Photographer Jeffrey Milstein takes his architectural eye thousands of feet up in the air and captures the New York and Los Angeles skylines like you’ve never seen them before. He gives us more than just a bird’s eye view of both familiar and unfamiliar buildings; his photographs are artistic compositions within themselves. Milstein shows the intricate symmetry, lines and details of architecture which are not always visible from the ground, and by doing so allows the structures to become landscapes of their own.
He not only gives us an original visual angle but also a deeper look into the craft of architecture itself, from the repetitive structures of suburban LA homes to the angular beauty of the Empire State, the colors and textures of the building materials are both in harmony and contrasts with the natural elements surrounding them. The trees surrounding the bases of the buildings almost become accessories, they accentuate the craftsmanship and thought of architectural feat, housing and industry.
What Milstein has done here is captured the essence of our times, a combination of nature, artifice and something in between. By doing this, he has also managed to bring architecture to a more accessible level, by elevating the audience above the buildings in a way that makes their intricacy more simple without letting it loose its character and distinct characteristics. Beyond this, Milstein has managed to make a point: there’s only so much we can see for where we stand.
See Jeffrey Milstein’s work in person at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles from July 18th-August 22nd.
Jennifer Celio’s delicately rendered landscapes manipulate perception, creating fantastical iterations in which artificial and natural imagery fuse to become newly impossible sites. Working in graphite pencil on paper, she creates obsessively detailed scenes inspired by urban environment. Hinting at the contemporary threat of environmental degradation, Jennifer’s drawings depict seemingly mundane spaces that have been artificially altered or supercharged. The artificiality of our natural environment as well as our quest for it is questioned. See Jennifer’s work in person until April 21st in Los Angeles at Katherine Cone Gallery.
A living snake wrapped around a face, a dozen of ladybugs, a scorpio and an howl using that same face as a structure. That is the set up of a fantastic photography series by Juul Kraijer called ‘Penumbrae’. The titles evokes darkness and shadows. It’s what we are getting visually and internally. The artist is inspired to manipulate reality, in the end, she gets to manipulate us, the viewer, in a disconcerting way.
The models are just the vehicle for ideas, they are not to be considered like portraits, nor are the animals. Clearly the main subject is twosome: the fusion between the animal and the face and the dark background. The intriguing face/animal amalgamation stands out from the shade, as if it had been sitting in the dark for an eternity. It will appear for a brief moment and then will go back into the gloom exactly the way we saw it at first, for all times.
Imperturbable tranquillity is the general tone. Despite a unsettling scenario that could create an anxious atmosphere, the calm sported by the faces leaves a mark of grace, the same expression that is usually found in Renaissance portraiture. Juul Kraijer is fascinated by surrealist photography, hence the execution of her series. Surrealism is about getting rid of the mind and the reason to only let the imagination dive and drive into the interpretation of the picture. Ideas and dogmas cannot be suggested, personal understanding cannot be captured.
The artist has created provocative poses. By elevating the animals on top of the faces she questions the hierarchies between humans and animals, models and accessories. The fact that the roles are reversed creates intensity, almost a tension. Comparably to the symbol of eternity described above, the use of the mirrors creates oddity and redundancy, which extends the feeling coming out from the photographs. The viewer is tempted to look away but there’s an indescribable attraction, a desire to see more.
Lauren Semivan’s black and white photography raises the dead, feels rich with ritual, and sullen from the earth. To say it is simply an abstract psychological expression would be too easy. There’s something else happening here that is magically archaic, and it’s not just the finely tailored compositions that carefully, yet seemingly casually, dig at our remains by arranging drawn fragments, bodies, vegetation, bones, and string, against a sparse backdrop. This “something else” is movement or play not just in the environment, but as or with the environment, a dreamy surreal fade that lingers.
Technically, each image is a true representation of not just what collects, but how the collection becomes. Shot with a purist sense of photography’s past, Semivan uses an early 20th century 8 x 10″ view camera and, without digital manipulation or any touch-ups at all, develops prints from a scanned large format negative. The ephemeral result, interestingly, pushes on our own anthropological or archeological impulses as a species– asking us to engage and connect with our ancestors, creatively, scientifically, and divinely.
Of her work, Semivan states, “In scientific disciplines, a line is classified as an event. Something as primitive as a scrawl on a surface reveals an aggregate of events, intersecting and changing course. Drawings made on the seamless backdrop describe an emotional space. Science is inherently experiential, as is art making. Knowing and feeling are not separate, and the whole of the environment can be used as a pedagogic instrument. Observatory elegantly draws upon a tension that exists between irrational and physical worlds. Within each image, ghosts of previous drawings.”
I love this new video of Lykke Li trapped on an island, decked out in 5 inch heels, and stabbing at the sand with various knives. I have no idea what this is about but going along for the ride. It’s sexy, weird, dramatic, epic, and has a dash of goofiness (check out the knife play towards the end. Full video after the jump.
Ernesto Neto’s installations ache of a strange dreamy womb I’m sleepwalking towards, one that promises 100 years of hibernation, an extended respite that is sensually comforting and yet also terrifying claustrophobic. It’s a peculiar feeling– a mushy feeling, a propelling and repulsive feeling, or push and pull, that I can’t stop leaning into.
I am not my body, yet I am my body.
Unintentionally echoing motifs in David Cronenberg’s psychological horror films, Neto’s “beyond abstract minimalism” worlds seem to confront the dysfunctional relationship we have with our internal and external selves, and the weeping orifices that connect us to one another on a physical and emotional level. Each path is carved viscerally, interactively– ideally, playfully, but admittedly, horrifyingly in our own image, resembling internal organs and wads of flesh and goo. We are attracted to this, and this attraction is disturbing.
Of his work, and perhaps of this feeling I’m describing, in an interview with Bill Arning, Neto states, “Do you understand the word sacanagem? It’s a Portuguese word that does not translate well. It is beyond flirting. It’s after that, in that moment when both of your faces change into something else because the erotic charge is so high, when your bodies move towards each other. I wanted the work to manifest sacanagem without talking about it. It’s all subtextual. My work is first and foremost a contemporary sculpture; it speaks of the finite and the infinite, of the macroscopic and the microscopic, the internal and external, by the masculine and feminine powers, but sex is like a snake, it slithers through everything.”