The photography of David Brandon Geeting is a new kind of still life. His photographs capture everyday objects, found or arranged. The compositions of the pieces almost seem to reference classical art. However, the content reflects an ultra-modern obsession with objects, picture-taking, and boredom. His pieces have a definite fine art aesthetic though they’re populated with banal household items. Geeting’s work reflects a new kind of still life, that in turn reflects a new kind of modernity.
Yoshitoshi Kanemaki sculpts incredible life-sized metaphors from camphor wood. Once he finishes chiseling in each furrowed brow and dabbing on painted flesh, what stands before him is a character that is beyond human. All of Kanemaki’s subjects seem to be between thoughts, complex humans who are plagued by existential terror while simultaneously wondering if they left the stove turned on.
One sculpture, a many-headed girl, shows every shade of expression from happiness to surprise. A six-eyed woman glances left, right, and straight ahead at the ground. It’s almost as though Kanemaki has sought to capture the various elements of the psyche in action — a glimpse of id, ego, and super-ego at play.
Just as his previous sculptures, Kanemaki riffs on the theme of emergence. Mirror images are attached like siamese twins. A peculiar case of mistaken, misplaced, or misremembered identity, it’s diffiult to tell which is real and which is doppelganger. (via Laughing Squid)
Believe it or not, these very old drawings of Japanese men farting are not Photoshopped. The images were produced during the Japanese Edo period (1603 – 1868), and they depcit what is called he-gassen or “farting competition.” They show men shooting noxious blasts of gas towards other men, women, and animals (including a cat!). Seemingly, the force of the farts is so great that it the targets turn topsy-turvy when hit.
These drawings are peculiar, and not having a vast knowledge of Japanese culture makes their meaning even more alluring to me. Luckily, the website Naruhodo explains the historical context. They write, “similar drawings were used to ridicule westerners towards the end of the Edo period, with images depicting the westerners blown away by Japanese farts.”
The individual images originally appear on a scroll, which has obviously been sectioned off today. You can view it in its entirety here. It’s funny to think that farts have always been a source of amusement, even across time periods and cultures. (Via Dangerous Minds and Naruhodo)
When I think of Julian Schnabel I think of many things but inspiring artist mentor is not what comes to mind. However after watching this half hour documentary I just may have changed my mind. Created by HBO and non-profit YoungArts, this video documents a day of intimate mentorship with the notorious painter and filmmaker where he discusses his working process, various bodies of work, and how his flims and paintings inform one another. One of the most memorable parts of the documentary comes towards the end when Schnabel tells the teenage artists “If you’re scared, You’re fucked.” This piece of advice may seem a bit harsh but I have to admit that I’ve warmed up to Schnabel after seeing how generous he is with his advice and time without sugarcoating the harsh realities of being an artist. The students walked away from the experience excited about creating and experimenting and I think I may have as well. Watch the full documentary posted above and remember whatever you do… don’t be scared!
Ukrainian-American artist, Maya Hayuk, takes inspiration from an unlikely combination of places, everything from Ukranian Easter eggs and Mexican woven blankets to Mandalas and rorschach tests. Hayuk uses any and every material and subject matter to create whatever fantastic world of shapes and colors she can imagine, all supported with a deep-seated understanding of composition and form. Armed with genuine inspiration and disciplined skill, she is completely unafraid to make whatever excites her, whether that be giant psychedelic murals, Aztec-Disco designs for 10 inch ceramic plates, or custom designs for Sony laptops.
The most fascinating thing about Hayuk is not only her prolific body of work, but how seamlessly she transitions from one medium to the next. Her website features works using acrylic, ink, glitter, spray paint, watercolors, tape, ballpoint pens, and wheat paste on everything from gallery walls to wood panels to the side of a barn. While her work maintains a continuity of style, there is no mistaking how she repeatedly breaks out of her own box, and challenges not only the conventions of visual art, but her personal progression as well. In her works ranging from vibrant patterns to neon or wood-paneled copulations that could make the artists of the Kama Sutra blush, Hayuk confronts both the cerebral and corporal with genuine enthusiasm and an obsessive love for symmetry. In the wild compositions, there is an inherent freedom of expression that is both playful and considered. It’s as if Hayuk is actively exploring the universe through her work, and all we need to do is sit back and enjoy the ride.
Phyllis Galembo‘s photos of witch doctors, medicine men, and shamans are creepy, beautiful, and haunting all at once.
Pieter Hugo’s “Kin” is the photographer’s closer look into his motherland and a personal approach to the incredible human diversity surrounding him. Hugo’s photo series from South Africa depicts the issues of race, social status, economical despair, sexuality and his own place in such “fractured, schizophrenic, wounded, and problematic place”.
Despite being complicated in content, Hugo’s photographs carry a distinctly serene, calming style and the sense of connection between the photographer, camera and the subject. Regardless of who’s in frame, an unknown homeless drifter, domestic servant, or his pregnant wife, Hugo captures their essence and tension in a simple static shot.
“[Kin] is an engagement with the failure of the South African colonial experiment and my sense of being ‘colonial driftwood. [South Africa] is a very violent society and the scars of colonialism and apartheid still run very deep. Issues of race and cultural custodianship permeate every aspect of society, and the legacy of forced racial segregation casts a long shadow.”
Based on his photographic approach, Pieter Hugo raises questions to himself and searches for answers through his work. How should one live in this diverse society? Should one accept the historical aftermath for granted or try to change it? How to raise a family in these circumstances?
According to a famous anecdote, three pioneers of modern art Constantin Brancusi, Marcel Duchamp, and Fernand Leger are said to have visited the 1912 Paris Air Show. Observing a propeller, Brancusi said, “Now that is what I call sculpture!” A hundred years later, Paola Pivi’s How I Roll suggests that the modernist romance with industrial design lives on.
Pivi’s sculpture (made possible by the Public Art Fund) incorporates an entire six-seat plane that has been specially modified, enabling it to rotate through 360 degrees while held aloft on its wing tips. The artist’s transformation allows this Piper Seneca to be seen in an entirely new way. Airborne but flightless, its steady circular movement is mesmerizing. The shift of context from airport runway to New York City plaza is equally dramatic. It creates the striking and surreal experience of a familiar object seen in an unexpected place doing a very unfamiliar thing. Like a child’s dream come to life, How I Roll is typical of the artist’s bold and playful imagination. Watch a video of the sculpture in action after the jump. (via)