Everyone love a cute photo of a dog but London based Tim Flach’s dog photographs show mans best friend in a completely new light. Bringing the viewer into close-up proximity with their animal subjects, painstakingly lit, carefully cropped for maximum graphic impact and animated by telling gestures, these photographs place us in an intimate relationship with their protagonists. They are far removed from wildlife photography’s documentary images of animals observed in their natural habitat. In fact, the treatment accorded to these particular creatures is not dissimilar from close encounters with individuals that are the stuff of human portraiture.
Joana Avillez is a radical comic book drawing machine from Manhattan, NYC. Her work exists in a universe all her own where old timey cartoons wear Geta shoes and one-of-a-kind hats, while reading old issues of Heavy Metal and Raw, over a nice hot bowl of asian soup. Buy copies of her most recent book “Life Dressing: The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas” here.
For the artist Maria Raquel Cochez, her body is both her subject and medium; choosing to undergo and photograph 3 weight-loss surgery procedures, she catalogs a complex relationship with body image. For this series, titled “Life Performance,” and subsequent videos, paintings, and photographs, the artist courageously addresses the difficult ways in which women are expected to conform to physical ideals.
For “Life Performance,” Cochez relinquishes all control, surrendering both her body and her camera, leaving others to cut, transform, and document her as she undergoes a breast reconstruction and implant and gastric bypass. Each photograph poignantly blurs the line between performance and experience, boldly welcoming the public into a profoundly private emotional space.
Four years after “Life Performance,” Cochez presents “Belly,” a gorgeous video capturing the effects of surgery and life on her midsection. Seen floating in a full bathtub, her excess flesh is seen as touchingly soft yet powerful; isolated from the rest of her body, it seems to breathe independently, rising from the water and sinking back again. On the righthand side of the frame, a child plays with the female belly, innocently exploring the space that gave him life. He kneads it like bread, then strokes it carefully.
The work is painfully moving for the artist’s total surrender to her craft and audience; as viewers, we bear witness to her insides, to folds of her naked skin. For this reason, her impressive body of work seem less like an exploitation of the self than a miraculously intimate confessional. Despite their potentially painful content, her creations are strangely warm and generous; for example, in Life Performance No.1, romantic black and white images of her smiling face and her soft backside gently bookend the frighteningly colorful photographs of her surgery.
Ultimately, the work reads as a richly nuanced love letter to the human body, one to which all humans, regardless of experience, can relate. Take a look at Cochez’s paintings, videos, and photographs after the jump, including her uncomfortably, painfully seductive self-portraits of eating binges.
It is important to note that body dysmorphia—along with other mental- and eating-disorders—are much better covered by new healthcare legislature; especially with groundbreaking ACA regulations now taking effect. If you or a loved one are coping with such a disorder, please remember that there are options out there.
Islands is a series of sculptures showing miniature snapshots of life. Isolated pieces of land, that look like they were wrenched from the earth by some force of nature, are floating through nowhere. All that is left is a random group of living beings who do their best to survive. For more sculptures, photo projects and installations visit The Rainbow Monkeys!
Artist Lisa Park‘s performance titled Euonia – a Greek word that can be translated as “beautiful thinking”. The title is apt as Park’s thought’s are central the beauty of her performance. She makes use of an EEG headset which monitors various brainwaves and eye movement. The resulting information is translated into sound directed to one of five speakers. A shallow pan of water sits on each speaker, vibrating and shimmering with each of Park’s various thoughts. Park associated each of the five speakers with a different emotion and would recall various memories of people important to her in order to manipulate the speakers. She had hoped to develop the ability, through practice, to end her performance in silence but could not – an outcome perhaps more interesting than she had intended. It may be the brain is much more difficult to quiet than it seems. Be sure to check out the video to see Lisa Park’s brain in action. [via]
New York based artist Amy Hill modernizes the Renaissance. As you can see from the majority of her work, Amy draws her inspiration from fifteenth century Flemish painters. I really enjoyed her Bohemian series.
NYC artist Susanna Starr is known for her sculptures and hybrids of sculpture and painting that employ a range of material. From sponges saturated with gallons of paint, to painted, cut and layered mylar, to delicate wall works of wood veneer with designs meticulously cut out, Starr’s practice employs a talent for translating materials in unexpected ways. Hallmarks of her works are an exploration of formal issues of medium and process, a witty sense of play, and a carefully balanced tension resulting from the contradictory use of material.
Her upcoming exhibition at Marcia Wood Gallery (April26-june 9th), “Psychedelicate”, is an explosion of pattern and color in the neon colored works that suspend ceiling to floor as well as hang in multiple layers on the wall. In an NYFA Magazine article on Starr, Stacey Gottleib describes “Mylar offered a way of working with pigment in its purest form, each sheet like a single brushstroke of paint, layers of which, when hung together in her trademark, cunningly calculated tones, also opened up a previously unseen, inner dimension to the work. In addition, transferring the lacy pattern of porous sponge to the new material necessitated a cutting device to hollow out the holes and so the pen-knife and meticulous handwork the cutouts required became a vital part of the process as well.”