The artist Kim Jae Il is playing a game, using a make-believe print effect to entice the eyes to get lost into the pattern; voluptuous lines of textured round drops running on the canvas. This is the beautiful visual Kim Jae Il is giving us. If watched from far awaythe viewer is mesmerized by the scenery, colored water bubbles creating a spiral, loosing itself within the white background.
The bubbles seen are in fact the opposite of a texture. They are the result of an image incised into a surface, the negative space accentuating the hollow shape. This technique is called intaglio. It’s a print technique where the lines to be printed are cut into the base material. Kim Jae Il is using three dimensional sculptural expressions blended with two dimensional pictorial expressions. The cubic and plane layers are meant to push forward the perspective and fabricate an optical illusion.
Kim Jae Il’s intention is to turn the most ordinary into a dynamic mode. Using the motion as a vanished mirage; leaving a vague trace that can only be remembered. The artist wants to “engrave his own vestige”. He gracefully invites us to dig into his art, not just to admire it from far. Because like this vibrating world that we are living in, there’s more that can be decrypted.
Argentinian artist Agustina Woodgate creates these colorful and complex rugs made out of the skins that once belonged to a few hundred abandoned stuffed animals. Originally inspired by Eastern Culture’s symbolic use of rugs [as they often depict the spiritual and mental world in woven form], Agustina was looking to ultimately deliver an alternative memory object that displays and references personal histories.
Woodgate’s idea started by her relationship with her own old Teddy bear, Pepe. On an interview with Sight Unseen, she says:
It was simply an object. But I also didn’t want to throw it away. That’s when I decided wanted to do something with the bear. In the beginning of the process, I had no idea what was going to happen. I went to a thrift store, got another bear, and started playing around. I looked at all the components that make up a stuffed animal: the stuffing, the fabric, the stitching. I wanted to approach an everyday object in the hopes of making something new.
Woodgate was recently awarded the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art. The $20,000 prize was accepted by Woodgate last Friday at the Orlando Museum of Art, which established the award this year. “She was chosen based on the quality and significance of her overall body of work and contributions to the field of contemporary art”, said museum curator Hansen Mulford.
“Using a set of impossible perspectives, I try to make the perspectives possible again.” – Alika Cooper
Using additive layering techniques, Los Angeles-based artist Alika Cooper builds up fragmented portraits taken by some of the most famous fashion photographers of the last century. She dissects and rebuilds moments where women have been placed on the other end of the camera. The works simultaneously point to and slightly alter or break down the photographic work of Helmut Newton, Lisette Model, Umbo (Otto Umbehr) and Man Ray. Cooper deftly navigates the line between beauty and intrigue, often shifting the original composition’s angles and direction into an abstraction that bears a small imprint of the woman represented. The figures are no longer passive, but become slightly heavier and more foreboding when rendered in textile—with the gentle patterning of the fabric’s natural weft and weave bringing a grounded physicality to these works.
The material itself is an interesting choice for a figurative medium, especially since Cooper is recreating iconic portraits of women. Her reasons for working with the material have conceptual roots in the historically female connection to sewing, quilting, textile work and handicraft. The building up of negative and positive space is a more painterly approach to working with textile, yet the natural push and pull of the fabric when stretched across the visual plane perfectly echoes the tensions found in the dark, unsettling aura of her subject matter.
I realize that Christmas is officially over, but to maintain that holiday spirit for as long as possible I wanted to write about Yrjo Edelmann. Hailing from Sweden, Edelmann worked as a comic strip illustrator for many years until he started to paint. His “parcels” became his signature and caught my eye as exceptional trompe-l’ oeil images. At first I thought they were just giant, poorly wrapped presents, but upon closer inspection I learned that they are in fact impressively intricate oil paintings.
Occupying a space between illusion and hyper-realism Edelmann’s paintings pull from the influences of surrealists such as Rene Magritte, Giorgio de Chirico and Marcel Duchamp. Capturing every wrinkle and tear in the paper Edelmann’s paintings float a few inches off the wall, furthering the confusion about their dimension. A viewer might wonder what’s inside these rather poorly wrapped packages, endowing Edelmann’s paintings with a sense of both mystery and humor.
We have a lot of things to be thankful for but most of all we’re thankful for all our loyal B/D cult members all over the world who have backed us for so many years. Hope you all are having a great day with your families and loved ones.
Korean Artist Lee Kwang-Ho portraits of cacti, succulents and other plants take a deeper look at the living objects around us that we take for granted. Lee’s work recalls that of Georgia O’Keefe’s in the way that their zoomed-in focus creates abstractions and make us look at these objects in a different way. Lee’s ability to capture light and movement while maintaining a soft focus on the subject gives the paintings an ethereal, dream-like quality.
Robert Larson uses discarded cigarettes packaging, matchbooks, and rolling papers to create his compositions. Somewhat reminiscent of Tom Fruin’s drug baggies, the artist creates abstract patterns from smoking paraphernalia, and turns the ugly and destructive act of smoking into something unexpectedly beautiful.
Larson finds the materials by scavenging neighbourhoods in Santa Cruz, where he lives and works. There’s an interesting play between personal and impersonal in his work. The consistent grid of the items, be it shiny packaging or used matches, gives a sense of the systemic nature of urban life, while their individual treatment – worn by weather or use – sustains a sense of individual experience.
Cigarettes are rarely if ever associated with beauty, at least in our moment. Certainly in the past they were glamourized, but happily, people are beginning to see quite clearly their highly detrimental effect. Still, they maintain a heavy presence, and it’s exciting to see something positive come out of a predominantly negative thing. Larson’s compositions are surprisingly colourful and dynamic. He has a good eye for placement, as in the Marlboro packaging where he distributes the various tones of grey-brown wear to radiate outwards from the middle of the work. His pieces are mostly quite large, reaching over six feet. It makes me wonder how long it would take him to collect his materials, which could give him some understanding of the smoking population of each neighbourhood he collects from.
The sculptures of Naoko Ito are elegant in their simplicity. Indeed, these pieces are entirely constructed of only two materials: a tree and jars. A limb of a tree is cut into several segments and each segment, in turn, is placed in a jar. Naoko carefully arranges the jarred pieces to reconstruct the shape of the limb. A subdued commentary on the relationship between humans and nature, the imagery is immediate all the same. Though the shape and size of the tree limb is intact, the jarred branches are nearly gloomy.