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Carly Janine Mazur Paints Nude Figures In Emotional, Metaphorical Settings

Repose - Metamorphosis (2015)

Repose – Metamorphosis (2015)

Cupid's Target (2014)

Cupid’s Target (2014)

Unearthed - Metamorphosis (2015)

Unearthed – Metamorphosis (2015)

Turmoil - Metamorphosis (2015)

Turmoil – Metamorphosis (2015)

Carly Janine Mazur is a Connecticut-based artist who paints portraits of realistic nude figures in metaphorical, emotional settings. One woman surrenders her heart to a monster; another is feverishly overcome by black, smothering roots; and another meditates deeply as shadows slowly arise around her. Each of Mazur’s portraits have an almost mythic or esoteric quality; using nudity and abstract forms together to unearth spiritual experiences, Mazur captures scenes of rapture and agony that transcend the limitations of the corporeal body.

Resonating with Mazur’s expressive content is the artist’s own experience of creating it. Several of the images here are from Mazur’s Metamorphosis series, which is currently being exhibited at the Arch Enemy Arts gallery in Philadelphia. Characterized by organic imagery and dark, flowing forms that both embrace and overwhelm the figures, this series teeters on the edge between life and death, ecstasy and despair, chaos and serenity. For Mazur, Metamorphosis involved finding balance in her process, and allowing art and emotion to flow naturally—although the journey was uncertain.

“While working on Metamorphosis, I broke, and I’m not afraid to admit it,” Mazur explains in her Artist Spotlight. “I was completely cut down by the challenge of creating a visual theme. My first attempt at pushing through the ‘cocoon’ left me disheartened and doubting my ability to create. The first piece in the series, then titled ‘Limbo,’ fell apart emotionally and compositionally, and I felt crushed by looming deadlines, although still a ways away, dominating the horizon.” (Source)

After a few days of creative purgatory, Mazur realized that “metamorphosis is an organic process, following a limited set of rules and drawing from a limited set of resources.” By setting these boundaries, Mazur was able to let her artwork and energies flow between them. The result is a series of stunning portraits that embody both intensity and clarity, bound seamlessly together by their style, theme, and emotional resonance.

Metamorphosis will be on view until August 30th. Visit Mazur’s website and Tumblr to view more. She also has a YouTube channel where she uploads time-lapse videos of her paintings. (Via Hi-Fructose)    

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Christopher Michlig: The Image of the City

Christopher Michlig is a Los Angeles-based artist interested in constructed environments. His show at the Devening Projects + Editions in Chicago is up until December 8.  Check it out while you still can! This post is a mix of his current Chicago show and the show at Marine Contemporary that just ended. Great stuff!

“The term “urban fabric” often refers to everything that makes up the built environment, excluding environmental, economic, functional and sociocultural actualities. Using raw material culled from an archive of merchant posters Christopher Michlig collected from LA streets, Patternesque is a group of 16 collages, each a pattern study riffing on idiosyncratic typographic anatomy. While each collage is a distinct composition, common threads run throughout. Emphasizing the flexible, open-ended nature of the project, the work also suggests the morphology of urban space. Alongside the collages, Michlig presents a group of architecture-related relief sculptures. Based on a tradition of architectural model making in which massing models are used to dimensionally summarize the fundamental forms of buildings, Michlig’s “City Plan” relief sculptures interpret typographic space as proposed city plans. Reflective of the spaces from which the original posters were collected, while simultaneously nondescript, each city plan forces a consideration of the power dynamic of language itself as an imagined built environment.” – Christopher Michlig
photo credit: Josh White

 

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Diane Arbus: Photographing Freaks Or The Costumes We Wear Year-Round

Diane Arbus - Photography

Diane Arbus - Photography Diane Arbus - Photography

Diane Arbus - Photography

As we wave goodbye to Halloween, let’s take a minute to mediate on the innately striking work of Diane Arbus and her unbiased approach to documenting not just the spookier side of humanity, but even more so, the masks or costumes we present to the world as a species, as human beings, as ourselves . . . year-round.

Now, when I use the word “unbiased” here I am not suggesting Arbus’s eye is roaming and invisible. Quite the contrary. Her eye is always distinctly there: focused, from one frame to the next. This “unbiased” quality has more to do with her indiscriminate examination of each subject in the same oddly intimate and unflinching way– regardless of class, age, gender, sexual preference, or race. In other words, a child with a toy hand grenade in the park looks equally as strange as the a woman lounging next to a toy poodle or a handful of residents dressed up on Halloween at a home for the mentally retarded. No one person, group, or act is more privileged. No one is all the more beautiful. We are all playing dress-up as far as identity and image is concerned.

By seeking out each individual’s innate desire to present him or herself and critically or creatively twisting that into her own perception of costume in each person’s presentation, Arbus became not just a photographer, but an alchemist, shifting our ideas of self, reality, and personal intention. Whether you are a part of celebrity culture or a more marginalized society spread out along the fringe, Arbus’s certain way of looking did not glorify one way of living over the other.

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Artist Interview: Rainer Hosch

 

Rainer Hosch is a commercial photographer who has shot brilliant portraits of everyone from the über-famous design star Philippe Starck to the shock maestro himself, John Waters.  But in his series entitled Tour de Monde, Rainer shot everything for himself. And so the pictures accompanying this interview aren’t editorials or ads, but rather a rare glimpse into what an awesome commercial photographer like Rainer Hosch sees through the viewfinder of his camera when he doesn’t have to worry about selling the end result.

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Jeffrey Stockbridge Photographs Philadelphia’s Urban Decay

Jeffrey Stockbridge Urban Decay

Urban Decay Photography

Urban Decay

During the 19th century, Kensington Avenue in North Philadelphia was a symbol of abundance and prosperity. It once was nationally recognized as one of the leaders in the textile industry. Today, Kensington Avenue is abundant in prostitution, drug lords, drug addicts, and poverty.

Photographer Jeffrey Stockbridge, intrigued by Kensington’s history and current situation, creates Kensington Blues, a collection of photographs that capture the essence of the infamous North Philly Avenue and its urban decay by focusing on its daily activity, its inhabitants, and its cluttered,dirty landscapes in decay.

Stockbridge deliberately chooses to work with a large format (mostly used in early photography), not only for its obvious perks in quality, but also, it seems, to juxtapose the histories of two very different times in Kensington Avenue. With a 4×5 camera, Stockbridge slows down the current hectic and toxic flow in Kensington in hopes of shining a light onto his subject’s day-to-day struggles and their surroundings- making us, the viewers, reconsider our quick judgments about them and what they do on a daily basis.

The photographer records new found observations though images, audio recordings and journal entries. (Via Ignant)

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Michael Schouflikir

French artist Michael Schouflikir’s work revolves the daily struggles we have with technology & modern human condition. Basically, the condition of our machines and nature that becomes more and more machine-like. We’re beat out and attacked by overgrown plants, take escalators towards our certain future of decapitation, and develop USB flash drives as bones. But don’t we kind of like it?

 

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Carly Waito is Crystal Clear

Carly Waito’s paintings are so crystal clear you have to look twice to make sure they’re not photos. They’re all oil paintings on panel and I’ve gotta say, this is one girl who has surely mastered her craft. She’s picked such interesting gems as subjects, and represents them flawlessly. I’m just as enamored with every new one I see as I was with the one before. She exhibits with Narwhal Art Projects in Toronto, Canada, if you’re lucky enough to be in the area, I’m sure they’re breathtaking in person. 

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Jesse Wiedel

JESSE WIEDEL

Jesse Wiedel, who studied in San Francisco at the Art Institute, has an interesting outlook on life. His paintings focus on what he calls “fictionalized tableaus that are sad, coarse and degenerate.” These “streetscapes” depict street culture for what it is: weird, sad, fascinating and for some of us, alien. 

 

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