First saw this being projected on the walls when So Many Wizards played at the Tangiers. Maybe it was something about the lighting and the music, or something, that left a big impression on me.
Using narratives and visual genres found in art, combined with the clean aesthetics of design and contemporary product advertising, the work of Norah Stone is representative of a generation which has seen both art and design coexisting, flattened by the computer screen, and has no use for their separation. “The classic art vs. design question is something that comes up a lot in my daily life but I often find it to be a futile discussion, says the Minneapolis-based Stone, “I guess I just don’t think it’s important to set up boundaries just for the sake of boundaries.”
Norah Stone’s most-recent series, Artificial Utopias, creates thoroughly modern still life scenes, which despite their alluring hyppereal-quality (reminiscent of advertising and pictorial), the distinct sense of disconnect between these spotless digital worlds and our own is unsettling.
“In a culture where most of our daily routines and habits have been replaced by a digital screen, the scroll, the pixel, and the ability to retouch has ultimately changed our ideals of perfection….As I was working on this project I was thinking a lot about how growing up in the digital generation has subconsciously molded me to be attracted to a certain cleanliness that can only be achieved on screen. Artificial Utopias was a culmination of my own personal experience with the digital world and also the research I was doing on still lives. The super clean, almost surreal aesthetic came from trying to recreate the visceral experience that comes from staring at a screen for a long period of time.”
This play between perfection and illusion, the real and the empty, eventually manifested itself into twin video works as well. “In the video works (below) I was trying to recreate the process of eliminating imperfections through the clone stamp tool. In post production, I spent a lot of time retouching these photos to achieve the cleanliness of a stock photo. I wanted to capture the mundane process of retouching and erasing over and over again until you’re left with something completely different,” says Stone, who perhaps quite telling concludes, “or nothing at all.”
For more than several years now, Rosemarie Fiore has painted with fireworks. She does so by creating machines that produce an action, like lighting a combustible container to produce smoke. The results are colorful, non-representational images that are very gestural, as if the artist is taking us on a journey. Fiore writes about her work, stating:
My drawings are created by containing and controlling firework explosions. I bomb blank sheets of paper with different fireworks including color smoke bombs, jumping jacks, monster balls, rings of fire, and lasers. As I work, I create imagery by controlling the chaotic nature of the explosions in upside-down containers. When the paper becomes saturated in color, dark and burned, I take it back to my studio and collage blank paper circles onto the image to establish new planes and open up the composition. I then continue to bomb the pieces. These actions are repeated a number of times. The final works contain many layers of collaged explosions and are thick and heavy.
Fiore’s machine is built out of mixed media and found materials. It is fitted with wheels and is comprised of multiple connected containers. When lit, the machine creates a combustion that releases smoke at different intervals.
There’s no doubt that Fiore’s work is labor intensive, as she describes the physical and repeated process of building her images. Knowing this information provides for a greater appreciation of the work itself; It transcends what’s on paper and becomes the product of ingenuity.
The sculptures of Sayaka Kajita Ganz are gorgeous. Made out of plastic utensils to hangers, these sculptures are done in such a way that they capture the movement of the animals in action. My favorite piece would have to be the sculptures with the running horses, “Emergence”. Her work is so dynamic and depicts such an agility out of something as unconventional as kitchen utensils. Sayaka was born in Japan and currently lives and works in Indiana.
Lady Gaga may be all the rage right now, but fashion designers have been creating insane masterpieces, (and often sheer madness), for years, probably since the conception of the fashion industry. Despite what many think, fashion is not – and never has been – centered around functionality, (if that were the case, then I’d say no clothes for hot days and snuggies for cold ones), but instead serves as an outlet for creative expression, just as the paintbrush does the painter and the stage the dancer. The only difference between these art pieces and more traditional ones is you can wear them… sometimes.
Here are some B/D picks for amazing apparel design.
Destroy Paint with Ifo Skateboards.
Luis Camnitzer is a German-born Uruguayan artist who currently lives in New York. A conceptual artist, working mainly in printmaking, sculpture and installation, Camnitzer’s work explores subjects such as social injustice, repression and institutional critique. His work is often witty, if not biting, and generally has political undertones punctuated by the use of language.
With beginnings in the Conceptual tradition of the 1960s and 70s, much of Camnitzer’s earlier works are text-based. Though he has lived in New York for many years, Camnitzer’s work also deals largely with ideas tied to his native homeland. His Uruguayan Torture Series from the early 80s demonstrate his interest in social and political issues regarding an individual in society. Camnitzer juxtaposes images with text containing connotations of violence. Subtle, Camnitzer leaves the viewer to decide his or her role as a spectator to the “disappeared” in Latin America. Leftovers, 1970, consists of several boxes stacked against a gallery wall. Each individually bandaged and stained with red paint, the word “leftovers” is stenciled on the sides. The piece evokes the idea of dismembered body parts and the work as a whole represents the political turbulence and violence that was happening in Uruguay and other Latin American countries during that time.
Some have written about Camnitzer’s work as a kind of poetry whereby Camnitzer has explored the way words function visually rather than verbally. Though Camnitzer denies this interpretation, there is an undoubted rhythm to his work that feels like prose with or without the inclusion of text. His 2001-02 installation of real books cemented into place feels completely lyrical in nature. The books are fortified in place, protected for all time. This piece embodies the part pessimistic, part romantic aspect that runs through much of Camnitzer’s work.