Off the coast of Hinoba-an in the Negros Islands region of the Philippines, artist Azuma Makoto has constructed a floating, 13-foot-tall bouquet of Heliconia flowers and banana leaves. Shimmering against the ocean horizon in stark contrasts of red, green, and blue, the installation rises like a paradisiac mirage. Entitled “In Bloom #2,” the project juxtaposes terrestrial environments with the sea, bringing art and floral life where there would otherwise be open space. The following artist’s statement describes the construction and context of the art-island:
“A 4-meters long botanical sculpture consist[ing] of approximately 10,000 red Heliconia [was] installed on a simple raft used by the local fisherman. With nothing block[ing] the harsh sunlight, blown by salted water, the sculpture of flowers quietly floated in the cobalt blue ocean. The ocean accounts [for] 70% of the surface of the earth, and therefore it created [a] magnificent stage for the project.” (Source)
Following “Exobiotanica” — an exceptional project wherein Azuma sent boticanical arrangements into the stratosphere — “Bloom #2” demonstrates his creative goal to explore the visual and thematic effects of putting flowers in “environments where nature does not allow them to exist” (Source). The result is a detached form of beauty. Azuma’s work brings up questions of nature and place, and, by doing so, fosters an appreciation for the Earth’s harsh, disparate, and yet ultimately connected environments.
Alejandro Bombín’s paintings are deceptive. At first glance, many of them appear to be old, faded images from vintage publications that were scanned into the computer. Something went awry and now they look glitchy. But, what they actually are is meticulously detailed acrylic works that produce a digital mistake by hand.
By dividing up the image into rows (take a look at the detail above), Bombín is able to draw the the picture and fracture it by shifting the picture right or left from its original center. He uses a pointillist technique and pairs pure colors together, which from far away forms a cohesive image. And, at the same time, these colors and the texture from it are reminiscent of a lo-res, pixelated image.
The distorted images point to our desire to hold onto the past and the failings that we experience with technology. Digitizing something ensures that we’ll have it forever. Photographs and newspaper clippings? Not so much. But what happens when technology fails us too? Bombín’s paintings remind us that both can be fickle and that there are no guarantees.
Louise Riley embroiders human figures using a mattress as a canvas. Usually in repose, these figures create an intimate experience for the viewer. Riley’s work demonstrates a fine attention to detail and color shading, rendering vulnerable and realistic characters out of linear and geometric forms. Part of her practice includes that of altering the flat shape of the mattress, creating rolls and curves in her mattress-canvas, or cutting shapes into or on the mattress.
From her artist statement, “When I am sewing figures, I think of the thread being strands of DNA and the stitches binary codes and the fabric (our second skin anyway) a grid and that leads me onto String theory, experiences happening alongside each other with endless alternative outcomes. These grandiose thoughts are what get me through the hours..
The literal abundance of fabric and thread as domestic content and construction, not limited to gender, makes our relationship to it very intimate.
I use the mattress as a backgroundless background that holds weight of experience conceptually, spiritually and physically. Blood, sweat and tears like tree rings in its core. Its presence in our rights of passage, our sleep, rest, thoughts, dreams, the theatre of life spilled out onto it. How could I work on anything else! It is a ready-made canvas, it allows my ideas to penetrate it and collaborate with it to unearth a supposed breath-taking, yet ordinary, history or herstory.”
Danielle Julian Norton’s art is slightly horrifying and absolutely fascinating in all its strangeness. Whether it’s a creepy Kubrick-like collaborative performance with fellow artist Tarrah Krajnak or a multi-tiered suspended installation created entirely of rice, glue, and monofilament, Norton’s style elegantly exposes the dark underbelly of weird as something quite shockingly recognizable and hypnotic. Her fantasy is not about the dream. It’s about us. How we are stuck in a twisted understanding of what an animal is or should be: the cruel psychology of our own distance from reality. The need for it. The ego of it. The horror of both.
Have you ever wondered what you would look like without your head? Artist pepedsgn has been asking himself the same question: his most recent series #Losingmymind consists of a collection of colorful photographs depicting people, whose heads have been edited out. The result is both frightening and beautiful all at once and t forces you to reflect on the importance we give to the head and, the face, and the eyes in our everyday lives.
Pepedsgn plays with the double meaning of “losing your head” both in the literal and figurative senses in this decapitation series. The idea that the pressures of living in a modern world full of overstimulation, paired with the flood of human emotion we live with on a daily basis, paint a background for the loss of self depicted in these photographs. The depiction of headless subjects gives both a playful irony and, a certain thoughtfulness to the series by physically showing subjects without their heads.
The uncanny beauty of seeing people without their eyes, faces, or mouths makes the series all the more fascinating in the sense that their heads ,which govern all emotions and most non verbal communication are gone. Pepedsgn leaves it up to the public to imagine the possible emotions of the subjects and takes the notion of “brainspace” to a beautifully explicit level which allows us to reevaluate the way we read emotions.
Anton Gerasimenko‘s single paged web-works uses functionalities and traits of the internet browser in surprising ways. He turns the aesthetically mundane objects which are essential to any sort of online activity, tool bars and radio buttons, into subjects of these small sites. Each page has few to no links- when there are links, they transform the screen into a maze of pop ups, and when there are none the window seems to become a movie screen.
Mike Ruiz presents us with the ultimate (and completely not real) luxury collaboration. The funny thing about this is that it isn’t too far fetched. I can see it now, hundreds of sneaker heads waiting for days in line around their Mercedes dealership for the chance to drive the Michael Jordan Jumpman.