Jason Hopkins creates digital sculptures that ooze with body horror. The collection, called “Abhominal,” is replete with organic blobs, sharp angles suggesting knees and elbows, and pink skin stretched over geometric frames, looking for all the world like fleshy jungle gyms. The similarity to the word “abominable” is surely not a coincidence. The sculptures look like science experiments gone horribly wrong.
As grotesque as they may already appear, the backstory ratchets up the queasiness: “Abhominal, an archaic word meaning inhuman, is an exploratory weblog of the human form,” Hopkins’ website says. “The digital sculptures are a fusion of geometric, architectural and biological abstract forms – a bleak evolutionary future where biotechnology has been used to make perfect posthuman beings.”
That’s right. The sculptures aren’t as innocuous as skin grafts or tumorous cell growths; they’re the imagined next step in human evolution. Hopkins takes the idea of genetic engineering and plays with the concept, mulling over and pulling out the dystopian possibilities like long strands of taffy. His artist’s statement continues:
“Humans have altered the genomes of species for thousands of years through artificial selection. Over the past 40 years scientists have made amazing technological progress to improve natures crops and mammals through genetic modifications; recently science has mapped the entire human genome and begun to realise the potential for modifying us.”
To complete the eerie effect of his digital renderings, Hopkins describes each piece with a kind of sinister optimism. One piece called, “Supermodel, Size Zero,” is a thin stretch of skin with barely human features: two sagging breasts, small clawed feet, and the occasional tiny nub. The description enthuses, “With genetic tinkering we will no longer need to fuss over what we eat.” (via Dark Silence in Suburbia)
Lucy Hilmer is a photographer who has taken nude self portraits each year for the last 40 years of her life, on her birthday. She takes the photos wearing only underwear, socks, and shoes. The act of being naked, she says, is in defiance of the prescribed definition of beauty applied to her body. Being a woman with a slim figure and classically appealing features, she found she wanted to define herself through these photographs, rather than accept the definitions of others.
It seems counter-intuitive at first to remove your clothes in photographs in order to redefine how you are perceived. If you stand nearly naked in front of a camera in a relatively neutral pose, and you are “beautiful”, chances are you will just continue to look beautiful in that photo. Still, for Hilmer it isn’t really about how others perceive her, it is about how she perceives herself. She looks beautiful throughout, as she is pregnant, as she ages, in whatever setting she’s in, because she is comfortable in her skin.
The portraits are well composed and creative. In one, Hilmer’s arm imitates the shape of a large driftwood tree beside her. In another, the dynamic composition makes her pose beside her equally naked husband (facing backward) comic but also epic against the tall trees in the background. (Via Lost at E Minor)
Tour de Fork is a creative duo made up of photographer and food stylist Claudia Castaldi and product designer Stefano Citi. The pair of “culinary creative consultants” are diving head first into revolutionizing DIY culture. Their collection of laser cut rings is a magical and intriguing combination of culinary art, 3D printing, and jewelry making. Their process is a perfect combination of technology and culinary art: The 3D printer provides them with the rings, which are laser cut and can then be decorated with various edible deserts and other foods of choice. The end result is an original ring featuring an edible jem, giving their jewelry an amusing double status of accessory and snack.
Their merging of technology and art is both clever and amusing. Making edible art seems like something out of a dream and, here it comes with the added advantage of being a DIY project which adds to the fun. Their process is innovative and gives us more of an inside look into the potential of 3D printing while merging old and new forms of art and expression.
The winning combination of the culinary and jewelry arts makes for an original take on ornamental foods, similar to gingerbread ornaments. Their rings are the perfect gift for the person who is both always hungry and loves to accessorize.
Downloads of the designs can be accessed via the Tour de Fork website.
San Francisco Gallery The Popular Workshop recently opened a solo exhibition by Australian artist Ben Barretto entitled Self Help. From the press release: “Self Help continues Barretto’s ongoing exploration into recursion; with each of the series of works he presents ‘making’ themselves to some extent. That is, the chosen material and its inherent properties inform the process and drive the work into a constant loop of feedback.
Self Help presents iterations of this process over 3 different mediums, including hand woven tapestries made from used climbing rope, reconfigured nylon training pants and a set of oil paintings. Within each of these series, Barretto creates a system through which the material qualities of each medium are unbound and rebound into a continuous ongoing cycle, a cycle which sits in collaboration with the expressive additions of Barretto’s own hand, having these works sit somewhere between assemblage and action painting.” The show is on view through April 12, 2013.
Sarah A. Smith creates shimmering gold drawings with a combination of gold metal leaf, corrosive, ink, and pencil on paper. After she arranges the metal leaf that was mined and manufactured in China, she brushes it with copper sulfate, causing a chemical reaction that tarnishes and corrodes the gold metal along the surface of the paper. In the natural environment, this erosion process can take hundreds of years to complete. “The oxidation illustrates pollution, disintegration, transformation of elements, changes, and the passage of time,” Smith says. The result is an incredibly detailed and textured series that while extravagant is also evocative of restraint because it emerges from a process of decay. (via my modern met and diablo magazine)
Marcie Oakes is a young painter dwelling in the suburbs of Chicago. Her voluptuous, deeply layered abstractions often reference landscape but can often turn into something un-namable. These explosive images are penned using a wide variety of applications and painting techniques that build a surface that can only be truly appreciated in person. Jump.
With razor-like precision sculptor Willy Verginer creates figures from a single tree trunk. He carves delicately made pieces which speak and brings to light important issues affecting living things. His latest delves deep into the environmental concerns of crude oil. Instead of overly stating the obvious Verginer makes subtle references to its affect. He places his latest figures including animals and people atop barrels of crude oil. Since oil is liquid the artist purposefully depicts the figures beginning to become stained or contaminated by the substance. This is graphically shown around their feet, hooves or paws and also in their faces. In some he will paint the base on which the figure stands in silver or gold signifying the value placed on the highly valued commodity which is gotten through sacrifice of both creature and environment. When a human figure is used he shows the gold or silver seeping into their shoes or clothes which signifies man’s greed.
The one lingering fact about crude oil responsible for almost every aspect of modern day living is that it is highly toxic and carcinogenic in every form. When it is burned the smoke it produces causes black soot in the air which gets captured in our lungs. If oil is accidentally spilled into the ocean it will kill fish and other sea life almost instantly. As we learn more about its ill effects scientists are looking to provide more alternative ways to produce power which include solar and wind energy. (via hifructose)
Hawaii-based photographer Brigette Bloom uses her own urine to create beautifully distorted images of herself and the Hawaiian nature. Before shooting, Bloom soaks the film canister in a cup of her own pee. The fluid warps portions of the emulsion, what creates colorful amoeba-like spots on each frame.
Bloom’s urine-affected photography series titled “Float On” pays tribute to a spot she and her dog used to visit daily. After her secret desert retreat became discovered by more people, photographer drifted away from the secret refuge, preserving its magical aura only in her unusual artworks and memory. Apart from the title, even Bloom’s dynamic posture in most of the shots points out to that drift.
“I was born in the desert and this was the spot I had spent everyday for the past couple years. It was a truly sacred place to me. <…> As time went on, I started noticing a couple people wandering in the desert. It just felt like it wasn’t our secret refuge anymore. I knew it was time for me to ‘float on’ and find new places. This series is my way of saying thank you to the desert, and a farewell at the same time.”
Bloom discovered this technique by a total accident. She told The Huffington Post she’d accidentally washed her pants with a roll of film inside. Photographer decided to take a shot at developing the film and it turned out the results were unexpectedly good looking. Since then, Bloom has been experimenting with all sorts of liquids: from lemon juice, wine, soapy water, etc. “It’s a process of trial and error. I’ve had many, many rolls of film that didn’t turn out, but it’s all part of the process,” she says. (via Feature Shoot)