“My name is Joshua Abelow. It feels great to write my name. I love the way it looks in print. I like the way the “A” at the end of Joshua lines up with the “A” at the beginning of Abelow. Like This: JOSHUA ABELOW” – Joshua Abelow writes about admiring his own name and his preference to use “Joshua” over “Josh”. Abelow writes often. He makes art, and most importantly lives life often. His works are dark, yet whimsical. Part autobiographical and occasionally asserting historical references, Abelow explores the process of making art and living with the pressures to perform as an artist, a friend and a lover. Works often make fun of themselves and thrive on the failure of existing as beautiful hallmarks for all of art history’s future. If his essay “I Don’t Want To Name Name’s” is in fact honest, he started to make art for the right reasons, and will continue to do so for a long time. Another recommended read would be “DOINGDEKOONING” where he asserts the relevance of Paul McCarthy’s “Painter“. The importance of viewing both Abelow’s writings and visual works lies in understanding Abelow’s humble, honest and somewhat naturally naive philosophy on life and the depth that exists within works far more involved than the headlines they announce.
Cristina De Middel brings a striking beauty to space travel in her series The Afronauts. Her series is based on the aspirations of Edward Makuka Nkoloso – a 1960’s Zambian school teacher who wanted to land his countrymen on the moon before the United States or the Soviet Union. Nkoloso was openly mocked, even by journalists. Through his story, the series’ pleasant imagery gives way to more serious underpinnings. De Middel says:
“The images are beautiful and the story is pleasant at a first level, but it is built on the fact that nobody believes that Africa will ever reach the moon. It hides a very subtle critique to our position towards the whole continent and our prejudices.”
Catherine Jacobi takes everyday materials such as bike tire tubing (pictured above), discarded newspapers, roof shingles and other debris and creates sculptures that use the histories of the materials they are built with as a conceptual and narrative starting point.
In photographer Rebecca Reeve’s series Marjory’s World I, she captures Floridian landscapes that reference a late 19th century Holland tradition. The idyllic scenes depict the swampy Everglades of long grasses, lily pads, and a lot of standing water. Framing each image is a set of curtains that blow in the wind. This is inspired by an old practice where during the wake of the deceased, it was customary to cover all of the mirrors, landscape paintings, and portraits in the home with clothes. Doing so makes it easier for the soul to depart the body and subdues any temptations to stay in this world.
Marjory’s World I is Reeve’s own interpretation of this act. To her, the ritual was confirmation of the deep connections and experiences we have with the natural environment. It also gave her a way to contextualize her fleeting time spent in the Everglades; All of these images were produced during her Airie Artist in Residence Program. Since she couldn’t take with her when she leaves, this symbolic act made it easier to depart.
In addition to the personal connection the artist draws from the work, to us it recalls the distance that many of us have to this untouched landscape. As we continue to develop an increasingly urban existence, these thrift-store fabrics create a window to the unfamiliar. (Via Artsy Forager)
When her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, the photographer Isa Leshko faced the prospect of her own aging process and ultimately her own death; in refusing to photograph her family during that time, she retreated to farms where elderly animals were housed and photographed them for her series Elderly Animals. Many were rescued from factory farms where they had been genetically modified, abused, and they were therefore facing premature death; others were part of their caregiver’s families and always had been. Like she would with a human subject, the artist spent hours with her subjects, communing with them on straw beds and sometimes visiting them multiple times.
In the iconic Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes meditates on the poignancy of photographic memory, writing, “Whether or not the subject is already dead, every photograph is this catastrophe.” The well-seen photograph fixes a moment within the space between light and shadow, reminding viewers that the exact instant pictured can never be recreated. In her rich black and white tones, Leshko realizes the potential of her camera to make permanent her elderly bestial subjects, and in the process of remembering each creature, the viewer is forced to recognize his or her eventual death.
The artist writes in her artist’s statement, “I have come to realize that these images are self-portraits,” uniting the living, the aged, and the deceased under a single canopy of mortal experience. Within the glimmers of the blind bovine eyes, the bare bones of the rooster wings, the grey snouts and balding patches of fur, we might all recognize what we must someday leave behind, and we are forced to search for what remains within Leshko’s thoughtful frame. (via HuffPost)
In master paintings, beauty lies in the romance of an instant, with movement expressed only through form, balance, and color; for the animation artist Rino Stefano Tagliafierro, emotional potency is lost in immobility, their dramatic narratives lost to the stationary canvas. By animating famous Renaissance, Romantic, and Neoclassical paintings using modern technology, he revels in the joy of storytelling through art.
In his video Beauty, Tagliafierro uses mostly Academic paintings, relying on the balance and mythos of Neo-Classicism and the sentimentalist nature of Romanticism to celebrate the female body in motion. Animating mostly paintings by William-Adolphe Bouguereau, he heightens the sensuality of the work by adding slow, gentle movements and soft musical notes. The delicacy of both the young female and the mother figure is exalted to the angelic, her creamy flesh revealed through the coy lifting of her skirt.
Tagliafierro subverts the traditional gentleness of his woman subjects by including Baroque heroines, whose rapid movements only heighten their power. In Caravaggio’s Judith Beheading Holofernes, we are given the just moment of impact, left breathless in the moment before the kill; in his adaptation, the modern artist affords viewers the satisfaction of closure, allowing Judith’s weapon to effortlessly glide through the neck of her enemy.
The gifs of Caravaggio’s Isaac and Luis Ricardo Falero’s witches, played in a loop, relieve viewers of the suspense of the famous biblical and mythological images, allowing us follow a visual story that moves from terror to a sort of redemption. The human body is seen as a creative force, in constant flux between tension and release. (via Design Boom)
Working in her studio in Sausalito, CA, sculptor Sophia Collier uses a combination of acrylic block and algebraic function (with a little help from a CNC router), to carve sculptures of wind. The clear, floating relief works look like freeze-frame slices of the water’s surface. She spends a great deal of time replicating the effects that both wind and light create on a large body of water using custom rendering software and sound recordings of the wind. Collier carefully mimics its movements and reactions with a series of digital “brushes” she has created, working to develop unique strings of information to carve out each piece. The sound waves move and fluctuate in the digital space just as they do in the physical realm—and the result is a crystallized portrait of the wind, giving the visual effect of sunlit water. She outlines her entire process here.