Through the metamorphic conversion of discarded paraphernalia given a second life, art created from materials otherwise destined for a landfill has turned waste into resource. In a conscious reflection of a recycled object’s inherent value as a cultural statement, the fragmented disarray of salvaged goods conjoin as a reflection on the surplus of consumerism. Computer relics and plastic toys from the 1990’s resurface as jarring, three-dimensional works that reestablish a value beyond their initial introduction as cultural commodities. Extending the life of goods long since forgotten, the immortalization of a wastefulness that continues to swell stands as not only a poignant reminder of the ecological decay resulting from our consumption, but the opportunity to revisit and remake otherwise quotidian, superfluous goods.
Working predominately, if not entirely, with upcycled goods, the following artists create stunning installation and sculptural works that are a visual whirlpool of texture, color and line.
Jason Shawn Alexander illustrates and paints beautiful people who are bent and crooked from the struggles of life. However, he does it in a way that’s still appealing and uplifting to view. So, when you stand in front of his work you begin to feel up and contemplative, rather than ominous and down like you’d initially imagine from the darker pigments and conditions of his subjects. Originally from the south, Jason now resides in Los Angeles and interestingly enough, besides being a figurative painter, he worked for years as a draftsman at all of the top-dog comic publishers like Dark Horse and Marvel…(via)
The Graffiti Of War is a project started by Jason Parsons, an Iraq war veteran who was deeply moved by the graffiti done by fellow soldiers in the mideast. When Jason came back stateside he was having bad bouts of PTSD and decided to create a book documenting the graffiti left behind by thousands of soldiers as a form of therapy. This once simple idea has grown into a full time mission to support the troops and tell their stories one photo at a time.
Adam Voorhes has a great collection of commercial photo projects on his portfolio site. His exploded series (exploded frog pictured above) is my favorite, showing animals, and other mechanical objects dissected to reveal what’s inside.
Jessica Dalva is a Los Angeles-based artist who creates beautiful, wall-mounted sculptures depicting dark, fantasy imagery and the exploration of internal struggle. Recurring throughout her works is the feminine figure in various states of intensity and solemnity, such as sinking in a sea of grasping hands or engaged in somber rituals. Like religious artifacts, each sculpture carries a spiritual energy intended to resonate with the viewer. With metaphorical, mythological prowess, Dalva visually expresses the torments and transformations of subjectivity, from personal battles against fear, to moments of rapture and emotional healing.
Dalva’s works are currently being exhibited in a feature show titled Hapax Legomena at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery. “Hapax Legomena” refers to words that only occur once in a text or within a language, which often makes them untranslatable; Dalva uses the term to explore the singularity and ephemeral nature of an individual’s inner struggle. As outlined on the exhibition page:
“These experiences can be difficult to convey due to the lack of a context to anchor them, as well as the inherent gap between understanding and expression. The pieces are singular expressions of an idea, hapax legomena, in that they are representing distinctive concepts, as well as attempting to communicate the untranslatable through the imperfect language of art.” (Source)
An encounter with Dalva’s work is intended to be a subjective event, representative in some intuitive way of the hurdles encountered by everyone. Dalva’s darkly mystical works do an incredible job communicating the physicality of emotional pain and restoration; with their eyes fogged and eerie, the feminine figures become transcended forms, their bodies acting as expressive vehicles. It is left to the viewer to interpret the spiritual/emotional passage in which they are engaged.
Jonathan Payne’s sculptures of remixed human body parts are utterly disgusting. Warty skin and overgrown toenails, a tooth-penis-nipple hybrid, and a tongue with teeth in place of taste buds are some of the highlights of his shudder-worthy pieces. The sculptures evoke a very physical reaction in the viewer. They are extremely life-like, and so it’s easy to project your own senses into the toes and teeth, to imagine what it would feel like to have those body parts connected together. They’re anxiety inducing, but you can’t look away, they’re so horrifyingly real. If you’re wondering what they’re made of to look so realistic, Payne uses super sculpey, polymer clay, acrylic, and human hair.
Payne calls the sculptures Fleshlettes, and in his description says that he’s interested in “bizarre and fantastical surrealist characters”. Surrealism was concerned very much with the psyche, and I think Payne’s work does a good job of withdrawing and exploring some deep set insecurities with ugliness and deformation in his strange body part sculptures.
In an article on the blog Street Anatomy, it’s listed that each sculpture has a kind of name and character. The toothed tongue, for instance, is Tonya, and she’s the mother of all Fleshlettes. The eyeball is named Eileen “for obvious reasons”. This sense of humour is refreshing and also seems to suit the strange though ultimately nonthreatening characters.