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.
Matt Rich resides in Boston, where he relies on color theory and a keen eye to develop his collage paintings: a visual cacophony of latex painted sheets cut into shapes then taped together.
Minus a frame or stretcher bars, these pieces surrender to vivid organic forms when pieced together. Sometimes, Rich even paints both sides before piecing, in order to “discover” accidental color pairings when flipping the work over.
Of his collection, Rich hopes viewers and visitors walk away with a poetic experience: “The warm glow of relief after effort or a crisis has been averted. An understanding that life will continue as before, but differently.”
Genevieve Blais, a photographer based in Toronto, borrows imagery from classic art history paintings to unpack sexual politics relative to today’s contemporary palate.
Of her intention, Blais states, “The aesthetic/topical dissonance aims to elicit an uneasy response in order to subvert the implicit authority and sanctity of the icon.”
The result confronts and critiques art culture by sitting in an uneasy space between not only imagery, but also mediums– cameras and brushes, forcing us to clearly see the model as the true determinant– a staged powerful variant that has been with us since Caravaggio’s rule, humanizing the myth.
Iconic and lovely Louise Bourgeois once said, “The feminists took me as a role model, as a mother. It bothers me. I am not interested in being a mother. I am still a girl trying to understand myself.”
Likewise, one might suggest that the soft and silicone rubber sculptures of Michelle Carla Handel, collected here, are conceptually doing something similar, but with a splash of Claes Oldenburg’s wit and color pop.
Each piece feels intriguingly pubescent: exploring the grotesque softness of bodies and gender through seemingly pliable forms that physically confuse or bend out of shape, emotionally heaving with discovery and wear.
Phoebe Washburn’s constructions, built from found or discarded objects such as plants, plywood, cardboard, or fish tanks, to name a few, have been gaining critical acclaim and momentum since 2008, when she took part in the coveted Whitney Biennial.
Of her craft and salvage, in W Magazine, Washburn states: “I’m not green; I’m greedy . . . There’s definitely an aspect of hoarding that drives this, absolutely! If I see someone walking down the street with a nice piece of wood, I’m like, Where did they get that?”
Her approach to discussing art is as playful and humble as the structures themselves, or their titles, which range from “Nunderwater Nort Lab” (above, top) to “Baby Brain (Not Safe for Use as Jacuzzi)” (above, below).
Bohyun Yoon has lived in Japan, Korea, and The States. He uses these “diverse social experiences” as a point of reference for his work, which circles around societal restraints and progressive concepts of the body: possible extensions and perils with the advancement of technology/war/culture on a personal and holistic level.
His installation work “Unity” (2009), “Structure of Shadow” (2007), and “Shadow” (2004) casts light on miniature wax body parts which physically dangle aimlessly; however, when illuminated by a light source, these fragmentations create shadows or illusions which illustrate figurative wholeness.
Tethered to our bodies and systems of government, our parts and puppetry, is in essence, our humanness or machinery, or as Yoon explains, what makes us “weak and fragile, spiritless animals under certain rule, certain harsh conditions.” His work also resonates with a sense of devastation felt by veterans returning wounded from battle, physically and spiritually.
Detroit artist Trisha Holt builds performative sculpture from blown-up photographs twisted, masked, or hugged onto live models in everyday settings, then reshoots for a surrealistic effect. This series, titled Love Child, creatively cross-breeds two iconic & artistic souls with one another. The top image, for example, is the offspring of “Charlie White + Katy Grannan“. The second one is of “Man Ray + Francesca Woodman”. Both are titled so accordingly. Can you see the resemblance?
Holt’s work is a stunning collection of mash-ups which humorously and humbly troubles over its own worth in the world, playfully echoing this song by The Supremes: “Love child, love child / Never quite as good / Afraid, ashamed, misunderstood / But I’ll always love you.”
The UK’s Matt Martin is a film photographer working out of Brighton. His work gives us a refreshingly intimate look at adventure, a subject that’s typically trampled to death by passionless snapshots, Matt shows us how to do it right. He’s also an extra hardworking and motivated young man, heading up The Photocopy Club, a series of DIY photography exhibitions aimed to take photography off of the screen and back into the hands of the people using one of the most accessible mediums – the photocopy. The next show opens in London on Feb. 3rd.
Much of this series of photos was taken from Matt Martin’s new double-zine Goodnight Neverland / Thank God I’m Forgiven published by No Fun Press.