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Matt Walford’s Deconstructed Nature

British photographer Matt Walford’s work takes nature and turns it on its head to create new worlds where birds are made of industrial gears, shrubs can spell, and where symmetry is king. Step into Matt’s world after the jump.

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Maija Luutonen, photography hide-and-seek

 

Please let's pretend, color photographs, 2006-2008

"Please let's pretend", color photographs, 2006-2008

I think I have a thing for photographs like Maija Luutonen’s lately and maybe that’s a reflection of my own need for indulgent escapism? I don’t know.

 

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Ron Arad Loves Crushing Fiat 500s Into Flat Disks To Hang On Gallery Walls

Ron Arad - car sculpture Ron Arad - car sculptureRon Arad - car sculptureRon Arad - car sculpture

Israeli artist Ron Arad has a thing for the Fiat 500 car. Ever since his father was almost struck by a garbage truck while driving a Cinquecento, the Italian automobile played an important part in his life. Arad tells the story of how he came to own his first Fiat to W Magazine. While stopped at a red light in a taxi, a Fiat pulled up next to him, and he

….opened the door of the taxi and shouted to the driver, ‘Are you selling?’ The next day, his car was [his]’.  (Source)

That car was used to cart his family around for a number of years, and even housed a homeless man for a short period. After looking at it every day, he decided he wanted to immortalize the car like the cultural icon it is. Using a metal press at a shipyard in Groningen, in the Netherlands, he managed to squash and squeeze the cars into a 12cm thick plate. After spending a while trialing with smaller cars and a variety of presses, Arad found the perfect way to flatten the frames while still keeping the integrity of the shape and design. It is quite a bizarre sight seeing something which is normally such a full shape being hung on the wall like it is a colored cardboard version of a car. Arad has indeed preserved the idea of the Fiat 500 for all to gush sentimentality over.

His exhibition “Ron Arad: In Reverse” is on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 West 27th Street in New York City, until March 14, 2015.

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Messing Up Ideas Of Beauty: The Queen Of Afro-Kitsch, Mickalene Thomas Challenges Us All

Mickalene Thomas - rhinestones, acrylic, enamel, oil on wood  Mickalene Thomas - rhinestones, acrylic, enamel, oil on wood Mickalene Thomas - rhinestones, acrylic, enamel, oil on wood Mickalene Thomas - rhinestones, acrylic, enamel, oil on wood

Mickalene Thomas arranges collages, stages photographs, places rhinestones, directs art films and layers up oil and acrylic paint, all in the name of beauty and feminism. Her glittering artworks are a homage to black culture, cubism, portraiture, ideas of the still life and what it is to be a woman. Initially inviting women into her studio and coercing an energy out of them, she aims to represent these ladies as “beautiful, sexual, desirable, stylish and fierce”. (Source) Thomas says she, as well as other black women have had to consider this question of beauty often:

Beauty has always been an element of discussion for black women, whether or not we were the ones having the conversation. We’ve had to contend with the element of our hair. Beauty pros and cons have changed the world of how we perceive each other. Some people go to great lengths to bleach themselves to conform to the norm, the whiteness, and all the complexities. (Source)

Thomas’ artwork is an exploration of how one presents themselves – the images we create of ourselves, how we chop and change our appearance, and why. She has been involved in a couple of different projects lately as well. Including designing pop star Solange Knowles’ EP cover and airing her directorial debut on HBO called “Happy Birthday To A Beautiful Woman” earlier this year. This art film is a kind of love letter to her mother – and an extension of her research into women and their identity. While her work is undeniably beautiful and luscious on the surface, she is concerned more with what that exterior is hiding. Thomas says:

I am drawn to objects and people that have undergone some kind of a hardship. They are beautiful and there is an artifice to them, but if you dig deeper, there’s another layer. (Source)

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Stefan Herda Uses Naturally-Sourced Paints To Capture The Mystery And Nostalgia Of Abandoned Houses

Stefan Herda, Clapshacks - Painting Stefan Herda, Clapshacks - Painting Stefan Herda, Clapshacks - Painting Stefan Herda, Clapshacks - Painting

Stefan Herda is a Toronto-based artist whose work and methodology explore our relationship with nature. He utilizes alternative techniques and natural materials in the creation of his art, deriving inks and dyes from wild blueberries, tea, turmeric, iron oxide, and more. From time-lapse videos of organic dyes interacting with household chemicals, to nebulae paintings infused with homemade ink and rainwater, his earth-toned and softly flowing works demonstrate an investigative and environmentally aware approach.

Featured here is Clapshacks, a series wherein Herda used natural colors and traditional textile dyeing techniques to paint portraits of derelict houses. Enclosed within hazy vignettes, buildings lean and collapse into the surrounding wilderness. There is a sense of peace and isolation; the buildings become crumbling, moss-strewn edifices that signify the resurging power of nature. There is a sense of retrospection, as well, that allows the viewer to consider the cycles of life, death, and renewal and the trajectory of human history. As Herda states in the project’s description, the Clapshack works “serve as a […] reference to old Romantic conventions, nostalgia for simpler times and the mystery inherent to the modern day ruin” (Source).

Visit Herda’s website to learn more. 

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Christian Herr

christian_herr_inittowinit

Love these paintings of TP’d trees, demolition derby glory, and stretching the truth by Christian Herr.

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aakash nihalani’s Taped Geometry

Aakash Nihalani’s outdoor geometric tape installations highlight the unexpected contours and elegant geometry of the city.

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Fawad Khan At Lu Magnus

Fawad Khan’s explosive paintings combine the bourgeoning issue of war with several automotive motifs that represent different cultural experiences and influences throughout his life. His works question the use of the automobile, an invention used for the purpose of transportation but becoming more and more a tool of destruction. If you’re in the New York area make sure to check out his show at Lu Magnus from March 25th-May 1st.

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