Artist Shirin Sahba’s exquisite works are ripe with tiny details and beautiful, fresh color. The grandiose compositions feature large skies and cross-sectioned grounds that reveal petals, flowers, and patterns rather than dirt or grass. Gradients of pinks, purples, blues, and greens fill the in-between spaces in a dreamy, hazy sort of a way.
Aside from the repetitive symbols and drawings, Sahba’s work is minimal. Her images feature one or two people as the subject, and we aren’t given much visual context clues. Sometimes, there’s a tree swaying in an imaginary breeze or an elephant giving two lucky people a ride.
Born in India, Sahba spent her adolescence surrounded by “the pristine azures of the Mediterranean in Israel,” and she visited 25 countries before she was 16. Her paintings speak of her upbringing as well as her love old cinema and traditional roots steeped in the Old Persian art of miniature. “I have often repeated the narrative of solitary characters traveling with no specific destination, allowing the journey itself to carry more importance,” she writes in an artist statement. “I have also concentrated on the simplifications of the traditional landscape into an abstract picture plane of colour and textures, while including figurative miniature characters and architectural elements, unifying the abstract with the representational. The characters are allowed to freely traverse a surreal landscape of floating colour planes.” (Via Art Hound)
Standing like a miniaturized skeleton city, American artist Ben Butler has installed an epic geometric sculpture that seems to distort any sense of space. The installation, titled Unbounded, is a site-specific piece for Rice Gallery in Houston, Texas. The work is made up of ten thousand small rods of poplar wood. Through the creation of complex grids, the artist and a team put together this epic structure, building section by section, almost like a block building meditation. The artist notes that Unbounded “alludes to the notion that its form has no defined boundary, that is it untamed and fills the space according to its own logic.” Butler’s work, which is not solely sculptural but also delves into printmaking and draughtsmanship, consistently refers and reflects on the notion of mass. Each work is intricate, meticulous, but perhaps, most importantly, explores a sort of metaphysical notion of space. Delicate, yet powerful in scale, his work tends to use elements of the earth. The combination of the power of size and the natural material — which acts as a connection to the earth — allows his work to truly carry an awe inspiring essence. Almost like an Agnes Martin notion of finding these quiet patterns within nature meets the raw power of element and structure like the work of Richard Serra. Profound, with a nod to a notion of fun and simplicity, Butler’s installation truly plays with perception. (via IGNANT)
For women everywhere who grew up with Disney princesses, at one time or another have been disappointed to find out that “happily ever after” is a very rare occurrence, and even then life cannot be consistently easy or good without a few hardships. I feel that a small part of me is avenged through Dina Goldstein’s harshly realistic series “Fallen Princesses.” In this series, Disney’s version of princesses find themselves introduced to the real world, and battling a world their previous audience live in. Everything from a stressful married life, obesity, depression, illness, etc. Just like everyone else they must address their conflict, and confront whatever the outcome may be.
Remember the urban legends that Disney movies had ‘sex’ written in the stars or that Aladdin whispers “good teenagers take off their clothes”? Artist Jose Rodolfo Loaiza Ontiveros took that imagery to heart, and much further, in his series Dishollywood. The artist depicts Disney characters in rebellion, experimenting with substances, sexuality, or pairs them with pop-culture icons. Ontiveros is trying to show that these characters are ours to experiment with, and that we may appropriate them as we like, and combine them with what we like, to create new and contemporary characters.
“It is a collection of visual curiosities that pushes the audience to reimagine the world of pop as a personalized mash-up with the freedom to merge situations, rewrite the script, and provide new dialogue in alternative scenarios to tell new stories.
DisHollywood is also a barometer for measuring our tolerance and acceptance levels; a new way of observing the “happy ending” that trumpets the time of equality is now. In contrast to the baroque fantasy implied by the original, idealized presentation of these characters, a new context of social vulnerability shows the darker side of our contemporary society.”
Some of it does demonstrate the degenerate side of our culture. Tiana – whose name is suspiciously close to Rihanna’s to begin with – is shown as a mashup with the pop-star, with bruises on her face, presumably post-Chris Brown. In a way the images do a good job of highlighting our sometimes-questionable behavior without lecturing. The characters who are originally totally pure, are defiled, making them more real, and also making our reality seem darker in that contrast. It’s also just hilarious to see Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck taking hits from the bong, though. (Via Huffington Post)
David Herbert has such a strange and beautiful way of playing with material, form and imagery within his works. They reveal a kind of innocently childish love for the imagery of a boyish youth–star trek maquettes, space ships, odd automobiles, and copious “Disneyland” references– as well as an adult understanding of the architecture and connotations behind them.
This giant snaking sculpture is the Funnel Tunnel by artist Patrick Renner. The temporary sculpture was commissioned by Art League Houston and sits on the esplanade across from their building. Renner’s Funnel Tunnel stretches for 180 feet, open as a giant funnel at one end and tapering to a sharp point at the other. The structure was created using steel and reclaimed wood. The ALH explains, “the sculpture reflects the creative people and businesses in the Montrose area, and is the first of its kind in Houston.” [via]
Gary Ward uses charcoal, graphite, oil pastels, and an overall sharp wit to examine humanity’s mess of emotion over the confusion of body and identity.
His Archeology Series, collected here, is a playful response to the quandary of life after death: how, despite fame, class, or notoriety at the end of it all, we are basically just a slew of skulls with slight form variations.
Regarding process, Ward, a self-taught artist based in Los Angeles, says he is “interested in how the mind and hand talk to each other in one uninterrupted sitting.” He likes to see the authorship of a flawed line and honors how each mistake can spontaneously charge the work in a new direction.
Spencer Murphy has several great bodies of work in his portfolio but I have to say that my favorite is his Architects Of War series. There wasn’t much text about this series but it looks like images taken at a weapons trade show. It’s amazing how casual and laid back the salesmen/saleswomen appear in the photos while selling products that can potentially kill thousands and create chaos in countries around the world. It’s quite creepy.