The photographs of Matthew Monteith‘s series Guardare turn the subject back on to the viewer. His images depict people explaining, gazing at, and otherwise admiring art. When I first heard about the series I was prepared to be annoyed with the pedantic gestures and expressions of people acting smarter than thou. However, the photographs are surprisingly endearing. People are visibly moved, sincerely engaged with the work often just out of frame. Guardare perhaps suggests that the art in a gallery doesn’t happen with the work but between two viewers discussing it.
The impenetrable geometries of John Powers’ abstract sculptures call to mind a wide range of influences, borrowing equally from art movements like postminimalism and pop culture icons like Star Wars. Meticulously constructed by hand, Power’s forms are constructed out of a limited formal vocabulary: Polystyrene blocks cut to a selection of preset sizes, attached to each other at 90 degree angles. The resulting structure gives the appearance of being a computer-aided design but is in reality the outcome of a human-executed algorithm, dictated by the artist’s intuition expressed through the repetitive action of connecting blocks.
Jim Houser is an American artist who combines lifestyle, experiences, and visual art into the creation of a personal iconography. Comprised of acrylic paintings on canvas and wood, his works are bold and symbolic: in blood reds and cool blues, images of severed heads and pill cases radiate anxiety, while elsewhere a drummer sits meditatively on the edge of a black pond. By arranging the paintings into installations, Houser narrates an inner dialogue that explores the interrelated joys and challenges of living, speaking to us through his art in poetic and metaphoric ways.
The images featured here are from his current exhibition called HUSH, featured at Andenken/Battalion in Amsterdam starting June 5th. In a recent interview with Hyland Mather, the owner of Andenken/Battalion, Houser explains his personal motivations in the creation of his art, beginning when he was a child:
I like that my art making is therapeutic for me. What is inspiring to me is that it contains a problem that never completely solves itself: me. From childhood on, I’ve used art to escape my reality, to help me define or explain my reality, and to meditate on my reality. […] I sort of lucked into it, making art. I was just as happy drawing as a kid as I was throwing rocks at cars. Anything to get out of my own head for a bit, skateboarding, taking drugs, all that stuff does the same thing to varying degrees of success, but luckily for me I was wired to have art making be the thing that quieted me down the most on the inside. (Source)
Scattered throughout Houser’s eye-catching colors, geometric forms, and clever assemblages are artifacts suggestive of personal means of “escape” — the pill cases and skateboard, for example. The simplicity and fearlessness of these images speaks to Houser’s brilliant distillation of life into one symbolic plane; in a holistic, meditative practice, he has arranged his personal story in a way that is courageously honest. As viewers, Houser’s works inspire us to imagine how we would visually narrate our lives, using pictorial language to explore emotions and unique personal histories.
I’ve always been interested in the creative energy that comes out of Australia and Nick Thompson’s work is just another reason to love the land down under. His work is clean, bold, and full of impact. Watch the video for the image above and see a fantastic selection of his creative output after the jump!
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Gelitin is comprised of four Austrian artists who met in 1978 at a summer camp and started exhibiting internationally as a group. Their cleverness in dealing with topics such as childhood, the functionality of objects, scale and absurdity are obvious in projects and corresponding titles such as “Klunk Garden” and “The Dig Cunt.” I like that their work seems to take on a variety of tones- ironic one moment and nostalgic the next. But all appropriate.
Light painting is a photographic technique created by moving a hand-held light source, or the camera, to create images via a long exposure. Artists experimented with the technique beginning in the early 20th century. One artist who uses light in performance is San Francisco artist Eric Staller. He creates and captures vibrant images. Michael Bosanko is another artist who uses light to create art. Using colored torches the way one might use a paintbrush, he captures the images using a long exposure.
Taking the idea to a new level, contemporary graffiti artists are also experimenting with light technology. Lichtfaktor is a collective of light painting artists, performers, photographers and media artists who are constantly pioneering into new territories of expression. Lichtfaktor artists use light, painting photography, media art installations and interactive media performances that blend into an exciting experience. Daniel Lisson, for example, is a designer, illustrator and artist from Cologne, Germany. His Monster Show consisted of a selection of light paintings done at a factory in Cologne. Also in Germany, Graffiti Research Lab is another collective that uses technology to create street art. Using objects like “LED throwies,” these artists engage new media for urban communication.
Me Street has some super fun drawings for you. They are silly, goofy, not too fussy, and a bit perverted!
Daniel Everett embodies the current technological zeitgeist shared by post dot-com kids, the kids of the dot-com kids, and the relationship we have to our interconnectivity (the internet). His work is jaded, earnest, and self mocking at the same time.