Wayne Gilbert doesn’t just paint your average minimal iconic paintings? His painting process involves mixed REAL human remains into his work. I’m not sure if he’s visiting the local funeral home to pick up a bag of dust or taking bones and pulverizing them to mix into paint but he definitely gets the “creepiest art material” award for 2011. Check out the rest of his work after the jump.
Anonymous Spanish art collective Luzinterruptus has installed their latest public interventionist project, “Consumerist Christmas Tree”, as part of Lumiere, a citywide celebration of light that takes place in Durham, England. To construct this 9 meter high tree, the group asked people to donate their plastic bags in exchange for cloth ones, resulting in a donation of around 4,000 bags. In addition to the tree, Luzinterruptus created strands of garland by installing lights in leftover bags and hanging them across streets. According to the artists, the tree “is an installation that will help to raise awareness of the excessive use of plastic bags and the consequences that this consumption has on the environment…We thought about a grand Christmas tree, built of the bags used during the period prior to Christmas, the dates in which their use dramatically increases.” (via unknown editors)
Towering 13 stories above the Des Moines River Valley in Iowa, The High Trestle Trail Bridge is one of the largest foot bridges in the world. Completed last year, the bridge now comes complete with one of the best examples of public art I’ve seen in a long time. Designed by David B. Dahlquist of RDG Dahlquist Art Studio, the steel beams that swirl around the bridge not only accentuates the motion of pedestrians moving back and forth across the bridge but also create a gorgeous op-art effect that makes you feel as though you’re in the middle of a surreal stop motion animation. (via) Nighttime photographs by Homemade Iowa Life.
At first glance, the oil paintings of Jan Esmann could easily be confused with photographs; seen in heightened resolution and depth of field, the portraits capture the remarkable tangibility of the human face. Also unlike your typical photographic subject, all of the painter’s characters are sleeping, caught wide-mouthed in their own personal dreamscapes, allowing viewers an uncomfortable and enchanting intimacy with the private imaginings of the unconscious mind.
Seen from above and as if lit by candlelight, Esmann’s strange and transfixing portraits evoke narratives like that of the mythological Psyche, who, against her lover Cupid’s warnings and prohibitions, snuck a candle into their bedchamber so that she might glimpse his face. The painted faces seem to stand at the precipice of wakefulness, their folded, glistening eyelids precariously shut. The viewer is allowed to witness the most vulnerable of states, yet (s)he does not escape the unnerving sense that s(he) might be caught, found out.
The consistent open mouths betray sleepy yearnings, unabashed moments of ecstasy in slumber. As if possessed by spiritual or erotic climax, Esmann’s subjects are sensuous and blissful; saliva glitters on canines, and sweat sets the face aglow. Unconfined to a more truthful representation of human perception (either photographic or otherwise), the artist’s hyper-realist style enables her to picture every inch of flesh with the same breathtaking clarity. Viewers may examine every feature, while the objects of our attentions remain frozen in time and space. In this beautifully bizarre series, we are permitted our voyeuristic impulses. (via Lost at E Minor)
“My name is Elle Perez and I’m a photographer from the Bronx, I’ve been working on a documentary for the past like…. four years (consciously anyway, i photographed it before but didn’t know what i was doing) about the afam/latino punk scene in the Bronx that no one really knows exists…I really have a hard time editing this ’cause I’ve been working on it so long. i have like 5,000 images on film and over 30,000 digital files ’cause I’ve been photographing it since I was 12 (I’m 20 now).”
The works of Julian Feeld — a Paris-based (but internationally-experienced) photographer — are shrouded in mystery. This particular series, titled La Forêt, is especially cryptic. The images immerse you in a dark, wet forest, and at first you may not be entirely sure what you are seeing — or how you feel about it. Gradually, shapes take form: a naked body lying prone on a rock; human legs splayed open amongst the undergrowth; genitals encroached by moss. Some of the images are beautiful, appealing to that romanticized idea of the “natural” body in tandem with nature; others are dark and disturbing, fragmenting the body into an inhuman shape as if it were just another dead tree lying motionless on the forest floor. What Feeld is doing here is an exercise in perception, capturing us in our own moment of subjective interpretation; we have to make sense of these photos, we have to determine whether we feel “peaceful” or “alarmed,” we have to decide if the bodies are part of what we call “Nature,” or separate from it. The critical beauty of Feeld’s work is that it reveals to us our deeply personal signifying practices.
It goes without saying that Feeld’s images are much different than your typical nude photographs. Speaking to this, Feeld writes: “For La Forêt, I wasn’t interested in taking ‘nudes’ in the classical sense, but rather in creating a sort of chimera, an impossible ‘thing’ using human flesh as the provoking visual element.” The chimera — that mythical hybird with a lion’s head, goat’s body, and serpent’s tail — embodies the sort of categorical ambiguity that Feeld is driving at; the naked bodies in his photographs are so interwoven with the environment that the boundaries defining what is “human,” “nonhuman” (the trees) and inert (the rocks) become obscured. The result is slightly troubling to the imagination, as we so often narcissistically imagine ourselves as separate from the world in which we exist.
The darkness and obscurity of La Forêt comes to a head in its sister film, Le Chien, filmed in collaboration with Feeld’s partner, Mathilde Huron. In the film, a naked man (played by Feeld) scrambles desperately at a dense thicket, panting heavily. Something seems to be barring his entry, but he continues to writhe and push anyways. Feeld explains that this film was inspired by a story told by Huron about her dog, “how she watched it try to dig itself into a giant pile of wood and debris, seeking death, pushing itself into the next world.” Like the photographs, Le Chien troubles the idea of what is “human”: this man is behaving like an animal bent on completing an unknown objective. The audio track is similarly disturbing, in that it sounds like a multiplicity of human voices panting, gasping, and overlapping in different octaves. The result of both La Forêt and Le Chien is an indescribable uncertainty; a visceral, pre-intellectual state wherein we must make meaning — or accept that there is none.
Austrian sculptor Erwin Wurm has been developing an ongoing series of “One Minute Sculptures” since the late 1980’s in which he poses himself or his models in unexpected relationships with everyday objects close at hand, prompting the viewer to question the very definition of sculpture. He seeks to use the “shortest path” in creating each piece — a clear and fast, sometimes humorous, form of expression. As the sculptures are fleeting and meant to be spontaneous and temporary, the images are only captured in photos or on film.