At first glance the above image might look like a digital collage where a simple cat doodle is drawn atop a photograph of an interior. But if you look closer you’ll see that the cat image is actually painstakingly drawn with tape in perspective to create the illusion of flatness. See more of Samantha Schubert’s optical tape doodles after the jump!
DXV by American Standard is a landmark product line that represents the company’s storied history spanning 150 years. The collection spans four broad movements: Classic (1880 – 1920), Golden Era (1920 – 1950), Modern (1950 – 1990), and Contemporary (1990 – today). Each piece in the carefully curated collection harkens back to the era it was inspired by and combines it with modern sensibilities, technology and performance. Although each fixture is inspired by a distinct era, the entire collection has a dialogue and the ability to cross over and create a remix of eras in one space.
DXV’s Modern Collection spans some of the most inspiring eras in American architecture and industrial design. Mid Century Modern architecture and design of the 1950’s and 60’s is as celebrated today, as it was the first time around. You can see the the echoes of Mid-Century design in the pieces from DXV’s modern collection like the sleek lines of the Roycroft collection’s faucets and shower fixture. The Rem collection features Dutch-inspired, artistic curves merged with thoughtful utility- a marriage of form and function. Each piece in the Modern Collection is a study in form, function, and beauty.
There is something unsettling in many of the paintings of Alexis Rockman. His work typically depicts the natural world – wildlife of different sorts in locales as varied. The scenes are surreal as strange groupings of animals converge on a single canvas. However, some sort of order appears to be breaking down and a chaos not often found in nature seems to be gaining ground. Rockman’s paintings illustrate a wider ecological anxiety over our troubled world. In a way he uses his paintings as a form of protest. The work becomes a powerful expression of deep concern that is easy to feel.
Over the weekend I had the pleasure of dropping by my neighborhood museum, the Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA), to check out new work by Guillermo Bert. The digital age has managed to find its way into places the mechanical age was never quite able to get to. In the exhibition’s accompanying essay, Peter Frank claims that this phenomenon has resulted in the poor becoming “confident operators” of this advanced technology. Of course accessibility is a good thing, but one can also argue that the arrival of this kind of technology can also put indigenous culture and tradition at risk. By combining QR Code technology with the very traditional art of textile weaving, Bert is bringing this infiltration of culture to the surface. The codes, when scanned with your mobile device, play one of a series of documentary films that contain several engaging protagonists who help unfold the story of the Mapuche people. Throughout history, textiles have been used by indigenous cultures to pass on the story of a culture from generation to generation. Perhaps Bert’s “encoded textiles” are a strange evolution of that tradition.
Laura Bird, out of London, makes beautiful Norse-Children’s Book Illustration hybrids by illustrating with pen and ink and paint and even papier-mâché. Her illustrations evoke a bit of whimsy with such toothy faces and happy colors, crossing over from paper in the the three-dimensional world.
Artist Danny van Rynswyk’s latest work is a series of captivating digital paintings and three dimensional painted sculptures reminiscent of Victorian era portraits Skulls, Aliens and Beetles: Enter The Demonic Monochromatic Characters of Danny van Rynswyk and curio shop items. They are all monochromatic and depict a series of moody characters in contemplative stances. They are all dressed in Victorian era clothing and are sometimes sporting rabbit or demon masks which add to their eerie masquerade. His characters also have disturbingly childlike traits which add to the odd atmosphere of his project. His work is both beautiful and grotesque and in many ways inspired by the surreal and the deep, dark corners of the imagination.
He creates his work with the help of 3D software, which allows him to combine fine art and technology. He paints the sculptures by hand and, as a finishing touch, places them under antique glass domes, which add to the curio shop aspect of his work. The glass domes also add to magic of his pieces and make them look like precious collector’s items.
Van Rynswyk’s abundant use of skulls, gothic imagery and wide eyed characters reminds one of Tim Burton. The shadows in his work are purely German Expressionist in the way that they are painted, and play off an absence of light in order to create a stonger atmosphere. His work is the stuff of dreams and nightmares, anatomy and science fiction and it allows the audience to create narratives surrounding his peculiar characters.
Alex Guiry is a photographer who wields his camera in the passionate exploration of untamed environments and the people that inhabit them. Based in Vancouver, Canada, Guiry’s images are drenched with the rain, beauty, serenity, and intensity of the Pacific Northwest. This particular photo series, entitled Naked Nothing, embraces nude portraiture— male and female — in natural and urban landscapes, framing it not as an object of sexualized desire, but rather as a means to celebrate selfhood and let go of inhibiting insecurities; whether running through a field, arching between trees, or balancing on urinals, each body is strong, confident, and standing up with an identity that needs only itself for validation. In a fascinating and eloquent statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Guiry further explained his socially-informed approach to photography:
“All genders have a tough time with body image, and a number of my models have opened up to me about battling with an eating disorder. For a lot of them, this is their first time undressing in front of a camera — or a stranger for that matter — and I’d like to think when I shoot with these girls, something brilliant happens: they realize how liberating it is to be naked, happy with themselves, and to not give a fuck. […] I want to portray these girls as someone who wants to be there, behind the camera, not overpowered, submissive, fragile, or backed into the corner by the male gaze of the photographer and audience. The nudity draws the viewer in, and holds their attention long enough to rethink why they came here in the first place.”
Furthering the images’ ability to heal and empower, Naked Nothing also holds a personal significance for Guiry. His father died shortly before he began the project. Explaining the series’ connection to this event, and how photography can reconcile trauma and restore peace, Guiry writes:
“Naked Nothing is where I could secretly curate my feelings of pain, loss, love, depression, and the rebirthing cycle. My largest anxieties are about my relationships with people, so in my work I’ve romanticized three key figures that are vaguely present in most of my stories: my father, an ex, and the girl I can’t have. Being active in nature, paying attention to light, and listening to zen philosophy, have all helped to calm the constant commentary. Learning to use photography as a tool has been a large part of my healing process as well.”
The combination of nudity and photography as a means to spiritual and bodily healing has appeared in some of Guiry’s other series; Running on Empty, for example, is a photo essay of a young woman’s journey through bulimia towards self-love and acceptance. And whether documenting the body in its nude state or not, all of Guiry’s lifestyle portraiture is infused with the same passion and search for the subject’s empowerment. Check out his website, Tumblr, and Facebook for more examples of his beautiful and heartfelt work.
When Philadelphia-based artist Drew Leshko cycles around his neighborhood, he can’t help but look at the buildings, windows, doors, posters, trash cans and signs around him in a very different way than most people do. For him, they are the beginning of his next project – shrinking them into miniature replicas of themselves on a scale of 1:12. He cuts, glues, builds, layers, and sculpts 3D versions of different store fronts from wood and paper. Leshko says his art form is a way of preserving and archiving the condition of the buildings on his street, the rate and speed of gentrification and also comments on what people consider worth preserving, and what is worth destroying.
His paper sculptures are nostalgic of a time past; a look at his local life when he was younger; a recreation of what was. He has created versions of his grandfather’s camper from the 80s, a local church, a strip bar, a cigarette outlet, a deli, dumpsters, even vending machines. The accuracy of his miniatures and the attention to detail are what make his sculptures as impressive as they are. He even paints rust on over the old gutters or windows and puts acid rain deposits on the footpaths.
Leshko has not only been busy making building facades and details, he has also turned his attention to replicating campervans.
The buildings are huge undertakings and take a lot of time and patience. So I began to think about some smaller sculptures I could make, but most importantly, what type of objects can be constructed of paper? I started to think about tractor-trailers, vans, food trucks, and similar vehicles when I landed on camper trailers. My work has always included commentary on the temporal nature of things, so the transient nature of “RV culture” fits right in to that idea. (Source)
Leshko’s celebration of a particular moment in time is a good reminder to appreciate the way things are in our own neighborhoods – because they will certainly be changing, for better or worse.