We have featured the work of NY based Matthew Palladino on the blog in the past (here). He has an uncanny ability to reveal subtle dark humor within everyday objects and situations. Palladino has just unveiled a new series of vinyl on canvas and ink on paper paintings that extend his cryptic vision. Figures sway as his claustrophobic compositions warp and pulsate. In other pieces fabric swatches shift and mutate throughout explosive abstractions. In his own words, “The work I make is not like science, it doesn’t begin with a question. It instead tends to end in a question.”
Tomohide Ikeya is a Japanese photographer whose underwater nude portraits walk the line between serene beauty and the terror of death and drowning. In three series, titled Wave, Breath, and Moon, Ikeya explores the body interacting with the ocean in various ways: struggling on the shore, reaching for the surface, and surrendering to its darkness. The images are disturbing in a poetic way, depicting people expressing the primordial will to survive, while others curl up and quietly succumb, turning the surrounding water into a simultaneous womb and deathbed. Breath — that vital act — often goes unnoticed, but Ikeya’s work makes it visible in the form of bubbles, open mouths, and deathly stillness. “Perhaps the essence of life, granted to everyone, is to live while struggling against death,” Ikeya writes in his description of Breath. “Life is not just about visible beauty, but also about true strength, which we have from birth” (Source).
For Ikeya, the neutrality of water makes it the ideal medium in which to explore the rhythms of survival. Water gives life, and also extinguishes it. “Water is not the Mother of Creation or the Master of Destruction,” Ikeya states; it simply exists as an essential but unfeeling element (Source). By photographing the body in a physical struggle against water, Ikeya’s works are dark portraits of the value of life and the concurrence of death. The boundaries between unforgiving “nature” and the indestructible “human” are literally subsumed, washed away into emotional and physical gestures of life-defining resistance against — and fatal integration with — the ocean. The moment of struggle becomes the affirmation.
French designer and illustrator Maxime Francout’s quirky designs are super fun and are sure to brighten up your day! Much of the time, you can find Francout’s designs on T-shirts (he’s made some for Urban Outfitters), but he’s also designed art zines, loves to create hand drawn type, and he’s even made some wallpaper for Studio Nommo.
Graphite artist Frank Magnotta creates absurdist Americana-inspired images that are heavily saturated with symbolic elements and a farcical outlook on the modern world. Magnotta’s work is strongly influenced by pop culture and the attributes of branding; he has referenced magazines such as Time and Self in his work, and phrases such as Take Off Your Mask and Century 21 come from brand identities that he was intrigued by. Magnotta recognizes the significance of pop culture on his drawings:
“I think you can tell by my drawings that it is a big influence. I’d have to say it is an inevitable influence on our daily lives whether we like it or not. I think pop culture is a double edged sword, it gives and it takes too. I’m not interested in pure pop, but dirty pop, pop that has been consumed and processed by the individual. I think that is more intriguing.”
Some of his drawings involve structures made of their elements: the rough shape of the United States comprised of detailed words and media logos. Yet he has a lot of crude portraits that, from afar, are recognizable, and up close gain another layer of meaning:
“I had been working on the mega-structures for a bit and wanted to invert the process. What if the logos and graphics made individuals that would inhabit the structures? For each portrait in the series I collected logos from a different societal institutions. So, the “Bank Dick” is constructed from financial logos, and “The Diagnosis” is comprised of morphed medical logos. “The Bank Dick” is also the great title of a W.C. Fields movie. On a personal note, for some reason I think that drawing is the closest thing to a self portrait I’ve done. Maybe it is the bugged out look in his eyes. I’m keeping that one for my personal collection.”
Magnotta was previously featured in Beautiful/Decay’s Book 1: Supernaturalism.
(Excerpt from Source)
Artist Benjamin Edmiston lives & works in Brooklyn, NY and he’s just opened an exhibit on July 2nd at the Infantree Gallery in Lancaster, PA. He produces paintings, drawings, and prints that, according to the artist, “recalls for me the tension of an early, crude Mickey Mouse cartoon, or a misplaced folk sculpture standing eerily on a dusty shelf,” and I’d have to agree.
Dude. Just. Whoa. Heavy metal/wizards in winter/hesh lights.
London-based artist Oddly Headdepicts classic films in his series titled Hollywoodland, but it’s all with a dark(er) twist. Using iconic scenes and images from the likes of Poltergeist, Jaws, and The Wizard of Oz, he interjects different narratives. The drowned Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes is still but in Oddly Head’s telling it overlooks happy beach-goers. Likewise, celebrity Simon Cowell’s face appears on the Poltergeist TV rather than its original eerie glow.
By stripping the shocking/memorable parts of the original scenes, Oddly Head takes some luster away from Hollywood. Instead, he’s made them seem trivial, silly, and completely changes the tone. Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music suffers a distressingly-painful fate and is hitched to crosses. This much more sinister than its mostly-cheerful tone. Singing in the Rain also has the same treatment. As Gene Kelly belts out his the lyrics, a homeless man sleeps next to a graffitied door. Hollywoodland is part absurd and part amusing, and will definitely make you look at these films in a different light.
If you enjoy Oddly Head’s work, check out his intricate prints made from thousands of tiny vintage images.
Michael Shapcott is an emerging artist from Connecticut. His paintings and illustrations take traditional portraiture and add elements of folklore and dream imagery, his main source of inspiration. His work is nothing less than powerful, inspiring, and emotional.