“I feel it is not important, can be even detrimental, to conceive of, or predict outcomes in the studio: accidents, chance occurrences and reaction will direct the coarse of the work. What is important is to be present, to be a sensitive, sincere, focused, open and as powerful as possible. The work is thus finished when either it says it’s done or I abandon it and take to working on something new.
In my recent work, I am moving away from image based painting and drawing towards more ambiguous, blatantly abstract and open-ended works that seem to want to define painting as a pure, visual language.”
The Metamorphosis Series by artist Shi Shaoping is a poetic look at life. Shi created 3,000 ceramic eggs over the course of a year. Each egg weighs about 22 pounds and as a group come in at about 48 tons. The eggs were then taken to some of China’s loneliest locales. From grassland to beach, deserts, and mountains, the ceramic eggs were spread out on the ground. The entire project was documented with photographs and videos.
In a way The Metamorphosis Series is as much a site specific installation as it is a performance. Shi set before himself an intentionally difficult project, one that would entail hard work, a journey, and perhaps transformation. Like the egg, these too are a symbol of life. However, they clearly also point toward potentiality – the field of eggs seems poised to hatch. The exhibition statement goes on to relate about the project:
“Shaoping is like a fortuneteller who uses the 3,000 giant eggs to remind people of the weight of life. The beauty of the work is the unpredictability, and the unlimited imagination it brings. The fragile yet vigorous eggs of life emphasizes that we eventually have to respect every single living thing in the universe. The sands may cover the frost-glazed castle; the soaring fallen leaves may blanket the ground. The persistence and power of life, however, will fight against the mediocrity and itself. The contradiction is the language Shaoping’s looking for to express his world of Metamorphosis. This triggers the speculation and discussion on contemporary art and life value.”
The Victorian doll is a symbol of feminine delicacy and piety, but the Scottish sculptor Jessica Harrison has turned that notion on its head, constructing porcelain figures and painting their flesh with vivid sailor tattoos. Harrison, previously featured here for her graphic and macabre figurines, subtly builds upon contemporary dialogues of sexuality and the female body. Where Victorian women were encouraged to be sexually modest, religious and sober, Harrison’s dolls adopt the visual language associated with drunkenness and sexual freedom on the high seas. Sailors, feared for their rowdy traditions, were thought of as the antithesis of the ideal woman, who was almost always middle class, white, home-bound.
Harrison’s dolls, like many Victorian woman, wear corsets and petticoats of soft, pastel hues; one even modestly holds a fan. But these seemingly coy women obviously have some ruffian pasts. Tattooed on one woman’s pale arms are the names of a dozen conquests: Daisy, Rita, Maria, Eileen. Unlike the figurines treasured by small Victorian children, Harrison’s characters seem to have anachronistically accompanied Sailor Jerry on his boozy pin-up filled adventures. Beside a budding rose sewn into the color of her dress, a lady reveals a pair of flying swallows, an icon that appears frequently in mid-20th century sailor tattoos.
Harrison’s impressive series coyly lays bare the deeply entrenched sexism, racism, and classism of the Victorian era, during which women were not permitted to vote or visit pubs. With their waists cinched and their hair powdered into elaborate updos, these seemingly fragile porcelain figures contain an undeniable grit that transcends all social barriers.
Kentucky-born, SCAD-educated photographer Dana Goldstein’s work is comprised of candid, documentary photos depicting (among other things) youth culture in the late 00s. At times reminiscent of Nan Goldin, the images showcase both the innocence/fun and lack thereof of growing up nowadays. I particularly enjoy the photos of gutter punks.
Neon lights are no longer bound to the buzzing drone of roadside restaurant signs as they have been freed by artist Yudi Noor. Yes that’s right, his mixed media works light themselves! Seriously though, check out his cool experimentation with neon tubes.
The relationship between drugs and art has always been a place of mystery and creation, however, Tania Hennessy’s series of necklaces is a fresh take on these two elements. Her series of “molecular necklaces” combine her knowledge of biochemistry with the art of jewelry making in order to create wearable drug molecules. For this, she uses a 3D printer to laser cut her necklaces from lightweight stainless steel. The 3D printer cuts the material finely thus respecting the intricate patterns of the individual molecules. The necklaces are available in various finishes such as silver, gold, and black.
Her necklaces are simply beautiful at first glance, but they also carry a story: each one represents the molecules that make up different drugs, or chemical elements, amongst which are Ketamine, Cocaine, THC, MDMA and Heroin. She has even created an “Overdose” necklace which stacks up a bunch of different molecules into a magnificent yet deadly cluster of LSD, cocaine, and DMT amongst others.. Hennessy’s necklaces are all the more fascinating because they are both a display of science and aesthetics.
The combination of biochemistry and 3D technology make s for an individual and original form of expression. To those who are well versed in biochemistry, they may look like an inside joke while they may look like a set of pretty shapes to the rest of us. Either way, Hennessy has created a clever work for art that can be both fun to decrypt and to wear.
Asger Carlsen is a camera user with escaping needs and wants. In the dialogue of grains and tones, the subjects escape through a hole in the sky. The moments captured deface, defile, and subvert – in the best way possible. I want more.
Imagine using your wildest imagination to create your dream fortress. What would it have inside? Scott Hove has taken a fairy-tale, dream-world created entirely out of what appears to be pastel sweets and turned it into an reality. His sickening sweet installation, titled Cakeland, uses sculpture, installation, and paint to construct a dramatic scene of cake-like decoration with a rococo flair, only instead of stucco molding, this sugary paradise is composed of delicately placed oranges, strawberries, and swirling, white icing. His elaborate work completely fills the building that holds it, which is labeled with an appropriate bright, neon sign displaying the word “Cakeland.” I cannot decide if Hove’s work is so alluring because of its fluffy, pastel details or the fact that it looks exactly like it is made up entirely of delicious, edible cake!
Hove explains that his process involves taking dark undertones and transforming them into something inviting and beautiful…and what is more pleasant than a place that surrounds and engulfs you in this never-ending, candy-colored comfort food? Hove’s artistic process uses endless imagination and creativity to allow his ideas of Cakeland to come to fruition.
I walk around my house, and see imaginary pieces on my wall, and then pick out the ones that I would most like to actually see hanging on the wall. Then I use every and any type of material to scratch the piece into existence. So much about making a piece of art is creating problems and solving them.