Alicia Savage captures her life with a surreal twist that pushes beyond the static point and shoot. From absurd flights of fancy to soft reflective moments, each self-portrait conveys an independent sense of travel or transcendence: movement that emphasizes the importance of dreaming in relation to personal exploration and documentation. Conceptually, it’s that simple– but technically, it’s a little more challenging. Her exquisite use of color, light, setting, and digital manipulation curiously compels us to enter these departures with great anticipation.
I recently stumbled upon Pigasus Gallery, a Berlin based shop that specializes in Polish Poster design. I hadn’t really been aware of the specific design genre of Polish poster design, but after poking around I found a few articles stating that beginning with the period right after World War II, the Polish Union of Artists along with support from all the major art universities set rigorous standards as far as poster design, creating a rich environment that bred a plethora of creative posters that exhibited unqiue imagery as well as technical proficiency….an amazing phenomenon creating some great posters! More after the jump…Check out Liza Manelli’s stockinged legs fashioned into a swastika in the “Cabaret” poster– not sure what to make of that, anyone?
In artist Reiner Hansen’s series Facial Fallout, she paints self portraits that each depict a different persona. In some, she plays a character, like a reality star or the girl next door. In others, it’s another version of who she already is, but with a different hair style, skin sunburnt, and more. All of these are a departure of her true identity, which itself is fleeting and malleable based on who she was trying to be. Hansen explains:
Each is based on, or rather mapped onto, my own features and characteristics. My self image is re-conceived as these other women, who live in a world entirely different from my own. There is a process of transformation into involuntarily ‘stereotyped’ notions of who these people are or might be, a sort of method acting in painted form, leaving a history of performance in each image. Simultaneously a game that is playful as well as a meditative speculation on a fabricated ‘other life’, these images are partly about investigating the idea of ‘escape,’ not just away from ‘the self’ and into anonymity, but also away from the art historical traditions of the self portrait and its established practice of depicting the artist. Instead, concealing my self behind imagined personas, I attempt to escape identification.
These portraits are humorous, and part of the joy of looking at Hansen’s work is finding glimpses of her true self within all of these paintings.
Nunzio Paci is an artist from Bologna who paints human anatomy with a surrealist flourish. Recalling the studies of the body from the Italian Renaissance, male cadavers are flayed and opened up, exposing layers of raw muscle and twisted sinew. Body parts are numbered and labeled like dissection records, with marginalia scrawled softly along the sides. In the tradition of his Italian precursors, Paci takes an artistic approach to science, blending grim images of death and corporeality with a reverence for the complexity of the human form.
Paci brings his own style into these anatomical portraits by expressively exploring the body’s connection to nature; veins that unravel past the skeletal contours sprout into leaves, and branches twist upwards from shoulders with a spring-sapling fervor. Birds perch on the blooming dead, and in the corner, dissection instruments are curiously mixed with garden tools. Beautifully macabre, Paci’s mutating cadavers explore not only the interrelation of life and death, but the material links between all living matter—expressed, for example, by the similar structures of arteries and branches. On his biography page, Paci describes his creative approach:
“My whole work deals with the relationship between man and Nature, in particular with animals and plants. The focus of my observation is [the] body with its mutations. My intention is to explore the infinite possibilities of life, in search of a balance between reality and imagination.” (Source)
Justin Amrhein is a whole new kind of mad scientist. Gathering inspiration from the way things are made, Amrhein crafts a new breed of machinery, in the form of an engineer’s schematic illustration, to provoke thoughts around the function of these beautifully complex creatures.
There’s something so simple, playful and childlike in Daniel Jensen’s work. I really like the above bust- I don’t know if it’s because the material calls to mind….well, poop frosted with Betty Crocker icing that makes me equally delighted and repulsed to eat it for some reason. It’s like a weird mini-wheat come to sad life.
Christian Stearry is great example of what happens when one spends their entire youth skateboarding- it begins to permeate every aspect of your life. His illustrations are focused on the tongue-in-cheek jokes found in growing up “bad,” whether it’s through graffiti, drinking, or being that guy that brings his bong everywhere. Lucky for us, it works.