Rory Kurtz, based out of Chicago, is a modern illustrator in the fact that he uses “digital paint.” Self-taught, his works are a taste of fashion and celebrity, as well as odd little black and white illustrations that remind of the works of Edward Gorey, one of my favorite pen and ink illustrators. Kurtz’ use of mixed media makes for a whole new genre of illustration.
Artur Birkle is a German photographer with an eye for the candid and playfully suggestive. He shoots across many fields, including editorials, portraits, and reportage photography. His style is always distinct: high flash, casual poses, and accentuated body parts. Skillfully capturing the energy of his models and their intimate gestures, Birkle’s works allude to eroticism, rather than overtly display it.
Two series from his portfolio are shown here, Fruit Salad and Personal. The former features fruit in erogenous situations: a banana anointed with a thick, creamy liquid; apples strategically placed over breasts; a plum resting on someone’s tailbone. The sexual imagery of fruit has been explored before in art (and our imaginations)—i.e., the phallic resemblance of a banana—but Birkle does an excellent job accentuating the eroticism in a clean and simple manner. The skin texture and individual hairs of his models lend the images an honesty that heightens the viewer’s curiosity.
The Personal series has the same lighthearted tone, but with a softer, more sensual edge. These images are like viewpoints into private moments, buzzing with the after-burn of intimacy. Events such as twilight window-gazing and partially dressed bodies are documented in his fragmentary style, enticing us with a piece of the story and allowing our imaginations to fill in the rest. Birkle captures the nuances of physical expression in clever and unique ways.
Birkle is currently studying photography and media at the University of Applied Sciences in Bielefeld. You can view more of his works on his website, Instagram, and Tumblr. (Via Art Fucks Me)
Artist Emma Kohlmann creates ink drawings of amorphous figures performing sexual acts. Her delicately explicit work almost mimics a Rorschach Test. Upon first glance, we are confronted with an abstract, puddle-like treatment of ink. As we enter the work further, we find ourselves in an intimate realm of masturbation, cunnilingus, voyeurism and fluid erotica.
Kohlmann uses source material such as vintage porn and Japanese erotica. Her large collection of content allows her to generate a prolific body of work. A major aspect of her process is simply the act of her constant making. She states:
“Most of this work is an exploration of repetition. I like having a accumulation of images and working in multiples because I can never create the same image twice. Every time I create the details I focus on change. I like focusing on androgyny or addressing sex as multiplicity in finite or non binary.”
Kohlmann’s distorted figures are simultaneously omniscient and innocent, similar to the portraits of Marlene Dumas. Each drawing is both commanding, yet self conscious, a dichotomy that exposes the true complexity of the sexual being. Her work has a natural rawness that is almost brutally honest and inherently feminist, as sex can be both an act of power and shame. There is an innate sense of relatable vulnerability. Her nameless, faceless, genderless, figures are somehow no one and everyone, allowing them to provide an of existential sense of isolation. Her work has a softness, sincerity, and intricacy that echoes the true confusion of beingness.
For more of Emma Kohlmann’s work, check out her blog or follow her on Instagram
Amy Ross, as she herself states, is quite interested in the idea of artists as “mad scientists”. She posts the question, “What would happen if the DNA sequence of a plant or mushroom were spliced with that of an animal?“. As she tries answering this question herself and to the viewers, her latest works titled, “Brother Wolf” addresses just that.
Sakir Gokcebag is a Turkish artist who creates elegant installations from the most ordinary objects. Coat hangers, toilet paper, wicker baskets, levels, and jewelry are a few of the many objects he plays with to make his charming studies of form and materials. They’re reminiscent of how in the menial jobs we all have at one point or another, we keep ourselves sane by making towers, sculptures, and patterns out of the objects around us, and in doing so re-discover their formal elements–this chocolate bar is a rectangle, that coat hanger is a bow, these salt shakers are kind of like Kokeshi dolls, etc. Gokcebag takes this impulse and runs with it, turning it into some great visual poetry. (via)
Pedro Varela’s tightly packed paintings and installations leave no part of a room safe with paint on canvas, walls, floors and even ceilings.The imagery is clearly based on dense landscapes that one might find in a busy metropolitan area with massive skyscrapers sitting next to old art deco structures that leave little space to build except up into the sky. Like a new city that is just taking shape Varela’s scattered yet dense city systems pour onto every surface acknowledging the galleries architectural structure yet denying to stop just because the wall ends and the floor begins. (via)
Tony Matelli‘s realistic “Sleepwalker” sculpture has created a bit of controversy among students at Wellesley, where the sculpture was installed outside of the college’s Davis Musuem. For Lisa Fischman, the museum’s director, the sculpture addresses the boundary of what we expect from art inside a museum versus the outside. Junior Zoe Magdid, the student who initiated a petition to have the sculpture removed, disagrees. “We were really disappointed that she seemed to articulate that she was glad it was starting discussion, but didn’t respond to the fact that it’s making students on campus feel unsafe, which is not appropriate,” Magid said. “We really feel that if a piece of art makes students feel unsafe, that steps over a line.” More than 300 students have signed the petition so far.
While I can see how Wellesley students could find the sculpture threatening or triggering, I am curious how they would have reacted if Matelli’s female sleepwalker sculpture were installed instead. Most students would probably not feel as threatened by its presence, but that sort of perception would only perpetuate the idea that men alone embody a physical threat, though women are also capable of sexual abuse against others.
However you choose to perceive the sculpture, Matelli’s work provokes viewers and asks them to consider not only the absurdity of a “schlumpy” man sleepwalking campus in his underwear, but also how certain bodies and genders are perceived inside and outside the art gallery. Some of Matelli’s other sculpture work can also be perceived as creepy, but they all seem to address notions of boundaries and gravity, and the defiance of particular expectations. (via gawker)