American artist Robert Wechsler is a bit of a trickster. He takes everyday objects and transforms them into unexpected oddities and puzzling sights. He alters things and spaces, changing our understanding of the most understated and mundane item/place. His latest ‘practical joke’ Money was commissioned by The New Yorker and involves him cutting notches into different coins and slotting them together to look like atoms or complex cube shapes.
He has a fine sense of humor, and has practiced it extensively through previous projects. He has welded nine bikes together to create a giant carousel, re-plumbed a public drinking fountain that fooled thirsty members of the public, and instead of quenching their own thirst, watered nearby plants. Wechsler has also worked with currency before – he has cast a penny 30,000 times it’s size and replaced a manhole cover with it. He explains his motivations:
My focus is necessarily on the familiar. Comfortably accustomed to everyday objects and spaces, we are blind to their unseen beauty and elegance. Who looks at a shopping cart or a toaster for the object itself? This state of static expectations is fertile ground for surprise. It is a conscious re-examination of my subjects that re-instates the novel back into the familiar. This is the moment of surprise, the moment we discover what is unseen in what is always seen. In reverence for what initially appears modest we get a small glimpse of the boundless elegance of our world. (Source)
Photographer Nina Röder creates Mutter Schuhe (Mother’s Shoes), a series that through a variety of portraits visually explores the evolution of three generations of women: her (Nina Röder), her mother, and her mother’s mother. All three women are wearing Röder’s grandmothers clothes and they are sitting around in the old rooms of her (Röder’s) mother’s childhood home. All women maintain more or less the same expression, one of nostalgia for the most past, as they reenact mundane activities throughout the home. Through her choices of clothes and props, the artist is looking to explore how different individuals, her family, recall the past and how it evolves as time wears on.
“The personal narrative of my mother and my grandmother effects my life in a very dominant way: Almost every artwork I’ve done so far is influenced by conscious or unconscious aspects of family stories. For example, my grandparents were expelled from Bohemia (now Czechia) after the Second World War so they lost everything they had. I guess that is the reason why my grandmother now is keeping all her old clothes or furniture from the last 40 years. Almost all my ‘models’ are wearing clothes from my grandmother.”
(via Feature Shoot)
Johnny Abrahams‘ lives and works in New York. His latest body of work consists of painstakingly painted op-art pieces. Working exclusively in black and white these large patterns are absolutely disorienting. Once the viewers eyes become accustomed to each piece, elaborate mazes dazzle the senses. “Johnny Abrahams’ panel paintings are made up of various relationships between pattern, shape, and composition, using only a single width of band in either black or white acrylic paint. A pattern is chosen for its impact on perception. Line is perceived where no line exists, and shape suggested by the termination of many “lines” along an implied edge. Light is broken into its constituent colors, which move in opposition across the surface. Approaching a work, a design may appear subtly constructed of two tones or tone gradations; passed a threshold, these reduced elements become vibratory, destabilizing the fixed gaze of the eye.
The creative impulse has no causal agency in the outcome of a work. Rather, Abrahams keeps to a disciplined process of ruled and restricted composition within the space of a panel. An experienced tabla player, Abrahams’ exercise in mental and rhythmic concentration here manifests in a personal practice. In turn, viewer perception mirrors process, with the natural pulsing of one’s own vision working as a player in the optical effect.”
Another great documentary to add to your Netflix queue. This time we go to Nazi Germany to see how Adolf Hitlers obsession with art drove him to attack and pillage some of the best museums and galleries of the world.
The Rape of Europa tells the epic story of the systematic theft, deliberate destruction and miraculous survival of Europe’s art treasures during the Third Reich and World War II.
Christian Rex Van Minnen’s remarkable paintings showcase a mastery of traditional oil painting techniques that are paired wildly with a fascination for historical painting, witty humor, and a strong inclination towards the grotesque.
His still lives pay homage to Dutch vanitas painting yet, even using modes of traditional depiction, they expand to encompass modern sensibilities through the addition of present-day objects and graphic symbols; rainbows, uncanny mushrooms, Cretaceous plant life and hearts and stars accompany decaying flowers, rotted fruit, and scenic lands far away.
His portraits reference the unconventional Mannerist painter Guiseppe Arcimboldo, as well as contemporaries such as Glen Brown and Ivan Albright. Like his still lives, Christian’s portraits are conventional in composition and style, yet his subject’s faces are unrecognizable, malformed and undefinable. They are constructed from a cluster of earthly refuse; human and animal skin, organs and entrails, fruit, insect parts, fur, and textiles come together to emanate feelings of unease, horror, and wonder through intricate, realistic depiction.
The Australian-based photographer Steve Axford captures some mind-boggling fungi, including tropical mushrooms that had likely not been caught on film prior to these images. Compelled to adventure into obscure places left unexplored by most men, the artist documents strange organisms, many of which are found in his native area, the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. A number of species exhibited in his body of work exist in more temperate zones, like Tasmania and the state of Victoria.
Axford, a retired computer system designer and manager, hopes to marry science and art. His photographs, in addition to being beautiful, are useful in the identification and cataloging of species previously undocumented. Prior to Axford’s efforts, the hairy mycena, a snowy white mushroom with a fuzzy cap and a translucent stem had not been spotted or archived in Australia. The same holds true for the blue leratiomyces, a plant native to New Caledonia and Lord Howe Island.
Seen here in striking detail are the most uncanny of fungi species, each enchanting in its own magical way. Some are bioluminescent, glowing an electric green in the night air; others are impossibly delicate, sprouting elegantly from moistened tree trucks. Unexpected colors spill into nature’s canvas with the growth of purple, blue, pink, and bright red mushrooms. The artist explains that photography has gifted him with the opportunity to slow down and absorb the earthly wonders that surround him; in shooting these strange, spindly lifeforms, he gives us the opportunity to do the same. Take a look. (via Colossal)
Nasa Funahara recreates iconic artworks, like The Mona Lisa, and Girl With A Pearl Earring out of masking tape. The Japanese artist, who attends Musashino Art University as a painting Major, boasts a collection of around 450 rolls of masking tape. The series originally began as an art project for school, and she received a very good reaction to the work.
The artworks are well-detailed recreations. The patterns of the masking tape create a stimulating visual experience for the viewer. It is surprisingly not overpowering to see tons of brightly coloured roses and polka dots all in such close proximity. What’s astounding is that Funahara is able to find so many different types of tape. Apparently, masking tape in Japan has become an ornamental media, rather than just a tool to block off sections of a painting. According to Spoon and Tamago, each work is around the size of a tatami mat, and each takes about a week to make.
The Van Gogh reproduction of Sunflowers is the most successful work. The tape works well to imitate Van Gogh own style of brushstroke, and the colours are close to the original ones. Even the texture of the tape, sticking slightly out from the canvas, maintains a painterly effect and a kind of weight to the image. (Via Bizarre Beyond Belief)