James Viscardi’s current painting series at The Sunday Painter gallery has art engage with fashion in a way rarely seen. Art and fashion overlap on so many levels, whether it is a designer creating preliminary drawings for a dress or an artist incorporating the style of an era into their portraiture to record that point in time. Fashion is a form of visual expression as painting, drawing, sculpture, etc. Even the commodification of fashion can barely differentiate it from art, as portions of the art community become increasingly concerned with haute brand name artists like Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst that can easily be compared as the Karl Lagerfelds and Marc Jacobs’ of the art world.
It can’t be denied that art and fashion go hand in hand, though often it is fashion photography that will take on themes relating to art rather than artists referencing fashion. Viscardi’s artwork recognizes the expressive potential of a piece of clothing, as well as its affinities with painting materials. After all, canvas is cotton, as is your shirt. In an interesting reversal, Viscardi literally stretches the fashion element over an art structure, to repurpose fashion for art. Fashion is much more present in the general public consciousness than art is. Every person has some opinion on fashion, not every person has engaged with art. Viscardi uses both art and fashion elements to inform each other, and the result is a seamless union (pardon the pun). (Via i-D)
Sally Hewett is a UK-based embroider who gives new meaning to a sculptural approach to the craft. Instead of stitching subject matter like flowers, puppies, and generally happy scenes, she fills embroidery hoops with butts, breasts, and genatalia. The circular compositions rise from the surface and Hewett uses well-placed stitches to give form to these bulbous shapes. In addition, she’ll use dangling threads to simulate public hair, both trimmed and natural.
In her artist statement, Hewett states that she’s interested in ideas of beauty and the things that people do because of it. She writes:
Men and women almost ritualistically shave and remove hair from their bodies – beards, underarm hair, pubic hair, leg hair etc, whereas other hair – hair on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes – are valued and encouraged to flourish. But there is other hair which not everyone has. Sometimes this special hair seems to be reason to feel ashamed. A large number of women and men submit their bodies to extraordinary procedures in the name of convention or beauty – liposuction, implants, scarification, surgery, laser treatment, electrolysis etc.
Embroidery is often see as an innocuous craft, and part of the reason that Hewett works this way is to see how the medium affects how the content is seen. Is it more shocking, amusing, or beautiful simply because it’s portrayed with a needle and thread?
Los Angeles based artist Michelle Kingdom creates intimate embroidered keepsakes. Working on a small scale, Kingdom is able to achieve a compact level of detail, allowing the work to fully invite the viewer into their tiny, unique worlds. Through stitching each piece with a high volume of thread, she achieves a specific density which she calls “compressed compositions.” Every embroidered work is inspired by a specific moment in time. Whether they are her own memories, emotional portraits that are personal or exploratory, literary scenes, or historical references, Kingdom’s work is formulated through building intense moments that are of intellectual importance. She refers to her work as “psychological landscapes,” in which her aim is to “illuminat[e] thoughts left unspoken…creat[ing] tiny worlds in thread to capture elusive yet persistent inner voices.” She explains further that “symbolism and allegory law bare dynamics of aspiration and limitation, expectation and loss, belonging and alienation, truth and illusion.” While her work is doubly contemporary and fun, she does note that her work does pay homage to the tradition of needlework. The delicate nature of the material and the intensive and intimate process of creation allows each piece to fully possess an aura of both elegance and fragility, mimicking the sort of nature of frail and strenuous emotional conditions. She states; “beauty parallels melancholy, as conventional stitches acquiesce to the fragile and expressive.”
Artist Lia Melia grew up a few minutes walk away from the sea, and today it is still her main source of inspiration. And, you can definitely tell – her colorful, swirling paintings are reminiscent of the large body of water. Mythology has also been a life-long love of hers, and she depicts elemental forces that are represented by the gods.
Melia uses a variety of methods to create these highly-textured works, and she’s developed her practice over the course of many years. Powered pigments and solvents are baked into aluminium, or occasionally, onto glass. She uses fluid mixes which require high levels of control, so they are often thickened to make the medium easier to use. Different elements are layered to give them a rich, visual depth.
Looking closely at these paintings, we see that her skill in creating textures give the illusion of crashing waves, stormy skies, and ocean foam. Melia’s tightly-cropped compositions freeze a split second in time, and anyone who has stood in the water can imagine what happens beyond this scene. (Via Saatchi Art Tumblr)
Mark Portillo does gif portraits of his friends and celebrities (ie Obama with a rainbow gradient going across his face). He says he placed every pixel one by one and to please make his carpal tunnel worth it by clicking on the full images when you go to his website. I really like this guy doing speedy pushups. I can only do like, 10.
Laura Krifka’s work feels both classical and contemporary– a collection of myths that transcend time, stuck on the spin cycle from one era to the next. There is a soft religious quality in each face as he or she slowly responds to pending doom, lurking out of view. Such off stage suspense, feels exactly this way– theatrical.
The dramatic cliche breathes with familiarity, reminding us of our own cyclical head space in relation to history, story archetypes, life, and to our own animalistic emotions or neurotic human obsessions. It’s why we make art and why we repeat ourselves generationally and artistically.
Of her paintings, Krifka states, “I create a world populated with naive and innocent figures acting out their own legend, blind to the dangers around them or those that exist within themselves. In my work the fantasies and clichés of our own world combine and breed, creating a hyperbolic landscape populated by a society lost in their own myth.”
The installations of Peruvian artist Antonio Paucar utilize a rather uncommon material: dead flies. By suspending dead flies from nylon string as well as meticulously placing them on the ground Paucaur painstakingly builds each pieces. The swarm of flies loosely forms the image of a human figure. The hazy form created by the collective flies imply the memory of a person, particularly in relation to the space it inhabitants. Further, the flies seem to suggest the idea of death or decay. The last four photos are taken from a piece installed in Germany’s Sacrow palace, a building dating back to the 17th century. The grounds had been inhabited by Prussian aristocrats, high ranking Nazi officials, as well as communist secret police.