Not much to it. Just amazing eye candy for 4.40 minutes.
Lithuanian artist Ray Bartkus has recently painted an intricate mural on the sides of a building near water in the Lithuanian town of Marijampolé, depicting swimmers, dolphins, and other aquatic scenes. Upon first glance, it merely looks like upside down street art. However, this mural has one very particular characteristic: it is painted upside down, in such a way that it must be reflected into the water in order to be complete.
The reflected version of the mural makes it seem like the water is full of swans, boats and people swimming. He has managed to create a clever combination of art and nature, by painting his art upside down; he has made it dependent on the reflection of the water in order for it to reach its full potential. Once the mural is projected into the water, it becomes a whole new work of art.
On top of the originality of this idea is the execution itself. The precision with which Bartkus has painted his landscape is amazing. He gets up close to the wall to paint all the lines, dots, and shapes necessary to achieve perfect symmetry in his mural’s reflection. He has managed to paint everything upside down and by doing so, he has a created a mural that goes both towards the sky and into the water.
Anish Kapoor is easily one of the greatest sculptors making work today. His work could be simply described as minimal but have you ever seen a minimal artist who continually creates objects that pack such a powerful punch? Each work trumps the next in size, location, illusion, and scale.
Philadelphia’s Kyle Fisher creates paintings on wood that move in and out of the grain with a mind of their own, compositions that present themselves boldly to the world while receding into contemplative distance all at once.
Deliberate, but slickly nonchalant, they could totally pass as the love-child of an Audrey Kawaski ageless vixen and a Mr. Jago aerosol android. But that description wouldn’t go anywhere near properly crediting these immersive works, which stand well enough on their own.
Fisher is a co-founder of Part Time Studios, a great gallery/collective in Philly.
Romanian artist Bogdan Rata’s highly psychological sculptures contort and mold the human body. Using polyester, synthetic resin, paint, and metal, he forms hybrid realism in his mutated versions of our anatomy. Where skin usually holds a warm glow, his work exhibits a pale, lifeless aura. Limbs sit detached from the body, or even more disturbing, emerge from an unnatural place, like the face. Both unsettling and intriguing, Rata’s sculptures twist and contort, making us feel uncomfortable and suddenly very aware of our own bodies.
The sculptor’s deformed misfits reflect on the imperfection felt about our own bodies and appearances. Our own insecurities are met and reflected in Rata’s psychologically surreal artwork. His work is not only hard to look at due to their grotesque qualities, but the positions many of the sculptures are in appear painful and awkward. Each piece seems to be uncomfortable in its own skin, uncertain of its own body and what to do with it. This is a feeling we can often relate to, as becoming confident in our bodies is often a difficult part of life. Rata hints at the confusion and difficulties brought on by self-identity issues in such works as his bust of a man with no face. His distorted figures are lost, looking for acceptance. Although they at first seem misshapen and horrifying, a strange beauty and compassion can be found in Rata’s fascinating work.
Although We Were Once a Fairytale (2007) begins slowly, with Kanye West stumbling drunkenly around a nightclub, the short film offers strange but rare insight into the celebrity/artist/god’s psychological complexes in a totally strange and successful way. He accomplishes this by stabbing himself in a bathroom, and producing a rodent from his guts. One of the main criticisms thrown Kanye’s way (other than pointing to his spectacular ego) is his inability to express himself coherently, but in his collaboration with Spike Jonze, Kanye seems to accomplish seemingly genuine and recognizable sentiment.
At first all of your assumptions about Kanye are affirmed: seeing him act like a shithead around the club, pitching back and forth barely able to stand, he is almost too easy to dislike. It’s about halfway through, when he ends up in the bathroom alone, that things begin to change. After he stabs himself, the vulnerable and repulsive creature he extracts from his streaming red-ribbon viscera creates an inner layer of Kanye most people are perhaps even unwilling to concede to him. Depending on how you look at it, it could be as cheesy/naive Bound 2 music video, but it’s difficult not to respect Kanye for the attempt to bare something deeper even when he is bashed so vehemently by pretty much anyone. The film defies direct interpretations. You have a sense of what the rodent represents: something living within, curious and grotesque, but it’s difficult to make sense of his relationship to the creature when he hands it a miniature knife. The final shot of Kanye’s expression maintains the ambiguity of the event, and keeps you thinking about it long after.
A while back we posted a great studio visit with NYC painter Brendan Cass. While combing vimeo I stumbled across these 2 videos of Brendan both in the studio and giving a walk through of his show at Lars Bohman gallery in Stockholm. Both videos give an insiders look into Brendan’s techniques, references, and thought process. I appreciated Brendan’s openness and sincerity about his work.
I’ve always loved hearing artists speak about how the create their work. There is so much thought that goes into making a painting that the viewer doesn’t see with a quick glance. This made me think about my own studio practice and all the dots that I try to connect in my head as I’m making work. There are many times when i try out new things in my paintings not knowing if viewers will pick up on it. I guess that’s just how it goes. You’ll never know what the outcome will be if you don’t take that first step and try.