Juan Travieso‘s work is a sort of contemporary nature painting. His paintings of monkeys, bears, birds, seem to be falling apart into garbled digital information. Travieso appears to be capturing the animals a moment before they degenerate into unintelligible pixels of color. This could reflect an environment that is falling apart despite (or perhaps because of) constant technological progress. Travieso captures a sense of urgency in the paintings, an irretrievable moment soon to pass.
Lotta Mattila is a Helsinki-based Finnish sculptor who is currently the artist-in-residence at Skylab Gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Mattila finds meaning in the contradictions between her sculptures’ form and their content (a literal battering ram made of glass), and uses those material contradictions to comment on human nature, often by punning off of Finnish sayings.
Mattila’s Skylab exhibition Gravitation opens Friday (11/30) and runs until December 10th. Gravitation takes the “weight of the world” – its physicality and heaviness when one is depressed – as its central metaphor. More of Mattila’s work can be found after the jump.
At times called ‘performative sculpture’ Swiss artist Victorine Müller combines sculpture and performance art to intriguing effect. Her large but airy PVC sculptures stand ghost-like, glowing in the light and disappearing in the shadows. Müller herself sits or stands peacefully inside the sculpture. The title of her most recent exhibit “Wild at Heart” sheds some light onto her work. Müller temporarily inhabits the inside of an animal – the guts, the heart, the womb, the soul. Though simple, each performance connects easily with the viewers communicating, as Müller says “something that is not said and cannot be said, but that is.”
Beth Cavener Stichter uses animals in her sculptures as metaphors for the irrational world humans have trouble tapping into. As sculptures of animals, we’re encouraged to feel more directly what we see the animals going through, more so than we would with a human being whom we would try to supply with a narrative context. This is part of the problem Beth is trying to deal with,to get us to embrace the unconscious and irrational parts of our existence instead of repressing them in order to assert our Humanity. The artist explains:
“There are primitive animal instincts lurking in our own depths, waiting for the chance to slide past a conscious moment. The sculptures I create focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms. On the surface, these figures are simply feral and domestic individuals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface they embody the impacts of aggression, territorial desires, isolation, and pack mentality. ”
These photographs are taken from two series by NYC photographer Amy Stein: “Domesticated”, and “Halloween in Harlem”. The photos were put together a while ago now, but I’ve always loved them. And, as Ms. Stein seems to be dealing with an issue involving use of her work without permission and $40,000, I figured she deserved some love.
“Domesticated” depicts real stories ivolving animals and humans culled from local news stories. Stein used often used taxidermied animals in her perfectly positioned shots, which include bobcats confused by newfound construction and curious bears checking out backyard pools.
“Halloween in Harlem” is pretty straightforward: Stein’s eye set to run freely capturing the spirit of the holiday and creepy children in masks on the street.
Check out images from both series below.
London designer/artist Arran Gregory recently opened “Wolf”, a solo exhibition of sculpture and illustration at Print House Gallery in London. The show features these reflective, mirrored wolf and rhinocerous taxidermy heads cut in angular geometry. The mirrors sort of remove the animal from the equation, leaving gallery patron staring back at his or herself, left to ponder our relationship with animals- dead and alive. The end result is kind of jarring, as though accountability for our own actions is a scarier concept then sharp teeth in open jaws. More pics below. (via)
Anne Lemanski‘s sculptures of various animals done in unique textile surrounding a copper armature are rich in symbolism. An eagle is composed of stitched-together dollar bill designs, while a pigeon is put together with pieces of a service worker’s uniform. A water bird is made of slick, oily latex. The sculptures are great, and the social, political, and environmental commentary are a bonus. Lemanski’s work, which “highlight[s] our admiration for animals as symbols, and our exploitation of them to suit our needs…” touches on a nice dichotomous conflict that adds some strong intellectual power to each piece. Coyotes, snakes, primates, and more after the jump. (via)
These works from Berkeley, CA artist Masako Miki (originally from Japan) are fairly on point. Delicately rendered animals exist naturally among fantastical environs full of color. The artist’s ruminations on time, life, death, and innocence would be a big pill to swallow if these paintings weren’t so damn pretty. And it’s not that this stuff hasn’t been done before (Josh Keyes, growing environmentalist concerns, etc.). But in this case cosmic elements enter the mix, allowing us to contemplate the issues of our small planet and the issues of “the Beyond” in one go.