Brandi Strickland’s Inner Space Collages

Brandi Strickland - Mixed Media

 

Brandi Strickland - Mixed Media

Brandi Strickland - Mixed Media

Brandi Strickland’s collages are a mixture of photographs, painting, and drawing. Exploring different themes, Strickland fills her compositions with people and textures, utilizing a lot of old, faded papers, and National Geographic-like magazines. Inner Space is a series about the galaxy and our world, examining topics such as overcrowding, our relationship to our planet, and our perception of space.

Strickland combines a dizzying amount of black and gray tones, playing with scale of stars and fractured light. Each work in Inner Space seems to illustrate a different aspect of space. In one work, The Duat, (directly above) the artist has included pair of eyes, signifying fear of intergalactic exploration. In that same piece, Strickland has a woman diving, as if you say we should embrace these fears.

The piece titled Inner Space (below) focuses more specifically on Earth. It is a visual magpie; Strickland has collected shiny, colorful, manmade, and natural imagery to represent a world that’s focused less on the great unknown and more about ourselves. The sphere takes up most of the composition, too – it’s just all about Earth. Amulet (also below) has the same thematic considerations that Inner Space does, but it recognizes that we are just a very small but valuable part to the greater universe. Scale-wise, the Earth that was so large in Inner Space is significantly smaller by comparison. An amulet’s most important characteristic is its alleged power to protect from evil, so the title suggests that we are either in need of one or we are one.

Strickland describes her work, stating, “For me, collage begins with collecting, saving, acquiring, searching; then, as if they were memories, I meticulously sort, separate and organize them into something new, something that is both happily accidental and tediously arranged.” The series demonstrates a meditation on this theme, and I’d be curious to know what conclusions she drew.

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Ernesto Neto’s Massive Installations Address Mind/Body Relationships

Ernesto Nesto - Installation

Ernesto Nesto - Installation

Ernesto Nesto - Installation

Ernesto Neto’s installations ache of a strange dreamy womb I’m sleepwalking towards, one that promises 100 years of hibernation, an extended respite that is sensually comforting and yet also terrifying claustrophobic. It’s a peculiar feeling– a mushy feeling, a propelling and repulsive feeling, or push and pull, that I can’t stop leaning into.

I am not my body, yet I am my body.

Unintentionally echoing motifs in David Cronenberg’s psychological horror films, Neto’s “beyond abstract minimalism” worlds seem to confront the dysfunctional relationship we have with our internal and external selves, and the weeping orifices that connect us to one another on a physical and emotional level. Each path is carved viscerally, interactively– ideally, playfully, but admittedly, horrifyingly in our own image, resembling internal organs and wads of flesh and goo. We are attracted to this, and this attraction is disturbing.

Of his work, and perhaps of this feeling I’m describing, in an interview with Bill Arning, Neto states, “Do you understand the word sacanagem? It’s a Portuguese word that does not translate well. It is beyond flirting. It’s after that, in that moment when both of your faces change into something else because the erotic charge is so high, when your bodies move towards each other. I wanted the work to manifest sacanagem without talking about it. It’s all subtextual. My work is first and foremost a contemporary sculpture; it speaks of the finite and the infinite, of the macroscopic and the microscopic, the internal and external, by the masculine and feminine powers, but sex is like a snake, it slithers through everything.”

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Joseph Parra’s Manipulated Photographs Are Braided, Folded, Cut, And Scratched To Reveal The Unseen

Joseph Parra - Digital Print Joseph Parra - Digital PrintJoseph Parra - Digital Print

Joseph Parra is an artist working with the human portrait and figure. While he obviously draws and paints very well, Parra is not necessarily concerned with perfectly replicating what someone looks like. He finds this notion limiting to an artist; after all, a photo or realistic painting can only go so far. You’ve made someone look like their outward appearance, but now what?

Parra strives to delve deeper into the figure or portrait and reveal what is unseen. His work questions what it means to be human using a couple of different methods. One way is through layers. Aside from a portrait, he adds of media that distorts the face or the body. Parra scrapes, pricks, and sands his subjects. In his words, this is “acting as reminders that we are merely a union of ideas.” Additionally, he will cut, braid, or fold paper as a way to express the complex nature of humanity. Oneself (directly below) is the same portrait but manipulated in three different ways. It references the fractured, multiple, and twisted ways we often view ourselves. Some days we think we’re great, while others we are loathsome.

Much of Parra’s work is screen prints and digital prints, which I think enhance his ideas and again parallels the human experience. We see these images mutilated and/or distorted, and they look very textural. Yet up close, they are mostly reproduced images and have a smooth sheen – the rawness is kept contained. I compare it to having a friend who appears very put together on the surface, but beneath you know they are a mess.

Parra was featured last year on Beautiful/Decay, not long after graduating college. Since then, he’s created more work that focuses on the braiding or manipulating of paper, which are some of my favorite pieces. I’m looking forward to seeing where Parra goes from here.

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Pamela Council’s Sculptures Made Of Fake Acrylic Nails

Pamela Council - Acrylic Nails, Paint Pamela Council - Acrylic Nails, Paint

Pamela Council - Acrylic Nails, Paint

Pamela Council - Acrylic Nails, Paint

New York-based artist and product developer Pamela Council creates sculptures using hundreds of fake acrylic nails. Putting together these tiny, mundane objects, she builds extraordinary busts, lanterns, and sculptures about Olympic athletes. Her socially-conscious work focuses on the deeper meaning of these objects. What kind of associations do we have with them? Council writes about her thought process, stating:

I take everyday objects and re-figure them as I consider their associations and power. The process begins with research and includes a dissection of the cultural implications of the product, from why it was created, to how and where it is made, sold, and used. This enables me to extricate the object from its commercial value and present it in sculpture. Through this process, the object becomes re-possessed.

Mass-produced objects that are used on the body interest me the most; recently, my focus has been almost exclusively on beauty products. As I continue to investigate these cultural artifacts, my goal is to create a new dialogue and awareness about the things that we collect, consume, and discard. Hopefully, it will encourage an analysis that eulogizes the significance of these objects even as it allows for a more critical view of their value. If it works, my art will serve as a proxy for the objects and psyches we decide we can live without.

Council created a sculpture titled, Flo Jo World Record Nails, which used 200 sets of the manicured nails that Florence Griffith-Joyner wore during the 1988 Olympics, when she set the 200 meter world record. Council painted each set and had them for sale. You too could harness the same power as Flo Jo – being young, extremely talented, all while remaining stylish.

You can visit Council’s Tumblr, Blaxidermy, for her photos, work in progress, and things she comes across in her day-to-day life.

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Geometric Wooden Textile Art By Elisa Strozyk

textile art 1

textile art 2

Elisa Strozyk - Linen, wood

Elisa Strozyk is a unconventional textile designer. Instead of fabric, she uses wood to construct rugs, carpets, and blankets. While we often think of wood as rigid surface, her work breaks this convention and transforms it into something much cozier.  Elisa’s textile art acts like fabric. They easily conform to a surface and can bunch together, allowing something or someone to be wrapped up in wood.

Each piece is comprised of tiny shapes, variations of triangles and squares. Paired together they make tessellations, or the tiling of shapes to insure there are no gaps between them. Tessellations can be in 2D or in Elisa’s case, 3D. The general idea is that shapes are used to stack and fill space.

These textiles are meant to have us consider a new perspective on material. They challenge our notions of what is possible out of something like wood. Elisa’s textiles can be functional or art object. They can be used as a blanket or on the floor as a rug. But, depending on the design, context, and manipulation of shapes, they can be a sculpture, too.

Elisa gives more insight to her work, writing:

The world around us is becoming increasingly immaterial. We are now used to write emails instead of letters, to pay online, to download music and touch virtual buttons on touch screens. We live in a society of images, a visual culture full of colours, advertisements, television and the internet. There is not much left to feel. Giving importance to surfaces that are desirable to touch can reconnect us with the material world and enhance the emotional value of an object.

“Wooden Textiles” convey a new tactile experience. We are used to experience wood as a hard material; we know the feeling of walking across wooden floors, to touch a wooden tabletop or to feel the bark of a tree. But we usually don’t experience a wooden surface which can be manipulated by touch.

 

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Text Based Neon Art From Bruce Nauman And Six Other Artists

Patrick Martinez neon art

Patrick Martinez

Bruce Nauman neon art

Bruce Nauman

Tracey Emin neon art

Tracey Emin

Text art seems to be popping up everywhere these days in a multitude of diverse forms, although the use of text in art is inarguably not a new movement.  However, when it comes to using words in visual art, several artists of different ages and sub-genres have found ways to burn their words into our brains.  The pieces featured here have real stay-power.  Whether the artist employs a blinking pattern between words, such as Bruce Nauman does, or draws rawly from their cultural background and related personal experience, such as Glenn Ligon and Patrick Martinez, these works deliver a very contemporary message. With simple language, and a sometimes poetic-sometimes brash- sense of honesty, these neon text-based works transcend many other works of text based art made today.  Artists featured here include: Bruce Nauman, Patrick Martinez, Tracey Emin, Jill Magid, Glenn Ligon, Robert Montgomery and Jung Lee.  The works speak for themselves- yet we encourage you to read between the lines.

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Uta Barth’s Photographs Quote The Lightness In Her Own Life

Uta Barth - Photography

Uta Barth - Photography

Uta Barth - Photography

Uta Barth uses photography to capture her own personal dreamy moments with light, and in doing so, exposes its environmental power over our solitude and romance . . . or romance with solitude.

As a viewer, I find myself drawn to the window, the curtain, and the wall in each piece, not only because it’s illuminated accordingly with sharp visceral attention, but also because I’m intrigued with how the mundane awakens. It feels childlike, reminiscient of a world without technology and other busy distractions. Ironically, or maybe not so, it also feels wise– close to death. There’s drama in the little details as the hand pulls back the curtain or the camera approaches the glow. It’s not so much about being a voyeur as it is about being here and being still– sharing the space where light opens into mood and reflection.

Of her work, Barth notes, “In most photographs the subject and the content are one and the same thing. My work is first and foremost about perception.”

To say these pieces are only about composition: space or pattern, would be to ignore the aura around the intention of these images, which are all shot inside her home– there’s a depth that resonates with an almost intrinsic documentary feeling. Unlike James Turrell, she does not appear to be mathematically immersing us in the immediate moment of light and awareness; instead, she’s quoting from the lightness in her own life, and we are privy enough to bear witness.

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Urs Fischer And Seven Other Artists Create Dynamic Works With Houses

Urs Fischer

Urs Fischer

Rachel Whiteread

Rachel Whiteread

 An Te Liu

An Te Liu

The house is a shape everyone has some form of relationship with.  Whether it symbolizes comfort, global financial crises in housing market, cookie cutter mediocrity or family, the house as a mundane symbol or object has been elevated to captivating experimental art and high art on several occasions.  This weekend we share with you a selection of significant works that adapt houses into art objects.

Urs Fischer‘s Untitled (Bread House), constructed of bread, bread crumbs, wood, polyurethane foam, silicone, acrylic paint, screws, tape and rugs leaves every ingredient exposed.  Stepping inside this large sculptural work recently at MOCA had the effect of walking inside a decaying fairytale, as the work is naturally allowed to crumble and decompose in exhibition.  Stepping over piles of crusts of cinnamon raisin bread amidst dirty rugs and peering up at the bubbled polyeurythane foam that seeps between boards and rows of old bread, the viewer may feel any combination of wonder, amusement and fear- much like Grimms Brothers Fairytales.

An Te Liu‘s Title Deed  evolved from the Leona Drive Project in Toronto where a number of vacant tract houses were offered to artists to be reinvented as artistic installations.  As this project took place in 2009 in the height of the housing market crash, the artist observed that the simple shape of the existing house represented the 20th century iconic Monopoly board game house pieces.  The simple, yet flawless execution of Title Deed situated within a functioning suburban neighborhood carries comical yet heavy implications.

 

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