Oscar Cahen and Gershon Iskowitz contributed to the mid-20th century modernist movement with their joyous, colorful works despite the devastation they experienced in WWII. Horton Gallery of New York’s Lower East Side will be exhibiting these works July 9th to September 8th.
Haitian born American artist Morel Doucet sculpts ceramic timepiece odes to coral reefs. His work simultaneously touches two seemingly unrelated issues, both of which have been created by constructs of complicated and sensitive histories ingrained into reality over time: climate change and societal taboos. His series, titled Clock Work, “examines the relationship between the dying of our environments (coral reefs) and skin color (Melanin) as a device for the passing of time.” Just as climate change manipulates elements of the environment, the conditioning of history’s exploits that have been created by unequal distribution of power and inequitable actions has influenced the way human tonality is considered. His work pairs moments of nature with notions of flesh tone. For example, his piece titled Blanc refers to how the solar irradiance is bleaching the coral reefs, as well as “how prevalent skin whitening cosmetic products are popular in the Caribbean and parts of Southeast Asia. Four out of ten women surveyed in Jamaica, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea used a skin whitening cream.”
Using various forces, including personal and cultural histories, dreams, and the “paradoxical beauty of nature,” Doucet’s quiet work finds a delicate manner in which to speak of overtly complex topic areas that are often let down by semantics. He states;
“I aim to create work that not only stands out for its regal impact but also for its sensitivity. My inspiration comes from an ongoing interest and profound respect for indigenous tribal cultures of the Amazon, Aboriginal natives of Australia and the Yoruba tribe of West Africa. I am fascinated with garments and textiles of Native Americans and Afro-futurism. With this vocabulary of indigenous art, along with my personal dreams, I make whimsical forms resulting in a diary of my personal mythology.”
His work, rooting in self exploration, effortlessly offers a soft platform to speak about the complex.
Shia LaBeouf has our attention once again, but this time he is only a placeholder in an enormous and masterful creative production. While the video is a parody of sorts of Labeouf’s celebrity status, the real focus is on just how incredible all of the different elements come together. A mixture of music, comedy, dance, narrative and performance, the stage piece is definitely a spectacle. You just need to look at the credits on the Youtube page to see how many people were actually involved in making this strange idea come to life.
The actual song, and score was written by Rob Cantor, and was made a reality with the help of The Gay Men’s Choir of Los Angeles, The West Los Angeles Children’s Choir and The Argus Quartet. Not only did he write the song, and draw up a complex and riveting narrative of what happens to our star character, but Cantor also oversaw the construction of Shia LaBeouf heads for the dancers to wear; he stood in on the choreographed dance rehearsals, and co-ordinated a behind-the-scenes video log.
You can see just how intensive this project was, and the lengthy process it took to get the musical to the final stages. If you are still left wanting more Shia LeBeouf after watching the musical number, visit Cantor’s Facebook page for many more interesting videos on how exactly this bizarre masterpiece came to fruition.
Photo by Zach Callahan
Digital photography has advanced the medium for well over a decade, with new innovations breaking into tech-savvy genres that allow for unique work to progress and doors to be opened. However, contemporary photographers such as Dan Estabrook are looking back 200 years to the very first steps photography took as an artform, and bringing back the lost aesthetic from two centuries of happy accidents. More after the cut!
Daniel St. George is a fine artist living in Brooklyn, NY who has steadily amassed a body of work that is equal parts entertaining, eclectic, and engrossing. St. George blends elements of collage, printmaking, painting, and drawing to create clever inverted representations of classic cartoon and pop icons; often placed into dynamic interaction with a found paperback leaf or music score in a personal, methodical context that is all his own.
Artist James Turrell, pioneer of using light as an art medium, once said “Seeing is a very sensuous act“. Charles Matson Lume follows Turrell’s influential path, adding his own sculptural, material and architectural elements to his light works. Though the two have distinct differences, Lume’s idea that “Light is seemingly capable of releasing a kind of secret from the ordinary” holds many similarities to Turrell’s artistic philosophy.
The Twin Cities-based Lume spoke with Beautiful/Decay on the eve of being named to the ArtPrize Shortlist for 3D Works for his piece, The World’s An Untranslatable Language II (for Charles Wright) (pictured above). Using pedestals of plastic warning tapes, as well as neon duct tape, mirrored paper reflects light onto the gallery’s walls, creating the alluring forms and patterns which are the spirit of Lume’s work. The artist adds, “Yes, the light is elemental in my work. However, the materials hold meaning. For me, the pas du deux of light and materials mirrors my experience in the world.”
This relationship between the materials and the light itself is interesting, as it is the artist’s main medium, yet is given more conceptual heft with the importance placed in the ephemeral materials used to support the light works themselves. Many of Lume’s ideas are broadened (and also named after) his interest in contemporary poetry, but the artist quickly adds, “I am interested in visual pleasure, the sensual, and experiential. I am also interested in what distracts us (Is there anything in our culture that isn’t vying for our attention?) What gets in the way of really living a full life? Art allows me to find gestures in which I can sometimes access a kind of authenticity that is true.”
Swiss photographer Matthieu Lavanchy likes to create his own subject matter. Everything from still lives, to installations, collaborations and costumes so that a room just can’t be a room anymore, but becomes an area of performance.
Tegels is an animation made of a large photographic collection of street tiles. By viewing this collection of photographs as a sequence, different movements and processes become visible within the frame of the tiles. Both music and animation are trying to find a balance between a thought-out arrangement and an arrangement of ‘chance’ deriving directly from the tiles. Watch the full video after the jump.