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Michael Anthony Simon: Redefining Boundaries

In the fall of 2009 artist Michael Anthony Simon left Chicago behind, and moved to the countryside of Korea.  He wanted to experience a new place and culture that would hopefully inform a fresh body of work that could exist beyond the constraints of the western art world.  In the spring of 2011, contemporary artist, Ai Weiwei was arrested on falsified charges of tax evasion by a notoriously conservative Chinese government.  The claims were suspect to say the least, and many silent protests were organized throughout the world by major museums and institutions calling for his release.  These silent protests became a louder gesture than anything anyone could have audibly said.  This act of defiant solidarity became a source of motivation for Simon in the year to come.  Realizing that by attempting to silence something you make it’s presence that much more apparent he commenced on a series entitled “The Silence Paintings”.  Analyzing the design and significance of the word ‘silence’ in different languages lead him to the creation of an intuitive process that would allow for compositions to develop naturally, but with purpose and intention.

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Overunder Wheatpastes Graffiti Or Does he Graffiti Wheatpastes?

At first glance I thought these clever byomorphic and hybrid characters by Overunder were painted directly on the wall but upon closer inspection I realized that these pieces were painted in the artists studio with spray paint on paper and then cut out as giant posters. Although this isn’t a completely unique idea Overunder does a great job of creating a Trompe-l’œil effect with this technique giving his pieces a spontaneous feel while still being labored over and well planned in the comfort of his studio. I’ve posted some images of his work in a gallery setting after the jump so you can see how they are cut.

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Cynthia Ona Innis

Cynthia Ona Innis, Painting

Cynthia Ona Innis‘ paintings are explorations between the relationships of, “the healthy/sick, sublime, wet/dry, sexual, growth/rot, stiff/limp/squishy, thriving and failure that are the fragile properties of the body and nature.” These abstract explorations and relationships are represented in a mixture of blobs of colors, shapes, lines, composition and space. As she herself mentions, she has a great interest in organic forms that can be seen represented through colors chosen and shapes.

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Andy Ralph’s Out of Control Yard Furniture

 

Artist Andy Ralph pulls the backyard into the gallery.  Banal items often forgotten in the rain seem to be tumbling out of control.  An army of garbage cans marches on two by fours, lawn chair frames grow to nearly gallery bursting sizes, lawn fences become imposing towers.  Ralph’s work obviously contains an amount of humor transforming everyday commodities into absurdities.  His art, though, also has a subtly menacing quality.  While rendering the common items useless, he also appears to give them a certain subjectivity – a life of their own.

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Lara Zankoul’s Surreal Portraits Of People In A Human Sized Fish Tank

Lara Zankoul photographyLara Zankoul photographyLara Zankoul photographyLara Zankoul photography

Location is everything to photographer Lara Zankoul. Her latest venture garnering some attention shows models in a human sized fish tank.  “The Unseen” is a series of photographs taken in 2013, which comment on the complex relationship between what appears on the surface and what is submerged underneath. It examines our ability to project a false facade outwardly while thinking the opposite inwardly. Some examples to this idea show two girls in a carefree stance while underwater one is cutting the other’s dress. Another is a handsome male model in traditional waiter’s clothing on top while wearing a tutu below.

The photos exude a surrealist gaze due to the water effect.  From an underwater perspective, the bottom half of the pictures take on a dreamy, ethereal quality which is perfectly naive. The subjects are all aesthetically pleasing to look at and become a bit mundane if not for the little weird subtleties at hand. The colors are wrought from a bright, monotone palette which lend themselves at times to the impressionists. Not an easy task to say the least.

Zankoul is a self taught photographer who originally majored in Economics from The American University of Beirut. According to her biography, she was born photographically in 2008 after completing the 365 project where participants took part and posted one picture every day for a year. (via hifructose)

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Mark Nixon’s Photographs Of Vintage Teddy Bears

vintage teddy bears

Bobo-age: 34.Height: 12″
Belongs to: Shane Maher

vintage teddy bears

Beary (6) Height 12”
Belongs to: Tom O’Connor Jr

vintage teddy bears

Daddy Bunny (7 ½) Height 14” -Belongs to: Zoe Bracken

Flopsie (6) Height 14" Belongs to: Lua Spencer

Flopsie (6) Height 14″
Belongs to: Lua Spencer

Photographer Mark Nixon creates portraits of worn-out vintage teddy bears in the series Much Loved Bears. These nostalgic portraits immortalize the innocence of youth; better yet, the goodness and appreciation of a child, as they hold on to the old with no remorse. The photographs are paired with text provided by the owner and they are part of a book called Much Loved.

The funny looking portraits project a sense of irony, as seeing the teddy bear, a signifier of early age, and their ‘wear’ and ‘tear’, a signifier of old age, together generate an interesting tension between the two. The battered teddy bears are a symbol of love, respect and friendship- moreover an undenying preservation of a friend that was important, and therefore hard to replace.

“When you see these teddy bears and bunnies with missing noses and undone stuffing, you can’t help but think back to childhood and its earliest companions who asked for nothing and gave a lot back.”

It feels as if these photographs also expound on a critical string of thoughts regarding the journey of becoming older, and what it means to be an owner of something today. The fact that we so easily get rid of ‘damaged’ material things with the eagerness of wanting more and ‘better’ is something that contrasts Nixon’s attention to the teddy bear’s ‘battlescars’; for a kid,however, the damaged but useful and loved, is not something to easily get rid of. (Via My Modern Met)

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Video Watch: Interpol’s Paul Banks Solo Project

Photo by Helena Christensen

Paul Banks hasn’t left Interpol, but Julian Plenti‘s first solo project is now called Paul Banks. Confused? I was at first when I forgot that Julian Plenti… is Skyscraper, the record he released back in 2009 was actually Paul Banks. The single, Games for Days still rings loud in my head as if it was on Interpol’s first release, Turn on the Bright Lights which had me hooked from the first note. By the way, Interpol is about to release the 10th anniversary edition of Turn on the Bright Lights on Matador Records. Has it already been ten years? Anyway, Paul Banks’ new album Banks came out last month on Matador and is a must buy!

Tickets are still available via Ticketmaster for his show at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles next Wednesday, Dec. 5th and his show at New York’s Webster Hall on Dec. 14th (a make-up date due to Hurricane Sandy) before he heads to Europe next year. Check out his video for Young Again directed by Sophia Peer from his new album Banks and grab a ticket to one of his upcoming shows.

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Maksim Hem

unreachable

Collage artist Maksim Hem aptly titled this quiet series of works “Untitled Colours.” The name lends itself to the idea of objects overlooked, because they don’t scream and shout to get your attention. Hem’s restraint does not imply a lack of feeling but rather an attention to detail that is unnecessary to decorate. It’s like watching the Discovery Channel over Bravo–the life and times of baby cheetahs are just such a welcome change of pace.

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