like a play, while at the same time feeling genuine. Others have an old, classic flavor due to their grainy quality and black and white tones. There is something different that can be found in each clown as their creative make up and poses reveal bits of their character. As unnerving as this series may be, we cannot look away from these unforgettable, chilling faces.