Daddy Bunny (7 ½) Height 14” -Belongs to: Zoe Bracken
Flopsie (6) Height 14″ Belongs to: Lua Spencer
Photographer Mark Nixon creates portraits of worn-out vintage teddy bears in the series Much Loved Bears. These nostalgic portraits immortalize the innocence of youth; better yet, the goodness and appreciation of a child, as they hold on to the old with no remorse. The photographs are paired with text provided by the owner and they are part of a book called Much Loved.
The funny looking portraits project a sense of irony, as seeing the teddy bear, a signifier of early age, and their ‘wear’ and ‘tear’, a signifier of old age, together generate an interesting tension between the two. The battered teddy bears are a symbol of love, respect and friendship- moreover an undenying preservation of a friend that was important, and therefore hard to replace.
“When you see these teddy bears and bunnies with missing noses and undone stuffing, you can’t help but think back to childhood and its earliest companions who asked for nothing and gave a lot back.”
It feels as if these photographs also expound on a critical string of thoughts regarding the journey of becoming older, and what it means to be an owner of something today. The fact that we so easily get rid of ‘damaged’ material things with the eagerness of wanting more and ‘better’ is something that contrasts Nixon’s attention to the teddy bear’s ‘battlescars’; for a kid,however, the damaged but useful and loved, is not something to easily get rid of. (Via My Modern Met)
Eric Larson, Lunar Year 2008 Collage 32 x 46 in. Collage using Moon Cycles collected for one year between 2007-2008.
Collecting moon cycles for the course of one year – Eric Larson makes collages and mandalas with dedication and patience. His process and the materials used offer an entry point into a conversation of time, aging and the repetitive patterns we inconspicuously pass by.
Ellen Schinderman curated the first part of her contemporary needlepoint exhibit Home is Where The Needle Marks at (Sub)Urban Home, with a second round of art to follow on Saturday, June 16th at PopTART gallery. After building a network of artists working within the medium via personal interactions and social media sites like Flickr, Ellen assembled a group that is really pushing the boundaries of concept and subject matter. For example, Mark Bieraugel presented several pieces that featured the titles of porno mags he used to keep hidden in his room as a teenager, which were hand sewn onto camouflage patterns – in essence, still keeping them hidden. There was also Robert Marbury who took pictures of graffiti in bathroom stalls and turned them into circular pieces that you’d expect to see in a wonderful little old lady’s house, except for the fact they say things like “I heart boobs” and “I heart dicks for din-din.”
Artist Nathan Walsh‘s paintings of urban environments seem impressively realistic. The attention to detail in turn demands the viewers attention to small pockets of each canvas. Varying textures, reflections on water and glass, effects of light are all captured so acutely, it’s nearly mesmerizing. Exploring each piece is similar to exploring that little patch of neighborhood as a tourist. However, it is Walsh’s careful attention to perspective that set his work apart. It is easy to understand why he may often be lumped in with a larger group of Photorealist painters. However, close consideration of his work reveals Walsh isn’t set on a meticulously faithful reproduction of a photograph or scene. Rather, he seems to endeavor to depict the idea of a space, the feeling of depth.
In his essay on the artist, Michael Parasko expounds on this and writes concerning Walsh’s use of perspective:
“The way Walsh constructs pictorial space takes two forms. The first is a horizontal extension and the second an illusion of depth. Both are exaggerated so that neither method results in the reproduction of nature; yet in such exaggerations Walsh has sought to create believable space. We are convinced into thinking these are images of the world as it is, but the truth is that space in these paintings is not really like the space we inhabit at all. They seem to prove Quintallian’s old adage, ‘The perfection of art is to conceal art.’…Although there is real quality in the way Walsh extends space in this lateral way, my personal view is that Walsh’s most individual works are concerned with the illusion of deep space within the canvas. In these there is a real sense of an artist balancing the need to maintain the illusion of reality with the desire to push the illusion of very deep space to its limits.”
In 2010, photographer and conservationist Robin Moore set out on a global quest in search of frogs and salamanders that were last seen between 15 and 160 years ago. The undertaking was accompanied by over 120 scientists in 21 countries and took four years to complete.
It was worth the time and effort, however, and Moore’s journey produced some incredible rediscoveries, such as: the Ventriloquial Frog from Haiti, capable of throwing its voice, and the Borneo Rainbow Toad, which was unseen in 87 years. And, amusingly, a new species from Colombia was introduced called the “Monty Burns Toad,” which is reminiscent of the cartoon villain from The Simpsons.
From this quest came a book titled In Search of Lost Frogs, which includes information about the project and shows over 400 gorgeous photos of Moore’s findings. The sizes of each creature, their variations in color, and image quality are crystal clear. When you compare all the different frogs and salamanders, it’s remarkable just how many variations there are. It is that sentiment- one of hope and wonder – that Moore wants you to feel; to motivate you to care about the amphibians and the potential loss of their species. He explains:
As conservationists we often get so caught up in communicating what it is that we are losing that we forget to instill a sense of hope,” Moore says. “We need to revel in the weird and the wonderful, the maligned and the forgotten, for our world is a richer more wondrous place for them. Stories and images of discovery and rediscovery can help us to reconnect with our inner explorer – they can make us feel part of a bigger, wilder world. Rekindling a connection with the world beyond our concrete boxes is the key to caring about the way we are treating our natural world.
This is a really awesome new window display at Maison Hermès in Japan. The installation/window display was done by designer Tokujin Yoshioka, featuring a set of Hermès scarfs and video installation. Although the design and concept is simple, it’s a very cool and dynamic installation. Check it out!
Colleen Toutant Merrill works in fiber– from stitching to embroidery; and interestingly enough, it makes sense that she would use such a traditional folk medium to examine contemporary subject matter such as social media, Google, and Google Maps. These Internet resources are, essentially, a modern day electronic quilt of sorts, piecing together not only our societal curiosities or interests, but also our performative identities in a community.
On this note, Merrill explains, “Quilting bees and embroidery traditionally served as social outlets and communication. Quilts and embroidery both have encoded symbolism and explicit messages as do digital communications.”
“AMKK is a company developing the experimental creation by Makoto Azuma, a flower artsit, whose subject is flowers and plants. The activities of AMKK aim to increase the existential value of plants by finding out the most mysterious figure only owned by flowers and plants and converting it to the artistic expression.”
Makoto Azuma’s work with plants are really extraordinary. Using plastic and real materials, he crafts furniture, installation, and sculpture with a particular natural, earthy aesthetic. Chairs made out of artificial turf, installations of leaves that seem to endlessly fold into themselves, and human/tree pseudo-mutations are just a few of the things he’s done so far. Azuma also runs an haute couture flower shop (I didn’t know such a thing existed) called Jardins des Fleurs in Tokyo. (via)