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Studio Visit: Brian Belott

Brian Belott in His Studio

Brian Belott’s Brooklyn studio is an immersive installation.  Spelunking into a cavern on an alien planet filled with glittering artifacts from a lost culture, might, might compare to walking through Brian’s place.  I was going to stay for an hour, but ended up being there for four hours because there was so much to look at and talk about.  The whole situation is arranged with the discerning eye of the most selective, borderline pathological scavenger – and set to easy listening music, Brian’s “sonic wallpaper.”  I got the feeling that each scrap of torn paper, every tube of glitter has been internalized.  Then arranged into an invisible system that had started to resemble the stratified layers of rock at the Grand Canyon – there was a geological, epic scale to the amount of materials.  Brian works with some art materials, but mostly with found stuff.  He uses those thick cardboard kids books, colorful plastic combs, found audio, and posters.  He makes paintings on glass, original music, found sound audio collages, paper collages, books covered in paint and decorated with rocks, and catalogs of other people’s private photography grouped by themes.  In addition he does performances, many of which are on YouTube.  Meeting Brian I got the immediate impression I was meeting someone special.   He has a gigantic solo show “The Joy of File” opening Friday, February 26th at Zürcher Studio from 6 to 8pm.

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Thom Thom’s Mosaic-like Patterns Cut into Advertisements

Armed with only a razor blade and a big imagination Parisian artist Thomas Louis Jacques Schmitt AKA Thom Thom slices, cuts, and excavates public billboards and ads to create wonderous works that resemble tile mosaics. As Thom Thom cuts away a the layers of ads new messages, images, and faces appear showing us what was there all along but we could not see. (via)

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Culinary (Visual) Art From Hong Yi

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Artist and architect Hong Yi emphasizes ‘art’ in culinary art.  Her simple white dishes are plated with food.  However, this is more than a simple meal.  Only using these white dishes and food ingredients, Hong Yi recreates famous works of art, light hearted scenes, and pop culture icons.  The project began as 31 days of creativity in March – an exercise she began to encourage more creativity every day.  Each day Hong Yi would create a new piece and post it on instagram.    [via]

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Small Victories opens in Hong Kong

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Small Victories, the latest project by Booooooom, opens Thursday May 20th at Hong Kong’s Above Second gallery. This collaborative experiment came together by requesting 4×6 photographic prints from numerous participants, and aims to be  “a photographic celebration of the quietly beautiful, unintentionally funny, people and things all around us. It is these little moments that make life worth living.” If you can’t make it to Hong Kong, Booooooom.com will be posting the submissions.

May 20th at Above Second gallery, 31 Eastern Street Hong Kong.

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Alvaro Laiz Captures the Secret Lives of Transgender Mongolians

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In Mongolia, where the weight of tradition and Soviet rule still hang heavy, it is considered dangerously taboo to be a homosexual. Gays, lesbians, and transsexuals must keep their identities secret, often secluding themselves or participating in prostitution, in an attempt to safeguard their lives against violence and discrimination. In 2011, photographer Álvaro Laiz decided to capture the secret lives of these Mongolians in his series “Transmongolian.” Laiz initially traveled to Mongolia because he was interested in how the country’s newly opened borders affected the population, with the tradition of Mongolian culture meeting with Western influences from the outside. His research led him to connections with transgender individuals whose stories he decided to document with his photography.

They cannot express themselves normally except in certain places,” Laiz explained to Slate. “Your life becomes a scenario in which you are pretending to be someone else. Your job, your relatives become part of this performance, and little space is left to act as you would really want to be. It is insane.”

Laiz captures these ostracized Monogolians conducting their day-today lives alongside images of them in traditional Mongolian queen costumes. Laiz’s Mongolian series is the first of a larger project exploring transgender people in societies across the world. (via huffington post)

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Light Sculptures from Diet Wiegman

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Under the typical gallery bright lights these sculptures from artist Diet Wiegman may seem like innocuous piles of trash.  However, these ‘piles’ are meticulously arranged and precisely lit.  The resulting shadows resemble famous works of art, icons, and images.  He creates coveted works of art through refuse in something as elusive as a shadow.  Though various types of ‘light sculptures’ have made their way through art in the past few years, Wiegman is a veteran.  He has been using shadows and light as a medium for nearly five decades.      [via]

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Rosemarie Fiore’s Paintings Created With Fireworks

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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.

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Women’s Vulnerability Is Studied In Karen Ann Myers’ Paintings From Up Above

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Karen Ann Myers’ latest series of paintings study the vulnerability of women. Through a series of motifs showing women lying down on beds or in different sexual acts disguised within a pattern, she examines the feminine form in its most naked form. What she offers is a voyeuristic look at womanhood. By taking the girl next door and putting her in subjective, fetal-like positions we see how the packaging of the fairer sex becomes more about mood and positioning than the actual model. The atmosphere and attire become the most important elements in her psychological study. It cleverly examines women’s submissive behavior in advertising and brings forth what society is shown as desirable.
In large sized paintings, Myers purposely places vibrantly colored rugs and sheets next to her subjects commenting on the fact that women are seen as beautiful pieces of furniture used to adorn a room. They become objectified and meld into the foreground. Her message is subtle disguised through a series of striking images that recall Alex Katz and David Hockney.
Her wallpaper drawings of various sexual positions disclose the powerful nature of women’s sexuality. Hidden from direct view in the design’s make up her project speaks to the meaning of subliminal messages. As the pattern dictates, the true nature of  women’s sexuality should remain secret as media and advertising suggests.  Her prowess as a painter and designer is only matched by her strong desire to speak about these important issues.

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