Liu Di’s Massive Photoshopped Animals Bring Attention To Beijing’s Urban Ruins

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On a crowded bus ride in Beijing, Chinese artist Liu Di noticed his surroundings. “Looking out at the decrepit housing blocks”, he said, “I had a vague but strong feeling that there was something missing between the ground and the sky.” It was then that he had the idea for his 2008 series, Animal Regulation, an almost cinematic display of enlarged animals sitting amongst the ‘urban ruins’ of the city of Beijing. Using photoshop, he seamlessly embedded these wild, large animals into Beijing’s forgotten and depleted back streets, construction sites and tenement courtyards.

With the addition of the gigantic,exotic animals, Di not only tries to fill the void that he notices as he travels through the city, but most importantly, he attempts to draw attention to these spaces in a big and scandalous way. We cannot  help but notice ‘the big panda in the room’, and that, I think, is the kind of reaction the artist is looking for. The metaphorical animal living amongst the city of Beijing alludes to deeper issues here–the void is filled with an unwanted visitor and in order for it to go away something must change.

Di’s political undertones cannot be missed.

“Between nature and human society, between the material world and the intellect, between obedience to and violation of the laws of nature. It is only when our preconceptions are jolted that we wake up and truly see.”

These photographs are part of Barbara Pollack’s My Generation, an exhibition that acts as the first in the U.S  to focus solely on the new post-Mao generation of dissident Chinese artists. The catalogue includes works by Sun Xun, Lu Yang, Ai Wei Wei’s former assistant, Zhao  Zhao and many more. The show is currently being co-presented in two venues simultaneously through a unique collaboration between Tampa Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in St.Petersburg, FL. My Generation will be on view until September 28th, 2014.

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Rebecca Reeve’s Photographs Of The Everglades Recall Holland Funerary Traditions

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In photographer Rebecca Reeve’s series Marjory’s World I, she captures Floridian landscapes that reference a late 19th century Holland tradition. The idyllic scenes depict the swampy Everglades of long grasses, lily pads, and a lot of standing water. Framing each image is a set of curtains that blow in the wind.  This is inspired by an old practice where during the wake of the deceased, it was customary to cover all of the mirrors, landscape paintings, and portraits in the home with clothes.  Doing so makes it easier for the soul to depart the body and subdues any temptations to stay in this world.

Marjory’s World I is Reeve’s own interpretation of this act. To her, the ritual was confirmation of the deep connections and experiences we have with the natural environment. It also gave her a way to contextualize her fleeting time spent in the Everglades; All of these images were produced during her Airie Artist in Residence Program. Since she couldn’t take with her when she leaves, this symbolic act made it easier to depart.

In addition to the personal connection the artist draws from the work, to us it recalls the distance that many of us have to this untouched landscape. As we continue to develop an increasingly urban existence, these thrift-store fabrics create a window to the unfamiliar. (Via Artsy Forager)

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Kelly Björk’s Space Blanket And Lenae Day’s Astronaut Wives

Northwest artists Lenae Day and Kelly Björk are opening their new show tonight (Nov 1), at the Corridor Gallery in Seattle, with the ultra charming title Space Blanket / Space Cadet.  For the show, Day spent a month in Florida studying the lives of astronauts’ wives to create a body of work that combines short stories with re-created photographs, playing every model herself. Björk makes large, energetic pieces that combine her love for contour drawings with still life portraiture and the colorful patterns in the blankets we covet. The show sounds like a ton of fun. If you’re in the Seattle area, you should check it out! The reception will have live readings by Day, but if you can’t make it, the show will be up through the first of December. Here’s the PR:

“Inspired by the people around her and the devices they use to soothe themselves, Kelly Bjork’s drawings depict weightless humans, surrounded by blankets and floating in comfort. When creating these pieces, Bjork had her subjects lounge on her couch for hours, each with their blanket of choice. Color is used to highlight the geometric shapes in the blankets, creating a colorful, abstract cloud in which her subjects lay.

Lenae Day re-stages old images from magazines by playing all of the characters herself and making most of her costumes and props. The images and stories in this show deal with the Mercury Seven Astronaut’s Wives, the Mercury Thirteen (women pilots who went through astronaut testing, but were not allowed to participate in the space program) and herself somewhere in-between. These works are a part of the forthcoming edition of “DAY MAGAZINE,” her third magazine produced in this fashion that will be released with a subsequent West Coast tour in 2013.” ( via )

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Sishir Bommakanti’s Warped, Emotional Figures

Sishir Bommakanti is a freelance illustrator and designer out of Sarasota, Florida. Bommakanti employs some really creative technique in the creation of warped, figurative paintings. Definitely right at home with the work of Francis Bacon, maybe  just a little WK Interact (+ color), as well.

More images after the jump, as well as a really cool process video.

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