By photographing emotionally troubled dogs suffering from abandonment and aggression, the artist Martin Usborne chronicles his own painful struggle with depression. His recent series “Nice to Meet You” tenderly traces unknowable canine narratives by carefully placing the animals behind surfaces and materials: a wet glass pane, a cloud of smoke, pressed flowers.
In distancing the viewer from each creature, the artist paradoxically allows for a heightened level of intimacy with each dog; behind a haunting waterscape or transparent white shroud, each set of eyes glistens and each pointed nose seems to poke through the barrier, begging for closeness with the viewer.
In distorting space with long exposure times and unevenly textured surfaces, Usborne also blurs the notion of time; the animals appear ghostly, shadowy, and otherworldly. As each image leads us farther into this ethereal and lonesome dreamscape, we bear witness to the profound confidences of these gorgeous creatures, and they stare back, inviting viewers to empathize.
Ultimately, Usborne’s canine subjects recall our own murky and lonesome pasts, mirroring the dark places that we normally keep hidden within ourselves. In juxtaposing everyday statements like “I’m fine” and “I also work at the bank” with the charged photographs, the artist paints a portrait of isolation; he himself often repeated automatic phrases like “Nice to meet you” and “You look great” when in the midst of his depression. These animals, partially hidden by fog and fabric, serve as surrogates for we who hide behind words. If only for a moment, these vulnerable faces of dogs remind us that we are not alone; in lending us their quiet companionship, they become our confidantes. (via Design Boom)
Move over, Subway sandwich artists. There’s a new guy in town, and this time the pizza variety. Domenico Crolla is the owner of Bella Napoli restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland, and serves up tasty pies that feature portraits of celebrities. They are drawn directly onto the pizza using a well-place and calculated combination of cheese and sauce.
If you look closely, you’ll see that that small, intricate details are expressed through mozzarella. Wisps of hair and individual eyelashes are visible. It seems that Crolla has used some sort of stencil to ensure the likeness of each public figure and control the cheese from becoming a melty, unrecognizable mess.
Some of these pies might look too impressive to eat. Or, maybe not. It could be really cathartic to slice into the face of a celebrity that you disliked! Either way, the formula for enjoying Crolla’s handiwork is the same – look first, eat later. (Via designboom)
Norwegian-born, Seattle-based artist Sail Uselessarm has a somewhat comic-like and dark style of illustration. Most of his work is labeled as mixed media, with use of gouache and acrylic, amongst other mediums. What really stands out in his work is the stark contrast between the background and the subject, the intense and heavy shadowing within the scene, and how this tight control of light creates an ambiance of film noir that feels very photographic and, in the same breath, filmic. His tendency to off-center the compositions reveals an implied motion that is also quite cinematic.
Concerning his work, Sail related the importance of the narrative:
“I try to tell a story with each piece or at least hint at a larger narrative. Suggest a history, a movement, even if you’re only seeing a moment… I think the weight of that history should exist in that moment. We’re defined by our experiences. I don’t think art is any different. Pulling from folklore and mythology as I do a lot of these characters come with a story, so it’s hard to not have some of that come through in trying to represent them.”
Sail will have a new body of work up in his next show, titled “Canna Intrat,” opening in Seattle at the Roq La Rue Gallery on October 2nd and showing through November 1st.(Excerpt from Source)
Australian artist Ian Strange‘s ambitious project two year in the making is difficult to pin down. SUBURBAN isn’t quite installation, photography, performance, or video art – its really more than all of these. The project is really Ian Strange’s investigation of and interaction with the idea of suburbia. The sidewalk, front yard, middle class, ubiquitous rows of homes have grown with a generation of young people, and now with a second and third. The neighborhoods and houses themselves have become symbols of something beyond their function that Strange’s work seems to seek and find. Check out the video to get a preview of the upcoming exhibit.
Artist Ron English is best known for his bright and playful pop culture aesthetic, and a blending of high and low art cultures, something he refers to as “popaganda.” A multitude of characters and references populate his works, and it’s this accessibility that lends his work its effectiveness. One particular painting – Picasso’s Guernica – represents a modern template for English that he has interpreted over 50 times, and English approaches each interpretation aware and reverent of the original’s cultural significance.
English writes, “[Guernica] is a visual shorthand for the overwhelming and gratuitous horror of modern war. But I argue that the cultural takeaway of Guernica is actually the opposite. It transforms incomprehensible tragedy into a cartoon narrative, something we can more easily absorb. This is part of the human process, to distance ourselves from the immediacy of undiluted, overwhelming emotions by overlaying a narrative that simplifies, and in effect, takes us down from three to two dimensions. And this is the underlying concept that I grapple with in all my many versions of Guernica.”
English’s approach to the Guernica template resonates throughout much of his work; the artist often interprets our visually-saturated cultures, recontextualixing familiar imagery in order to critique or present ideas that can be more easily absorbed. In order to capture particular lighting and angles, English constructs 3D models of some his concepts before painting them. While each interpretation is unique in its imagery, English admits he’s “…always riffing on the same basic message — that cultural bias is embedded in our narrative. [His] Guernicas call attention to the product placement of global corporate culture, using war as entertainment and entertainment as war.” (via huffington post)
DXV by American Standard is a landmark product line that represents the company’s storied history spanning 150 years. The collection spans four broad movements: Classic (1880 – 1920), Golden Era (1920 – 1950), Modern (1950 – 1990), and Contemporary (1990 – today). Each piece in the carefully curated collection harkens back to the era it was inspired by and combines it with modern sensibilities, technology and performance. Although each fixture is inspired by a distinct era, the entire collection has a dialogue and the ability to cross over and create a remix of eras in one space.
The pieces in the Contemporary Movement by DXV capture the ever-evolving spirit of present day design. Each quality crafted fixture, finish, and detail echo the clean lines of contemporary trends in interior design and architecture. Modern day sculptors like Donald Judd, Tony Cragg and Random International have influenced creatives all around the world with their bold approach to materials, lines and form. Contemporary sculpture lovers can create spaces inspired by their favorites works with pieces from the DXV collection.
A couple of weeks ago, we featured Mark Licari on the B/D blog, and the response was so positive that we decided to catch up with the man himself and ask him some questions about his work, squids, and life in LA. Licari’s world is full of sea creatures, crawling bugs, exploding volcanoes, and the degenerative force that turns a clean room into a big fat mess. In addition to his vibrant works on paper, elaborate lithographs, and hilarious sculptures, he also creates dramatic wall drawings that will make you ‘ooh’ and ‘ahh’ like a little kid. His show at the Monterey Museum of Art is on view through February 14th, so go check it out!
Very cool paintings and mixed-media work from artist Ethan Hayes-Chute. Working out of Freeport, Maine, and Berlin, Germany, he also creates artist’s books and large-scale installations that explore ideas of self-sufficiency, self-preservation and self-exclusion as models for living. Best of all, he possess an incredible double-barreled last name, so of course we had to give this man a shout out.