Speaking of surrealism how about the works of Sarolta Bán? These epicly surreal photographs are painstakingly created digitally creating a seamless world where bears read stories to small birds, trees grown in the sky, humans live inside cameras, and keys as tall as buildings are portals to an alternate universe. Sarolta’s images transport us deep inside storybook fictions where every dream can become a reality as long as you believe.
Chinese artist Li Wei’s photographs defy gravity with himself often at the helm. They are the documentation of reality that involves sometimes-dangerous stunts that the artist says aren’t doctored by computers. Instead, he uses mirrors, wires, acrobatics, and more to give the illusion that people are flying and have transcended above cityscapes.
In a 2012 interview with The Creators Project, Wei says “we are all controlled by someone else. Our thoughts and actions are all controlled by an unseen force.” These images demonstrate an effort to break free of constraints and limitations, and teeter the line between fantasy and reality. Specifically, Wei is talking about the rapid change in China’s economy, but they hold a wider-reaching message. His photographs could be seen as a meditation on our consciousness, hopes, and desires of wanting complete freedom but having to live within the confines of society.
We’ve all seen photographs of cadavers with the skin pulled back to see the anatomy or accidentally clicked on a medical tv show and see a birthing video but Claudiu Cândea’s beautifully drawn and incredibly grotesque drawings depict this in the figures of young girls, beautiful (and very alive) ladies laying about casually with their skin pulled back to reveal every muscle, vein, and organ. Disturbing? Yes. gorgeous artwork? Absolutely!
To some, the purpose of hyperrealistic art may seem uncertain; why reproduce reality in such painstaking detail, when we are confronted by each other’s flesh every day? Of course, some of the sculptures have disturbing and surreal aspects, which makes their illusory qualities more clear. Like rats’ tails and hairless cats, these sculptures may make many of us strangely uncomfortable, for they unconsciously remind us of our own mortal fleshiness. Beyond this initial repulsion, however, they also mimic and accentuate reality to confront the viewer with meanings they may never see otherwise: human vulnerability, and the skin as a shallow edifice that distracts us from another’s internal experience. In each of these “simulations” of real life, an intuitive (and often unsettling) truth is revealed.
I had only one class with Tom LaDuke, but he became was of my most beneficial and most enjoyed professors. Much like his work, Tom is very perceptive; I always felt he was a few steps ahead of us. He inspired many of us to notice aesthetic details, a more clever title, a deeper level of thought – just something more than where our minds stopped at.
Even outside of class, Tom is still encouraging me to be better through his work. He works with challenging mediums, such as, sculpting with graphite, pencil leads, fingernails, eyelashes, and other fragile or unorthodox materials. He is always up to something. You notice this when you start seeing the different layers he puts into all his work, most notably his recent series of paintings where you become very aware of your process of perceiving images.