With rippling, coiled muscles, the sculptures of Masao Kinoshita stand skinned and erect. Working with materials ranging from wood to resin to bronze, the Japanese sculptor uses an aesthetic we normally associate with natural history museums to render athletic, flexing creatures of the sea and land. Save for their multiple heads and engorged limbs, these beasts could easily be ancestors of man.
Kinoshita draws much of his inspiration from diverse mythologies, religions and folklores from around the globe. Fusing narratives across space and time, the horned maenads of ancient Greece live alongside the Yoga Asura deities of Buddhism in a visceral, animalistic universe where fitness reigns supreme. The Hindu god Ganesh poses confidently while a human baby and a small teddy bear develop muscles of similar size and strength.
Given the artist’s knowledge of folklore and spiritual histories, we might interpret his massive, hulking walrus as a nod to the beast mentioned in Alice in Wonderland, who is widely assumed to represent the Buddha. Built from wood, he would certainly seem at home in the story of “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” but his soulful eyes maintain a divine dignity that eluded Lewis Carroll’s infamous character.
Throughout Kinoshita’s impressive body of work, the physical and the metaphysical are allowed to coexist. Where modern religions condemn the pleasures of the body and exalt in those of the spirit, these sculptures present a world wherein the gods themselves are proud—even arrogant, as the case may be with those thong-wearing bodybuilders—to live within mortal anatomies. Take a look. (via HiFructose)
We first featured William Emmert’s work last year but he’s back again with a great new body of work revolving around posters from his childhood bedroom and other objects of nostalgia. Join him as he takes us back to the 80’s when Urkel was king and the Undertaker ruled the WWF.
Project H designers Heleen De Goey and Dan Grossman have completed the construction of the first Learning Landscape math playground at the Kutamba School for AIDS Orphans in Southern Uganda. After nearly 3 weeks on site, they have finished the grid’s construction, and have been tirelessly working with the teachers and students on the implementation and adaptation of the games: “Around The World,” “Match Me,” and others, which teach elementary math concepts. The playground even integrates a bench system for added functionality as outdoor seating or assembly space.
Amazing! Shapes and forms manifest into spatial learning tools. A nice step away from the flatness of textbooks and computer screens. If only there were more of these in the States.
Israeli artist Ron Arad has a thing for the Fiat 500 car. Ever since his father was almost struck by a garbage truck while driving a Cinquecento, the Italian automobile played an important part in his life. Arad tells the story of how he came to own his first Fiat to W Magazine. While stopped at a red light in a taxi, a Fiat pulled up next to him, and he
….opened the door of the taxi and shouted to the driver, ‘Are you selling?’ The next day, his car was [his]’. (Source)
That car was used to cart his family around for a number of years, and even housed a homeless man for a short period. After looking at it every day, he decided he wanted to immortalize the car like the cultural icon it is. Using a metal press at a shipyard in Groningen, in the Netherlands, he managed to squash and squeeze the cars into a 12cm thick plate. After spending a while trialing with smaller cars and a variety of presses, Arad found the perfect way to flatten the frames while still keeping the integrity of the shape and design. It is quite a bizarre sight seeing something which is normally such a full shape being hung on the wall like it is a colored cardboard version of a car. Arad has indeed preserved the idea of the Fiat 500 for all to gush sentimentality over.
His exhibition “Ron Arad: In Reverse” is on view at Paul Kasmin Gallery, 515 West 27th Street in New York City, until March 14, 2015.
Ave Rose is a writer and artist whose love for the beautifully macabre has manifested itself into a collection of undead, baroque-styled robotic dolls. Using tiny bones and taxidermied animal parts, Ave brilliantly assembles morbid objects into miniature characters, each one uniquely adorned with intricate clothing and glimmering stones. From rings on clawed fingers, to bejewelled masks, to a delicate, golden dress tailored for frog hips, the detail she crafts is incredible. Each creation is animated with motion mechanics, allowing them to move and sway along with accompanying music, like grotesque music box ballerinas. In an anxious (and sometimes satirical) collision of materiality with the horrors of death and rot, Ave’s living-dead creations ultimately represent the “beauty that can be found in decay and disarray” (Source).
This collection, titled Bestiary of the Automata, was featured as part of the 3rd Biennial Taxidermy Show (2014) at the La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Hollywood. In addition to her dark menagerie, Ave crafts a collection of other motion-infused works, such as mechanical butterflies and Watchbots, which are “miniature robots made of watch parts” (Source). Her works are characterized by compelling double-effects, blending beauty with the bizarre, technology with tradition, and youthful whimsy with the cold, mechanical realities of death. Behind all of the clockwork, darkness, and hints of satire, Ave’s creations celebrate life by fearlessly confronting themes of a macabre nature.
French artist Didier Massard’s photography had me perplexed until I looked more deeply into his process. Massard creates these amazing images by constructing a small detailed set design or dioramas and thoughtfully integrating lighting techniques. What strikes me most about these images is that they at first appear to be paintings or digitally rendered, but closer examination reveals layering and depth that is not possible to create digitally. I read how Massard uses manual techniques to create fabricated sets, but honestly could not believe the entirety of his process until viewing this short video, where he explains his work from his studio. In the video, he also explains how his work is inspired from real and imagined places, places he’d like to visit but realizes the limitations involved in this desire.The subjects of his work vary from nature to mythology to architecture, but all of them evoke a cinematic and magical realist quality.
Massard began working as a commercial photographer for fashion and cosmetic companies, but once he began this meticulously fabricated photography work, he decided to stay focused on this personal project. All of his work is drawn from his own imagination, and he calls each image “the completion of an inner imaginary journey.” Because of the highly skilled and detailed work that goes into each set design and diorama, Massard produces only a few images per year, spending months considering the manipulations for each image. For Massard, his work succeeds when it breaches a border of truth and lies, dream and reality. His work is currently on display at Julie Saul Gallery in New York City until October 19.
Mike Shankman turns crumbling structures and abandoned buildings into arcane imaginary environments. In 2003, Mike also co-founded Million Fishes, a live/work arts organization in the Mission District of San Francisco. He also has an awesome last name. Find more at Shift Art Gallery.