Jean Cocteau once said,”a poet doesn’t invent, he listens.”
The pieces built by self-proclaimed “melancholic post-situationist” artist Robert Montgomery, likewise, work as interesting dreamy receivers or lightning rods, absorbing bursts of humanity’s collective subconscious in relation to varying environments.
Translating frequencies and teetering between genres, Montgomery, in Interview Magazine asserts, “Obviously my own work comes from a conceptual art tradition, but I love the graffiti artists, and I feel spiritually closer to them than to most contemporary art; they make the city a free space of diverse voices and we shouldn’t get all cynical about them just because Banksy made some money.”
Louise O’Rourke’s photographs document not just the idea of rejected beds as a form of waste, but more so, the repetition of intimate objects made sadly public with age, which moves her work into a particularly lonesome study of humanity’s careless romance with things.
From Toy Story to the Velveteen Rabbit, children’s literature seems to capitalize on a similar theme that O’Rourke tugs at here: because our beloved objects don’t age gracefully– or even at all– they get thrown away and easily replaced. We don’t even need to see the newer model to know that it is there. It is always there: lingering. Waiting. The job of an object is to selfishly service us until we are done with it. These are the rules. In this sense, objects can never win. Caught in limbo, O’Rourke’s wayfarer beds transition onto the street, heart exposed, welcoming vagrants or rodents. A sad Dickens’ death. It is not a story of waste, but love. Wherever the new bed is, the old bed is not, and will never be again.
However, there is a sign of hope. O’Rourke also notes the value of reinventing old finds such as discarded photographs, of which she peels at the emulsion, saving the scraps, to create a new context and authorship of the image, one that is more ephemeral or abstract.
She states, “By removing the emulsion, I further remove the photograph from the event and even claim the moments that stand out to me. By physically altering the found image with no negative to reprint from, I create my own narrative from those previously captured stories.”
Perhaps, through art, there is life after love for objects.
Angela Dalinger’s illustrations are difficult not to fall in love with. They are funny, whimsical, strangely stiff, and make us nostalgic for our own lofty teenage renditions of music, art, and adulthood.
The playful bio on her website only adds to the cryptic childlike mystique-
“I’m 29. I live in a very small town very close to Hamburg since I escaped from there. I am busy working on my career in illustration, means I’m mostly busy painting and drawing and being nuts. I’m born as Sandra Angela Wichmann and use my artist name since 2 years, simply because I really hate my real surname.”
When Isaac Tobin is not working as a senior designer for University of Chicago Press or playing with type design, then he is whipping up some pretty phenomenal collages with minimal resources. Each piece remind us that cutting back and holding the line is just as important as drawing it. His seemingly simple use of familiar and found paper products matched with sporadic vintage text and condensed doodling presents an accessible everyday charm that inspires affordable creativity.
Gary Ward uses charcoal, graphite, oil pastels, and an overall sharp wit to examine humanity’s mess of emotion over the confusion of body and identity.
His Archeology Series, collected here, is a playful response to the quandary of life after death: how, despite fame, class, or notoriety at the end of it all, we are basically just a slew of skulls with slight form variations.
Regarding process, Ward, a self-taught artist based in Los Angeles, says he is “interested in how the mind and hand talk to each other in one uninterrupted sitting.” He likes to see the authorship of a flawed line and honors how each mistake can spontaneously charge the work in a new direction.
Londoner Petra Storrs is not just a set, prop, and costume/fashion designer– she’s an artist who collaborates with performers to transcend ideas beyond the ephemeral and into a sturdy cult of fantasy. The “reflective mirror dress” she designed for Paloma Faith, for example, not only sharpens the singer’s playful theatrical identity, but further investigates this concept of “the gaze”. In Dazed and Confused Magazine, Faith elaborates on the intention, “Obviously, as a performer, I am normally the observed, but I wanted to flip that dynamic around and make the audience the focus.” Storrs response, of course, was to whip up a garment that literally does just that.
But it’s not just creative camaraderie that gets Storrs’ juices flowing– she also finds inspiration from everyday objects and history, or everyday objects that hold history such as . . . tea. Camellia & the Rabbit, her latest design endeavor (collected here), involves performance artist Rachel Snider, who uses “tea as a central motif/metaphor” and a narrative “like sea shanties” to interweave “historical facts and stories of tea”– thus, evoking our own personal relationship to this British afternoon tradition.
Rob Sato’s watercolor paintings are whimsical clashes of documented history and personal dreaming: a magpie pictorial narrative of his own internal processing system or as he says, an “extension of writing” and “sifting through garbage. Getting a lot of trash out of my head.” His ability to condense worlds, communities, and landscapes into one surreal solid depiction, interestingly enough, conceptually harkens back to Vincent VanGogh’s statement on the watercolor medium itself as “a splendid thing” to “express atmosphere and distance, so that the figure is surrounded by air and can breathe in it.”
Self-taught artist YaYa Chou grew up in Taiwan, but has lived in Los Angeles since 1997. Her Soft Tissue series, collected here, combine glass sculptures with drawn schematics on paper, both of which strive to explore the protected anatomy of people, plants, and animals on a conceptual and figurative level.
Especially when juxtaposed, these pieces indicate an interesting study of the body: where eastern ideas of emotional organ frequencies meet western philosophies of organism functionality. Chou’s work playfully dialogues with our own creation and confinement of thought.