Justin Hager’s art is all about curation of pop culture references, and it’s really damn punny! He uses mostly celebrity, television, and film material: Kanye and Beavis and Butthead become Yeezus and Butthead. Hager does a great job with quick witt and wordplay while keeping the right balance of contemporary pop-culture icons, and some well deserved recalls from the past. He’s in league with producers like Girl Talk – who managed to mix Missy Elliott with the Ramones – except Hager trades in visual material, instead of mashing up pop songs. Each one of his pieces is entertaining, and it takes firm willpower not to go ‘share’ crazy on his tumblr. Curation is key now that we have access to everything at a finger-swipe. Think of Hager’s artwork as creative recycling: instead of making more to add to the seemingly limitless pile of cultural products, he instead picks some pre-existing ones and creates something new and fun with them. It’s easy to love because it allows us to be nostalgic while also getting something fresh out of the material.
There’s not much to say that the artwork doesn’t say for itself, so take a look after the jump.
Sean Yoro (aka, Hula) is a globetrotting artist known for his tranquil murals that merge human figures with urban and natural environments. In a new project called A’o ‘Ana (The Warning), Hula traveled north, to an area with icebergs that had broken off a glacier nearby (for legal reasons, the exact location must remain undisclosed). There, using the icebergs as a canvas and the sea as a frame, he painted serene portraits. In the following statement, Hula describes his experience:
“In the short time I was there, I witnessed the extreme melting rate first hand as the sound of ice cracking was a constant background noise while painting. Within a few weeks these murals will be forever gone.” (Source)
Hula’s project is one of ephemerality, both beautiful and disturbing; the paintings, much like the state of the “frozen” north, will one day vanish into the rising sea. As he describes in a statement to The Creators Project, he doesn’t simply wish to forewarn of impending disaster, but rather shed light and urgency on the fact that people are already being affected by climate change (Source).
“2D Or Not 2D” is the second collaborative project between Russian photographer Alexander Khokhlov and make-up artist Valeriya Kutsan, with the addition of Veronica Ershova who assisted in retouching and post-production of the images. Inspired by two-dimensional posters, the aim of the project was to transform models’ faces into 2D images that re-imagine the work of some well-known sketch, graphic, watercolor, and oil painting artists such as Lichtenstein, Basquiat, and Mondrian. Kutsan’s makeup design and application flattens the faces of the models, while the angles chosen by Khokhlov and enhanced by Ershova contribute to the overall illusion of two-dimensional representation.
The other 2D project (more images shown toward the bottom of this post) Khokhlov and Kutsan collaborated on was a series of monochrome prints titled “Weird Beauty” of painted faces that feature corporate logos, QR codes, and other prominent modern imagery.
Western Exhibitions in Chicago, IL recently opened an exhibition entitled Plant Life. The show was curated by Geoffrey Todd Smith and is on view through March 9th. The show brings together a group of artists with a wide variety of techniques as they approach the subject of plants, flowers, and weeds. From traditional still lifes to experimental assemblage the show injects life into age old motifs. From the press release: “Plant Life is a group exhibition of artists who take flowers, plants or weeds as their subject. Each artist transforms and manipulates, formally and conceptually, their leafy content through a variety of materials and manners of expression, asserting their idiosyncratic visions by obsessing over materials, offering the plants new context while broadening the relationship to their human neighbors.” The show features Jonathan Gardener, Chinatsu Ikeda, Heidi Norton, Tyson Reeder, Mindy Rose Schwartz, Eric Wert, and Scott Wolniak.
Sorry I’ve been lagging on posting the rest of my photos from the recent Italian excursion but better late than never!
One of the perks of going to Europe is seeing graffiti on trains. Since I missed the golden days of NYC subway graffiti, seeing painted trains is the next best thing. People always come back from Europe telling me how all the trains are covered with graffiti from end to end. I was ready to document millions of trains with many gigs on my camera, but the reality was that for every ten trains I saw I was lucky to find one piece. I’m not sure how it is in other countries but it looks like the the buff is catching up with the Italian nighttime beautification squads. Since we had such a hectic time traveling from town to town I didn’t have too much time on my hands to hunt down trains but here’s what went by me while hanging at the station.
Artist Hillary Waters Fayle creates delicate stitched collages using found leaves, branches and pods. The artist’s work transforms natural elements into tiny keepsakes using traditional methods of needle work. She coats her source material with a non-toxic preservative, allowing each piece to remain unharmed. The use of her hands during her artistic process invites in a recognition and romanticization of man’s interactions and relations with the nature. Her work aims to explore and encapsulate the complexity of this relationship, proving it to be one that is simultaneously “tender” and “ruthless.” Each of Fayle‘s pieces, with their intimate details and delicate disposition, almost create an aesthetic of Victorian jewelry, yet are in of themselves completely timeless. Each work truly acts like a tiny object that can transcend the notion of time and place. Within her artist statement she notes:
“The way I think about and make art mirrors the way I think about my life and how I walk through the world. What I do is about elevating details. It is about noticing cycles and connections. It is about regarding a familiar object in a new way. It’s about seeing things and considering their connection to you, their potential futures and possible pasts. There is a depth and an importance to what is present, and what is absent. Invisible narratives are woven into and around each piece, each interaction. As I gather materials with which to work, I consider what connections might exist between us, or how each object might be related to another.”
Mary O’Malley is a New York based potter trained in traditional English and Japanese techniques. Her work is primarily an ode to her craft and an homage to her childhood spent by the sea. However, it is also structured around delicate binaries involving the human need to search for beauty. She states:
“The technical difficulties I began to encounter when enveloping the service ware with ferocious and unforgiving aquatic life got me thinking about a common need we all have to control our own representation of beauty. There is so much fastidious control involved in creating each one of the Bottom Feeder pieces, but with ceramics there is always a margin for error, and some degree of control must be sacrificed. The composition of barnacles and crustaceans populating each piece, the way the iron oxide discovers every nook of the creatures I’ve created, the way the tentacles warp in the firings, etc., is always a surprise. I’m never exactly sure how anything’s going to turn out.”
She fuses different modalities, both literally in her potting techniques as well as what each form represents. The more classic aspects of porcelain, the cream white tea pot, the gold rimmed vase, correlates with a more tamed, predictable side of life. These pure little moments of calm crafting are then overtaken by octopus tentacles, barnacles, and coral, representing the aspect of chaos the is inevitable in everyday life. She explains:
“This play between total control and inevitability has sustained my interest and attention because it mimics life in so many ways: we try our hardest to compose the aesthetics surrounding us—from the buildings and environments we live in to the way we dress and present ourselves. Our daily fight against nature is a fruitless pursuit, yet one we never seem willing to abandon. I find this play between forces endlessly challenging. The dance that results from trying to find a balance between what we can control and what we cannot is where I believe true beauty lies.” (Via Colossal)
The work of Scott Young is a playful turn on food photography. His fruits and vegetables seem not so much delicious as rebellious. Young photographs various produce covered with studs usually found on clothing. He mixes the language of punk rock fashion with that of food photography to in a way that each undermines the other. The simple idea is strangely amusing. The disparate context of each crash together to create a new one that seems to somehow make sense in its own way.