The subject of Miljohn Ruperto‘s work in the recent 2014 Whitney Biennial is taken from the mysterious Voynich manuscript. Dating back to the 15th century, the book contains indecipherable text, whose authorship, has been credited throughout history to aliens, ancient Mayans, and long forgotten tribes. It repeatedly stumps the brightest scholars and laymen making it one of the greatest and most misunderstood academic mysteries of all time. The only clues to its origins lie in 126 unidentified botanical studies accompanying the text. The illustrations of plants and figures, drawn in a weirdly fantastical style, tell a story which seem to mirror life’s age old mysteries. The project involving Ruperto and his collaborator, Ulrik Heltoft began by making 3D models of the plants, which were then photographed and transferred onto black and white analog film.
The end result, is a series of creepy snap shots recalling old hollywood publicity stills. Creakily formed branches and stems appear as strange appendages, as the plants take on otherworldly shapes illuminated by sinister shadows. The staging of Voynich’s botany not only becomes haunting and striking but everlasting, offering the viewer a mostly cinematic experience. An ongoing project, it will continue with the duo creating new photos of the specimens accompanied by large paintings of an enigmatic planet known as 55 canri e. 55 cancri e is part of the cancri planetary system which revolves around our sun. Astrophysicists have suggested it might be composed entirely out of diamonds. This came to light after studies found when the planet passed in front of the sun, it absorbed an enormous amount of energy. However, much like the Voynich and due to its enormous distance from earth shall probably only remain escapist fodder for our intellectual pursuits.
Northern Irish, Australian based artist Emma Coulter creates large scale colorful illusions that break the boundaries between painting, sculpture, installation, and interior design. Her work, being painted or installed directly on the walls, are site specific, allowing each vibrant piece to exist as a reaction and assessment of it’s environment. She notes that “spatiality in painting has long been a problem in the history of art.” Her process allows to her “utilis(e) space as a raw material,” challenging the traditional approach to figure out and investigate the issue of space and light. Her use of color and geometry employs a distortion of the space— creating illusory elements that both add and destroy previous conceptions of reality. Within in artist statement, Coulter explains:
“I see colour as an object or material to be manipulated through placement, proportion and adjacency in response to space. I am interested in challenging our assumptions about colour. It is a commonly misunderstood material, that is often associated with not being critical or serious. Through my systematic approach to colour and the spatiality of painting, I hope to reveal something new about the practice of painting and its potential to blur boundaries and adapt environments.”
Her use of color, big, bold and bright, is a nice wink to conceptual minimalist artists such as Sol LeWiitt; her work captures that same notion of a somehow clean experimentation. Truly a contemporary take on difficult and endless artistic quandaries. (via PICDIT)
Australian illustrator Stuart McLachlan works in a variety of styles but his cut paper pieces for fashion and editorial are the most powerful. These intricate hand made pieces have been used extensively on the fashion runway and have been published in Vogue, Karen magazine, on book covers, posters, editorial and commissioned art.
“Paper is a medium without boundaries, it can be molded, formed and cut into almost any form imaginable, I endeavour to push its physical boundaries and create imagery and art that is not expected from such a delicate structured material. The goal of art is to surprise and excite, to bring something new to the table.
Art is our universal language, one which all of us relate to in one way or another, be that sculpture, painting, film, music or even sport. The practice of ‘hand making’ my work is integral to what I do as I believe this is what fascinates people, they love rediscovering that it is still possible to create arresting objects and images by hand, and I get great joy from the challenge of bringing them to life.”
Surprising, colorful patches have been appearing on the scarred roadways in Chicago. In an effort to bring art and beauty where once there was neglect and deterioration, artist Jim Bachor embarked on a project to fill potholes with mosaics of ice cream. Named “Treats in the Streets,” each lighthearted piece blends seamlessly into the cracked asphalt. The best part is, as sturdy pieces deriving from an ancient (and enduring) art practice, the mosaics will likely stand up to the test of time. Bachor speaks on his passion for the medium:
Using the same materials, tools and methods of the archaic craftsmen, I create mosaics that speak of modern things in an ancient voice. My work locks into mortar unexpected concepts drawn from the present. By harnessing and exploiting the limitations of this indestructible technique, my work surprises the viewer while challenging long-held notions of what a mosaic should be. Like low-tech pixels, hundreds if not thousands of tiny, hand-cut pieces of Italian glass and marble comprise my work. (Source).
“Treats in the Streets” is also occurring in Finland. In a similar project, Bachor covered potholes with mosaics of flowers. To see me more of his clever and contemporary work, check out Bachor’s website, Facebook, and Instagram.
Cathy Opie has created a stunning new selection of portraits exploring lesbian identity in her latest body of work, “Girlfriends.” The women in her portraits range from Madonna and Angelina Jolie’s ex-girlfriend Jenny Shimizu, to Le Tigre’s JD Samson. Both honest and alluring, her photography recontextualizes the paradigm of femininity. Currently on view at New York’s Barbara Gladstone Gallery through April 24.
Artist Stefanie Herr’s topographic artworks are inspired by maps. When traveling, she writes, they facilitate navigation and orientation, and drawings by cartographers are the starting point of her work. To create her sculptures, images are printed on photographic paper, mounted on matboard, hand cut into tiny pieces and assembled. They resemble maps that show changes in elevation once completed. But, instead of rivers, plains, and mountains, Herr features faces of people.
She calls these pieces experiments on landscapes models that merge photography and sculpture. They often take weeks to complete. In an artist statement, Herr writes:
Photography abandons the two-dimensional plane and sets out to conquer the space. In search of suitable maps, however, I do not only focus on the shape of the terrain, but also on place names. As toponyms can inspire strong images or even stories, they often interfere in the development of my projects. When shooting photos, I mainly choose top, side and front view representations – I particularly like making use of “aerial” views on a scale of 1:1.
In addition to this inspiration, Herr is also concerned about environmental degradation and rapid loss of biodiversity. She further explains:
Unique natural heritage is gradually being depleted or replaced for the mere purpose of economic growth, and it seems that we have completely forgotten about the aesthetic values of landscape. As a world citizen, I am concerned about contemporary landscape change and the prevailing landscape perception. Topographic Fine Art mainly deals with these issues and, even though on a reduced scale, attempts to capture some of the natural beauty that surrounds us. (Via Lustik)
Born in Belgium in 1969, Anja Van Herle combines a European sense of high fashion in her artwork with an American sense of wonder. Her childhood years were devoted to exploring the fundamentals of her art using crayons, pencils and watercolors. In 1987, she enrolled in Belgium’s Higher Institute for Art Education where she earned a Master’s of Fine Arts in Painting. In 2003, Anja relocated to Los Angeles, where she now concentrates on figurative paintings that are inspired by both classic and contemporary fashion while exploring issues of identity, emotion and human interrelationships. As timelessly chic as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Anja’s women are playfully sexy, and their expressions and eyes tell stories that go far beyond the simple exhibition of fine fashion. In Anja’s masterful hands, fashion becomes alive.
This post presented by Next Day Flyers, the leader in cheap postcard printing services.
After her parents were murdered in Tehran, Parastou Forouhar was exiled to Germany. Just like her parents, Forouhar is critical of the Iranian government, and it is with this adherence to and separation from her Iranian identity that her work is based. Forourhar says, “The production of identity, and the repressive mechanisms by which it is reified, comprise the focus of my work. My homeland, Iran, is a constant theme in my artistic practice, but the conception is complex and continuously in flux. Beyond Iran, there is also the collective memory of Germany, where I have lived since 1991. When I arrived there, I was Parastou Forouhar, but I have since become ‘Iranian.’ Every space I inhabit is accompanied by a feeling of displacement.”
For her “Written Room” project, Forouhar covers the blank surfaces of gallery and museum spaces with Persian calligraphy. This creates an elegant aesthetic that is fragmented and fluid. “Whereas the white walls of the gallery room are raised to a universal norm and an unmarked instance, the Oriental ornament stands for difference or the deviating.The writing is also strange, if not alien, because it is illegible for Western visitors – as an ‘incomprehensible’ text it becomes a pure ornament. In defying attempts by Western visitors to assign it meaning, the script remains locked into its irreducible pictorial graphicness and indissoluble representation.” Even if one had a grasp of the Persian language, they would only be able to decipher fragments and syllables of the language that are not part of any linear order. Forouhar’s work ultimately seeks to bridge the gaps in her identity as an Iranian and German. (via fubiz)