Welcome to Nathan Alexis Brown’s blank generation. Where punk dudes drink forties and hang around a camp fire with luchadores and werewolves. All while wearing a few of the most mind blowingly cool denim vests that would even make Tezz Roberts drool.
Laurie Simmons‘ recent show, Kigurumi, Dollers and How We See, Salon 94 Bowery in New York, features eerie looking photos of dollers (also known as Kiggers), a circle of Japanese cosplay enthusiasts (Kigurumi), who dress up like anime-style female dolls and wear their costumes out in public. The men and women involved in this fascinating ‘counter-cuture’ go to great lengths to suppress any lingering vestiges of their own bodies, wearing 360-degree masks, wigs, and full bodysuits.
Simmons gathers her own models and Doller costumes in order to create her own line of Kiggers.
Some of my cosplayers are men and some are women but they all portray female characters. I try to explore the psychological subtexts of beauty, identity and persona surrounding the assembled Dollers. At first I dressed them only in fetish latex, which seemed both doll-like and right for their identities, but it soon became clear that they needed to expand their repertoire and play dress up.
Along her collection of photographs, we see this odd juxtaposition between the inanimate and the living; how is it possible to be experiencing something both so fake yet so real all at once? It is that and more- Simmons’ gives these ‘dolls’ the opportunity to experience the phenomenon of the selfie (“Yellow Hair / Red Coat / Snow / Selfie” ) and an overall exposure to what is to be present, as something outside of the realm of the average human being, in the current world of self-promotion and its agenda (perfection, beauty, etc). “Might masking (becoming a Kigger, in this instance) be at least part of the appeal of contemporary forms of imaging and presentation of the self via social media?”, asks Simmons.
In the last decade the boundaries separating identity and persona have become increasingly blurred — as individuals ‘present’ their BEST selves to their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers. One tilt of the iphone can make the difference between a glamorous, funny or obscene selfie. I wonder about the fuzzy space between who “we” are to ourselves and the “we” that is invented, constructed and expressed using the readily available tools of the 21st century? Aren’t we all playing dress-up in some part of our lives?
Laurie Simmons: Kigurumi, Dollers and How We See in on view at Salon 94 Bowery (243 Bowery, Lower East Side) through April 27.
Peter Hoffman’s series about The Bryan House, a unique institution in Aurora, Illinois, where legally established refugees are allowed to reside for periods of a year or more at a time while saving up for a new home, or college tuition, etc. More images after the jump.
It’s not new when artists try different techniques then combine them with more traditional ones. It only becomes more significant if new ground is broken in the process. In Rachel Wrigley’s case this is certainly true. Her paper sculptures created from pages taken from magazines are turned into organic forms which comment on the transience of nature. By utilizing a material which has already been used for another purpose Wrigley recycles an idea in a formal setting which speaks to several different notions. It reimagines the ready made image with hints of origami and paper cutting techniques taking on characteristics which resemble silhouettes of butterflies, snowflakes and flowers.
The recent work Wrigley has produced turns images of domestic spaces such as living rooms and windows into organic forms. It becomes a play off two sensibilities of idea and material which capture moments that reminisce a sliver of morning light streaming through the window blind highlighting only a portion of the room giving it a new and different perspective. These then become unique abstracted forms found and reimagined within the folds of a paper magazine. (via lustik)
Austrian artist Valentin Ruhry often plays with ideas of Minimalism and analog technologies, using light installations as a systematic approach which reveals a metaphor of interconnectedness, even when we do not see them present. In his 2013 exhibition Réclamer at Halle für Kunst & Medien in Graz, (then travelling to Österreich), Ruhry references advertising and promotional communication, using light boxes which generally house these messages. The exhibition’s title, Réclamer, comes from Latin and French, meaning to claim, to appeal, to call back. Ruhry, who was born in Graz, Austria and now lives and works in Vienna, used the empty light to represent a loss of function, “both through their components and in and of themselves.”
This type of installation investigates many of the themes present in Ruhry’s other works. When speaking with Jon Rathenberg’s Artist Interview Tumblr, Ruhry explains his fascination and his process, “I´m not a scientist nor have I ever been educated in mechanical engineering or whatever but I have always had a strong interest in technology. For me, a jet plane or a refrigerator is as fascinating and sometimes as miraculous as the power socket on your wall. Since I don’t understand much about the technical aspects of most of the equipment that surrounds me I study there aesthetic qualities. I try to highlight them by placing aesthetics or form before function.” (via likeafieldmouse and artistinterview)
The work of British artist Claire Morgan is alive with natural forces. Birds appear to fly, flail, or fall through lighter-than-air formations of seeds. Using nylon thread Morgan suspends her installations giving the impression of an event caught in time. Peculiarly, she is able to express the idea of passing time and motion by appearing magically to stop it. Morgan’s interest in natural forces is clearly apparent in her work. The installations are nearly a way she can manipulate these otherwise immutable forces.
Bowling Green’s Jordan Speer creates spacious worlds of clumps and lumps that bring to mind what would’ve occurred if Philip Guston had happened to have access to a 3D modeling program. Jordan starts in a subdivision modeler called Wings 3D where he creates each element of the image, and he then stages them in Cinema 4D, which allows him to apply lighting and various textures. Once the file is complete, he tweaks the image in Adobe Photoshop, prints the image out, and then scans it back into his computer at either a high or low resolution setting. In spite of its heavily digital origin, Speer’s work physically manifests itself in the forms of zines, short-form comics, show posters, and publication covers.
Speer’s isometric view strengthens the image’s technical origins, while his comically gory content and grainy finish give it an organic touch. With the colors of a clown’s wardrobe Speer arranges mysterious peeks into a world where dismemberment and assembly are spontaneous and painless. His vision is uniquely his, sitting somewhere between the fashionably crude renderings of the many artists dabbling in 3D programs, and the professionally-polished films of Dreamworks and Pixar. He just released QCHQ through Space Face Books, a 68-page full-color book, and he created the wrap-around cover image for the eagerly awaited Happiness #4. It’s exciting to think about where Speer will continue to push this unique look, be it into a long-form animation or a graphic novel.