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Stephen Silk

Stephen Silk began practicing gyotaku in 2008. Gyotaku is a Japanese printing method that uses actual fish to make art. Ink or paint is rubbed on the fish allowing an incredibly textured print directly onto the paper. The lumped paint and palette match the New Hampshire coastal seascapes in oil fusing a really cohesive collection completely reflective of the area and its subjects. 

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The Wonder Of War: Richard Mosse’s Infrared Footage Of Life In The Congo

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Photographer Richard Mosse has been capturing life in Eastern Congo for over 3 years. His work is a surreal representation of the beauty and tragedy in war and destruction. Using Kodak Aerochrome, a 16mm infrared film, originally designed for military reconnaissance, he depicts soldiers and landscapes in a sickly, hyper-real candyfloss pink.

The film registers chlorophyll in live vegetation and depicts the lush Congolese landscape in vibrant hues invisible to the human eye. His photographs are bizarre images of soldiers wearing camouflage uniforms in different shades of magenta, holding babies or guns.

His latest film project “The Enclave” is an attempt to make visible the invisible. Since 1998, over 5 million people have been killed from war-related causes in The Democratic Republic of Congo. Tackling an issue that is relatively unheard of, Mosse says in a recent interview with the British Journal of Photography:

“I wanted to export this technology to a harder situation, to up-end the generic conventions of calcified mass-media narratives and challenge the way we’re allowed to represent this forgotten conflict… I wanted to confront this military reconnaissance technology, to use it reflexively in order to question the ways in which war photography is constructed.”

The idea of The Impossible Image is central to his work. Both relating to capturing something usually unseen, and also working in an area of the world usually inaccessible to, and not documented by artists – that of war journalism.

By using this rare filming technique, Mosse challenges our very perception of war and violence. He is able to pick out a whole different side of military life, encouraging curiosity, and definitely empathy.

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Nendo Reimagines Boring Office Supplies Like Rubber Bands, Paperclips And Rulers Into Inspiring Works Of Design

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In one of those rare meetings of form and function, Nendo’s stationery and office supplies looks great and works well. The cubic rubber bands are one example. According to the company, “The geometrical shapes make the bands easy to find in a drawer and easy to pick up.” The Tokyo and Milan-based design firm created the blue, charcoal, and white three-dimensions bands for their brand ‘by | n’. They’re a part of the eleven item collection, which also includes a flip pen, contrast ruler, circle tags, paper clips, outline tray, cross pen-stand, peel pen-case, hard cover memo-pad, edge note, and dot envelope.

The contrast ruler is another success. Simple, but considered, the design has the ruler markings fade from white to black on either edge, making the ruler easy to read against all color backgrounds. Smart, too, are the paper clips that are made out of recyclable paper.

The minimalist collection sells itself, but the clever illustrations explaining the functionality of the various pieces are a whimsical touch, adding a softer element to the crisp, clean-lined, designs.

Nendo’s philosophy is clearly evident with this collection. The website states:

Giving people a small ” ! ” moment.
There are so many small ” ! ” moments hidden in our everyday.

But we don’t recognize them.
and even when we do recognize them, we tend to unconsciously reset our
minds and forget what we’ve seen.

But we believe these small ” ! ” moments are what make our days so
interesting, so rich.

That’s why we want to reconstitute the everyday by collecting and
reshaping them into something that’s easy to understand.

We’d like the people who’ve encountered nendo’s designs to feel these
small ” ! ” moments intuitively.

That’s nendo’s job.

Photos by Akihiro Yoshida. via Spoon & Tamago

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It’s Raining Knives Printed With Photos Of Garbage

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Artist Wen Fang has a way turning an eye toward the often overlooked.  In a way, some of her work memorializes the unfortunately common.  This first installation – a room filled with hanging knives printed with images of garbage – is titled Rain and illustrates this well.  She explains the personal story and Chinese idiom behind the installation:

“One day I was on a public bus, heading to a suburban enclave not far from my home on the outskirts of Beijing. The road was lined on both sides by filthy, stagnant drainage ditches. The disgusting smell of the water wafted into the bus, immediately wiping out the hunger I was feeling a moment before. The water was blue-grey, and looked quite thick. The surface was covered in floating instant noodle packages, popsicle sticks, rotting vegetables and other garbage that couldn’t be sold as scrap.  Suddenly I saw a stray dog at the edge of the ditch, trying to drink the water. Several times he would approach the water with his snout, only to be repulsed by the powerful stench. In the end, I guess he was just too thirsty, and he hesitantly stuck his snout in the water, taking a few gulps. It sent pangs through my heart.  Lots of migrants live by the drainage ditches. Their kids run around like wild dogs, and are just about as dirty. About half of their toys were picked up along the side of this road. None of the adults control their actions, as these migrant workers are too busy trying to eke out a living, and the old people just sit there by the side of the road.  The Chinese refer to these situations as knives raining down from the heavens…that is to say; this is the worst it can get…I don’t know if this is the worst possible situation, but these knives often cut right into my heart. That’s why I make them, so that everyone can see these knives.  Economic development is a sound idea, but how much money does it take to be truly wealthy? I spent my childhood playing in the wilderness around here, while these kids are spending their childhoods playing on the trash heaps. I really wish these kids could grow up in gardens, just as we promised. But what I really don’t know is, when we finally have enough money, whether or not the garden will be anything more than a bunch of sharp knives.…”

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Tom Sanford’s Sexy Guston

Tom Sanford’s new work touches on politics and our infotainment culture with equal enthusiasm.  For your viewing pleasure there is an erotically oily Sarah Palin, the repressed sexuality of Philip Guston, a Jong Il fist-bump, Jail Birds, and love affairs between beautiful nymphets and strangely hairy men.  I think that’s something for everyone.  All of these paintings have emigrated to Europe.  Some for Copenhagen at Gallery Poulsen, and some to Norway, for a show at Galleri S E.

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Incredible Light Sculptures In Marble Mines

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The work of photographer Stefano Bellamoli seems at once terrestrial and alien, ancient and futuristic.  These images were captured in the dark marble mines of Verona, Italy.  Bellamoli needed to make use of a long exposure time in order to work in the black surroundings.  With a handheld light and the long exposures added ‘light sculptures’ to the eerie landscapes.  Spheres of light seem to float over the stone, the single light sources in the tunnels.

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Melissa Cooke

Never were there lovelier tortured souls. Wisconsin-born and University of Wisconsin at Madison-trained artist Melissa Cooke works primarily in powdered graphite and often casts herself as the subject of her drawn musings. Striking in both subject matter and detail, her creations explore themes of violence, sexuality, and identity. The nuances of story and emotion evoked are powerful, often unsettling. All of this is made by the artist’s skillful hand, guiding her dry brush across thin layers of graphite on sizeable pieces of paper.

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Todd Schorr

L_tschorr_apeworship Todd Schorr has a new exhibit called “Designed for Extinction” at the Ben Maltz Gallery at Otis College of Art & Design.

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