Long before the magic of Photoshop and its ability to manipulate came the work of Herbert List, a surrealist photographer working from the mid-1930’s through the 1960’s. His black and white images feature fake scientific models with their skin cut away and their guts partially exposed. This isn’t a particularly unusual sight- they are things you’d see in a classroom or museum – and show historical ways of practicing medicine. But, it’s how he frames the images that gives them an unnerving feel. Compositions are tightly cropped and provide us little context for what’s around them; it creates an air of mystery.
List was influenced by the paintings of Giorgio de Chirico, which is evident as we see these statues that seem to exist in a void. They’re moody and strange, and List’s documentary-style photographs show how strange things are when presented a deliberate way. (Via Boing Boing and My Amp Goes to 11)
The pollution crisis in China is reaching an all time high. With over 500,000 people dying each year from diseases related to the air quality, it’s a time for action. A company in China called Xiao Zhu has decided to educate the public on just how serious the matter is. They have literally shone a light on the culprits – by projecting images of crying children’s faces onto the guilty factories’ billowing towers of smoke and pollution. As most of the victims of air pollution are children, this artistic protest has a hard hitting message. Stop now, or the future generations will continue to suffer.
The faces themselves are quite hard to stomach. Twisted and contorted faces fade in and out of the smoke clouds. Young boys are covering their mouths with masks trying to breathe without pain. It is an emotionally charged subject, and the company normally responsible for selling air filters have tapped into the drama of the situation. Their creative approach to such a huge environmental problem is working – people are noticing and spreading the word.
Xiao Zhu write this statement to accompany their video on Youtube:
We decided to put a spotlight on air pollution’s biggest culprits—the factories—by using the actual pollution from the factories as a medium…. Clean the air, let the future breathe again. (Source)
Not only is this a message for the whole nation, and world, but most specifically for the industry that is causing the damage. And I’m sure they won’t be able to avoid looking up at their own factories and see the mess they are creating. (Via The Creator’s Project)
Henrijs Preiss was born in Latvia, and has lived in Riga, Berlin and London. His Russian Icon and Italian Renaissance influenced paintings are pretty sweet. Preiss translates archetypal symbols from Islam, Judaism and Christianity into textured paintings composed of gold, silver and red. His abstract paintings are constructed in a process that recalls the practice of alchemy. Keep the medieval paintings coming!
Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou’s photographs of the people of Porto-Novo, Benin (formerly Republic of Dahomey) are drawn from street life, his friends, family and studio customers. Benin is all about colour – Porto Novo is like a visual assault.In Leonce’s impressive portraits, wild combinations of locally designed Dutch imported textiles create extreme gradations between background, foreground, person and clothing. Leonce is part of a generation experiencing rapid change and his photographs capture the energy and unfettered zest for life of a people caught between tradition and progress.
Evan Robarts lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His playful sculptures are constructed from found objects and industrial materials. Robarts reinvigorates everyday items like brooms, hockey sticks, and bicycle frames when he transforms them into vibrant compositions. In one piece the combination of cake sprinkles and plaster results in a dazzling abstraction that looks good enough to eat. Another body of work utilizes Popsicle sticks and ink to imitate a plane of freshly melted treats. Robarts’ zestful work triggers multiple senses and reminds us that exuberance can be found in all things.
Ebony G. Patterson constructs immense and elaborate installations filled with everything you can think of. The artist creates intricate work both attractive and kitschy, using mannequins, sunglasses, beads, beer bottles, and lots of gaudy jewelry. Interested in mixed media tapestries, video, and photography, she often incorporates one or all of these different techniques into her work, creating a complexity of objects and imagery. Exploring racial and gender politics, she uses photographs, mannequins, and clothing to make reference to ‘popular black’ culture in her art. Her work, so filled with patterns and flashy objects, is highly satirical, commenting on race, questioning stereotypes often associated with the culture she is representing. Concepts on beauty are also questioned, as the figures in her work are adorned with jewelry, bright colors, and flashy clothing. Although the mannequins appear to be making an attempt to look attractive, they inevitably look over-the-top and ridiculous.
When you see Patterson’s installations, there is an overwhelming sense of color and pattern inviting you to examine every last detail of the chaotic mass of objects. You get lost in a see of mismatched clothing and clashing patterns, all shown like a department store display. Transforming her mannequins into striking objects participating in her art, their individual genders are often blurred, pointing out pre-conceived notions concerning the masculine and feminine. Her installations not only have mannequins, but also still humans that appear to be inanimate until they spring to life, turning her installation into a performance piece. This talented Chicago-based artist creates confrontational work that, due to content and appearance, is not easily ignored
Noah Sheldon’s well rounded portfolio has a little bit of everything for everyone. My favorite photos are his landscape shots. Although they are images of familiar places, the composition and perspectives make them feel like worlds from a far away galaxy. Noah also has a hilarious series of cat photos wearing human clothes for those of you who need a good laugh during the work week. All of this and more after the jump!