Caroline Morin’s exquisite drawings of girls floating through space.
Caroline Morin’s exquisite drawings of girls floating through space.
Adam Martinakis is an artist who uses computer-generated visual media to explore the body’s relationship with life, death, and sexuality in the digital age. His images are intensely expressive, displaying the human figure in various states of destruction, transformation, and relation: people crumbling apart into darkness, disembodied limbs reaching from iron walls, and lovers with bodies resembling circulatory systems embracing in various states of intimacy. In a world wherein cyber culture is so often equated with alienation and artificiality, Martinakis has done a brilliant job redefining that realm as a facet of human identity, infusing our digital existences with the same love, passion, grief, and pain we experience in our corporeal world.
To Martinakis, the body is not an isolated, autonomous vessel; it is “a small chain link of a big project in the history of existence,” and compressed within it is all the beauty and mystery of the cosmos. Interested in multiverse theories, Martinakis tries to express the vast range of human experience through his artwork. His creations are intensely expressive and visceral; you sense immediately what aspect of life he has rendered. However, they are not simply about life, death, or sexual expression in isolation. All of these experiences are depicted in perpetual co-relation — life becoming death and vice versa, the architecture of the body being made and unmade and made again. Desire, too, is not simply a solitary, material instance, as his interlaced lovers signify; it is a fluid phenomenon, implicating both molecular connections and intricate (and sometimes violent) power dynamics.
“The human body is a wonderful and expressive tool, which gives me the ability to experiment with aspects of human nature,” Martinakis explains. The physical body, of course, is the medium through which we manifest our existences and relationships in the world — something that our immaterial, digitized lives might complicate. For this artist, however, cyber culture is a new beginning of self-understanding, and “it is also a new opportunity to redefine our own nature and the comprehension of perception.” Visit Martinakis’ website and Facebook page to further explore how he has visualized the vast possibilities for bodies and identities in the digital age. (Via beautiful.bizarre)
If Raul Gonzalez had a soundtrack to accompany his drawings, it would be a mash up of old Disney movie themes, Death Metal and Mariachi music. It’s a bizarre mix of badass and cute, (cute like a two-year old giving you the finger) all on color splotched and stained pages that make you feel like you’re getting a secret look into Gonzalez’s personal sketch book. You can imagine the free-association process that went into each image, each element building, as if at some point Gonzalez thinks to himself, ‘it would be rad if the chicken was coughing up a human tooth,’ or ‘this guy should have a beat up severed head in one hand and a flaming cigarette in the other.’ And what may look like stains or scribbles reveal themselves to be crucial compositional devices that contribute to the overall success of each illustration. Best of all is the playful freedom: while the characters are often beheaded, impaled, beaten, or in some state of peril, there is always an aspect of humor and joy. Even if it’s the kind of joy some of us got from frying an ant hill with a magnifying glass as kids. Gonzalez brings to mind some of most underappreciated cartoons to hit the glowing screens in American homes, shows like Ren & Stimpy, Beevis and Butthead, and even Itchy & Scratchy on The Simpsons. Shows that are so awesomely gross and hilariously violent they pull at the heart strings of those of us who liked to poke dead things with a stick.
Los Angeles’ own He’s My Brother She’s My Sister recently released their debut LP, Nobody Dances in this Town on Park The Van Records. They also just played their first ever sold out hometown show at the Troubadour to a very enthusiastic crowd, myself included.
Their energetic live performance is really something to see… it’s hard to not dance to this band which makes me laugh at the title of their new record. The band consists of brother and sister Rob and Rachel Kolar on vocals and guitar, Oliver Newell on upright bass, Aaron Robinson on slide guitar, and then there’s Lauren Brown who plays drums. Well, she’s not just a drummer, but a tap dancing drummer. She actually stands on top of the bass drum and tap dances on it while keeping the beat, it’s pretty fun to watch. If you like Neko Case and Rilo Kiley, with a little sprinkle of John Doe and X thrown in, you’ll love this band!
They are currently touring across the country with stops at the Independent in San Francisco on Feb. 2nd, One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans on Feb. 24th, Miami’s the Vagabond on March 2nd, as well as SXSW in Austin from March 13-18th along with many dates in between and after. Check them out if you want to see a great live performance and definitely pick up a copy of their new album so you don’t feel alone when everyone else is singing along.
Since his tragic death, Philip Seymour Hoffman’s image has fluttered on and off of our computer screens more times than we can count. When we lose celebrities who’ve influenced us, we might search for solace in a single work of art that captures an intimate expression of some larger cultural current; we elevate the photographic likeness of stars to the status of a late relative, bookmarked online rather than carried in a wallet.
A few short weeks ago, Hoffman and fellow actors sat for the photographer Victoria Will at the Sundance film festival, and her photographs serve as a testament to the worshipful and nurturing ways in which we consider celebrity. The series is unusual for Will’s choice to use tintype, a photographic process popular in the mid-1800s. As the artist positions her sitters behind a reverent lens, the prolific subjects themselves becomes elevated by the sheer amount of work needed to produce their image. In this way, the work harkens back to an era when people treasured the photograph of a loved one and maybe only sat for one shot throughout a lifetime.
Will refers to the process as “finicky” and “honest;” the images recall the work of Moyra Davey, a photographer who wrote on the power of accidents in the medium. With the remarkably delicate crinkling of emulsion and subtle and unintentional chemical happenings, each subject becomes marked and qualified by the artist’s accidental movements and sporadic perceptions. With each astounding frame, our idols beg the question, “Will this be the image by which you remember me?” (via 22 Words and Esquire)
Melbourne-based artist Catherine Tipping uses an analog way of working to depict digitally-minded portraits. Blurring the line between what’s on the screen and off, she uses wool to stitch human faces that are partially pixelated, glitchy, or generally just obscured through Photoshop. They are sewn onto a gridded canvas, which is not unlike the the pixels that we see on screen. These similarities make for a compelling series titled Filter that meditates on identity and the way technology has totally changed our culture.
Tipping explains the concept behind her work in an email to The Huffington Post, writing:
I was learning about Modernism and how technology changed society culturally back then. I saw how the Digital era has had a similar affect on our culture. Now that we are in the second decade of the new millennium, we rely on the efficiency of digital technology. Recently, in some aspects of society, it appears there is a yearning for the handmade. Maybe now is the time when digital and handmade mediums can be combined and embraced by society. I see this bridge in my processes by using a digital image with all its pixels and hand stitching it.
Depending on how you’re looking at them, they can resemble digital renderings or traditional fiber work. Tipping intersperses bits of both worlds within a single composition, creating one whole work that’s a combination of influences. “I am interested in cultural identity on many levels; societal, sub-cultural and personal,” she writes to The Huffington Post. “I like considering the distinctive visual traditions of different eras and outside factors that shape them. These portraits may appear distinctive of our current era or not, I sometimes wonder if we are becoming so anachronistic that we are indistinctive of a time.” (Via The Huffington Post)
Chicago-based artist Gracie Hagen has created a photography series titled “Illusions of the Body” that captures nude bodies in contrasting poses. In the “attractive” image on the left, the models represent their bodies with straight backs, pulled-back shoulders, and demure expressions – many of them stand posed in positions that reflect classical sculpture. In the “unattractive” image on the right, the bodies are turned and the models push out their stomachs, hunch their backs, and evoke expressions of indifference.
From Hagen’s Tumblr:
“‘Illusions of the Body'” was made to tackle the supposed norms of what we think our bodies are supposed to look like. Most of us realize that the media displays only the prettiest photos of people, yet we compare ourselves to those images. We never get to see those photos juxtaposed against a picture of that same person looking unflattering. That contrast would help a lot of body image issues we as a culture have.
Within the series I tried get a range of body types, ethnicities & genders to show how everyone is a different shape & size; there is no “normal”. Each photo was taken with the same lighting & the same angle.
Celebrate your shapes, sizes & the odd contortions your body can get itself into. The human body is a weird & beautiful thing.”