Kurtis Skaife’s crocheted series “Soft Power” confronts gender expectations directly, re-imaging weaponry and fortification in the visual tradition of tea cozies and your grandmother’s lovingly hand-made afghan blanket. The work embraces its duality, playing the imagery against the materials, leaving the viewer to grapple with something that is both a symbol of comfort and control. See Skaife’s work in person at the Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis alongside work by August Krogan-Roley from April 7th-May 20th 2012.
Stefanie Klavens has a love for 20th century pop culture and Americana. In her articulate photographic series, titled “Vanishing Drive-Ins,” Klavens documents the disintegration of the American drive-in. Once a popular social and entertainment aspect, it has been slowly disappearing from the United States. As Klavens explains, “The drive-in has suffered the same fate as the single screen theater. Before World War II the drive-in was a modest trend, but after the war the craze began in earnest, peaking in popularity in the late 1950s and early 1960’s. Drive-ins were ideal for the modern family, everyone jumped into the car, no babysitter needed. ‘Car culture’ had officially arrived as a dominant force on the American scene.”
Despite the rapid popularity of the drive-in, they simply could not stand the test of time. Klavens attributes their decline to the evolution of technology and altered views of land: “Over time, changing real estate values began to have an effect on the drive-in. Land became too valuable for a summer-only business. Widespread adoption of daylight saving time in the mid 1960’s subtracted an hour from outdoor evening screening time. The decline was further hastened by the advent of VCRs and home video rentals. In the 1950s there were over 4,000 drive-ins nationwide. Today there are fewer than 400.”
These photographs, with their heavily saturated colors and blurry prolonged exposures, showcase some of the few drive-ins that are still functioning with a romantic nostalgia. The structures and signage may be antiquated, but the car types and models are a dead ringer for our era.
Texas born photographer Ignacio Torres‘s new series Stellar is a fine example of camera wizardry. Capturing four different angles of models jumping, sliding, twisting and falling in the desert surrounded by flying dust and confetti, he has tried to capture the essence of youth. More specifically, how humans and scientific theories co exist and inter-relate. Torres explains a bit more about his project here:
This project began from the theory that humans are made of cosmic matter as a result of a stars death. I created imagery that showcased this cosmic birth through the use of dust and reflective confetti to create galaxies. The models organic bodily expressions as they are frozen in time between the particles suggest their celestial creation. (Source)
His animated images certainly have a little something heavenly or even spiritual about them. I’m sure at times we have all been impressed by certain natural phenomenon – fireflies, glow worms, phosphorescence on the beach or in the water, and Torres’ celebrates these wondrous things that occur effortlessly and completely unaided around us. He goes on to explain:
In addition, space and time is heightened by the use of three-dimensional animated gifs. Their movement serves as a visual metaphor to the spatial link we share with stars as well as their separateness through time. (Source)
Stellar has a beautiful vibrancy and energy about it. The series has the same vivacity and zest as watching enthusiasts like Neil deGrasse Tyson or David Attenborough talk about their obsessions with the world that surround us. I imagine Torres would be very happy if his work piqued our interest in astronomy, botany, or at the very least, about our own humanity. Because it is indeed a marvelous and astounding thing. (Via We The Urban)
Personally, I never understood how dudes could sit in perfect rapture in their basements, eating cereal and wearing vans, watching other dudes ride around on wooden planks with wheels for hours on end. (OK, I secretly wanted to be one of those dudes.) Anyways, thank you, Salazar for creating a dusty, semi-mystical video with colored smoke and potions that at least, for an instant, made me feel what it’s like to be one of those dudes.
Image maker Suzy Poling seems to believe in the unreal. Her work breaks the formalities of typical photography, by utilizing many different methods for production. Some of her work has hints of Andreas Gursky, while other parts have the the surreal air of Tim Walker. Her work feels like a documented rapture, where nothing exists where everything once did.
Nicholas Bohac mixes paint, ink and silkscreen prints to create multilayered landscapes. The living texture of his work builds a world meant to raise questions about the current state of our environment. Where does nature end and humanity begin? How are we affecting nature, and how is nature affecting us? Similar to a hike in the wilderness, you will find it is easy to get lost in these paintings.