aka…. (Bong Rips, Magical Potions, Mystical Flora and Avatars) is the pretty amazing title of our very own B/D founder & Creative Director Amir H. Fallah’s upcoming exhibition at Baer Ridgway Exhibitions. In case you couldn’t tell, the show pretty much deals with all things next level stoner awesome, from new age crystals to plants mourning their own existential crises. If you happen to be in SF, the show opens January 9th, 4p-7pm and runs until February 13th.
Denis Darzacq‘s latest series of work, Hyper, seems like scenes captured from the movies….some crazy Matrix looking moves. When I first looked at Darzacq’s work, I thought it was digital photo manipulation or maybe even green screen. Something magical was definitely going on, it didn’t seem real. But much to my surprise there’s no sorcery here, nothing was manipulated in post. If you don’t believe me, check out this documentary that shows the French photographer at work, collaborating with young street dancers in Paris in order capture their dance moves in mid air, and gives them the illusion of falling or flying.
Melissa Smyth’s photo series, Lay Lady Lay, portrays a set of eighteen self portraits taken with Fujifilm FP-100C instant film. Each picture is preluded by lines from Bob Dylan’s classic love song, Lay Lady Lay, and subtitled with text messages from her rapist. At first glance, her images seem like whimsical coming of age depictions of confused and painful love. Yet, while further committing to the work and understanding each image within its context, the series begins to unravel a intricate, subdued truth. There is a raw honesty that allows the viewer to enter into a realm of undeniable complexity. The work almost allows the viewer to follow a stream of psychosis and true disillusionment as he or she grasps the words written by the rapist. While entering back into the portraits, the viewer must then re-imagine those words not just from him, but then through her, who, despite being the victim, has been forced to address blame. There is a constant shift of consciousness in the work, truly getting to the heart of an endlessly difficult subject. Even further, Bob Dylan’s Lay Lady Lay, allows her to illustrate another layer of convolution. When re-appropriated into this series, the love song begins to take on new meaning. Through the isolation of the lines, a subtle forcefulness is revealed, noting that there is a dark, perhaps unspoken, overlap between love and obsession.
Melissa Smyth‘s series acts as a genuine representation of a deeply complicated issue, that regrettably, is not uncommon and often not spoken about. She uses her work not only as a means to create a discourse on the topic, but also as a means for self recovery and empowerment. She states;
“I use photography to understand and express the ways in which looking and desiring can make an object of the body, and the ways in which images can be used to resist this. To photograph my own body allows me to not only reclaim control over my self-image, but also to comment upon the objectification that occurs though forceful violence and emotional manipulation. The project ultimately is not about my rapist’s actions, but about my strength and growth. I’ve been inspired by other survivors of sexual abuse and gender-based violence, and hope to add to the voices speaking in solidarity and in strength for all of our liberation.”
Hiding behind his trademark long brimmed hat, Finn Andrews’ pain is evident. Pouring sweat and singing his songs about love and loss, The Veils‘ tortured singer had a very excited and attentive crowd at their recent show at West Hollywood’s Troubadour. I’ve always had a soft spot for the band ever since I heard their debut, “The Runaway Found” back in 2004. With their recently released album, “Time Stays, We Go” the band continues to mature making this another must have gem by the London-based band.
The band played songs off of their new record including my personal favorite, “Birds”, “this is a song about birds, suspicious birds” Finn stated before playing the song. They also played fan favorites like, “Sit Down by the Fire”, “Lavinia” which Finn played solo, “Advice for Young Mothers to Be” and ending with a raucous version of, “Jesus for the Jugular” which had Finn throwing his guitar down at the end of the song.
The Veils recently recorded a session, Live from Abbey Road which you can view above and are set to perform next month on September 7th at the, Into the Great Wide Open Festival in Norway and in Denmark in October.
Ilona Gaynor is a designer and image maker hailing from the UK. Her latest project, Under Black Carpets, leverages bank heists as a medium of design. Through a series of intensive design and research exercises, Gaynor is using the strategies and vocabularies of robbery as a method for storytelling. Perhaps the most bizarre fact about the project is that is actually a collaborative effort with the NYC FBI Department of Justice and the LAPD archival department. Geoff Manaugh puts it well, stating that the project is an investigation into the “use and misuse of the cityscape where by architecture is considered both the obstacle and the tool to bridge or separate you from what you’re looking for” in both legal and illegal agendas. The project, ongoing, is currently comprised of an obsessive collection of materials that range from photographs of bank entrances to scale-models of get away cars. The project truly feels like the work of an insane person… and I mean that in the best way possible.
Ashley Oubré is a self-taught artist from Washington, DC, who paints large-scale images that could easily be mistaken for photographs. Using graphite powder, India ink, and carbon pencil, she masterfully creates dramatic contrasts and realistic textures. The human subject is explored widely throughout her work, often portrayed in soul-searching states of vulnerability and contemplation. She also has a fascinating jellyfish series, in which she perfectly captures the invertebrates’ translucent bodies and trailing, ghost-like movements. Each of her works is marked by an accuracy that subtly transcends the boundaries of reality, drawing the viewer’s attention to the beauty of form by accentuating the details.
In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Oubré described herself as an “artist who paints (my view of) the human condition.” A tangible presence surrounds her portraits. Drawn to subjects who have endured social hardships, Oubré’s grayscale style sensitively portrays the physical nuances of pain and rejection. Despite their defeated poses, the figures resonate with an honest and unwavering strength. By evoking powerful emotions in the viewer, Oubré’s work enacts a form of healing and empowerment through representation.
Sandro Giodarno‘s photographs are like Saturday morning crime scenes. The victim? Dignity, mostly. His carefully choreographed pictures show a snapshot of cartoonish tragedy.
According to Designboom, Giodarno says of his photos, “The instinctive reaction is bewilderment and awkwardness towards the unlucky fate of the character, but then that same awkwardness breaks into a liberating laugh. This is the effect I want to recreate through my photographs: tell tragedy through irony.”
While the photos are at times baffling, they’re also increasingly absurd and comedic. One woman’s grocery trip ended in a gruesome mishap with a tomato sauce blood splatter. Another is wearing a halo of pottery shards instead of flowers. The body count reads five in one photo of a dinner party that went down like the TItanic. Truly, Giodarno’s characters are a series of unfortunate people.
“My photographs are short stories about a falling-down world,” Giodarno says, describing each scene as a “black-out” moment where each character simply gives into an existential malaise and flops down, unable or maybe unwilling to go on. They just lie there, clutching whatever material possessions they happen to have with them, that happens to define them whether deliberately or through happenstance.
On first glance, it might seem a little sad. But the name of the collection, “In Extremis (Bodies with No Regret),” is reassuring, like maybe they’ll get up again — or maybe they are fine just where they are. (h/t Designboom)
Tonight, FFDG in San Francisco opens Sylvia Ji‘s first solo show with the gallery, “Interwoven” (reception 7-10). Some of these new acrylic paintings on wood seem to expand on the more pattern-based elements of her previous work, inspired by Mexican textiles. The artist’s haunting female figures are present as well and look great as Ji continues to push her brushwork to new levels. These paintings deserve to be seen in person, so get over to Mission St. if you can tonight, where Ji will also be releasing a new print.