San Diego-based artist Seyo Cizmic works largely within the realm of the surreal. From hammers that droop to knock nails into their own bodies to wooden pencils with thorns built into them, many of the objects Cizmic creates are meant to confound the viewer. Barely any of them are usable in the practical sense of the item, presenting a challenge to viewers about what exactly these objects could be meant for. Some are rife with humor, such as Cyclops’ Shades, a pair of tie-dyed flower child sunglasses with only one lens, or Fish Machine Bank, a gum ball machine filled with goldfish. They’re sculptures that are meant to be questioned, scrutinized, perhaps even laughed at. Cizmic’s objects are of a different world, one in which backwards is forwards, in which objects that don’t follow reason are a new, cockeyed normal.
Within the nonsensical nature of Cizmic’s objects, however, lie larger issues at play. There’s With God on Our Side, a gold-plated sword with a crucifix at the base, joining religious iconography with an image of violence. Then there’s the self-explanatory In God, Money, and Guns We Trust, in which a pair of disembodied gold arms in military regalia hold a dollar bill up as if in prayer. Despite having his tongue pressed firmly against his cheek, Cizmic often layers his sculptures and installations with these deeper meanings, making the scrutiny and perplexity they evoke all the more rewarding.
Chen Chen’s products are at once beautiful and repulsive, which is what I love about them. Imagine serving your guests a frosty beverage on his “Cold Cuts” coasters or arranging your Lilies of the Valley in his “Swell” vase.
I Don't Believe In Anything But This Is Transcendent
Drew Beckmeyer creates quirky paintings that fuse visuals from different times and spaces, often pairing unexpected scenes with seemingly personal and historical references. They are both charming and mysterious works that teeter between whimsical and ominous. Beautiul/Decay recently interviewed Drew regarding his process, and even took a sneak peak at his studio behind the scenes.
Zhe Chen‘s confessional photographic series “The Bearable” has spanned a few years (2007 – 2010) and is a deeply personal journey of her own experiences with self harm. Her frank photos are very confrontational as she forces us to examine our own comfortability with such a terse subject. The close ups of bruised and battered skin, weeping nipples, bloodied and soiled sheets are not easily digestible images. In fact they are so hard to ignore, and are so powerful, that they immediately break down the taboos of any open discussion surrounding this subject. She says this about her work:
‘I hope my photographs inquire upon society’s prejudice and preconception towards this community, and not become illustrations or pictorial evidence for the topic at hand: every subject is an individual, not just ‘one of them’ – his or her life cannot be predicted or dictated by any constructed social code or notion. Depression plants the seed of introspection. I hope a first glance of my work conveys the idea of secrecy and sentiments, under which lies information awaiting exposure and recognition: like an index page pointing towards all the unanswered questions.’ (Source)
The L.A. based, Chinese artist teamed “The Bearable” series of her own self-mutilation with another, titled “The Bees“. Approaching the same subject from a different angle, she features a marginalized group of people in China who are so downtrodden and alienated that they feel the need to express their emotional oppression outwardly on their own bodies. Understanding the need for self-harm is such a complex story that most people tiptoe around, Chen wants to put it directly in front of us and see how we react.(Via Feature Shoot)
Paris based designer Laurent Desgrange not only creates some interesting apparel including fancy bow ties but he also has a great collection of psychedelic collages which sometimes find their way on his apparel.
How’s this for a big surprise… Shaquille O’Neal has curated an exhibition at the FLAG Art Foundation in New York that opens this weekend and runs through May 27th. Fittingly titled Size Does Matter, the show explores different ways that scale affects perception, which shouldn’t be much of a shocker because the big fella checks in at 7’1″ and over 320 pounds! Some of the artists he picked for the exhibition include: Chuck Close, Tim Hawkinson, Ron Mueck, Andreas Gursky, Evan Penny, Richard Pettibon, Elizabeth Peyton, Cindy Sherman… Shaq might have got a few pointers along the way, but those are some heavy hitters, and the complete list is pretty dang impressive. There’s even a comprehensive catalogue with an essay by bestselling author and big fraud James Frey – hey nobody said there wasn’t an element of promotion going on. Here’s an interesting little interview from New York Magazine. Love this Q & A – Do you ever get time to visit museums?
I used to go a lot with my kids. Donald Trump is a great friend, and he has four or five Picassos on his plane. And that’s where I would look at them. One time, I was at a museum and tried touching a Picasso. You break it, you buy it, they said. I was told it would cost $2 million.
With simple masking tape, photographer Robert Chase Heishman transforms everyday spaces into flat, geometric scenes. This effect creates an illusive new space, redefined by new boundaries. Whether the tapes’ colors are bright or more subdued, the effect is stark. He creates new shapes within the photograph, or uses the tape to create a framed effect for the photograph. If the photographs were stripped of tape, the photographs would be a bit dull. By adding the tape to some of his scenes, Heishman creates the effect of a lost dimension. Because his designs are so thoughtfully shaped, it takes more than a glance at these photographs to recognize that the tape has been placed onto the scene and not the photograph. When he’s not masking his surroundings with tape, Heishman also works with video and sculpture to explore similar themes like peripheral vision, flatness, and digital affect. He lives and works in Chicago. (via from89)
Didier Blondeau, quite obviously from France, is an incredible graphite artist (fancy-talk for someone who draws with pencils, but you knew that). One cannot fathom that the image above is hand drawn, and not a beautiful, rich in contrast black and white photograph.