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Rafael Gómezbarros’ Giant Ant Installations Shed Light on the Plight Of Migrant Workers

Rafael Gómezbarros
Rafael Gómezbarros
Rafael Gómezbarros
 Rafael Gómezbarros

Casa Tomada is a project of traveling installations started in 2007 by Colombian artist Rafael Gómezbarros in which giant sculptures of ants are fixed in swarms on buildings and structures. Self-described as “urban intervention” by Gómezbarros, the ants have been showcased in locations varying from London to Cuba with a very specific goal in mind: shedding light on immigration, forced displacement, and uprooting through historical points of departure for travelers and immigrants. The 2-foot ants themselves are crafted out of tree branches for legs and two joined skull casts made of fiberglass resin and fabric to make up the torso, making for a particularly morbid, visceral depiction of migrant workers in Latin America who are looked at as nothing more than vermin.

When placed on the facades of government buildings and blank gallery walls alike, the ants give off a chilling sense of foreboding and encroachment. By placing them in swarms, Gómezbarros makes the insects even more strikingly representative of the peasants displaced by war and strife in Gómezbarros’ native Colombia. The giant insects that make up Casa Tomada, which translates to Seized House, are certainly works that are bound to linger with viewers, whether in nightmares or otherwise.

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B/D Best of 2010- Michael Shapcott

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Michael Shapcott is an emerging artist from Connecticut. His paintings and illustrations take traditional portraiture and add elements of folklore and dream imagery, his main source of inspiration. His work is nothing less than powerful, inspiring, and emotional.

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Rena Littleson’s The Truth About Drugs

 

It’s funny how “facts” “evidence” and “reality” have a way of changing over time. How do they decide where the line between legal and illegal lies? Sometimes it’s anyone’s guess. Though probably money related. Rena Littleson’s The Truth About Drugs series of graphic illustrations explores these topics and more after the jump.

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Kurt Manley

Kurt Manley‘s photographs take advantage of interesting composition and unexpected lighting sources to make mundane things suddenly worth looking at.

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Liz Cohen

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The humor may be pretty obvious in displacing hot rod models and putting them in odd, working class, mundane, broke down car scenarios, but Liz Cohen’s photographs are humorous nonetheless.

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David Guttenfelder’s Never Before Seen Photographs Of North Korea Through Instagram

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North Korea is a country famous for its censorship. Even so, Associated Press photographer David Guttenfelder has been able to capture images of the country and share them via Instagram. Recently, the DPRK relaxed their laws surrounding the internet. Foreigners are allowed to carry their phones with an activated 3G network. Guttenfelder talks about his motivations and experiences to Wired magazine, stating:

“In a country known for its censorship, I’m now uploading photos to Instagram from the streets of North Korea like I would anywhere else in the world. Through social media, I’m trying to piece together a picture of this country for the outside world … No one puts their hand in front of my camera, and no one tells me not to shoot things. There’s no review process. They don’t look at my pictures at all before I send them on the Associated Press wire or my Instagram account. Facebook even asks me to tag my “friends” Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung when I upload my photos.”

Displaying his photos on Instagram allows for followers to interact with Guttenfelder directly. He welcomes this, and comments on one of his photos, writing,  “I appreciate the comments and the direct connections. It has given my work a cool and unexpected extra purpose.”

Guttenfelder posts photos of everyday life, displaying different aspects of the country and the influence the regime has on the cultural landscape. Of course, because they have been “Instagram’d” they look old, but are completely contemporary. In some of these photos, based on subject matter, it’s hard to imagine that they are of our time. (Via Huh Magazine)

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Phillip Fivel Nessen

550dog

Based in Brooklyn, Phillip Fivel Nessen is the major creative force behind Sparrow V. Swallow design studio, as well as a prominent contributer to our very own B/D Flickr pool! An homage to construction paper, Nessen’s clean line work and often muted color palette suggest a simpler time: a time when men were men. Carmelized onions? No thank you, I’ll be having rattlesnake on my hotdog.

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Emma Coutler’s Colorful Wall Paintings Manipulate And Distort Space

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Northern Irish, Australian based artist Emma Coulter creates large scale colorful illusions that break the boundaries between painting, sculpture, installation, and interior design. Her work, being painted or installed directly on the walls, are site specific, allowing each vibrant piece to exist as a reaction and assessment of it’s environment. She notes that “spatiality in painting has long been a problem in the history of art.” Her process allows to her “utilis(e) space as a raw material,” challenging the traditional approach to figure out and investigate the issue of space and light. Her use of color and geometry employs a distortion of the space— creating illusory elements that both add and destroy previous conceptions of reality. Within in artist statement, Coulter explains:

“I see colour as an object or material to be manipulated through placement, proportion and adjacency in response to space. I am interested in challenging our assumptions about colour. It is a commonly misunderstood material, that is often associated with not being critical or serious. Through my systematic approach to colour and the spatiality of painting, I hope to reveal something new about the practice of painting and its potential to blur boundaries and adapt environments.”

Her use of color, big, bold and bright, is a nice wink to conceptual minimalist artists such as Sol LeWiitt; her work captures that same notion of a somehow clean experimentation. Truly a contemporary take on difficult and endless artistic quandaries. (via PICDIT)

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