Since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and other tragic massacres, gun ownership and Second Amendment rights have been a site of intense controversy; on both sides of the debate, fear is a driving force, with one side arguing that guns provide protection and the other asserting that firearms cause more deaths and injuries.
How do guns factor into the lives of younger generations, born during this period of political strife? The photographer An-Sophie Kesteleyn adds to the dialogue with My First Rifle, a series of portraits of children bearing Crikett rifles, a firearm designed for children with a smaller scale and a variety of color choices. Beside each image, Kesteleyn places a torn, school-lined notebook page, onto which her subjects write their deepest fears.
Many of the .22 caliber rifles look like colorful toys; shot atop their small beds and beside Disney princess merchandise, the children appear as though caught by adults in a game of make-believe. They position their guns across their bodies in a protective manner, shielding themselves and their cozy bedrooms from the lens. The rooms, neatly ordered, maintain a certain innocence that is at times irreconcilable with the notion of a weapon intended to wound or kill.
Furthering this thread of childlike naiveté are the children’s drawings depicting their fears; these scrawling notes, touchingly misspelled, often assign terror to fictitious or extinct creatures: zombies, werewolves, dinosaurs. In this way, the artist incorporates the weapons into an elaborate realm of youthful nightmares. Depending on the viewer, this choice could either implicate NRA activists as infantile conspiracy theorists, or it could paint the world as a dangerous place wherein weaponry is necessary. What do you think? (via Feature Shoot)
York Christoph Riccius’ work is proof that commercial photography doesn’t have to be dull and boring. York photographs for some of the worlds biggest brands and manages to push the boundaries of what corporate America will accept for their campaigns.
Nicola Samorì makes seductive, profound paintings by layering and fusing images on canvas, wood or copper and then obliterating them by scratching, erasing, fingering and painting over the surfaces multiple times. By violating the golden rule of all museums (“Please do not touch the artwork.”) Samorìis making art history by corrupting his own work and imposing a new Samorì on top. The resulting layers of paint create a new skin that bears the bruises and permanent marks of all prior creative efforts.
Selecting portraits and still life’s from classical paintings but also sourcing random faces and images from the Web, Samorì is engaged in a project about time and corrosion.
Last September, we visited Leon Reid IV‘s studio and brought back some photos. Less than a month later, Hurricane Sandy blew through the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, leaving so many of us devastated. Leon’s studio is located right up against Newtown Creek in Greenpoint. When the storm hit, the creek flooded the studio with nasty, polluted water; damaging equipment, artwork, and the space itself. Slowly but surely, Leon’s working to bring things back together. We recently talked briefly about his rebuilding process and where things are headed going forward. Click past the jump for Leon’s account of the ordeal and some news from his studio. And stop by his booth at the Fountain Art Fair (March 8-10, 68 Lexington Ave.), where he’ll be showing some of the flooded works.
Jose Lerma‘s work borders between 17th century noble portraiture and wild abstractionism. Unlike his college teachings at the University of Wisconsin-Madison he works outside of the box with heavy brush strokes and massive amounts of paint. Which adds another dimension to his work: texture. Lerma also dabbled in political science and law and an MFA in painting, he is an internationally exhibiting artist with shows in Berlin, Korea, New York, Belgium, and Italy, Puerto Rico, and Houston. If you happened to miss the big article we did on Jose in book 2 you can still get a copy and read the massive interview with him. Available here!
Nicolas Deshayes lives and works in France. He utilizes vacuum-formed plastic, anodized aluminum, and polystyrene to create textured abstractions. His compositions remain static until an area is covered in the formed plastic, the work then resembles flowing color fields. Like glimpses into another dimension his sculptures ebb and flow as colors swirl around the viewer.
With a healthy interest in new life, spirituality, and the infinite variations of consciousness, Michael Page paints
dreamscapes of alternative realities. Through boundless shapes of thick brush strokes and effervescent colors, his paintings portray the Pneuma or spirit/soul that breathes in every living organism. (via i heart my art)