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Sufi Influenced Cosmic Collages Explore Existence And Identity

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Ala Ebtekar sufi collage2

The art of Ala Ebtekar is as simple as it is effective.  Ebtekar was born in the United States and raised in California but retained a strong connection to the land of his heritage, Iran.  You can nearly see in Ebtekar’s work a gazing at home from far away, a sort of portal.  Ebtekar is definitely referencing the cosmic with this work.  He says of the Sufi influence behind his work, “Sufis believe that existence is of two natures – both earthly and divine – and it’s that transition between these two states that’s represented by an arch. The arch could be in architecture, but it could also be a beloved’s eyebrow, and how that’s an entrance to that other space.”  Ebtekar also subtly uses Western imagery in addressing this “other space” – you’ll notice some of these pieces printed on the back of science fiction movie posters.

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Antonia Gurkovska’s Trypophobia

Antonia Gurkovska just graduated from the MFA program at SAIC and already has already landed a solo exhibition in Chicago’s Kavi Gupta Gallery and is exhibiting in the Armory Show. She favors surfaces that are stapled and dripped, sticky, slippery and oozing, emulating dripping orifices; but they somehow remain extremely neat, hygienic, settling in even, grid-like formations. A variety of painting materials are layered thickly, then crudely sliced to reveal further layers beneath, so the paintings appear reductive rather than additive. Her bubble wrap pieces, neither sculpture nor painting, serve to both reiterate her aesthetic of ovular forms and invite a reversal of material reading, where the packaging product sheds its banal connotations and instead becomes a beautiful, bulging, golden grid.

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Magnetic North At Ratio 3

Ratio 3 in San Francisco recently opened a group show entitled Magnetic North featuring the work of Birgir AndréssonBuck EllisonSigurdur GudmundssonRoni HornRyan McGinleyTakeshi MurataGeof OppenheimerMitzi Pederson, and Christopher Williams. Through photography and sculpture each artist grapples with themes involving the natural world and the effects mankind has on planet earth. Multiple approaches are taken. Mitzi Pederson’s concrete and glitter fragment sculptures glisten as they speak of a broken environment while Sigurdur Gudmundsson’s Project for the Wind remains playful. The show is on view through May 11, 2013.

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David Ellis And 5 Other Artists Transform Trash Into Dynamic Works Of Art

David Ellis

David Ellis

Tim Noble and Sue Webster

Tim Noble and Sue Webster

Gabriel Kuri

Gabriel Kuri

 

Artists are magicians in their own right for making something from nothing, for infusing the everyday mundane tools and objects with poetic meaning and creating a whole new experience from it.  In the holiday season, with a good part of society taking part in excess shopping, people are becoming increasingly conscious of what we discard.  Our relationship to the accumulation of stuff and the level of waste humans produce seems to be collectively shifting.  The artists whose work is shared here: David Ellis, Vik Muniz, Gabriel Kuri, Song Dong, Tim Noble and Sue Webster demonstrate the way individual artistic voices arise from this consciousness and the beautiful and often magical work that is informed by our accumulated or discarded stuff.

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The Monster That Haunts My Dreams

The Monster That Haunts My Dreams, 2008

 

Canadian Melissa P. maintains Mafia-Hunt which documents neat findings via the Internet, but it should also be known that she has an online portfolio devoted to her own fantastic work! I especially love her kooky characters and equally fun, hand drawn geometric shapes. More great drawings and collages after the jump!

 

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6th Annual Art Bingo: Playing Bingo For Fun, For Art, And For the Community With Local Boston Art Charity

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Do you like the arts? (Spoiler alert: if you are browsing this website, you probably do). Do you believe that more people should have access to art and have the chance appreciate original artwork from their local community? Good. Now, do you like bingo?

If you are wondering what one has to do with the other, then you must have missed last week’s Art Bingo event with the Art Connection – a nonprofit program established in 1995 that connects artists and donors to community service organizations through the placement of original artwork. The charity finds homes for art pieces (donated by local artists and collectors) in healing environments, where the artworks serve to enliven the spaces and become points of inspiration that allow their recipients opportunity for reflection, comfort, and hope.

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Bizarre Posters For A Campaign Against Venereal Disease During World War 2

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we have stumbled across this bizarre series of graphic illustrations warning soldiers against the dangers of Venereal Disease. In a nationwide crusade aimed at changing a whole population’s sexual habits and attitudes, the American government enlisted the help of creative professionals. Artists, designers and ad-men teamed up to create these striking and very frank posters.

At a time when discussion of sexual activity was anything but frank, the VD posters of World War II addressed the topic directly using clinical language, ominous symbolic imagery, and jingoistic slogans to help enlisted men steer clear of sexually transmitted infections. While American sex-ed programs have taken many forms over the last hundred years, the military’s VD campaign left a unique trail of ephemera in its wake, featuring imagery that’s both gorgeous and deeply unsettling. (Source)

Found by Ryan Mungia in the National Archives and the National Library of Medicine, this series of posters caught his eye primarily because of their aesthetic, more so than the unusual subject matter. He describes them as

…reminiscent of film noir or B-movie posters from the ’40s, those pulpy-style poster designs, and they also reminded me of the Works Progress Administration artwork, which I love. (Source)

Using bold shapes and colors, the designs were a success in capturing people’s attention. Plastered all over the walls at bases and training facilities, they were sure to get people talking – during a time when sex, and certainly not sexual diseases, were discussed publicly. After a significant drop in VD by 1945, the need for the poster campaign no longer existed. Even though the campaign was a success, the message had quite shocking undertones. Mungia explains more:

Once I was looking at them as a whole, I started to see certain themes arise. Women are often portrayed in a negative light, and it surprised me how they used Nazi imagery or depictions of Hitler and Mussolini to drive their message home. There’s somewhat of a disparity in them because the posters are very attractive, but their messages are very dark. There’s one in particular of a woman who looks like a skeleton and is walking arm in arm with two Axis leaders, Hitler and Hirohito. I think it’s so interesting that they suggest that the Axis powers were behind venereal disease. (Source) (Via Collector’s Weekly)

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El Gato Chimney’s Pagan Fairy Tale World

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Milan-born artist El Gato Chimney combines illustration, painting, and street art in a blend of whimsy and surrealism. In his bio, he lists his studies as: “alchemy, ancient and modern art, magic, mirabilia, occultism, popular folklore, primitive art and spiritualism.” Though it might seem like too broad a net, all these influences can indeed be seen in his work.
 
His illustration is dualistic: brightly colored, they look like pages from some charming, nonsense tale meant for children. Simultaneously, there’s something darker simmering underneath, like the fairy tales of old where women danced in burning shoes and decapitation was nothing more unusual than a particularly large yawn. Occult symbols are sprinkled throughout, and figures are occasionally found in ritualistic poses, like small animals mid-pagan festival. 
 
El Gato Chimney’s bio ruminates on this undertow: “When in front of these works it is impossible not to wonder what hides in the woods, where that road will lead up to, why these beings trust in such a blind way this primitive religion, partly attributable to preexisting cults, partly made up.”
 
For those in Madrid, Spain, El Gato Chimney’s show, “Metapsychic Paths,” can be seen at Combustion Espontanea Art Gallery until November 1st. (via Hi-Fructose)

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