Massachusetts-based visual artist Aliza Razell combines photography and watercolor painting in her series of self-portraits that feature splashes and spills of color. Razell uses watercolors to enhance the vitality of her photographs by evoking mythological and psychological themes. One series, “Anesidora,” represents the Pandora’s jar narrative (the myth features a jar, not a box, as commonly believed) and another series, ikävä, is the Finnish word for missing or longing after something. Razell’s photography-watercolor combination perfectly captures the humanity and surreality of mythological events and the poetic evocations of a fleeting feeling. (via fubiz)
The story of Meghan Howland‘s oil paintings are quiet like a secret. Her work captures understated dreamy scenes. A confusion of birds, hidden faces, a scarf that may or may not be choking its wearer – her work at once is lighthearted and hints at a darker undercurrent.
Her gallery relates, “Her paintings are often dreamlike, and yet carry a weight of something that is slightly more dissonant. The question of whether something is safe or dangerous, loving or hateful, is often unexplained in her work.”
A snapshot quality to the image, fill flash like lighting, lends the paintings the characteristic of a caught instant. However, her painterly hand stretches the moment. While definitely working a contemporary aesthetic, Howland’s paintings are at times reminiscent of Degas’ style and palette.
The paintings of artist Charlotte Caron explores both the ancient tendency to humanize animals and the dreams of humans to transform into animals. Caron’s acrylic paintings of animal faces are set on the photographed portraits of people as if they were masks. The people of the photographs not only assume the appearance of the animals, but nearly seem to exude corresponding personalities. The hawk seems harsh, the fox mischievous the deer gentle. The literal anthropomorphizing of animals in the paintings emphasizes how this figuratively takes place. Caron also underscores the contrast between human and animal, and perhaps by extension civilized and animalistic, by also contrasting photography and painting.
I found Mary Ann Heagerty on our friend Graham’s blog (Future Shipwreck): she is a sensational sculptor, chic craftswoman, radical rock collector, and also his roommate. Here are some of her work, which includes dentures made out of lollipops and wood chips, hand castings, a giant three-dimensional mirror diamond, hair trapped in wax hexagon, and a series of carefully hollowed-out eggs incubating invitations to a MOCA opening. She also does these awesome video shorts that are uploaded on her Youtube channel about crafts with unlikely materials.
Baltimore-based artist Jordan Kasey creates large-scale oil paintings of surreal scenes that include monumental figures and objects. In these strange worlds, her subjects occupy entire compositions and are often distorted by a canvas’ constraints. Although they could seemingly exist anywhere, we see them fused with both the aquatic and natural landscape.
There’s an emphasis on hands and fingers in Kasey’s paintings. We’ll often see pair of hands hugging or carefully cradling colorful, rock-like objects. Fingers on opposing hands match up to form tiny arches that make her faceless subjects look as though they’re plotting something. It doesn’t feel sinister, though, but almost absent of any emotion whatsoever.
While some of Kasey’s works are devoid of identifying details, others replace the expected with the unexpected. Facial features are altered with aquatic rocks, coral, and sea plants. It creates an odd-yet-familiar place whose tightly-rendered subjects begin to approach a level of uncanniness. While we know Kasey’s work is fantastical, it looks realistic enough that we might try and apply logic to it.
Scot Sothern is an older photographer, who due to a gnarly motorcycle injury, now walks with a cane. His stunning black and white photographs taken years ago explore what many consider to be the world’s oldest profession, prostitution, while his recent color shots document the random scenes he encounters on a daily basis. And while many of us roll up our windows and try to avoid even subtle eye contact with street corner hookers, Sothern welcomed them into motel rooms to pose for his unnerving lens and even partake in debauchery reserved for a pervert’s imagination and Charles Bukowski’s pen. He was probably the only person to ever shoot his subjects with something other than a gun or semen and his photos, mostly taken in the late 1980s went largely unseen until his first exhibit in 2010 at DRKRM Gallery in downtown LA – just blocks away from where a fan could’ve gotten into some serious trouble if they were inspired by the work. Besides living a wild life and making sure to have a camera there to capture it all, Sothern is also a wonderful writer who is able to describe his experiences with literal crack-addicted whores like they were the most elegant things you’ve ever read about in your life. WARNING: This post contains images that are NSFW.
The current political situation in Greece is on everybody’s mind at the moment. So the installation by Madrid based artist SpY couldn’t be more poignant. Made up of €1000 worth of 2c coins, he glued the coins to a neighborhood wall in Bilbao, spelling out CRISIS in bold, eye catching capital letter. Not surprisingly, given the current financial state across the continent, the passing public helped themselves to the work, and in less than 24 hours, all of the coins had disappeared.
An active urban artist since the 80s, SpY has been long involved in making subtle social commentary for all to see. He often installs large letters or text-based work on the sides of buildings, or creates shapes in ivy on walls; has wrapped up a police car in plastic and has also formed inaccessible areas that make people look twice. He interrupts people’s daily routes to work, or comments on the urban structures that surround them.
The bulk of his production stems from the observation of the city and an appreciation of its components, not as inert elements but as a palette of materials overflowing with possibilities. His ludic spirit, careful attention to the context of each piece, and a not invasive, constructive attitude, unmistakably characterize his interventions. (Source)
No doubt SpY’s techniques are effective – his irony and positive humor draw attention to pressing social matters, and in a non-aggressive way, make viewers think twice about their political and physical environment.
SpY’s pieces want to be a parenthesis in the automated inertia of the urban dweller. They are pinches of intention, hidden in a corner for whoever wants to let himself be surprised. (Source)