Simon Monk lives and works in London. He has an ongoing body of work entitled Secret Identity that consists of various action figures painted with oils exactly to scale. Depicting these figures within a plastic confine allows for a reflection on consumerism and commodification. These encapsulated mythic heroes are simultaneously honored and belittled.
The work of Italian artist Alberto Tadiello peeks into the vagaries of technology, nature, and their relationships. For example, the first five photos of this post depict the installation EPROM (an acronym for Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory). The installation mounted on the wall consists of music boxes connected to small electric motors, which are in turn connected to transformers. While the tinny notes of the music boxes may conjure memories of childhood at first, the motors and music boxes are soon spinning faster than the mechanisms can withstand. Eventually the motors wear out reducing the ‘music’ to a hardly noticeable noise. Of this event, the gallery statement says:
“Once the pawls wear out the noise slowly becomes less noticeable and even indistinguishable. The high-speed movement is associated with a sort of cathartic event, which relieves the music box interface from bearing nostalgic feelings.” [via]
Not really sure what Placer Deshacer (it seems they are a musical group with an alter-presence) is about but these pictures remind me of educational videos from the 70s and 80s, or the vague way that conceptual art is photographed. I love how the absence of color makes the human body look so mysterious and full of knowledge…
Take a cleanly-gridded typographic poster, drag it along to an 80s reunion party, throw a handful of rainbow confetti in the air… and then you’ll get the work of Alex Witjas. A graduate of the Graphic Design program at Pratt Institute, Alex currently works as a graphic designer for Urban Outfitters, and has a portfolio full of fun stuff. Enjoy a selection from some of Alex’s graphic design work after the jump.
Rajni Perera’s work is a wondrous fusion of different mythologies, cultures and viewpoints. Her wildly colored drawings combine Hindu imagery, pre-historic animal beasts, galaxy prints produced by the Hubble Deep Field Telescope and the figures of exotic women. She works with techniques and symbols from Indian miniaturist art, Blaxploitation and pop culture references, forming her very own mythology.
Born in Sri Lanka, Perera is drawing on her own immigrant background and her transient state moving between Eastern and Western cultures to illustrate a unique standpoint that it both specific and universal. Her work is an exploration of what it means to be cross cultural in today’s world, and is her trying to dissect those layers in a way she, and us, can understand. A big subject in her work is the representation of female sexuality, and also the presentation of Asian and South Asian cultures in a predominately male Caucasian world. But she says perhaps it isn’t that straight forward.
I don’t know if I really want to make statements about racial prejudice, at least maybe I feel I’ve moved past that in my work. More like I try to make images questioning the projected, or fabricated sexuality behind circulated images (be it on screen, print or the web) of the colored female body in pop culture or otherwise, i.e. ethnic pornography. (Source)
We’ve all seen them- they’re these hyper-stereotypical web images of African girls in beads and wood, Japanese girls in kimonos, and Indian girls in saris; all very subservient, all very saleable; this is my point. There’s something for sale there. (Source)
For Perera the thing that is a common thread connecting Eastern and Western cultures is Kitsch: The idea of culture being re-appropriated by, or passed between, one another. Hollywood and Bollywood are essentially two heads of the same beast, and Perera certainly draws that beast spectacularly.
The photographer Sarah Anne Johnson snaps shots of the most intimate kind, asking friends and acquaintances to sit for her while engaging in sexual activity: intercourse, foreplay, kissing, masturbation. Later, the artist enters into a new kind of dialogue with the erotic photos, covering her portraits in glitter and gold plate or scratching away their emulsion in strategic places.
The form of Johnson’s series, titled Wanderlust, brilliantly echoes its content. In penetrating the materiality of the photographic medium by altering its surface, Johnson makes as much of a statement about artistic or creative lust than she does about human sexuality. The gently cracked, ashy layer of a burnt chromogenic print mirrors a lover’s tender caress; similarly, a halo of scratches parallels a couple’s orgiastic pleasure.
Despite Johnson’s unconventional process—perhaps even because of it—Wanderlust seems a powerfully honest rendering of sexual intimacy. At times, human closeness becomes cosmically infinite, a moment of love solidified in gold plate or starry glitter. But many of the photographs complicate the notion of what it means to be truly vulnerable; often, her collage work obscures and flattens one lover, leaving his or her partner alone, isolated in the frame and utterly naked.
Johnson’s work relies on this tension between connection and isolation, a theme which serves to imbue the series with a palpable sense of sexual tension; for instance, two bodies are deconstructed in Puzzle Pieces, formatted to appear unified under one complex and paradoxically disjointed aesthetic. Simultaneously penetrating the viewer and and leaving us to gasp for air, the body of work is a must-see. It is currently on view at Toronto’s Stephen Bulger Gallery. (via Art in America and Feature Shoot)