For many people, eating gluten-free is a way of life. But, what happens when you not only remove wheat products from your diet, but from art history, too? The amusing Tumblr called Gluten Free Museum shows us just what that’d look like. It strips the offending protein from paintings, advertisements, and Chief Wiggum’s hands.
There’s a “before” and “after” element to each Gluten Free Museum post. The before, of course, is the original artwork, and the after is it sans grain. You don’t necessarily realize how integral gluten is in artistic compositions throughout history. Suddenly, though, things look bare. There’s no bread on the table, and the peasants are just picking at the ground without purpose. It demonstrates just how large of a role gluten plays in the art world, and sometimes, it’s at the center of it.
Riikka Hyvönen celebrates bruises on women’s body. Women that are rollerskating in a high level competition called ‘roller derby’. It’s an aggressive game which ends up marking the contestants for quite a long time; or at least until they heal. The artist uses hyperrealism to depict the bruises, which she calls ‘kisses’, as a trophy, a victory over the pain they are going through during a competition.
Hyperrealism is a method which consists of painting on a large scale canvas a reproduction of a photograph.Rikka Hyvönen collects photographs of the roller derby girls and chooses the bruises she considers being the most interesting. Not necessarily the biggest ones though. The bruise on the cheek is the focus of the painting. The whole image is kitsch, pop and above all real. The different colors of a bruise are painstakingly detailed, from yellowish to grayish.
The violence we associate to bruises are the symbol of the strength defining women. They symbolize the capacity of a woman in life in general to fall and get back up again. Rikka Hyvönen is saying, through her paintings that any mark due to a battle needs to be claimed and worn with pride.“I believe these images are charged with mental strength. They show that the player’s bodies can take the hits yet overcome the pain and still continue to play… Obviously, I am objectifying these women totally. But I am doing it exactly the way they objectify themselves: their big and strong bums are assets and to be carried with pride.” (via Hi Fructose)
In her series Reno, a component of her larger project, Wandering In Place, Jennifer Garza-Cuen captures a hidden America.Through images of abandoned theaters, plastic covered casinos, dust collecting disco balls, women bound to decks of cards, and quiet, empty, almost pallid landscapes, she is able to inherently provoke an aura of nostalgia. She describes the work as a “metaphorical memoir,” pulling at the strings of what “the American dream” truly means and looks like. In a country formulated through vast histories, how does a cultural identity extensively exist? What does it mean to be an American? Her work captures a more subtle, yet convoluted portrait of identity, proving that the American identity is innately faceless and multifaceted.
Her photographs confuse cultural memory, bringing us back in time, despite depicting the present. In what she refers to as a “constructed-documentary style,” she dances around the idea of documentation versus constructed narrative, blurring the line between fact and fiction. She brings us into a dreamland where it seems time has stopped. Her photographs capture moments of silent contemplation. They are almost cinematic period pieces. Perhaps, stills of the scene directly following aclimax. Her photographs are not clear portrayals of darkness nor light; they provoke the viewer to search for an almost Lynchian meaning. She displays moments of what may be misfortune, missed opportunity, or confusion. She allows a sense of yearning and misunderstanding, getting at the very ethos of Reno. She states:
“Reno is a place that embodies ideas of Western idealism, the frontier spirit, of transience and the gambler’s impulse to risk everything for the chance at a better life. It was founded as a toll, a passage across the Truckee River, and on silver from the Comstock Lode. In Reno I attempt to come to terms with the defining force of place while returning to my own experience of being a wanderer, a state that obscures identity and embodies what it means to exist outside the codified order of the defined.”
Woohoo! The press keeps rolling in for our Spring 2010 line! This week has seen a number of other excellent reviews, including a mention by TWBE that Ben Tegel’s t-shirt, “Greetings from LA” above, looked as “if Paris Hilton turned into Heidi Montag.” I’d say that’s pretty accurate. Other great reviews from Spanky Stokes & Addicteed. Thanks guys, for the blog love!
Japanese photographer Daikichi Amano creates strangely sexual tableux that bring to life the ancient woodblock tradition of “Shunga” erotica. Vaulting bizarre fetishes to the next level, animals twist into obscure props in some kind of alternate world vision, in which powerful sirens are enveloped by sea creatures and warriors posture. Amano’s White Witch parallel universe is as enchanting as it is macabre. The figures all have a certain allure and potency radiating from them that I can’t explain…. I read somewhere that Amano eats all the animals after the shoots so as to not waste them in a weird, extended, Tantric-magician performative move, perhaps….
Tim Noble and Sue Webster are a creative duo who assemble trash heaps that project shadows of recognizable—and often grotesque—forms: lumps of scrap metal cast the shapes of fornicating rats, and elsewhere shattered wood pieces align into a bickering couple. As a critique of human consumption and waste, their work falls under the category of “Gluttony” in Beautiful/Decay’s Book 9: “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Also featured in Book 9 are Tom Dilly Littleson’s wrathful portraits of self-mutilation (who we wrote about last August) and illustrator Brendan Danielsson’s crude, bloated portraits of sloth.
The concept of gluttony in Noble and Webster’s works arises from the idea of “perceptual psychology,” which concerns itself with how humans identify and interpret images. As it states on their biography page:
“Noble and Webster are familiar with this process and how people evaluate abstract forms. Throughout their careers they have played with the idea of how humans perceive abstract images and define them with meaning. The result is surprising and powerful as it redefines how abstract forms can transform into figurative ones.” (Source)
The junk heaps and their shadows produce startlingly different (yet somehow thematically similar) images—a ball of congealed road kill, for example, projects a human head impaled on a stake. This disparity compels the viewer to produce an interpretation and discern how the images are related. Bridging the gap, one may read the figurative signs of human over-indulgence, waste, and destruction.
To learn more about Noble and Webster and how other contemporary artists explore the seven deadly sins, grab a copy of Beautiful/Decay’s Book 9. Limited copies are still available at our shop.
If there is an artist known for documenting other artists’ work habits and studio spaces, it’s Joe Fig. Definitely do yourself a favor and check out the sculptures on his website, they’re amazing. In Joe Fig: New Paintings, up until April 9th at Cristin Tierney, Fig takes us on a detour to another time and has painted dudes you might recognize from Art History 101, and also some that are more obscure. By placing them in scenarios where they are either in front of a mirror and painting their self-portrait, or surrounded by art; Fig has made paintings of people who are looking. Putting us into a position where we are looking at them looking.