Crystal Barbre, a Seattle painter, has created an alternate universe where women call the shots, their raw glory shining prominently through the head of an animal. These hungry scenes, at first glance, just look like a skillfully painted playground of lust: voluptuous animal-headed women in the throes of passion, yet there is much more at work here. The mysterious and enigmatic quality of rawness within the animal expression offers more to interpret than just sex. Barbre is giving these animals a power they may not otherwise have; with an animal head the women are operating on an instinctual basis; one not vulnerable to the persuasive effect of emotions.Their strength lies in the fact that they cannot be conned, by themselves or others. They are eternally present, and they engage with their sexuality while remaining a powerful, wild, and even threatening figure. Theriocephaly, or, the condition of having the head of an animal, dates back to Greek mythology and is often used in art and storytelling as a symbolic element. Barbre has used this subject matter to explore dealing with sexual abuse, as a way of allotting power where, for many women, there sometimes isn’t any.
Nice outdoor work from mysterious artist 2501. Applying undulating zebra marks all over the place, his style flows nicely from piece to piece, whether he’s doing a huge scene involving horse-riding bandits or understated characters intriguingly placed within the landscape. It seems he’s moving more and more toward a black and white direction this year, and the resulting high levels of contrast produce a nice dynamic between the walls and their surrounding environments. Click past the jump to see more street work and head over to the artist’s site for works on canvas as well.
Artist Lisa Park‘s performance titled Euonia – a Greek word that can be translated as “beautiful thinking”. The title is apt as Park’s thought’s are central the beauty of her performance. She makes use of an EEG headset which monitors various brainwaves and eye movement. The resulting information is translated into sound directed to one of five speakers. A shallow pan of water sits on each speaker, vibrating and shimmering with each of Park’s various thoughts. Park associated each of the five speakers with a different emotion and would recall various memories of people important to her in order to manipulate the speakers. She had hoped to develop the ability, through practice, to end her performance in silence but could not – an outcome perhaps more interesting than she had intended. It may be the brain is much more difficult to quiet than it seems. Be sure to check out the video to see Lisa Park’s brain in action. [via]
A little dream-pop, a bit of hip-hop, and a lot of bass, that’s what Canada’s Purity Ring brought to the very sold out El Rey Theatre last week in a show that was sandwiched in between the two weekends of Coachella. The crowd lined up early to get a close up spot to see this highly anticipated appearance, myself included.
The bone-rattling bass during Blue Hawaii‘s opening set almost drowned out singer Raph Standell-Preston, so I was hoping that Purity Ring’s sound wouldn’t be as bass heavy. After a very strange Taylor Swift sing-a-long during intermission (yeah, that happened). I didn’t know the indie kids knew all the lyrics to “I Knew You Were Trouble”, but they do and sang along very loudly. The lights finally dimmed and the alien-like stage set of Purity Ring started to glow. Unfortunately, the heavy bass continued for the first few songs, but then finally got toned down and the incredible voice of Megan James rang out clearly. Watching bandmate Corin Roddick work magic on his custom-built sound and light instrument was just as mesmerizing.
They played most, if not all all of their 2012 4AD debut, “Shrines” including my personal favorites “Obedear” and the set ending “Fineshrine” that had the entire crowd dancing wildly. The band is currently in the midst of a US tour so you still have an opportunity to catch them live. Check out their very cool cover of Soulja Boy & Ester Dean’s “Grammy” which they also played to perfection live and try to catch them at one of their upcoming performances.
Leslie Ann O’Dell is a self-taught photo-illustration artist from Denver who creates hauntingly surreal portraits of women. Recurring throughout her works are washed-out figures overgrown with flowers and foliage; patterns sprout and undulate in the place of eyes, and everywhere you look subtle details unravel through hair and across skin. Charged with an arcane darkness, O’Dell’s works summon the chilling, seductive beauty of vampires and forest spirits. With nature, the psyche, and the subconscious as some of the central themes, the portraits shift gracefully between reality and dreams.
O’Dell’s subjects are specters of both beauty and death: flowers bleed and adorn the women’s heads like funeral offerings, bodily contours putrefy into weeds, and sightless eyes gaze into an unseen abyss. In a figurative representation of death-becoming-life (and vice-versa), a bird stretches its wings inside an opened chest cavity (see “Hope”). Some of the images confront us with a more somber beauty — observe the ethereal and aloof figures in “Contemporary Monster” and “Sleepwalk.” Vacillating between delicacy and intense emotion, O’Dell’s works seduce and seize the imagination.
For this year’s tour Scion asked each artist to create his or her literal, or non-literal interpretation of the theme ‘Self-Portraits’. Video art will be included for the first time in the tour’s five-year history, alongside painting and photography. Self Portraits highlights a diverse array of artists from around the world and will visit nine cities in total including Miami, New York, Portland, Minneapolis, San Jose, Philadelphia and Los Angeles before being auctioned off for arts related charities and non profits.
Painting: AJ Fosik, Alex Hornest, Andrew Schoultz, Asylm, Blek le Rat, Codak, David O’Brien, Edwin Ushiro, Francesco LoCastro, French, J. Shea, Jeff Soto, Kelsey Brookes, Kofie, Lisa Alisa, Mark Mothersbaugh, Nicholas Harper, Patrick Martinez, Rob Abeyta Jr., Ron English, Sage Vaughn, Skypage, Souther Salazar, Stormie Mills, Tessar Lo, Todd Tourso, Usugrow, Will Barras, Yoskay Yamamoto
Photography: Angela Boatwright, Christina M. Felice, Eriberto Oriol, Eye One, Jamel Shabazz, Logan Hicks, Peter Beste, RETNA, Rick Rodney, Saber, Too Tall Jahmal
Video Art: David Choe, elYEM, Ian Lynam, Peter Glover, Something In The Universe
Opening Reception: First Friday June 5, 200, 8pm ’til late
Music by: DJ Basura
This event is part of the South FIRST FRIDAYS artwalk.
Anno Domini // the second coming of Art & Design
336 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113
Daisuke Tajima’s paintings are vertiginous in all aspects. They depict ultra-detailed never-ending tall buildings. The artist is placing the perspective from above, as if we were flying amongst the city. But the beauty of these paintings lies in the fact that they are all imaginary.
To get lost into his art. This seems to be the aim of the young artist. The paintings are massive and the features of the city landscapes so small. The rooftops are particularly intricately detailed. From the pipes and machineries to the hoists. The repetition of these elements form a pattern which appears regularly throughout the painting and which makes the whole picture look claustrophobic. Daisuke Tajima says he feels comfortable in this world. He seems to dominate what is around him. An escape which he purposely created in order to be able to feel safe and in control.
“I wanted to hide away in my own world to ease the loneliness and insecurity I felt from not belonging. This piece is a world I can believe in.”
Daisuke Tajima just recently graduated in Japan. His talent was rewarded by a prize of 10 million yen (about $83K) for the cityscape series “gokinchotaikoku II”. Although this sounds like a rich outcome, it doesn’t look like success will stop the prodigy from creating sensitive and meaningful art pieces. Loosing himself into the depth of an imaginary city is Daisuke Tajima’s symbolic hideaway. (via Juxtapoz)
In their book Waska Tatay, French photographer Thomas Rousset and graphic designer Raphael Verona document the cryptic reality of Bolivian witchcraft. During their trip to the Altiplano region of Bolivia, Rousset and Verona encountered the magical world of shamanism, spiritual healers and ancient mythology. Their book exposes the collision between old and new, mystical and mundane, spiritual and physical.
The ambivalence of Waska Tatay begins from a first glance. Book’s abstract cover of fading yellows and blues is contrasting with the actual matter. The clash continues throughout Rousset and Verona’s style of photography, which is tossing between reportage and staged portraiture. Finally, the grotesque ambiguity reaches its top when the subjects in all their ritual garments are photographed in their mundane surroundings. This incoherence between content and form exposes the viewer to the grim reality of tradition in today’s world.
“We decided to mix two languages: one very staged and those that are very snapshot. We mixed a lot to create ambiguity for the reader, in knowing what’s real and what’s fiction.”
Rousset and Verona claims to have tried to zoom the old fashioned world into today’s reality. The picture of a Bolivian girl standing in a tree is an iconic example of their idea: “You could see that the girl is a witch, trying to talk with divinities or evils but her voice to God is replaced by a cell phone,” says Verona. According to the photographers, what they witnessed in Bolivia was a sense of magical realism which they wanted to broadcast to the viewer. The book Waska Tatay is available on IDPURE. (via Wired)