This coming Saturday (Jamuary 22nd), Geoffrey Todd Smith opens up Casual X @ Luis De Jesus. Using the letter X as a jump -off point for his newest suite of paintings, Smith serves up a helping of beautifully big-balled geometric abstraction. More jams after the jump…
For over one hundred years the Faberge egg has been a symbol of wealth, status and beauty. Originally created by Carl Faberge for the Russian Tsars to gift their wives during easter time, its exquisite makeup consisted of the finest jewels, metals and motifs. Its structure depicted scenes of historical and domestic value which the Russian Royal family deemed significant. Over time, these precious objects d’art became unusual records of lavish beauty which consisted of coronation scenes and portraits of kings and queens.
Iranian photographer and physics student Mohammad Reza Domiri Ganji finds amazing beauty just by looking up. His panoramic photos of mosque domes feature the stunning geometry characteristic of Islamic art. Though these are real places, the techniques Domiri uses causes them to read as abstract patterns when photographed. In a Daily Mail interview he said:
“I like looking for the symmetry, mosaics and artworks in these temples. I like how they let the light come inside and columns are special too as they divide interior space and give some depth.”
Sacred geometry—writing or artwork intended to summon thoughts of Allah—is the basis for Islamic religious architectural design. The Islamic expression “Geometry is God manifest” expresses the importance of this kind of ornamentation in Islamic art. The repetition, intricacy, and complexity of the designs are both rigid and freeing. The patterns seem endless, swirling and intertwined, mesmerizing and stimulating.
To capture these manipulated images, Domiri takes panoramic photos, setting his tripod at the center point of the mosque and keeping in mind lighting and symmetry. Permission to shoot the interiors of these Iranian mosques is quite rare—as they are historical sites, photographs are largely forbidden. He takes multiple images, making sure to get all angles, then stitches them together digitally.
“Maybe some of these historical sites will not exist in 20 years or change a lot during that time. When I am capturing these pictures, I think about how they will be recorded and in future I hope people will be able to see their beauty.”
The resulting images bring the beauty of these mostly unseen mosques to the world. Domiri’s use of modern equipment and computer programs to capture this ancient art transforms it into stunningly beautiful abstracted color, shape, and pattern.
Gregori Maiofis is a Saint Petersburg-based photographer who stages elaborate scenes that illustrate the follies and mysteries of human existence in ironic and fatalistic ways. Many of his works are based around literary and philosophical traditions, such as proverbs and fables. This particular series, created in 2003-2004, uses tarot cards as its theme, pairing dark and absurd imagery with written titles to humorously encapsulate a facet of life and/or identity. The “Fool” card, for example — the prototypical image from a deck Maiofis imagined would be called Public Sanitation — depicts a man in a ludicrous bird costume as he prepares to jump off a roof. The “Empress” card — traditionally signifying fertility, femininity, and beauty — displays a taxidermied primate. Much of his work is produced via the bromoil process, a challenging photographic process that was popular in the early twentieth century that involves ink being painted over a black-and-white photograph printed on bleached paper. Maiofis’ resulting images have both photographic and painterly qualities, appearing historical and artifactual while satirizing human existence on a trans-generational, cross-cultural scale.
Born in Russia into a family of artists and architects and further trained in new art practices in Los Angeles, Maiofis fuses his international experiences into works that explore the strength of the image to overcome boundaries of nation and culture. While those knowledgeable about Russian history, identity, and traditions may have specialized insight into the significance behind Maiofis’ dark and clever imagery, there is still a lot of meaning left for the rest of us to identify; the figure of Justice — usually depicted as a stately figure — is naked and blindfolded, straddling her double-edged sword in a sexual manner, satirizing (perhaps) the representation of justice as a “fair” and purely objective entity. What makes Maiofis’ images so mysterious and intellectually engaging is that their meanings are never directly provided. It is up to us to divine their significance (as well as their playful, biting critiques of humanity) just as we would interpret our own lives with real tarot cards.
More of Maiofis’ clever and thematic works can be viewed on his website.
If you’re like my best friend Agnes, who is such a germaphobe that she brings with her cleaning equipment on any of our vacation trips, then this post will disturb your very soul. Presenting the Seattle Gum Wall! Falling in 2nd place (after Ireland’s Blarney Stone) as voted by Tripadvisor to be one of the world’s most germ infested tourist attractions. The Gum Wall came to be in the early 1990’s when people, waiting in line to purchase theater tickets, started to stick their chewing gum to the wall to pass the time. You may be wondering why hasn’t anyone tried to clean this up in the first place, well the theater attendants have – twice! They gave up in 1999 when the wall became an official Seattle tourist attraction. I (being a notorious gum addict) must visit this wall to contribute… with Agnes and her endless stock of Purell.
In the photographic series Processed Views, valleys of Fruit Loops surround a lake of milk, while marshmallows create a hazy, pillowy landscape. Shot as a collaboration between Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman, the photographs interpret the frontier of industrial food production as the line between science and nature grows thin. In a statement about the work, the pair writes, “As we move further away from the natural sources of our food, we head into uncharted territory replete with unintended consequences for the environment and for our health.”
These photographs are simultaneously appealing and disgusting. Ciurej and Lochman have set the scene and produced grandiose, often idyllic looking landscapes that mimic splendor you’d find in the natural world. However, when you remember that these a mixture of real food and unpronounceable chemicals additives, it’s hard to find them as attractive. The crashing waves of syrupy sticky Coca-Cola is not somewhere that I’d like to visit.
The style of Processed Views references the work of Carleton Watkins (1829-1916). He is famous for his photographs of the American West, framing it as a land of endless possibilities. Ciurej and Lochman go on to write about the photographer, who was commissioned by the corporate interests of the day including the railroad, milling, and mining industries. “Watkins embodied the commonly held 19th century view of Manifest Destiny – the inevitability of America’s bountiful land, justifiably utilized and consumed by it’s citizens,” they write. Now seen as the land of excess, the series is a metaphor for the manifest destiny of processed foods. (Via Makezine)
Inka Järvinen is an illustrator/designer from Helsinki. Järvinen works mostly in detailed collage’s, her output is dark, as she draws inspiration from the old sci-fi aesthetic of the future in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I love her illustrations and simple use of color.
I’m loving these fluid and unnerving portraits by belgian artist Stephan Balleux.