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John Millei: Abstraction Master

I haven’t seen a show that has blown me a away in some time so it was amazing to see the current show at Ace Gallery by John Millei. I wasn’t familiar with Millei’s work but apparently he’s been making abstract painting for a while, working in various styles and techniques. I had a few minutes to walk through the show but I can easily say that this is some of the most important abstract painting being done in the last 10 years. My favorite pieces in the show were the black, white, and silver paintings from the Quicksilver, and Maritime series. These are massive paintings that command attention in both their complex compositions and masterly paint handling. The photos just don’t do the work justice as the subtle colors and layering are lost in translation. If you’re in the LA area do yourself a favor and check out this show. I already have plans to make a second and third trip myself.

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Ikea Style Instructions To Assemble Your Favorite Monsters

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Black and white line illustrations, no written instructions, umlauts scattered like rose petals, that smiley cartoon guy—this certainly looks familiar. Illustrator Ed Harrington has subverted the ubiquitous directions sheet for his “Ikea Instruction” series. In Harrington’s world, it’s not streamlined Swedish furniture that’s being assembled, but monsters, killers, and Edward Scissorhands.

The clever illustrations make use of all of Ikea’s standard elements: the illustrated pieces, the bold sans-serif font, the crossed-out warning images. The Vörhees requires a simple assembly of one very large knife, one hockey mask, and one Allen wrench, whereas the Edvard needs 14 units of two different types of scissors, a heart, and hand removal. So far the DIY instruction sheets include Brundlefly from The Fly, a Human Centipede, Jason Voorhees from Friday the 13th, Edward Scissorhands and Pinhead, the Cenobite leader from Hellraiser.

Merging two incredibly popular, and incredibly different, pop culture genres makes this series work. Who could be next in the flat pack? Perhaps a small striped shirt, overalls, and an axe. Who wants to build Chücky?

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Red Poppies Flood Like Blood From The Tower Of London Commemorating WWI Centenary

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Ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper collaborate to create a stunning installation commemorating the centennial of the First World War. A scarlet sea of 888,246 ceramic red poppies will be “planted” around the Tower of London. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”, the installation pays tribute to soldiers who perished during the war.

For the past few weeks, volunteers have been carefully placing the flowers all around the famous dry moat around the Tower. Poppies burst through one of the windows and then flow loosely, forming an arch over the footbridge to the castle. Each poppy represents a soldier from the United Kingdom and its colonies who was killed during WWI. Cummings says he was inspired by a line in the will of a soldier from Derbyshire.

“I don’t know his name or where he was buried or anything about him. But this line he wrote, when everyone he knew was dead and everywhere around him was covered in blood, jumped out at me: ‘The blood-swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread.’ I believe he meant the angels to refer to his children.”

Poppy is considered a flower of remembrance in Britain. The reason is because most of the soldiers died fighting in the trenches in the poppy fields of Flanders.

The blooming field will continue to grow throughout the summer. The final flower will be symbolically planted on November 11th, Armistice Day. The ceramic blossoms are for sale for £25 ($42) each. 10 percent of the proceeds go to benefit six different charities. You can find out more about the project by following the #TowerPoppies hashtag on Twitter. (via Colossal)

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Thom Lambert

Lot’s of fun illustrstion, prints, and good ol’ fashioned graphic design by London based creative Thom Lambert!

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Insects Printed On Transparencies Seem To Fly Right Off The Wall

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Artist Alan Bur Johnson natural motifs often.  However, this may be his work at its most creepy.  Johnson’s Progeny series begins with photographs of winged insects.  The photographs are transferred to transparencies and affixed to the wall using insect pins.  Progeny allows viewers to inspect the insects up close, afford creatures we’d otherwise dispose of more time, and give some thought to taxonomy, the exercise of classification.  Interestingly his statement says in part:

“Whether an image, memory or specimen, each is meticulously dissected, altered and restructured. Referencing physical structures and the pulse of living cycles, his work documents fleeting occurrences, which typically transpire unnoticed.”

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Stephan Tillmans Captures The Final Flickerings of Televisions Turning Off

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The work of German graphic designer and  photographer Stephan Tillmans combines a fusion of new and old technology. Outdated cathode-ray televisions are turned off to reveal a strange but familiar geometry, which are then captured with modern, high-resolution cameras and techniques. This kind of CRT technology is no longer used, and the images the Tillmans collects are equally rare, as each is a finite moment that can almost certainly never be repeated. According to Tillmans, his work is a “photographic series of old tube televisions taken at the very moment they are switched off. The TV picture breaks down and is abstracted to its essential element: light. Each of these photographs is from a different TV, but it’s also the length of exposure, timing, and time the TV has been running before the photo is taken that affects the results.”

Tillman’s recent portfolio is broken up into two categories – the Luminant Point Arrays,  (seen above) made from color television sets, and the darker, more stark shapes of the Luminant Screen Shapings which are taken from black and white televisions (seen below). The more recent Screen Shapings lack color and some variation, but also have a more delicate, line-based visual strength. (via booooooom)

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Slinkachu’s Tiny Installation Work In The Street

 

Slinkachu has continued to carry out his poetic, mini street installations since we last checked in with him. The British artist continues to up the ante with each new, ephemeral piece. Employing miniature figurines and various objects, the artist stages tiny dramas (often humorous, and socially aware) in site-specific public locations. Click through to see some newer images of his “Little People Project” (previously) and some selections from the slightly older  “Inner City Snail” series.  

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Human Highway – The Sound

Actually quite a simple video and concept, but it has the key elements that I’m personally into: shapes and floating faces underneath a retro fuzz. Director Olivier Groulx also worked on a video and website concepts for Arcade Fire.

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