Finding its forms in a combination of drawing, object-making and installation, the work of artist Maggie Haas investigates the lives of unfinished and discarded objects, with a particular interest in construction materials. She was recently awarded a residency at The Lab, in San Francisco, CA—where she has been working primarily with materials she has found at the space. Working with what she is given, Haas uses her transformational powers to great effect: expanding upon everyday materials with her acute sense of color and composition.
Since beginning her residency, Haas has been creating work both from and in the gallery, she has created a series of ever-shifting structures. Using the gallery as both a medium and a platform to create, Haas has used her most recent body of work to explore flux, transition and our relationship to the idea of impermanence. Hovering between blueprint-style drawing and abstraction, her drawings of imagined structures and patterns explore the materiality of paper and ink—while her propped-up structures and object-based art elegantly underline the thesis that everything is in flux, everything can be moved, shifted, collapsed and/or carried away.
Even in his commercial work French photographer Laurent Chehere clearly has a creative and curious eye for his surroundings. An avid traveler, Chehere enjoys exploring the cities he visits. This becomes especially evident in his series Flying Houses. The series contains a number of photographs of floating buildings. The buildings seem otherwise ordinary, perhaps tethered by power lines, quietly floating in the sky. Chehere achieved the effect by taking photographs of buildings throughout the suburbs of Paris and digitally manipulating them. A gallery statement (translated from French) from a recent solo exhibit explains Chehere’s inspiration for the series:
“The artist isolates buildings from their urban context and frees them from their stifling environment. Houses fly in the clouds, like kites. Inspired by a poetic vision of old Paris and the famous short film The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse, Laurent Chéhère walked the districts of Belleville and Ménilmontant gazing at their typical houses. The images of the artist seize an unexpected levitation: held to the ground by unseen hands, like so many balloons used by the boy, these old buildings floating in the sky, sliding on the surface, they reveal to us their hidden beauty. Some houses are adorned with drying laundry or flower pots, outweigh other brands and shops fleeing the flames of a fire … All seem to find a second life. Uprooted from their hometown, they go to new heights. It’s a true invitation to travel and metaphor for the transience of the world, Flying Houses Laurent Chéhère’s series plunges us into a dreamlike and changing world full of gaiety and humor.”
Artist Kerry Skarbakka creates Struggle to Right Oneself, a series of photographs that capture the artist himself in moments of suspended threat: falling from trees, tumbling head over heels in painfully precarious falls, or teetering on the edge of a fateful leap from a railway bridge. The images may be comical yet unavoidably painful to watch. According to Skarbakka, the idea of the fall comes from Martin Heidegger’s description of human existence as a process of perpetual falling. What are we without our falls and broken bones? The photographer captures a loss of control, that inevitable moment, prior to a fall, when one feels uncertain and scared, unable to know what happens next.
I continually return to questions regarding the nature of control and its effects on this perceived responsibility, since beyond the basic laws that govern and maintain our equilibrium, we live in a world that constantly tests our stability in various other forms. It is my understanding and my perspective, which relies on the shifting human conditions of the world that we inhabit. It’s exploration resides in the sublime metaphorical space from where balance has been disrupted to the definitive point of no return. It asks the question of what it means to resist the struggle, to simply let go. Or what are the consequences of holding on?
Skarbakka utilizes special climbing gear and other rigging to achieve each shot, the final images, however, are truly convincing. (via Colossal)
The Queen of lush and juicy paint Allison Schulnik opened up her studio to Beautiful/Decay and Visual Creatures to give our readers insight into the world of sad hobo clowns and her painting and animation process. Allison discusses how her paintings inform her animations and vice versa, the long history of artists in her family, and how Los Angeles allows artists to have quiet time in the studio yet have a community.
Referring to both vulnerability and impermanence, Suzanne Jongmans’ investigates the texture and feel of both the present and past. Since 2007 she has been working on the series ‘foam sculptures’: caps and collars, inspired by 16th and 17th century Flemish and Dutch “Golden Age” paintings, made from materials currently used for packaging and insulation (cheap material which is often discarded after use). By using these materials Jongmans makes a reference to consumerism and the rapid circulation of materials. Jongman transforms old costumes into new plastics and old masters into new photographic works. By using time foreign materials, plastics and techno’s, she is creating a time crux, a tension of time for all of us to enjoy.
Llobet & Pons installations and site interventions include a basketball hoop too small to fit a basket, creating a collective sculpture by collecting a single strand of hair from gallery goers, and creating geometric shapes out of broomsticks and floormats.