Laurent Impeduglia‘s paintings are full of surreal landscapes and scenarios, giving the viewer plenty of opportunities to explore and find something new every look. Using almost child-like illustrations, one point perspective and playful color schemes, the paintings and drawings are enjoyable and portray very expressive environments.
The characters in Theis Wendt’s paintings are looking for something. Taking place at night, his explorers throw ghostly beams from flashlights. What are they looking for? Houses radiate from secret sources. Giant boats rake the coastline with spotlights. The subject seems to be a philosophical kind of looking, and reminded me of Pink Floyd’s Ummagumm album cover.
Gonzalo, turned 22 during his trip as an undocumented person in Mexico. His family in Honduras hopes that he’ll make it to the U.S. He left a message on this board for his wife and 9 month old daughter: “Lorena, Rafaela, I miss you a lot. Back soon ” – Ixtepec, Oaxaca, 2011
The Backpack of Salvador Santo. Salvador Santo, 21, has written inside the phone number of a relative in Honduras. The need to hide information arises to prevent abductions and extortion of family while he crosses Mexico. According to the National System of Public Security (SNSP), abductions reported to the Attorney General in 2013 were more than 3,600 cases compared to 1,259 in 2012. – D.F., Mexico, 2014
Wendy fled from Honduras with her three children (Jared of 18 months, Jazmin of 3 years, and Eduardo of 8) because of the attempted murder she suffered by her husband, a member of the Mara Salvatrucha 18, one of two of the largest gangs in Central America. The complaint filed against her husband for domestic and sexual violence towards her and their three children had no solution in Honduras due to corruption. – Tapachula, Chiapas, 2014
(pictured left) Armando, El Salvador. His destination was the United States, but he was deported in Baja California while riding in the cargo train crossing Mexico. He wanted to retry the trip as undocumented via Tenosique, Tabasco. This time, while trying to get on the train, he fell and the very train amputated his arm. He awaits the document certifying him as a refugee. – Tapachula, Chiapas, 2014. (pictured right) Celso’s prosthesis. Celso, Honduras, 31, victim of an accident while riding the freight train they call the Beast. – Tapachula, Mexico, 2014
Photographer Nicola Okin Frioli has been documenting the heartbreak, failures, misery, grief and victimization of thousands of migrants over the past twelve years. Having extensively traveled and documented his way through Northern Mexico, India, Pakistan, Kashmir, and Sardinia, Frioli has seen the desperate measures people will go to in order to create a better future for themselves and their families.
His latest project, titled Al ‘Otro Lado’ del Sueño / The Other Side of the American Dream is a harrowing reminder of the many hardships people face while chasing what seems like an impossible goal. This series focuses on men, women traveling alone, the elderly, and children, all of whom come from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua and are attempting to get to ‘the other side’ – across the American border. The extent of these hardships are often underestimated: not only is there exploitation, discrimination and abuse from migration authorities, but also from gangs (Maras Salvatruchas) connected with smuggling and protection fees. Frioli says:
The intention of this project is clear: to gather documents and testimonies of the complaints and all of the abuses the migrants suffer; to be more knowledgeable about the abuse and corruption that the Mexican border authorities direct against Central American migrants; and to use pictures – painful and touching images – to reveal the physical scars, the pain, and the humiliation of those who at one point allowed themselves to dream of something better. (Source)
If you’re in LA make sure to swing by POVevolving Gallery in Chinatown and check out the latest exhibit by Marco Zamora featuring beautifully rendered paintings and a great video installation. The show is up through july 7th.
Best known for his series of painted portraits, Lothar Hempel goes far into the idea of art as three dimensional- he plays the role of director in arranging space in order to create a script. Mixing larged diamond shaped photomontages, sculptures and painting, the whole with flashy colors and geometrical shapes, “Kats, Nerves, Shadows & Gin” plays with the mind of the viewer, to whom he offers to create his own story, in relation with his own psychological character.
Christina West’s sculptures give her permission to stare. We are told not to stare because the act is rude. It might make someone else, the one upon which our gaze is fixed, feel uncomfortable. So we steal glimpses, don’t let our eyes linger too long, pretend not to see, and are encouraged to retreat within ourselves. But the moments when I am compelled to stare, are the moments when she feels most alive. Other people are compelling subjects and objects of contemplation because we will never be in their heads as completely as we are in our own. Despite the fact that, fundamentally, people are essentially the same, this lack of direct access to interiority makes others a perpetual mystery. It cloaks every interaction in uncertainty and ambiguity. But it is exactly that mystery, uncertainty, and ambiguity that make the inquiry worth returning to. And it is such complexity of understanding that she strives to infuse into her large figurative installations. West’s sculptures do not provide answers or assertions, but embrace uncertainty through the provocation of more questions. The figures are permanently frozen mid-gesture in a moment that encourages the generation of ambiguous narratives. Stripped from the context of previous actions, the figures’ personalities, motives, intentions are malleable and unfixed in the viewers’ minds. Who they are is in a state of flux dependent on the stories viewers create.
I have to admit, while the spectacle of animatronics is impressive, what struck me most about this video is the concept that the “perfect woman” not only exists, but can be created by a pair of two men….as a robot. Her purpose is for pleasing “every man, who could not find the perfect woman,” so she can “love them, understand them, while taking care of the housework.” Excuse me, but was this mindless, speechless robot-woman with unseeing plasticine-glazed eyes and pleasant vocal recognition (when spoken to) voice time warped from a futuristic 50’s, where men believed a dream woman should not actually have an opinion, but be extremely competent at massage and cooking delicious meals? Is this some kind of weird bogus Bill ‘n’ Ted time warp? (At least this robot won’t need to be medicated with speed to complete her tasks.)
Since I started Beautiful/Decay while attending the Maryland Institute College Of Art I have a soft spot for artists working in Baltimore. There’s something about living Baltimore (see “The Wire” for more on that) that changes you and your artwork forever. Baltimore is a giant pot of crazy that just seeps into your work and wont let go. Keep up the good work Suzanna and make us Alums proud!
Check out Suzanna’s Flickr account here and her portfolio over here.