Swiss-Italian photographer Christian Tagliavini’s contemporary antique photos blend fine arts and craftsmanship seamlessly into “1503,” his captivating portrait series. 1503 is the birth year of Agnolo Bronzino, an Italian court painter for the Medici family of Florence, whose realistic paintings had an enormous influence on portraiture.
Though Tagliavini’s photos may appear to be historically based oil paintings, they are more than just a literal translation of antiquated art through new technology. The clothes and body positioning echo Bronzino and the light in these portraits is tender and perfect, but it’s the details of the photos that emphasize the modernity of the work-the stylized outfits, exaggerated necks, translucent skin and clear directness of the models’ gazes. Unlike the bold colors of the paintings, the photographs are printed in pale, unsaturated tones, which work to make them feel more contemporary.
“Christian Tagliavini loves designing stories with open endings (requiring observer’s complicity) on unexplored themes or unusual concepts, featuring uncommon people with their lives and their thoughts made visible. This rich and exciting collision of circumstances results in photos as a final product.”
Tagliavini is impressively skilled-not only is he the photographer, he is also the costume designer, set builder, and casting director. He says, “I’m fascinated by the fact that I don’t simply release the shutter, but that the real fun for me is before I take the pictures. I say that I’m not really a photographer, but a workman of photography.”
I’m usually into very loud and boisturous paintings but there is something extremely rewarding in the quiet and subtle portraits by Shauna Born. Each modestly sized painting features a sitter looking blankly into the viewer. The sitters don’t do much in the paintings but the piercing looks in their eyes warn you of a hurricane of emotions that is to come.
Ralph Pugay‘ is a Portland artist who makes awesome, lighthearted paintings. His colors and content is all comic, but his style reminds me of a combination of Waldo and Pieter Bruegel–a million things going on with lots of different characters all in one big flattened space. One of the thing i love about this, Waldo, and Pieter, is that you can spend a whole afternoon staring at and finding new, funny things in them. Confused hunters, dancing office workers, spiritual gymnasts; I can’t get enough. Check out the rest after the jump, then go look at the other 42 on his website!
The art of air collage is similar to air guitar. You emulate an original and make it your own. In Lorenzo Castellini’s case that means taking the faces of famous painters and paintings then collaging them onto modern day figures in contemporary settings. The end result is a humorous take on these iconic images and a look at how they would fare in the present day. Even though the project is supposed to be satirical it succeeds in capturing the viewer’s attention by using almost universally well known paintings and placing them in different contexts.
Some of the lighthearted narratives include Van Gogh in various “ear scenarios” and The Venus de milo placed in a shell gasoline logo. The funny stories that emerge by manipulating these images is that art can be brought into the everyday realm and perhaps reach people on a different level. It also uses a childlike technique which plays on perspective and rearranges found images to make comment on the moment. Castellini will take a photo and superimpose the painted image onto that then take another photo of him holding up the collage.
The faces Castellini chooses are from famous paintings which range from Picasso’s les demoiselles d’Avignon to Hieronymous Bosch. These resemble street paintings where the artist pairs faces taken from found images with appropriate photographic gestures which include upper and lower extremities. Material wise it references copying and printing techniques bringing it up to par with today’s standards and practices. (designboom)
The Artist Collective known as DSC or Dinosaur Special Cassette make some pretty neat stuff. Based out of the UK, it consists of two people who create drawings and garments. A colorful variation of ideas on instagram eventually show up in clothing lines for children and adults. These drawings stand alone in originality encompassing vibrant hue reminiscent of rainbows and youthful subject matter. They possess an amazing amount of original wonder and charm. They take a lot of influence from children’s textile patterns but with a tad more flavor. The narratives speak to Romare Bearden in collaged color and placement. It’s exciting to see people on social media drawing with such abandon. This is where you can see the best scribbles of DSC.
DSC’s clothing is sewn under the label Klushka. These are one of a kind pieces inspired by their fabulous drawings. One called “Critter Applique Jumper” is a blue smiling blob painted on top a pink sweatshirt made of newsprint patterned material. It combines early Sex Pistols never mind the bollocks with a funky collage effect. A collection of long tees or nighties with elaborately drawn prints of aliens and dollar signs are also offered. Those take reference from eighties artists like Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring.
Photographer Shanna Allyn is the master of a universe where women are covered in kittens, faces are obscured with food, and they have eyes like a cartoon character. Her series, Strange Beautiful, is, not surprisingly, strange. This coupled with Allyn’s style of photography (which seems less focused on technical aspect and more on documentation) takes the viewer through a bizarre world where there are more questions than answers.
In a statement about her work written by T. Martin Crouse, co-founder of the publisher Sic Semper Serpent, he describes it as, “The use of quirky objects combined with the locations and postures of her models creates a sense of surrealism. Out of place props in a variety of lateral interpretations have a strong effect.” Later, he goes on to say, “In Shanna’s universe of tampon cigarettes and hotdog mouthpieces, who really has control?” That statement itself is absurd and captures the essence of what Allyn is trying to do. These photographs record what goes on in her world, which is comprised mostly of a group of women with cartoonish eyes. They wear them as a mask, allowing them to look unaffected and apathetic. Nothing phases them, and we don’t immediately understand their motivations.
I see Allyn as a documentarian, capturing images that aren’t full of tension or sadness, but just show a day in the life of Strange Beautiful. The emotions that these models don’t show is compensated by our associations to objects in the images and content she presents.
In her recent work, the photographer Lisa Lindvay archives the indirect yet undeniable marks left on her family and their home by her mother’s mental illness. With the family landscape surviving as her constant foundation, she invites viewers into a claustrophobic space isolated from the perspective and normalcy of the outside world. Although we are given indicators of their location— McDonald’s bags, generic soda, a “Legalize Gay” wristband—the family appears as if entombed in a time capsule, each member left to fend for themselves since the onset of the matriarch’s illness.
The camera acts as an active character throughout the narrative, forcing intimacy when the closeness and comforts of family seem irrevocably fractured. Eye contact is avoided with all creatures and things aside from the lens itself, which somehow breaks boundaries and transcends each subject’s seemingly self-imposed solitude. Intimate and sensual moments— the applying of hair dye, half-nude lounging, naps with the loyal dog— are generously laid bare for the artist, providing viewers with intermittent flickers of hope.
In her still lifes, otherwise mundane or grotesque subjects are assigned deeper meanings. The artist worshipfully documents trash, each object appearing like a pitiful symbol of continuing life and hope amidst crippling circumstances. A jar of cheese puffs is seen from the floor and lit from an unknowable source, as if standing at the alter of some personal cathedral; an oily ring on a pizza box surrounds a golden mane like the halo of a forgotten saint. As the family faces an uncertain future, half-eaten pizza and dirty socks become the only reminder that time has not in fact stood still within the house; Lindvay captures each with beautifully archival rigor as if to denote days on the calendar. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)