Susannah Martin is a German-based artist whose subject matter is timeless. Her realistically-rendered pastel drawings and oil paintings feature nude subjects who are exploring an idyllic landscape. As they wade through streams and pass by mountains, men, women, and children encounter different wild life. The poses and scenarios aren’t sexually motivated, and instead we see Martin’s figures presented in a much more classical, art historical way. She explains:
The history of the painted nude in landscape documents exactly this eternal longing. Setting aside for a moment, any erotic motivations, the nude has always also been a symbol for man in his purist form, his original form, his primordial form. Stripped of all social indicators; clothing, possessions , etc., he exists independent of identity in a time of pure being ( ein Zeit des Seins). Being is our eternal home. Nature does not possess an identity, it is. The nude in a natural setting has always been associated with our return to a time of pure being, a return home.
As time has passed and technology rapidly advances, we become more disconnected with the natural world; so much so that we’re more of visitors than inhabitants. Martin goes on to write:
Nature is no longer home to us, she is much more a tourist destination. Certainly no representation of the nude in landscape in the 21st century can escape conveying our extreme estrangement from nature, intentional or not. There is an unavoidable strangeness or feeling of dislocation which envelopes the most sincere attempt at harmony. How absurd man seems stripped of his possessions and identity crutches and yet it is indisputable, he gains strength, clarity and beauty when we contemplate him abstractly , as a phenomenon of nature. My experimentation with contemporising the nude in landscape takes place within this framework of tension between these two poles of self-perception.
… if we accept that realism now includes virtual realism, that is it incorporates a high degree of improbability, a hyperbolic realism. Man may return once again to his original landscape, his eternal home, all be it this time as a tourist, a primordial tourist.
We normally think of the Playboy Bunnies as busty blondes with smiles on their faces. Taylor Marie Prendergast, however, shatters that stereotype in her pen and ink drawings that feature the women in a much different light. The models that she depicts, while still in “sexy” poses, aren’t glowing. Instead we see every brush stroke that’s paired with muddy, dirty-yellow hair and a blank expression on their faces. While Prendergast has handled the media well and demonstrates a variety of techniques, we can’t escape the fact that these women wouldn’t be the “Playboy type.” And, according the artist, that’s the point. From her statement:
I’m challenging the contemporary zeitgeist by incorporating historically loaded images and abstracted figurations. The juxtaposition of the glamorous and the repulsive are necessary tools in order to create this reaction in the audience. At first the piece entices the viewer with aesthetically pleasing elements, and as the viewers settles into the work they’re confronted with disturbing details.
While the ink is still wet, Prendergast loads the drawing with more pigment and allows it to bleed onto the paper. It creates a dripping effect that’s both beautiful but in the context of a figure, a little gruesome. This allows the artist to subvert popular culture, and as she explains, “They [the viewer] are invited to re-consider the cultural state of both themselves and humanity. As the viewer inhales the work, there is a subtle yet significant revolting shock.”
Because Younger Looking Eyes Never Go Out Of Fashion
Maybe She’s Born With It
British artist Oliver Jones scrutinizes the media and its impact on self image for his newest exhibition titled, Love the Skin You’re In. If that phrase sounds familiar, that’s because it was an advertising slogan for Olay beauty products. Jones specifically draws from these industry campaigns and pairs them with photorealistic chalk-pastel drawings to demonstrates what these phrases do in shaping our ideals of beauty.
The large works feature zoomed-in portraits of faces as they’re doing something that’s directly tied to making themselves look better. We see an older woman wearing a facial mask while a doctor is examining the wrinkly skin around her eyes. A relatively young-looking man is about to undergo the knife as his forehead is marked with a plastic surgeon’s pen. While that’s more extreme, Jones reminds us that even something as simple as laying cucumbers over your eyes is a way of obtaining society’s defined “beauty.”
“Capturing both the translucency and fragility of the skin’s surface, Jones’ drawings scrutinize subtle variations, colorations and superficialities. The meticulous and time-consuming process by which the artist creates his work is in direct contrast to the immediacy of imagery captured in today’s society, and negates the rapid pace at which we are accustomed to consuming images.”
At the Joseph Gross Gallery on September 11, 2014, Brooklyn-based artist Ted Lawson will debut his solo show entitled The Map Is Not The Territory. The new series of work will consist of three dimensional wall-mounted pieces and free-standing sculptures made from MDF wood, brass plate etchings, and large-scale drawings rendered in the artist’s own blood. Yes, blood. The bodily fluid will be fed intravenously to a computer numerical control (CNC) machine using a technology similar to a 3D printer.
The idea behind using blood in conjunction with the computer is to challenge the notion that an artist whose practice utilizes technology is somehow disconnected from their work. Afterall, they aren’t crafting it with their hands; a machine is doing it for them in the form of coding, etc. Here, Lawson will give up part of himself for his work, intimately tying the worlds together and making it hard to argue otherwise. (Via Lost At E Minor)
Antonio Basoli was an Italian artist who lived between the 18th and 19th century, and was a man with a vision. He created this architectural alphabet engravings called Alfabeto Pittorico (Pictorial Alphabet). The images don’t just depict letters, but elaborate buildings that use letterforms as their structure. It includes every letter except for the j, because it doesn’t exist in the Italian alphabet. They called it i lunga and it’s written with an i.
Soft, monochromatic images are full of intricate details, and we’re able to see every brick of a building in addition to the billowing clouds in the background. With each letter, Basoli creates a different setting and mood. Some landscapes are tranquil and idyllic-looking, filled with lush vegetation. Others are war-torn, and we see giant cracks in the foundation of buildings. Whatever the occasion, each is its own story with a compelling narrative of men versus themselves and also versus nature. (Via Sploid)
Graphic design and illustration studio Violaine & Jeremy create stunning graphite pencil drawings of animals and people merging with wildlife and nature. Surreal illustrations feature wild and domestic critters propped with various attributes of human world: spectacles, patterned scarves and even Victorian waistcoats.
Another humorous venture by the creative duo, Violaine Orsoni and Jeremy Schneider, is to attach lush flowery beards onto humans and wild animals. The unexpected combination of a fiercely looking gorilla sporting a Garden of Eden-like facial hair is beyond humorous. The idea seems to resonate with the latest trend of men adorning their beards with colorful blossoming flora.
Each piece of the collection demonstrates incredible attention to detail. Perfect technique of pencil hatching and shading brings Orsoni and Schneider’s intricate drawings very close to photorealism. Their studio collaborates on a variety of projects: from visual identity, to album covers, to design of the France’s leading innovation magazine, Influencia. (via KoiKoiKoi)
Considerably ancient art form of calligraphy is brought to new dimensions by Tolga Girgin, a Turkish electrical engineer by trade and graphic designer by heart. His series of 3D calligraphic artworks witness how a little bit of imagination and skill can breathe life to a slowly disappearing craft.
Looking at Girgin’s graceful letters and strokes it seems like they are going to leap off the page and float into thin air. The eye-catching effect is achieved by combining skillful shading and perspective. Bright colors also do justice for Girgin’s works. His letterforms look more like paper cut-outs than two-dimensional drawings.
Girgin also practices “calligraffiti” which blends the properties of calligraphic style with modern day graffiti: the art of writing meets the art of getting your (pseudo) name up in an urban environment. Calligraffiti borrows inspiration from ancient lettering styles: Japanese ancient brush characters, Arabic pictorial scripts, medieval books and quill writing. The new form of art was originally named and pioneered by Dutch artist Niels Shoe Meulman. (via Colossal)
Often treading between reverence and ridicule, the mystifying allure of art that reiterates sexual transgression remains suspended within a deviating purgatory of the sacred and the obscene. Buoyantly drifting within the underbelly of normative culture, the erotic and transgressive create a synergetic relationship in a strike against societal conventions. Through a crude presentation of social perversions, the atmosphere created through sexually transgressive art permits an insight that challenges not only sexual precepts, but invites a critique of human behavior irrevocably influenced by social structures. In an explosive resurgence of suppressed sexual impulses, the following artists create frantic, tense and exquisitely obscene renderings of deviations and sexualized social distortions.