Jon Jacobsen, a Chilean photographer, creates images and animations that are metaphorical in nature; his usage of image as allegory is often referential to surreal worlds and occurrences. Through his experience as a fashion photographer, Jacobsen is able to put forth a product that combines both a fashion-editorial aesthetic and the feel and look of something that, say, Salvador Dali created. His work is indicative of imagined scenarios that in a sense encapsulate real sensory experiences. Although there is no specific continuity to any of his work, any one of his photographs alone is enough for viewers to become interested in Jacobsen’s personal experiences and wild imagination.
“As a child I dreamt of becoming an astronaut, now I create a universe myself”
According to his short statement on his Behance profile, his animated GIFs are inspired by specific moments in times where feelings, thoughts, and the senses go out of control [smelling or seeing something that provokes strong emotions, going through a difficult emotional experience,etc].
Conceptual artist Can Pedekmir creates digital portraits of imaginary creatures. According to the bio on his website, he works on the “deformation of human and animal body using various methodologies,” one of which he lists as applying “mathematical equations.” Other methodologies seem to include using hair. Lots of hair.
Pekdemir’s portraits are in stark black and white and appear like artifacts from an alternate dimension. His subjects are creatures with no distinguishable features; instead, their faces and entire heads are coiffed, tangled masses of hair and other biomatter. The result looks something like Where the Wild Things Are by way of Edward Gorey. Alternatively, it’s as though an entire forest undergrowth developed sentience and decided to pose for some erstwhile photographer.
Pekdemir’s work was featured most recently at the Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam, which ended late last month. He’s listed as a photographer, which only serves to highlight the eerie surreal quality of his art. Part photography and part elaborate fiction, his work blurs the lines between what is and what could be. (via Hi-Fructose)
Artist James Turrell, pioneer of using light as an art medium, once said “Seeing is a very sensuous act“. Charles Matson Lume follows Turrell’s influential path, adding his own sculptural, material and architectural elements to his light works. Though the two have distinct differences, Lume’s idea that “Light is seemingly capable of releasing a kind of secret from the ordinary” holds many similarities to Turrell’s artistic philosophy.
The Twin Cities-based Lume spoke with Beautiful/Decay on the eve of being named to the ArtPrize Shortlist for 3D Works for his piece, The World’s An Untranslatable Language II (for Charles Wright) (pictured above). Using pedestals of plastic warning tapes, as well as neon duct tape, mirrored paper reflects light onto the gallery’s walls, creating the alluring forms and patterns which are the spirit of Lume’s work. The artist adds, “Yes, the light is elemental in my work. However, the materials hold meaning. For me, the pas du deux of light and materials mirrors my experience in the world.”
This relationship between the materials and the light itself is interesting, as it is the artist’s main medium, yet is given more conceptual heft with the importance placed in the ephemeral materials used to support the light works themselves. Many of Lume’s ideas are broadened (and also named after) his interest in contemporary poetry, but the artist quickly adds, “I am interested in visual pleasure, the sensual, and experiential. I am also interested in what distracts us (Is there anything in our culture that isn’t vying for our attention?) What gets in the way of really living a full life? Art allows me to find gestures in which I can sometimes access a kind of authenticity that is true.”
While visiting the town of Gulu in Northern Uganda, Italian photographer Martina Bacigalupo discovered a very unusual set of studio portraits. Despite being perfectly composed, none of them featured a subject’s face as they were all cut out leaving blank rectangles in the photograph. Oddly enough, it appeared to be a common practice in Gulu for taking ID photos.
Bacigalupo visited Uganda searching for ways to document this community, which was suffering from violent conflicts. The first faceless photograph she had stumbled upon lead her to meet Obal Denis, the owner of the oldest photography studio in town, the Gulu Real Art Studio (est. 1973).
“The portraits were well composed, with subjects seated on a chair or on a bench, with a blue, white or red curtain behind them, in various poses and modes of dress. Obal <…> told me the secret behind those pictures: he only had a machine that would make four ID photos at a time, and since most of his clients didn’t need four pictures, he therefore preferred to take an ordinary photograph and cut an ID photo out of it.”
For Bacigalupo, these ‘leftover’ images were the purest form of representation of Gulu’s society. She gathered the unused prints and interviewed clients of Obal’s studio. To most Ugandans, who suffered from more than two decades of war, taking new ID photos marked important changes in their lives: getting a driver’s license, starting a new job or applying for a loan. The value of such events is perfectly conveyed through the subject’s pose, gesture, clothing and other subtle details.
Brian Robertson’s paintings are executed with the precision of a surgeon, but beneath this graphic hard-edged aesthetic is an honest and delicate appraisal of humanity that subtly reveals itself the longer you spend with the work. The human condition could be defined in many ways – our never ending attempts to understand the meaning of life, the ongoing search for gratification, our sense of curiosity, the inevitability of isolation, or the innate knowledge of our eventual demise. Robertson’s practice dives headfirst into this existential quagmire with a level of honesty and playfulness that is rarely executed so well.
Oddly familiar (yet simultaneously foreign) worlds showcase a variety of anthropomorphized structures that seem to exist in a place just outside of reality.Recognizable elements in the paintings serve to ground the otherworldly figures as they traverse unknown environments. These moments of certainty establish a point of reference for the viewer, but the tightly organized chaos surrounding these moments forms a whole new set of questions. What are these strange objects? Do they serve a purpose? Where are they? In each case, there is no definitive answer, but the carefully constructed scenes lend themselves toward metaphorical interpretation. Certain paintings evoke a quiet solitude while others maintain a sort of liveliness, as the structures attempt to understand their current environments.
Robertson’s paintings all seem to function as a metaphor of humanity’s ongoing quest to navigate our way through an uncertain world. In that respect, we are very much like the futuristic amalgamations depicted in these works.
Christopher Chiappa has been casting sculptures of eggs in plaster for the past five years and now they have taken on a life of their own. His work,“Livestrong” uses 7,000 eggs in a gallery installation and makes us wonder if we should be worried about an imminent egg invasion or if he’s simply putting egg on our face.
The pieces, which are the outcome of countless drawings and photos, have been painstakingly attached to Kate Werble Gallery (NYC) and look like an infestation climbing down walls, oozing across floors, and dripping from ceilings. But the Gallery provides us several ways to access the significance of the work, not all of which include a perilous plague. Perhaps the eggs are the energy of a large group, a non-threatening crowd, a recommended high-protein “Livestrong” recipe, or a nod to the “this is your brain on drugs” advertising campaign.
Yellena James uses pen and ink to create truly exquisite forms. What starts out as a single shape or line blossoms into magnificent mushroom-jellyfish hybrids, feeding my affinity for all things under the sea! Her artwork has been so perfectly described as “colorful arrangements of organic shapes and tangled lines (which) are at once floral and alien, organic and sci-fi, crafty and fantastic.” With each piece she tries to “create an intimate world that posesses its own ethos and its own emotional range.”
She’s done illustration work for clients such as Anthropologie and Nike, and her work has appeared in numerous art and design resources and publications like Vogue Australia and Giant Robot.