The story of Meghan Howland‘s oil paintings are quiet like a secret. Her work captures understated dreamy scenes. A confusion of birds, hidden faces, a scarf that may or may not be choking its wearer – her work at once is lighthearted and hints at a darker undercurrent.
Her gallery relates, “Her paintings are often dreamlike, and yet carry a weight of something that is slightly more dissonant. The question of whether something is safe or dangerous, loving or hateful, is often unexplained in her work.”
A snapshot quality to the image, fill flash like lighting, lends the paintings the characteristic of a caught instant. However, her painterly hand stretches the moment. While definitely working a contemporary aesthetic, Howland’s paintings are at times reminiscent of Degas’ style and palette.
French artist JR, previously covered by Beautiful Decay, has recently created a series of posters and floor-bound installations for the New York City Ballet’s Art Series. The NYCB Art Series commissions contemporary artists to create original works of art inspired by the ballet’s unique energy, spectacular dancers, and one-of-a-kind repertory of ballets. Having worked with artists such as Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Julian Schnabel in the past the tradition has a high standard and is a special example of collaboration between dance and contemporary art.
JR’s installation involved coordinating dancers’ bodies in complicated, intricate arrangements. Interested in the unique qualities of dancers’ bodies juxtaposed with the texture of paper JR sought to explore the “interaction” one experiences when viewing the ballet, or in his case when actually creating his work. Both experiences are ephemeral, not something that can be wholly captured by a singular work of art. Yet JR’s temporary installation does capture beauty, grace, and the sense of a fleeting moment by portraying many dancers arranged in the shape of an eye. Encouraging a viewer to look at both his piece and the performance JR’s installation acts as a reminder to keep our eyes open so as not to miss a thing.
JR will share his Art Series installation during three special performance evenings — January 23, February 7, 13 — when every seat in the house is available for just $29. On these evenings, every audience member will receive a takeaway created specifically for this event. More information about public viewing hours here. (via designboom, hahamag)
No regrets in Life is a series of human-sized pencil and charcoal portraits of individuals artist Joel Daniel Phillips sees everyday on his street corner in the mission neighborhood of San Francisco. The interesting thing about them is that most are homeless and literally live on that corner. They come from all walks of life, all races young and old. The work Phillips creates allow these folk to become human again and puts them at the forefront so they are the focus of our attention not the shadowy part we look to brush away.
Phillips looks to define the similarities between people of various economic backgrounds and connect them through the unifying element which make us all human. By seeking extremes he captures a poetic narrative. He works similar to an investigative reporter getting up close and personal then taking photos of his subjects. These impressions become muse for powerful drawings. The drawing doesn’t lie and Phillips captures the core of these forgotten citizens with meticulous rendering. As an artist of skill he’s able to keep a record and preserve a moment of our time. In his intuitive statement Phillips talks about the narratives he tries to capture and thinks we cannot know the human race until we draw them.
Sawatari’s vision of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” is truly one of the strangest, most out-there interpretations of the well-known story. Risqué in terms of its frank, nude depiction of a youthful Alice, the book’s unintentionally psychedelic tone brings to mind Monty Python, Peter Greenaway, and Vogue Bambini.
Boston-based photographer Asia Kepka did not have a master vision for where her horse and squirrel photos would go, but she didn’t need one: once she began shooting, they quickly took on a life of their own. This project, now titled “Horace and Agnes: A Love Story by Asia Kepka,” has become a beautiful collaborative project between Kepka and writer Lynn Dowling, both of which play the characters. Since the projects inception the cast has grown as they have added friends and other characters into their story.
“Once we gave them identity, their story began to unfold. They met through random circumstance and their love for each other is literally blind. They exemplify a fairy tale of what would be like to fall in love with the right person…just because.
Horace and Agnes, along with their friends, are inspired by people and stories from our past and present. Sometimes by family members and sometimes by strangers we have encountered. The photographs are memories brought to life once again- recreated with as much detail possible to make the viewer become immersed in this magical and unique world.”
Okay okay, while I know that 1) Halloween was more than a week ago 2) This video doesn’t look like much, you gotta watch it because some high school teacher really attempted to make math class awesome & also used some really clever video art techniques in the process. WATCH IT!
Rachael Yamagata has been busy lately, she’s just about to release her new Heavyweight EP and has just embarked on a Fall Tour which will bring her back to Los Angeles next Tuesday, November 20th at the El Rey Theatre. I was lucky enough to talk with her briefly as she made her way to Vancouver for the first show of the tour.
“Sorry it’s so noisy, I’m sitting in the back of a van on the road.” Laughing, I said that I’m in an art gallery with construction going on… we make quite a pair (more laughter). She then asked me if we had met because my name sounded so familiar (oh how I wish I had the guts and split second timing to joke around and say that we had once dated). I told her that we had met at one of her past Hotel Cafe shows, but was also one of her Pledge Music supporters for Chesapeake (her last release). “That’s it! I even remember writing you a note – once I write a name down, it’s hard to forget.” Yup, she pretty much made my day. Moving on, she was excited that the first thing I brought up was the cover art for her new record. All her previous releases have photos of her, so I asked how she found the painting.
“I was just searching online and came across this artist named Jan Zoya. Her work had this feeling of sadness, nostalgia, and passion that I could relate to.” Her artist statement also made an impression. She told me it wasn’t easy though, apparently the artist didn’t believe who she was so it took a bit of going back and forth, “I finally just had to tweet at her saying, look this really is me and I’m trying to contact you.” That finally worked and now one of her paintings graces the cover with even more collaborations possible in the future. As for returning to Los Angeles, I had to mention that I always felt that she belonged to us. “I feel the same way.” She said she still has so many friends here and that it was really hard for her to move to Woodstock. As for the show, “I’m really excited to play the El Rey, I’m touring with strings this time around and really wanted to have seats to keep it intimate.” If you’re familiar with the El Rey, you know it’s usually standing room only.
If you’ve never seen her before, do yourself a favor and go to one of her upcoming shows. Her onstage banter and incredible voice makes her one of my favorite singer/songwriters. Tickets are still available for the El Rey show via Ticketmaster and you can also download a free mixtape from NoiseTrade. Also, don’t forget to buy her new EP, Heavyweight from her website. Thanks again to Rachael for taking the time to speak with me, it was a real pleasure.
Watch the video to her single Even If I Don’t after the jump.