“This spot was once a prosperous place” says Mexican artist Raúl Gasque. “It used to be one of the top commercial shrimp fishing ports in Mexico and now its an abandoned space.” This photography series, Metonymic Tropic, is Gasque’s way of capturing his nostalgia for what was: an affluent port that thrived during a prosperous economy and the rule of prolific leaders.
The decay shown through these images serve as a visual metaphor of an overall state of destruction and crisis. Although apocalyptic and dark, Gasque’s way of juxtaposing decay and bright blue waters or skies gives the composition an alternate uplifting meaning, one he hopes his viewers can somehow find upon careful and willful inspection.
The photos are metaphors of the present time in humanity: ghost towns, crisis, climate change consequences, but in the horizon the blue skies transmit us a way of hope and redemption.
Even in the darkest of photographs in the collection we are able to pinpoint a source of inspiration and beauty. Destruction always call for re-birth and rehabilitation and it is safe to say that through his photographs, Gasque makes a case of nostalgia but most importantly a myriad of observations that may in fact rebuild his faith in something that might return to the way it was.
Aesop’s pranksters, villains and modest heroes are apposite subjects for sculptor Nicola Hicks, whose work frequently balances the mythical and the anthropomorphic.This exceptional selection of new sculptures form a body of work surrounding contemporary themes, imbuing great energy and combining complex compositions with painstakingly detailed expressions.
It is important to recognize that Hicks is not interested in merely illustrating the fables, rather the works serve as a catalyst for her creative process, providing the foundation upon which she is able to express her own personal visual language. Furthermore, the lively narrative has enabled Hicks to continue her investigation into the effects of gravity on the physicality and assemblage of the works, whilst allowing her to pursue her chosen composition.
The raw-edged, tactile nature of these works epitomizes Hicks’ delight in sculpting. Plaster is blended and contoured into natural forms creating aesthetic qualities rich with spontaneity and strength so as to capture the essence of the characters.This, combined with the large scale of the sculptures forces us to confront the realities of the fables.
Rather than depicting the resolution of each of the fables, the animals are frozen in their moments of decision.The expression of the transitory moment serves to evoke the innate sensibilities of her subjects.The foolish crow has not yet dropped his cheese, unaware that soon he will be hungry and mocked on his branch.
Amanda Clyne’s paintings compare the similarities between fashion photography and historical portraits of society’s elite. Amidst today’s cultural fascination with beauty and persona, Amanda’s paintings critique our digital obsession and question the consequences for human intimacy.
Since the internet, the never-ending evolution of words and phrases changes like the blink of an eye. These neon signs were created from the messy scrawl of Seattle-based artist Dylan Neuwirth. Plucking from modern day “web speak,” Dylan has made a collection of glowing emblems that mark our point in history, almost to the second. There’s nothing more attention grabbing than a neon sign, and this installation illuminates the oddities of modern day speech in a playful way. The universal appeal of this work is enhanced by the statelessness of it; words and phrases not directly from any one region or culture, but drifting out from the collective voice of the internet.
Neuwirth describes where he fits into it: “I see myself not as a regional artist or attached to any one place… I want to be everywhere. Make work that looks like it could be anywhere. To be singular and be synonymous at the same time. Like a totally underground electronic artist who infiltrates the top charts only to return to the murky depths again.”
You can’t help but think: what slang will we be using five years from now, one year from now, or even a month from now?
Bowling Green’s Jordan Speer creates spacious worlds of clumps and lumps that bring to mind what would’ve occurred if Philip Guston had happened to have access to a 3D modeling program. Jordan starts in a subdivision modeler called Wings 3D where he creates each element of the image, and he then stages them in Cinema 4D, which allows him to apply lighting and various textures. Once the file is complete, he tweaks the image in Adobe Photoshop, prints the image out, and then scans it back into his computer at either a high or low resolution setting. In spite of its heavily digital origin, Speer’s work physically manifests itself in the forms of zines, short-form comics, show posters, and publication covers.
Speer’s isometric view strengthens the image’s technical origins, while his comically gory content and grainy finish give it an organic touch. With the colors of a clown’s wardrobe Speer arranges mysterious peeks into a world where dismemberment and assembly are spontaneous and painless. His vision is uniquely his, sitting somewhere between the fashionably crude renderings of the many artists dabbling in 3D programs, and the professionally-polished films of Dreamworks and Pixar. He just released QCHQ through Space Face Books, a 68-page full-color book, and he created the wrap-around cover image for the eagerly awaited Happiness #4. It’s exciting to think about where Speer will continue to push this unique look, be it into a long-form animation or a graphic novel.
Ana Bidart‘s sculptures resemble small geological models. She wears away layers and layers of paper to create each piece. Reminiscent of rolls of receipt paper or even toilet paper, her medium in this series usually has a particularly utilitarian purpose. Her sculptures emphasize the objects’ more poetic characteristics. Though solid and consistent in appearance Bidart exposes the many layers that form the whole. Her work easily lends itself to various metaphors.
Chen-Dao Lee paints highly stylized pop images that are a kind of Taiwanese version of a Quentin Tarantino neo-noir film. Painted in candyfloss pinks, reds and blues, his work borders on anime, or a kind of twisted superhero comic. His subjects are powerful women (and peculiar men) who have a cynicism, sexuality and also a sickly sweetness about them. Posed together, armed with guns and wearing frilly socks and high heels, or engaged in a semi-erotic masked wrestling fight, Lee’s characters are contemporary individuals, expressing the whole spectrum of emotions.
In his recent series, Lee has shifted from depicting a logical scenario in his paintings to focusing on the figures entanglement to describe emotions or relationships which are ambiguous, embarrassing or even helpless. Beautiful young women and fallen heroes frequently appear in Lee’s works as a symbol of the projection of modern people’s inner contradictions. (Source)
With titles like Cat fight – Love Kick, Boss, Not The Hero Type, Valentine, BFF, Lee embraces a kind of feminism with a dark sense of humor. He paints scenarios loaded with sexual innuendo, but instead of them being erotic, or about power plays, he focuses on ennui. The women (and men) show a lack of enthusiasm and engagement, but rather a nonchalance about what ever is going on around them.
His past series have included paintings of women guiltily carrying loads of fast food, indulgent night life scenes with money being tossed around, strange card nights, groups of men eating sushi off a blow-up doll, and overweight men with bad tan lines wearing cute costume masks. Lee is able to blend sarcasm, skepticism and empathy to create instant modern day classics. (Via Illusion Scene)