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Beautiful Photographs Relentlessly Capture A War-Torn Lebanon Without Victimization

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Amidst the violence and chaos ravaging parts of her native Lebanon, the photographer Rania Matar does not aim to make sweeping political statements about the Middle East; with her complimentary bodies of work titled Ordinary Lives and What Remains (now on display at Houston’s Bank of America Center), she hopes to capture the resilience of the human spirit. Fighting the photographic and documentary urge to re-victimize survivors of war, she offers a more nuanced picture of the lives of Lebanese women and children.

Much of Matar’s work explores global representations of femininity—in a recent monograph, she published images of adolescent girls inhabiting a space between freedom and familial responsibility, the childhood bedroom— and in Ordinary Lives, the artist’s powerful sensitivities color the otherwise bleak black and white war-torn landscape. In “Broken Mirror,” a young woman meticulously adjusts her veil before a shattered mirror, her perception of self seen as fractured by her environment but preserved within her emotional core. Similarly, “Dead Mother” captures the veiling process as a ritual connecting female youth to a monolithic photograph of the matriarch, an undercurrent of modern political and social debate serving as a relentless backdrop.

What Remains operates as an arguably less subjective series of architectural photographs, documenting the aftermath of 2006’s war between Israel and Hezbollah. The series separates itself from Ordinary Lives in its deliberate use of color; the bright blues and yellows read like surrogates for the displaced families that once inhabited the violated spaces, offering a powerful tonal continuation of the striking and complexly seen human spirit captured in Ordinary Lives. Where we once viewed children, embracing the walls in rich gray tones, we are offered  a Winnie the Pooh wall hanging, daydreaming beside an empty closet. Take a look.

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Martin Eder’s Atmospheric Paintings Of Fearless And Melancholic Female Warriors

"Blut/Blood". Oil on canvas, 225 x 150 cm.

“Blut/Blood”. Oil on canvas, 225 x 150 cm.

"Inner Reality". Oil on canvas, 150 cm x 100 cm.

“Inner Reality”. Oil on canvas, 150 cm x 100 cm.

"How to Stand". Oil on canvas, 142 cm x 186 cm.

“How to Stand”. Oil on canvas, 142 cm x 186 cm.

"Behind the Curtain". Oil on canvas, 80 cm x 60 cm.

“Behind the Curtain”. Oil on canvas, 80 cm x 60 cm.

Martin Eder is German artist who paints atmospheric portraits, blurring the lines between reality and fantasy in a semi-surreal haze. His recent series involves figures of mythological repute, clad in armor and posing on the battlefield while the background boils with fire, smoke, and blood. Elsewhere, in more subdued scenes, his subjects recline in tender contemplation, or transform — with a silent violence — into a swan. Blending Botticelli-esque classicism with contemporary hyperrealism, Eder’s paintings defy categorization, appealing in their ambivalence to our fantasies through passionate stories radiating courage and melancholia.

Eder’s previous works are known for their flickering touches of eroticism blended with absurdity. Those who see his depictions of women as somewhat fetishized are not mistaken; experimenting with desire (and engaged criticisms) as affirmations of life, Eder asks us, in a rhetorical turn, “isn’t arousal, if it’s present at all, a rebellion against death?” (Source). In his bloodied and battle-wearied warrior portraits, however, Eder seems to be metaphorically driving at something else: a connection to the present, as the curator’s statement for Eder’s current exhibition at Galerie Eigen + Art suggests:

Women in armour, torn linen fabrics, armed with swords, traces of acts of war on their faces. The theme seems to be of a historical one, but is omnipresent: women of war in battle, in combat. Amongst the overflow of catastrophes, natural disasters and war images, emerge female figures as warriors that we repeatedly see, as soldiers, in the form of mothers who protect their children or their villages with weapons in the Middle East, or on another front on Maidan Square, equipped with improvised armour of street signs, gaffer tapes and plastic containers. (Source)

Eder’s exhibition, titled “Those Bloody Colours,” is showing at Eigen + Art in Berlin until May 23rd.  The title of the exhibition refers to a cry of war uttered in Shakespeare’s Henry VI, Part 3: “Let our bloody colours wave!/And either victory, or else a grave!” Offering yet another level of interpretation, Eder’s works remind us of the power of fantasies, as they can cover up (or romanticize) bloody histories and ongoing violences occurring beneath the “colours” of a flag.

Visit Eder’s website to see more of his art. In addition to oil paintings, he also works in watercolour, photography, and sculpture.

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MATHIEU LACA’s 1000 Stories

Mathieu Laca’s paintings are literally loaded with hundreds of narratives and story lines. If you’re a fan of Todd Schorr or Robert Williams you will surely need to follow Mathieu’s epic story lines.

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Metal On Metal- Damn!

Lets Phantom are two designers from Lithuania who apparently animate and direct for food (& money). They’ve just directed their first music video for the crazy Lithuanian electro,noise,hiphop,etc..etc.. band Metal On Metal. Kind of gnarly!

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Erik Jones’ Vibrant Paintings Juxtapose The Figure With Graffiti-like Abstraction

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Brooklyn based artist, Erik Jones, paints vibrant portraits marrying the female nude with abstraction. His new series, In Colour, juxtaposes traditional figure painting with digital-grafitti-esque mark making. His work is simultaneously inviting and confrontational — we enter the picture plan via recognized moments of breasts, hair, and lips, yet, are then pushed away by bold 2-D elements floating through a seemingly 3-D space (or perhaps, is it the other way around?). His paintings are endless fun for the eye, constantly provoking the viewer to make sense of a nonsensical atmosphere. He states:

“The figures are used as an aesthetic anchor, holding the viewer’s attention to a recognizable form, while exploring colorful, nonrepresentational abstractions. In a way, the figures make the chaos palette-able.  I wanted the graphic aesthetic to take on digital qualities and appear to be more naive and childlike in the approach. As if an inexperienced, non-artistic person were exploring a digital drawing program for the first time.”

The “digital drawing” effect mimics contemporary approaches to fashion prints and graphic design, giving off an editorial-like feel. While his work is very playful, it also feels precisely calculated and particular. Jones is able to create a hyper specific effect using a plethora of media, including; watercolor, colored pencil, acrylic, water-soluble wax pastel and water-soluble oil, making sure that each mark he makes is rendered the exact way he intends.

Erik Jones solo show, In Colour, will be showing at Dorothy Circus Gallery in Rome, Italy from October 24th – December 1st. (Via Supersonic Art)

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Matt Lee

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From illustrator and photographer Matt Lee, here are some photos of film posters around South India. It’s interesting how foreign film industries so close follow American trends. I expected to see posters that are more in the style of traditional 70s Bollywood posters (basically nicely illustrated montages of multiple characters, each in an action pose, and a cool look treatment of the title), but it seems that just as Hollywood has moved on since its days of ornately illustrated movie posters, so has India. So instead of illustrations we have Photoshop jobs.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: NewVillager- Lighthouse

Wondering what would happen if Harry Potter and Matthew Barney got together to make a music video? Tthis NewVillager video might be the result. Watch the full video after the jump.

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Erin M. Riley Weaves the Photos You Took Last Night

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Erin M. Riley takes the images that usually live on Snapchat, Tumblr, or the privacy of your own phone and translates them into tapestries. They are pictures you wouldn’t want your parents to see. They feature naked and half naked women, drug paraphernalia, used condoms, and more. In an interview with Arrested Motion, Riley states, “I try to take pictures of the condoms after I have sex, the pictures I send to people, pictures of tables at parties, substances & liquids that change the course of events.”

If broadcasted the world, these are the type of photos that would really embarrass someone. Riley takes time to translate these experiences into large, detailed, and colorful weavings completed on a loom. In the same interview, she goes on to say, “I am taking the time to recreate these images as physical tapestries, because these are the events and objects that are significant to me. Tapestry allows images to be given more time, for hookups to gel, for mistakes to be thought over, its a way to over analyze every detail.” This is a cathartic activity for the artist, who says that there is an ebb and a flow in her images over time. Sometimes, they will be more aggressive or explicit, then scale back. Riley says that it’s a reflection in her own life, and she’s open to sharing this with her viewers. Doing so gives the opportunity to start a dialogue with people who admire, question, and collect her work. She’s happy to have conversation with people who might not broach the subject without the help of her tapestries.

Part of the success of Riley’s work is the way it is produced. She combines two different worlds; weaving, an old art form that requires a lot of skill, and the digital age, one that is very focused on instant gratification and accessible by nearly everyone.

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