The portraits of Marcus Cain fall somewhere between abstract and figurative. His faces appear to be in the process of solidifying, perhaps alluding to the identity they express.
Cain says, “I am currently interested in a particulate view of the human condition, acts of transformation, and shifting identities….My hope is to capture the figure in a transformative, in-between state.”
Cain also uses processes that allude to past styles such as pointillism and abstract expressionism. His nearly eerie portraits often dominated by prominent staring eyes, however, are reminiscent of pulp depictions of phantoms and apparitions.
James Clarkson‘s collages take photographic images of objects from old art catalogues and treats them as a blank canvas to add abstract paint-strokes and form new art. The Sheffield-based artist focuses on the contradictions between high-art, design and mass-production; demoting the artworks of the photography to mere found objects in order to explore new forms and meaning. Check out more images after the jump.
Born in Bavaria, Southern Germany, photographer Elena Helfrecht taps into the dark stormy mood often connected with the painter Caspar David Friedrich and the German poets writing about the emotions of the human condition. Her images have a beautiful delicacy to them, heavy with reflection and contemplation as Helfrecht tries to make sense not only of the world around her, but also the world within herself. In her series Little Stories, she compiles photographic narratives of moments that are intensely personal to her.
Including close ups of her hands covered in blood, her feet poised in front of freshly picked flowers, her stomach cradling a pigeon, she uses her own body to visually express her inner thoughts and emotions. Helfrecht reflected on the series:
I think the most intense one for me has to be “Farewell” [the pigeon narrative]. I often think about death. I really fear what comes afterwards – the ending of consciousness, where nothing is left (at least this is what I can’t stop believing). When I went to work and just came out of the station, a pigeon fell down right in front of my feet and died there after a short cramp. I was shocked. I didn’t expect something like this to happen and I was deeply moved. I even cried. It was like a metaphor how quick everything can be over and what is left of it – nothing but an empty shell. We live and rush around without cherishing what we have, and then it will be simply over.
This series is about the one issue which bothers so many of us: the matter of life and death. In the pictures the shown human body is alive, but one day the images will show something which is no more, like the bird. Still I believe something will stay in this world after we die: Memory. This is what the photographs itself stand for (for me they are a tiny piece of hope).
Seattle artist Robert Hardgrave creates swirling, abstract mixed media paintings. Sometimes a figure or structure will appear, but you can never be too sure of exactly what you’re looking at. Any element of order in each work is shrouded beyond most comprehension by beautiful chaos. Things are better off that way. And Hardgrave’s work is so textured and effortlessly intricate that all you want to do is swallow each painting whole. Who cares what a single brushstroke might mean? There’s too much going on not to take it all in at once. When you do get the chance to examine detail though, Hardgrave’s insane skill level is undeniable.
Izumi Keiji’s figurative sculptures seem to ridicule their subjects’ oblivion, in a playful way. Does anyone else find it humorous his poor sculptures are trying so hard to be normal, but can’t contain their bizarre idiosyncracies? It’s almost as if Izumi takes delight in rendering a white T and blue jeans, business-only bun wearing woman into a magical, blue lagoon water-fall headdress goddess with rainbows erupting from her armpits, as if about to take off in flight. She stands sort of delicately, both aware and inanimately unaware of her liminal position between a world in which anything is possible, and the mundane one you and I reside in. Not to be missed is the casual wear young man whose “afro” is turning into a martian below, completely unbeknownst to him…who knows, maybe I have a giant bolt of lightening erupting from my armpits, and I just don’t know it?
As New York’s unofficial artistic ambassador to Copenhagen this September, Tom Sanford is presenting a possessed Charlie Sheen grinning while staring fixedly forward, blue flame lighter in hand, delicately pinching a glass pipe. Sheen is entwined with a bemused, half-dressed woman about to slur out something not worth hearing, or maybe she’ll recite Macbeth: “Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player. That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. And then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” She’s palming a cocktail tray piled with white powder and and balancing a can of Four Loko. Four Loko is the drink that famously mixed alcohol with stimulants (Wikipedia says it’s just alcohol now), confusingly allowing us to do more and experience less at the same time. This painting is funny, but it also digs in the human condition in ways that we can all relate too. Sheen’s grimacing face might as well be the anamorphic skull in Holbein’s The Ambassadors, because it carries the same warning. Tom Sanford is one of those guys, who if you’ve been around New York, you sort of know already. He speaks with the charisma and articulate precision of an evening news anchor, but instead of scaring you like the news anchor does, he creates strangely healing images. Tom Sanford’s newest show is “The Decline of Western Civilization (Part III),” and it opens at Gallery Poulsen in Copenhagen on September 2nd.