They say that facial Symmetry equals beauty. Well Photographer Julian Wolkenstein has put this theory to the test with both her Symmeytrical Portraits and his Echoism website where you too can see what you would look like with a perfectly symmetrical face.
The photographer Sarah Anne Johnson snaps shots of the most intimate kind, asking friends and acquaintances to sit for her while engaging in sexual activity: intercourse, foreplay, kissing, masturbation. Later, the artist enters into a new kind of dialogue with the erotic photos, covering her portraits in glitter and gold plate or scratching away their emulsion in strategic places.
The form of Johnson’s series, titled Wanderlust, brilliantly echoes its content. In penetrating the materiality of the photographic medium by altering its surface, Johnson makes as much of a statement about artistic or creative lust than she does about human sexuality. The gently cracked, ashy layer of a burnt chromogenic print mirrors a lover’s tender caress; similarly, a halo of scratches parallels a couple’s orgiastic pleasure.
Despite Johnson’s unconventional process—perhaps even because of it—Wanderlust seems a powerfully honest rendering of sexual intimacy. At times, human closeness becomes cosmically infinite, a moment of love solidified in gold plate or starry glitter. But many of the photographs complicate the notion of what it means to be truly vulnerable; often, her collage work obscures and flattens one lover, leaving his or her partner alone, isolated in the frame and utterly naked.
Johnson’s work relies on this tension between connection and isolation, a theme which serves to imbue the series with a palpable sense of sexual tension; for instance, two bodies are deconstructed in Puzzle Pieces, formatted to appear unified under one complex and paradoxically disjointed aesthetic. Simultaneously penetrating the viewer and and leaving us to gasp for air, the body of work is a must-see. It is currently on view at Toronto’s Stephen Bulger Gallery. (via Art in America and Feature Shoot)
Illustrator Mark Todd has had work in publications like McSweeneys and The New York Times, and is now collaborating with Mishka for a show in New York. “Power Fury!” opens on April 15th at 350 Broadway in Brooklyn and runs through May 13th.
Steven Kenny’s portraiture and figure paintings form a vibrant commentary on the nature of balance, sexuality, and that fickle concept: transcendence. Controlling a unique penchant for lighting and surrealism, Kenny has filled a rich portfolio with figures and dynamic echoes that pervade every sense with which we associate being alive.
Melbourne, Australia based artist Adam Lee’s paintings draw from a wide range of sources, including historical photography, Biblical narratives, natural history and contemporary music, literature and film, in order to investigate aspects of the human condition in relation to ideas of the spiritual and the natural world.
In a series of black-and-white photographs taken between the years of 1973 and 1975, Ave Pildas provides a fascinating glimpse into how, over the span of four decades, the streets and people of Hollywood Boulevard have both changed and remained curiously the same. Pildas moved from Ohio to Los Angeles in 1971, when Capitol Records hired him to design album covers and take pictures of talent. After 6 months, Pildas left to begin his own design company called Plug In and embark on his Hollywood Boulevard project.
“This place is incredible,” Pildas said when we spoke over the phone. “People escaping the winter [and] US tourists lean towards the west — and all the nuts roll towards the west as well, stopping short of the ocean in Hollywood.” Intrigued by these people who came seeking adventure (and perhaps fame in movies and music), Pildas began to collect their portraits. “My style is to interact with people,” he said, explaining his approach. He would wait until an unknown person would walk into the light, engage with them, and then request to take their picture. Some people would pose and smile, and others would hold up their hands in rejection. “For the most part, I was treated well,” Pildas said in good humor.
Among the images you will see a whole cast of characters posing excitedly (or reluctantly) for the camera. There are apathetic teenagers at the bus stop, suave fashionistas, a chef, and, rather controversially, two people dressed up as KKK members for Halloween. In comparison to present-day street photography, which favors strong contrasts, Pildas would minimize shadows by shooting on overcast days. The result is a collection of images that are nostalgic as well as beautifully muted and almost surreal in appearance.
While some of the images look a bit dated (such as the cavalier and inappropriate attitudes of the KKK Halloween-goers), they also show how some things haven’t changed. “The costumes have changed,” Pildas observed, referring to how the fashion has inevitably shifted over the decades — but many things persist. He talked about what could still be seen: the Broadway Building, as well as the variety of restaurants, head shops, trashy lingerie stores, Scientologists, and street people hanging out. What has remained fundamentally the same is the adventurous and eclectic spirit that characterizes Hollywood Boulevard.
In an exhibition titled Hollywood Boulevard: The 70s— which opened at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE) on July 1st and runs until September 13th — Pildas has compiled an exciting collection of 51 photographs from the series. The images are made from scans of the original negatives, some of which hadn’t been seen in forty years and required repair. By opening the images to the public, Pildas offers a delightful journey into the lively history of Hollywood Boulevard and its people. Check out his website and Facebook page to learn more.
Abraham McNally merges things. Things like powerlines and houses, industry and nature, drawings and photographs. The result is an exploration of what’s organic — organic in the sense of what’s natural and organic in the sense of what’s essential. McNally’s additional sculptural and site-specific work rounds an examination of the schism between “a romantic return to the rural” and “a return to the comforts and realities of American society.”