It is always exciting and refreshing to see traditional art methods used in a whole new way. Artist Danielle Lawrence‘s fresh eye on contemporary art takes the conventional framed painting and transforms it into highly textural and sculptural work, taking it to another level. In her work, the frame is often still present, but the art inside it is spilling out, exploding from the frame that confines it. It is almost as if the paint has a life of its own, trying to escape from the cage and constraint we have given it. Lawrence explains that the frame is a symbol of patriarchal structures and restriction.
Lawrence’s non-representational painting method allows the colors to melt and drip, creating incredible movement in each piece. These colors appear bent, folded, and manipulated, creating organic forms. Each bright, glossy color erupting from each canvas and frame turns the typical two-dimensional painting into a more palpable, three-dimensional piece that reaches out at the viewer. Her artistic journey began while experimenting using trash as subject. Still pulling inspiration from found objects, the artist’s work often includes items from her studio, including plastic bags and bubble wrap. Lawrence’s take on form and material is both chaotic and structured, creating order out of an eclectic range of colors and media. She flawlessly creates a beautifully balanced mixture of classic painting methods with a new, contemporary approach.
She’s an avowed formalist with an eye to the street. Her works are lustrous and abject, smooth and sharp, blunt and sophisticated. While painting is clearly her passion, she makes promiscuous use of other media: sculpture, drawing, photography and video.
French artist Geneviève Santerre‘s body of work is, well, about the body. Explicitly erotic, her work is shocking and provocative. It speaks to central concerns about women’s bodies and sexuality in general. From human-animal-creature genital hybrid sculptures to bronze cast vaginas to a pair of discharge-soaked underwear hand stitched with the words “shit happens” to a tangled and suspended speculum to a performance piece wherein she wears a Niqab adorned with silicon vaginal molds, Santerre is by no means subtle. Her work is direct and compelling, challenging the viewer with something powerfully resonant yet potentially disturbing. Santerre pushes boundaries, asking us to reflect on recontextualized sexual images.
Santerre explains in her statement, “Belonging to a generation that is supposedly open sexually, I wonder why this jubilation is considered taboo. Despite some improvements since the feminist movement in the 1960’s, contemporary society remains patriarchal and regards women as objects, while frowning upon sexually open women.
Carnegie Mellon grad Cassandra C. Jones makes work that embraces the digital photography + social web revolution to the fullest extent. She combs the web for pictures that fit whatever project she may be working on (above, wallpaper made entirely from images of flamingos), many of which end up being amateur digital snapshots uploaded to Flickr or other photo hosts. Taking this found photography, she creates art – sometimes smart, sometimes clever, sometimes thought-provoking compositions.
Cassandra C. Jones was recently featured on BoingBoing Video. The interview, which I highly recommend watching, is after the jump, along with some more images of her work.
Our obsession with cats has a long and multi-cultured history. Long before Grumpy, Garfield and Felix, the Japanese were depicting cats in their artwork. A new exhibit set to open at New York’s Japan Society entitled “Life of Cats” studies the feline’s depiction during the Japanese Edo period. The period comprises a little over 250 years between 1615-1867, that saw a prolific use of cats (hi harmony), particularly in pieces made from Ukiyo-e woodblock prints. The printing technique was initially introduced to distribute texts of Buddhist scriptures. In 1765 a new technology made it possible to produce a single sheet using up to 20 colors. This allowed artists to take full advantage of palette and soon cats were appearing in a multitude of roles.
The first cat surfaced in Japan around the sixth century. They were brought over from China on ships transporting sacred scrolls written by monks. The Buddhists believed cats were mindful creatures and when an enlightened person died they would first come back as a cat before reaching nirvana. The exhibit at Japan Society is divided up into 5 categories: Cats and people, Cats as people, Cats vs. people, Cats transformed and Cats and play. Since the woodblock prints mainly depicted courtesans and Kabuki actors we see these figures in numerous works interacting with cats. The colors are exquisite and most of the scenes between human and feline is endearing. Some of the weirder prints are hybrid looking cat people and as mentioned earlier stems from the Buddhist belief of an enlightened being transforming into a cat before reaching nirvana. A popular motif was the common leisurely activities of a village, in these we see cats role playing as people relaxing at spas and playing in parks. (via hyperallergic)
You might have read countless comics and watched all of the movies, but how often do you see a geriatric superhero? Not much, I’m sure. Arguably, these types of stories are less fun and offer less fantastical possibilities. A lot of stories are action-driven; The less action means potentially less appeal. The paintings of Andreas Englund, however, offer a different perspective. In his series of realistically-rendered oil paintings, Englund highlights mundane, amusing, and the occasional ass-kicking moments by an aging Superhero. We see him eating clementines, watching tv, and choking at a dinner party. And it’s not boring.
Age is the overarching theme in this series. Author Philipp Windmüller’s writes a short essay about Englund’s Superhero and highlights his transition from young to old. He states:
… the character himself needs to face up reality and the aging process. He has to acknowledge to himself that he cannot live up to expectations and that the “perfect life” is nothing more than wishfulness. Englund’s artworks are focused on the maturing process. Even in the old age it is still possible to achieve something valuable although someone’s drive and vigour won’t bluster out explosively. Nevertheless everybody in his advanced age deserves to be recognised and respected for what he has achieved in life.
Recognizing that we live in an ageist society, Windmüller goes to write that we should identify and have empathy for this character:
Every one of us will find himself in the same situation as the “Aging Superhero” anytime soon. Of course, all good things must come to an end but we don’t have to bow to social marginalisation. One day we all will be old and start realise we need to dial it down and stop pushing on harder. In a worldwide society where mostly older people live, we need a survival packet with superpowers in order to make sure that everybody can film his own superhero blockbuster. (Via This is Colossal)
These beautiful hand crafted ceramic bowls are the handiwork of artist Hella Jongerius. A designer who specializes in fusing traditional practices with contemporary ones; industrial techniques with craft skills, Jongerius is no stranger to trying out new things. Commissioned by German porcelain company Nymphenburg, the animal bowls are a homage to the different animals found in the companies archives. Since the 18th century, Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg (based in Bavaria) have produced high quality, fine, artisanal ceramics. Over the last 266 years, that has included countless tea sets, vases, decorative and utilitarian plates, and now limited edition bowls. Jongerius now joins the long list of artists and craftsmen who have collaborated with Nymphenburg.
From the treasure of historic shapes containing around 700 animal figures at the manufactory, Jongerius selected eight designs and placed them in simple bowls. She then supplemented the naturalistic painting of the snail, bird, rhinoceros, deer, hare, frog, fox and dog with a different pattern from Nymphenburg’s painting archives – from designs originally intended for a soup tureen right up to a drawing of the plumage of a guinea fowl. (Source)
Her playful style and eye for color and design, all work beautifully with the cleanliness of the bowls. Jongerius has her own design company which has produced many products for clients in New York, Basel, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Her work has also been shown in galleries around the world, including the Copper Hewitt National Design Museum, MoMA, and the Galerie KREO in Paris. (Via This Is Colossal)