Jess Riva Cooper’s Screaming Sculptures Overtaken By Insects Reimagine Ghostly Spirits

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The artist Jess Riva Cooper’s Viral Series imagines the human body overtaken by malevolent plant life; like the bodies of the dead, her ceramic women busts are infected with ivy, flowers, and insects. Inspired by the Hebrew figures of the golem and the dybbuk, the viral females occupy a space between life and death; like golem, they are anthropomorphic beings brought to life by human (as opposed to divine) hands, but they are also seemingly suffocated by roots that harken back to the cleavage of the ominous dybbuk, a departed soul that fixes itself to the body of a living person. The word “dybbuk,” in fact, arrises from the Hebrew verb for “sticking from the root.”

Unlike the figures of Yiddish folklore, Cooper’s busts are female, modeled after the seductive sculpted faces of Classical Greece. Closing resembling the great alluring forms like Praxiteles’ Aphrodite of Cnidus, these figures abandon the feminine piety in favor of an ecstatic sexuality; serpentine vines crawl across their tender cheeks, and their mouths open wide to give birth to lush roses or to allow passage to fertile swarms of scarab beetles. Their eyes appear to roll back in sensual pleasure; their teeth gnaw on thick roots.

Cooper’s series seems to draw on ancient and Judeo-Christian mythology to construct a cohesive and elaborate narrative of female creative power; these women represent death and birth in equal measure. As the bodies of the dead are consumed by insects, they ultimately give rise to blossoming flora. This strange and natural cycle of rebirth serves as a metaphor for the artist’s beloved Detroit, where buildings and homes succumb to financial ruin and are eventually overgrown with feral plant life. Take a look. (via Colossal and HiFructose)
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Mark Robinson’s Moody Mixed Media Works

 

Recent Manchester University grad Mark Robinson uses folklore narratives as a jumping-off point for his moody mixed media works. Robinson’s paintings, which contain visceral, almost spontaneous textual elements, serve as an outlet for his various frustrations and impressions. I like his flat use of color and black. And the piece directly below the jump, a silhouetted cowboy/bandit figure done in blue, suggests a good sense of texture. Definitely some interesting stuff from this young artist. Read More >


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Stacey Rozich’s Masked Myths

Seattle based illustrator Stacey Rozich’s work is littered with vibrant tribal patterns and drawings based on folklore. She brings an animated, lively, modern perspective to stories of myth. Her pattern work and line work are nothing short of exhilarating, playing reference to southwestern art, and tribal marks. Read More >


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Andrew Groves

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Andrew Groves, aka IMAKETHINGS,  is a freelance illustrator creating graphics and characters that show the beauty of the natural world with a style of folklore.

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