Yang Maoyuan’s Mirrored Alterations Of Classical Sculpture

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Yang Maoyuan is a Beijing, China-based multidisciplinary artist noted for his shaping and misshaping of the human form. Born in Dalian, China in 1966, the artist has been witness to one of the most massive cultural shifts ever to occur in human history, so it is not surprising that historical relics and remnants, loaded with archaeological connotations, become source material for Yang.

In a series of work created in 2009, replicas of classical sculptural busts are created in bronze, and systematically sanded, smoothed and rounded out, giving the once easily recognizable faces a new and updated quality. The mirrored effect of these bronzes contemporarizes the pieces, but also forces viewers to see their own reflection in history. Some of the series became Look Inside, while other replicas took their titles from their original source inspirations. 

When photographed in their installation environments, the resulting images look similar to 2-Dimensional collages, with smooth cut lines and rounded edges. It is this new verbal language that not only consumes classical sculptural, but also affects the way contemporary audiences will continue to consume culture.  (via notshakingthegrass)

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Elaine Cameron-Weir’s Glowing, Symbolic ‘Venus Anadyomene’

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Elaine Cameron-Weir latest work, titled Venus Anadyomene, 2014,consists of five similar pieces, each made a giant clam shell edged with neon tubing, and high-fire ceramic vessel each filled with olive oil, wick, flame, sand, mica, frankincense, benzoin, myrrh, brass. Each piece, suspended from the gallery by a brass rod, while the incense slowly burns.

Varying ideas of birth and bringing to life are present in the works, from the title (meaning ‘Venus Rising from the Sea’, a story of the Greek Goddess Aphrodite’s birth (and a famous work by Titian). The title of the work references both art history and god creation, as do the shells, which bring to minBotticelli’s masterpiece of the Roman Goddess Venus (and one of the most recognizable and imitated paintings ever created). Meanwhile, the scent element in the gallery space of burning frankincense and myrrh recall the Christian nativity story and the birth of Jesus Christ, echoing the gifts brought by the Three Wisemen. Present throughout Cameron-Weir’s work are ideas of how symbolism is omnipresent to ideas of myth-making.

Elaine Cameron-Weir’s Venus Anadyomene, 2014 is currnetly on view now through April 6th at Ramiken Crucible in New York City.

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Lauren Roche’s Visceral, Evocative, And Singular Paintings

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lauren-2 figures and an animal_4_770In Lauren Roche‘s paintings, like the best portraiture, there exists a story found in discrepant details. Amidst heavily applied broad stroke of paint and drips, black dots appear to be lactating from human and animals, insinuating teets as opposed to breasts. Teeth are bared in grinless maws not typically associated with people or their pets. And yet there exists an honest and humble beauty in Roche’s rendering of her subjects. Explaining that many subjects are taken from faces of friends and pets, as well as old photographs used for reference, the Minneapolis-based artist adds,

“The figures in my images are facets of my subconscious and take action in a pictorial language and don’t transfer into names for me. I like to leave the interpretation of personality up to the viewer, because that’s what I do.”

Roche’s paintings possess a rawness that cannot be denied, balanced in equal measure by a deft rendering of facial expressions. Perhaps the beauty of these paintings comes from their singular nature, and their anachronistic charm, evocative of a different era of capturing images. When asked the purpose of a focus on portraiture, particularly in an uploadable Digital Age, Roche responds,

“The purpose of portraiture is to give the maker and viewer the space for an interpretation of the subject that is private and flexible, fluid and idiosyncratic. Its difficult to compare portraiture to a cell phone picture because the process is so different. Drawing portraits is like a form of meditation and reflection for me and taking a cell phone picture feels more like a superficial gesture to prove that I’m enjoying myself.”

Roche’s work will be featured in the upcoming Two Dark Horses at Bockley Gallery in Minneapolis, MN, alongside Andrew Mazorol and Tynan Kerr (who when painting collectively go by AMTKpreviously featured here) and Lindsay Rhyner. The exhibition, named after one of Roche’s paintings (top of page) opens this Friday, March 21st and runs through April 26th, 2014.

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Andrea Mastrovito’s Installations Are A Plethora Of Animal Life

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Though an artist who truly utilizes a wide-range of materials and media, perhaps Andrea Mastrovito‘s most eye-catching and memorable works are those he creates by collaging thousands of images from books which are installed to create swarming, jungle-like visual configurations. The images are sources from thousands of book, precisely cut-out and arranged, giving the whimsical and unusual feeling that the interior of a house could be covered by swarming bats, or butterflied would cover an entire gallery while sunning themselves.

Inspired partly by H. G. Wells’ famous science fiction novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, Mastrovito’s The Island of Dr. Mastrovito and The Island of Dr. Mastrovito II were installed at Governors Island in New York in 2010. Says the Bergamo, Italy-born artist about his work, “His starting points for this site-specific work are the two most common forms of home recreation—books and television. The title of his installation refers to H. G. Wells’ famous novel The Island of Doctor Moreau, in which the archetypal “mad” scientist experiments upon animals in order to give them human traits. In this “Island,” the artist substitutes himself for the doctor, trying to instill a new life into that which was once alive in a different way (books from paper, paper from wood, and wood from trees). Mastrovito imagines that the outside fauna take control of the abandoned house and become its proper inhabitants. Approximately 700 books were brought under the artist’s knife to cut out real-size images of animals. This trompe-l’oeil, or paper diorama, also suggests the strength of images, the infinite possibilities that knowledge—through books—can give us in order to create and re-create the world that we can only imagine.” (via colossal)

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Junya Ishigami’s Enormous Helium-Filled Monolith

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Junya Ishigami (also identified by Junya Ishigami + Associates) has long been known as someone averse to the labeling or differentiating between art, design and architecture. Case in point, one of Ishigami’s most famous works which straddled various disciplines, and even played with ideas of weigh and weightlessness. Titled Cuboid Balloon, the helium-filled reflective vessel filled the hall with it’s five-story presence when it was installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tokyo. Although it appears massive, and therefore massively heavy, it is actually weightless (as seen in the video link below, when a museum staff member pulls it down with one hand). The reflective material responds both to its environment and surrounding architecture, but also to the people around it, an important creative rule for Ishigami’s work.

In a review of the architect by Magali Elali for All Items Loaded, they described the artist-slash-architect-slash-designer as such.

“Junya Ishigami is one of the most controversial architects, for his artistic approach to his practice has helped to redefine the ever closer boundaries between art and architecture. He draws inspiration from the way nature appears to man and aspires to an architecture that floats, is infinite, transparent and has hardly any substance. It is not the logic of the design of a building that should stand out. Ishigami wants his buildings to appeal through their new spatiality and environmental richness. His work is a quest for the pure and essential in architecture.” (via 2headedsnake and allitemsloaded)

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The Ancient Art Of Mandalas Revisited With A Pop Culture Twist

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Husband and wife visual artist team Hillerbrand+Magsamen crafted a series of twists on the traditional mandala. More commonly known through the Tibetan sand mandala, the original, ancient process consists of intricate patterns of sand that are later destroyed. Hillberbrand+Magsamen’s interpretation is similarly meticulous, but has a pop culture twist. Using things like books, Legos, shoes, sippy cups, things that are blue and others green, they arrange these objects in a circular, radiating formation. This light-hearted assemblage has a deeper meaning to the artists, who explain:

Loosely translated to mean “circle,” a mandala is far more than a simple shape. It represents wholeness, and can be seen as a model for the organizational structure of life itself–a cosmic diagram that reminds us of our relation to the infinite, the world that extends both beyond and within our bodies and minds. We have created mandala’s within our own home out of the stuff we have found lying around in our own creative exploration.

So often, we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The act of creating these works is a slow, meditative process. As these objects form a circle, there is consideration to not only placement, but the associations we have to them. It allows us to think about how the things we own are a reflection of who we are. (Via Faith is Torment)

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Susan Dobson’s Abandoned Buildings Are Timeless Reminders That It All Turns to Dust

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In photographer Susan Dobson’s series Sense of an Ending, she taps into our fascination of abandoned buildings. We ask ourselves, what happened to these places? Why is no one there, and how did they come to be in such disrepair? The once majestic-looking structures now sit among ruins and overgrown vegetation, and these haunting images remind us that everything built will eventually turn to dust. Dobson often frames her compositions so the homes look tiny when compared to a large, ominous-looking sky.

The photographer’s intention was that these works were timeless. They could point to a post apocalyptic future or relics of the past. In a short statement about her work, Dobson explains:

I am interested in how photographs have the ability to sit outside of any definitive time period, and to feel dislocated in time. It allows for associations to be made with a range of historical periods. For me, the series evokes images I have in my mind of the ruins from WWII that were still evident in Germany when I lived there as a child. (Via Flavorpill)

 

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Zacharie Gaudrillot-Roy’s Haunting Photoseries Erases Buildings, Leaving Only Their Facades

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Zacharie Gaudrillot-Roy is a French photographer whose Facades series is a personal exercise in land and city-scape photography, with one major difference. In each photo, the Lyon-based Gaudrillot-Roy digitally edits each image so that building itself is erased, leaving only the structure’s front, or facade, present. Now on his third iteration of the series, each village or city building carries ominous, almost surreal connotations of civilizations being abandoned, wrecked by recession, or left to slowly disintegrate. However, the images retain a still, quiet beauty, and are haunting in their simplicity.

Says the photographer, “The façade is the first thing we see, it’s the surface of a building. It can be impressive, superficial or safe. Just like during a wandering through a foreign city, I walk through the streets with these questions: what will happen if we stick to that first vision? If the daily life of “The Other” was only a scenery? This series thus offers a vision of an unknown world that would only be a picture, without intimate space, with looks as the only refuge.” (via skumar’s)

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