We have featured the work of Spanish artist Bubi Canal on the blog in the past (here). He currently lives and works in New York City and continues to produce larger than life photographs steeped in surrealistic whimsy. He has recently updated his website with new images, video, and plastic sculpture that exude childlike wonder. In his own words Canal aims to highlight “…wishes, dreams, magic and love” and we are excited to watch his imaginative world expand.
Jocelyne Grivaud reinvents Barbie as famous works of art and cultural icons throughout the ages.
“This design needed time to take root, as often. The whole story began one day, in November 1967, with a present, all tenderness.
It was pink, vaporous and extremely delicate. With the patience of an angel, my mother had secretly knitted a dressing gown and tiny bootees for my Barbie. It seems to me there were more clothes, but these bootees, with their little pink knots on top totally fascinated me. Then I grew up. The doll vanished, but I kept in mind the elegance and grace of my Barbie as well as a little bootee deep down my secret box. One day, the idea of extending the happy part of my childhood through pictures I love took shape. Barbie is often criticized for being too blonde, too superficial, too skinny, too “ideal marketing”, too “this” and too “that”…. My aim was to adjust this so famous profile to different emblematic representations.
Here’s my personal contribution as a birthday present to my mascot, Barbie, superimposed on the vision of artists whose work I greatly appreciate. Let me thank them all for creating such intense pictures. Many thanks to Ruth Handler for creating this dolly model that enraptured me throughout my childhood.”
Jowhara AlSaud makes hybrid photo/drawings that dance with anonymity and censorship. Jowhara started working with this subject after noticing commercial photos altered in Saudi Arabia, seeing “…skirts lengthened and sleeves crudely added with black markers in magazines or blurred out faces on billboards.” She then applied the censors’ language to her personal photographs. The work is strangely readable for giving so few clues away.
In his installation, reverse of volume RG at the Rice Gallery in Houston Texas, Yasuaki Onishi uses the simplest materials — plastic sheeting and black hot glue — to create a monumental, mountainous form that appears to float in space. The process that he calls casting the invisible involves draping the plastic sheeting over stacked cardboard boxes, which are then removed to leave only their impressions. This process of reversing sculpture is Onishi’s meditation on the nature of the negative space, or void, left behind.
Onishi wanted to create an installation that would change as visitors approached and viewed it from outside of the glass wall to inside the gallery space. Seen through the glass, the undulating, exterior surface and dense layers of vertical black strands are primarily visible. At first glance, standing in the center of the gallerys foyer, it appears to be a suspended, glowing mass whose exact depth is difficult to perceive. Upon entering the gallery and walking along the left or the right side, the installation transforms into an airy opening that can be entered. Almost like stepping into an inner sanctum or cave-like chamber, the semi-translucent plastic sheeting and wispy strands of hot glue envelop the viewer in a fragile, tent-like enclosure speckled with inky black marks. Visitors can walk in and out of the contemplative space, observing how the simplest qualities of light, shape, and line change. (via)
Tomoo Gokita’s abstracted erotic paintings have a very nostalgic feel. As a child, Gokita snuck to read his father’s playboys, which he says are still a big influence on him now. His father created the images for advertisements in Playboy for its launch in Japan in 1975. Gokita now keeps the entire collection in his studio, and this influence shows heavily in his work. The curves and teasing stances of his characters are obvious references to such imagery. The forms and colouring make for a very retro feel, but the strange dot-eyes or the patterned zigzag head of the tuxedoed man have more of an Internet age vibe.
Gokita never reveals faces, except for the subtle suggestions in the dots. Often he flattens them completely or creates intestinal-looking deformities oozing from their head. Gokita says that he doesn’t depict faces because he became tired of them, and now he is instead interested in masks: “to hide a face and to become a different character.” This too seems to relate to his fascination with the women in Playboy. Although the images are extremely revealing, they’re also highly composed, and act almost like a mask of sexuality. Both the paintings and the images they are inspired from are a fantasy or a caricature of a woman’s true and much more deeply complex sexuality. Gokita’s paintings reduce them to be even more elemental, and also reveal their oddity. This is done very acutely due to his respect and love for the imagery. It’s a fascinating way to examine the inner workings of commercial erotic images. (Via Hunted Projects)
After searching through the deepest corners of the internet pornography universe, the South African mixed media artist Von Brandis blanked out the carnal content in an attempt to reinterpret sexual imagery. The project, titled “Obscene Interiors” somehow heightens the voyeuristic thrust of the erotic images; behind a shield of white, sexual activities become more mysterious and forbidden, forcing the viewer to examine the images with more self-consciousness than the original porn might elicit.
The series also works to redefine the erotic. As blanked-out figures magically flatten and morph into a single two-dimensional being, signs of intercourse and movement disappear. In contrast to the white-out bodies, which often appear to be pasted onto the photographs, the space of the pornography sets do indeed become the “obscene” photographic content, inviting the eye to penetrate their depths. The pornographic subject becomes the interior itself: the cheesy bedding, the slightly parted curtain, a glistening clock radio, a stained rug.
The images, if slightly dehumanized by their alterations, maintain their intense sexual charge; the off-kilter frame suggests movement within the room, an amateur pornographer’s fast and anxious shots. Shadows billow from the white shapes, hinting at the breath, dimension and passions of the human form.
The series, with its censorship, paradoxically becomes more suggestive and uncomfortable. Forced to consider the erotic impulse and visual fetishization, the viewer cannot help but feel awkward about our engagement with the porn. In this way, this powerful piece touches on contemporary debates about the medium: is porn a healthy, natural human activity, or is it objectifying and morally ambiguous? What do you think? (via Lost at E Minor)
Amy Boone-McCreesh’s sculptures take inspiration from celebratory and funerary displays found in various cultures. They also remind me of birds nests if they were dipped in fluorescent paint. Her drawings are great as well.
Spring is in full bloom in the work of Anne Ten Donkelaar, as she breathes new life into fragile shards of flora. Using photos of flowers, she collages together lush bouquets of plants in combinations that are unlike any you may find in the wild. Each bloom and root this Netherland based artist creates is mismatched with another. She even combines black and white nature photography with color, creating a striking affect. Donkelaar’s emphasis of the faint, subtle lines of the roots and stems moving through the composition beautifully compliment the flourishing flora. Her magical specimens are delicate and ethereal, as they seem to float in their frame. In fact, her work is suspended above the background by small pins, casting a contrasting shadow behind it.
“Weeds become poetry, each unique twig gets attention, nature seems to float.”
Donkelaar’s work shows off an eclectic assortment of plant types, as she displays cactus, succulents, and fungi amongst the layers and layers of wildflowers. The large variety of hue and color combined with the widely diverse nature in her work creates overwhelming visual detail and beauty that will have you searching through every leaf and pedal. The artist treats each piece with such love as to show the faint detail of each small bud that transforms and evolves into a new and thriving creation.
“By protecting these precious pieces under glass, I give the objects a second life and hope to inspire people to make up their own stories about them.”