Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) was an American photographer known for his stylized black and white photographs. Mapplethorpe’s body of work is varied, he captured subject matter ranging from fellow artists to nudes. At times his works are simply beautiful, such as his photographs of lilies, and at others controversial, such as his homoerotic and S & M images, but always his work is provocative. In his own words he was “looking for the unexpected…looking for things I’ve never seen before.”
Mapplethorpe was born in 1946 in the suburbs of Queens. Though he never graduated, he attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. In the late 1960s he met Patti Smith, who would become a life-long friend. Together they moved into the Chelsea Hotel and made art. Smith’s book, Just Kids, wonderfully documents their time together.
Greg Parma Smith’s paintings give me an uneasy feeling. The first time I came across his site I couldn’t tell if I loved or hated the work. The bizarre mime masks, snake-like textures, photo realist painting, retro 80’s faux brush splatters, and mundane subject matter make me scratch my head in confusion. Even his website is wacky with a woodgrain pallete floating behind his name. I’ve put off posting his work for several weeks but I’m giving the work my official thumbs up. This work is just too weird to simply be decorative paint slinging. What do you think?
The shapes of Rorschach tests are intentionally flawed and ambiguous — allowing us to draw conclusions about a person’s psyche based on what organic matter they claim to see growing in the inkblots. In her series, Mirrors, photographer Traci Griffin flips that concept. By applying symmetry to natural subjects, they are rendered unnatural and too perfect for this world.
Finnish photographer Janne Parviainen‘s mesmerizing light painting photography is created manually, with no post-production alterations or enhancements. This type of photography is created using various light sources like colored strobes, flash lights, light toys, or tools specifically designed for light painting, and manipulated during periods of long exposure. While a photograph is being exposed, it can be used like a canvas with light as a tool for painting or drawing. Parviainen’s photographs are usually figurative and evoke a ghostly surreality that is beautifully startling. Parviainen uses Finnish urban landscapes as his canvas, exploring and transforming these landscapes into scenes with haunting apparitions.
Parviainen: “What interests me most in light painting is the ability to draw in three dimensional space and the possibility to alter the reality without post processing programs. I like to use in my photos different kind of figures such as skeletons and ghostly light creatures. By using these figures I can add more humane stories into my photos and alter the cultural learned feelings they cause in the viewer of the photo. I especially like to use the skeleton figure because of it’s strong pre-learned emotional concept and place it in totally different situations and emotional stages than in which it’s usually seen in popular culture. ”
New York sculptor Thomas Doyle works in miniature, creating detailed scenes capturing specific moments in his tiny people’s lives. Some of these moments are rather mundane, while others are epically dramatic. What all these sculptures share however, is best put in Doyle’s words:
The pieces’ radically reduced scales evoke feelings of omnipotence—as well as the visceral sensation of unbidden memory recall. Hovering above the glass, the viewer approaches these worlds as an all-seeing eye, looking down upon landscapes that dwarf and threaten the figures within.
Conversely, the private intensity of moments rendered in such a small scale draws the viewer in, allowing for the intimacy one might feel peering into a museum display case or dollhouse. Though surrounded by chaos, hazard, and longing, the figures’ faces betray little emotion, inviting viewers to lose themselves in these crucibles—and in the jumble of feelings and memories they elicit.