Painter Jeffar Khaldi stamps his personal perspectives onto reality, expressesing this mix, theatrically, on large canvases. These experiences include being born in Lebanon, receiving his BFA from North Texas and living and working in Dubai. You can see more of Jeffar’s work through the Thierry Goldberg Projects website and the Saatchi Gallery.
Ratio 3 in San Francisco recently opened a group show entitled Magnetic North featuring the work of Birgir Andrésson, Buck Ellison, Sigurdur Gudmundsson, Roni Horn, Ryan McGinley, Takeshi Murata, Geof Oppenheimer, Mitzi Pederson, and Christopher Williams. Through photography and sculpture each artist grapples with themes involving the natural world and the effects mankind has on planet earth. Multiple approaches are taken. Mitzi Pederson’s concrete and glitter fragment sculptures glisten as they speak of a broken environment while Sigurdur Gudmundsson’s Project for the Wind remains playful. The show is on view through May 11, 2013.
Jamal Penjweny, an Iraqi Kurdish photographer, artist and filmmaker, creates I Wish– a simple yet poignant series of photos that feature people who have dreams of sport stardom but lack the ability and/or possibilities to make their dreams come true.
As children we all have dreams of becoming famous, we see Maradona play soccer or a Bruce Lee film and think that we will be stars like them when we grow up. But life gives us another way, we become something else, and we do not get a chance to live these dreams.
For I Wish, Penjweny photographs his subjects inside their homes or at their jobs and asks them to hold a picture of their sport stardom dream. Some hold pictures of successful swimmers, tennis and soccer players ; others hold pictures of Bruce Lee, while some embrace photos of their favorite car driver. The idea, although a bit pessimistic at first glance, is to create visual juxtapositions between their dreams and their current simple but confortable reality. While the photographs are unassuming and understated, we can’t help but fall under spells of nostalgia and sentimentality as these images are a reminder that we are all stuck in our mundane lives while our dreams are left in the back burner. Here, Penjweny gives dreams a chance, he tries to expose them, and, in a sense, give them life.
The man in the mountains wanted to become a champion swimmer but he was born in a place with no swimming pools, the man with the Bruce Lee photo took karate lessons and then became a Mullah, the man with the Ferrari photo always wanted to be a racecar driver- now he has a donkey and sells gasoline. I made this project to give one moment when dreams can become reality, so each person can act out their dream even if they cannot fulfill it in real life.
No matter where you are or how old you are, if you are disabled, or poor- restrictions are by no means important when one can think big, and get excited by it. So what if dreams don’t come to fruition, if you are driven by the power of limitless thought and possibility, then you are bound to get someplace worth your stay.
The photographer Paul Koudounaris has made a name for himself by photographing the mysterious dead: mummies, skeletons, ossuaries.The enchanting subject of his recent project Heavenly Bodies are the never-before photographed relics of Europe’s Catholic churches, said to be the bones of Christian martyrs. At their discovery in 1578, these remains were taken from underground tombs and enthroned as objects of worship in place of earlier saintly relics ravaged by the Protestant Reformation.
The opulent adornments that surround the remains (i.e. wigs, gemstones, gold lace) reflect the decadence of the late Middle Ages, when churches ornamentation became more elaborate and extravagant. Dressed like royals, these saints suggest an afterlife filled with heavenly pleasures. Against rich, dark fabrics, the precious metals shine brilliantly; within a tight frame, Koudounaris shoots from below, simultaneously capturing the splendor up-close and elevating the sacred remains to a slightly higher plane.
Although he exalts his subjects in this way, Koudounaris’s images remain touchingly human; while some images capture gigantic, enthroned figures with the utmost deference, others focus on small, humble details. A gap where a tooth once sat or a clenched skeletal hand serves as a poignant memento mori, reminding viewers of the human deaths that happened long ago. The mysterious remains, of whom no one knows the full story, are seen ambiguously, both as a suggestion of an enraptured afterlife and a morbid recognition of mortality and decay. Take a look at the mesmerizing images below. Heavenly Bodies is available in print here. (via Colossal and Hyperallergic)
British sculptor Thom Puckey creates work that interestingly treads between old aesthetic sensibilities and materials and new content. Not unlike Renaissance sculptors, Puckey’s pieces are large, constructed out of marble, and often involve female nudes. Yet at the same time the objects presented in the sculptures are fiercely contemporary – his nudes are holding AK-47s, or are donning the hoods of Abu Ghraib prisoners (edit: of which likenesses Thom went back into the future to collect as the pieces existed before Abu Ghraib).
Tania Scheglova and Roman Noven, based in the Ukraine, are frequent collaborators, especially in the realm of fashion photography. They also work together on more personal material as well, and often post the results to Synchrodogs, a website they share. Perhaps due to a lingering Cold War sensibility or some other intangible, Eastern Europe maintains a dark, unknown quality. Full of strong emotion and isolated coldness, the photographs created by these two perfectly illustrate such atmosphere, reminding us how easy it is to get lost sometimes.
In her visceral, raw still lifes, the 21-year-old photographer Madison Carroll captures the grotesque remains of meaningful moments gone by. Used condoms, pregnancy tests, and blood stains grace her compositions, punctuating a narrative that skips dizzyingly from girlhood to womanhood, from innocence to experience. As if plucked from last night’s waste basket, these soiled items emerge; in the context of Carroll’s clean, immaculate technique, they become all the more haunting.
As if part of some unusual crime scene, waste products are left out, forensically archived by Carroll’s lens. Here, rotting fruit and old bandaids mark not a murder but the more gradual, subtle trauma of growing up, of being woman. Like a pool of blood, tea spills from a delicate, shattered china cup; a lemon, once fresh and aromatic, rots. An egg cracks, the yoke spilling out into a satin pair of Victoria’s Secret underwear like a giant, monstrous ovum released during menstruation.
In Carroll’s disturbing yet thrilling realm, the dangers and joys of femaleness collide in a moment of brutal self-reflection. Death and fertility become indistinguishable. In a frilly, feminine doily, a cockroach lies dead, rotting beside a snuffed-out cigarette. A Clear Blue pregnancy test sits on an old rust-stained rag, the urine and tissue in the toilet simply a blurred afterthought.
Like a hoarder of significant items, Carroll’s lens seeks out that which might be thrown away, forgotten by time. A male lover, sprawled on the bed, is captured asleep, in a state of heightened vulnerability, his pale nakedness pressing against the border of the frame. At the artist’s feet, a condom evidences the intimacy that occurred minutes or hours before. (via Feature Shoot and iGNANT)
Brooklyn based painter Alexandra Rubinstein‘s paintings of women in orgasmic moments are beautiful, sensuous and a little bit kitsch. Reminiscent of some over-the-top romance novel illustrations, her paintings are full of women with blue eyeshadow, novel earrings and big hair – kissing, moaning, or caught in the moment of climax. Even though they are a little bit 80s, her paintings focus on an important, modern day feminist issue – the women’s perspective during the act of sex. The series Looking for Mr Goodsex is a series of small sexy vignettes inspired by vintage porn films, in particular the well known ‘Deep Throat’ movie.
The artist explains more about her work:
Inspired by the title of the 1985 movie, they highlight the shots taken of women’s faces – which are less emphasized in contemporary videos. This disparity questions progression in sexuality and value placed on female pleasure as pornography became more accessible and mainstream. The portraits also explore the emotional states of the women in these films. (Source)
While they seem at first to be quite superficial, cheesy and perverse, Rubinstein’s paintings are a celebration of coitus. She has managed to capture moments of tenderness and enjoyment, even though the source from which they come from is something that usually isn’t so sentimental.
While the styling and acting portray a romanticized version of reality, the faces suggest more honest emotions like vulnerability and withdrawal – left up for interpretation of the viewer. The series evolved into stills of male faces, as well as kissing stills. (Source)