Using an iPhone and Instagram, Kalen Hollomon has taken collaging to a new level. Although Hollomon sometimes works in a traditional way, cutting apart images and reassembling them into hybrids, his New York City collages are often made on the fly as he inserts a cutout image into a photo as he takes it. The resulting images are a sly wink to the viewer as pants are replaced with porno magazines nudes and subway riders are given unexpected seatmates. The fact that Hollomon leaves his fingers in the shots is another play on altered reality. How does he compose these impromptu collages in real time?
“I will find an image in a magazine or a book that speaks to me and I’ll cut it out and have it with me. And I’ll usually have between one and five in a folder in my pocket. And when I’m out in the city I wait until I come across a situation that works with one. And I’ll get super excited and pull it out. It’s just waiting for the two worlds to come together.” (Source)
In the most meta of these collages, Hollomon stands holding his phone in an empty bathroom, reflected in the mirror over the sink, holding a picture of a naked, smiling man apparently leaning over the countertop. In the reflection you can see Hollomon holding the cutout and in the photo, you can see Hollomon’s fingers. It plays with the idea of real and unreal, lifting the curtain while obscuring the illusion.
“You can create a powerful image that at first looks nice and maybe is a bit funny but if you look a bit deeper, it also might have something more to say than that. … I am always concerned with what lies beneath the surface. I hope to create conversation that is rooted in questions related to learned social rules, identity, the subtext of everyday situations and perception.”
San Francisco-based body painter Trina Merry has created a series of scenes that blend nude bodies into New York City landscapes such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Guggenheim Museum, Empire State Building, Central Park and the New York City skyline. Due to Merry’s fine attention to detail and composition, the painter’s subjects seamlessly disappear into their surrounding environments.
Of her medium, Merry writes, “My surface is living, breathing human beings making this a highly relevant & immediate medium. I use non-toxic hypoallergenic paint applied with a brush or airbrush. The painting is temporary, like a Tibetan sand painting, beginning to change into another work as soon as I stop painting, changing texture & color.”
Merry has an impressive portfolio of projects on her site, including the Human Motorcycle Project, a project which entailed painting bodies to look like motorcycles. (via visual news)
Photographers James and Karla Murray spent ten years documenting New York City’s ever-evolving storefronts, and recently published their decade-long project into the popular book, Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York. Of the project, the photographers say, “STORE FRONT provides an irreplaceable window to the rich cultural experience of New York City as seen through its neighborhood shops.”
The strength of the series is found in it’s wide-lens, capturing a time when opening a small business in New York was actually a viable option, and comparing that to the gentrified and corporatized Manhattan of today. This can be seen in vivid and stark contrast in photos like the Delightful Coffee Shop in Harlem being replaced by a ubiquitous Dunkin’ Donuts (above). Many of storefronts shows lost clients due to the ever-increasing rent, business which remain empty today, which has a depressing, darkening effect on the people who still remain in the community. James Murray says of the idea behind the series, “until you place them side-by-side and really look at the two photos, you cannot get the true sense of loss experienced by the neighborhood.”
Like many directors, Stanley Kubrick (known for such iconic films as The Shining, Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Full Metal Jacket) began his love of film for the medium’s capacity to immediately capture scenes developing around him. The award-winning director’s photographs show early promise, mastering stylistic elements such as composition, lighting, balance and subject, which might not be surprising. However, the young Kubrick’s subject matter, mostly street-scenes with everyday New York and Greenwich Village people, life and struggles, might surprise some coming from the famed science fiction director. The photos, which have a nostalgic tone not necessarily associated with the forward-thinking director, certainly bring a romantic mood to the seemingly simpler time.
Many of these photos were taken during the 1940′s, while Kubrick was employed as a photographer for Look Magazine (a gig he landed while still a student at City College New York). It was while working for Look that Kubrick began associating with the film programs at the Museum of Modern Art, a connection which eventually launched Kubrick into a career in his life-long interest of film. (via everyday-i-show)
With her recent series Displaced, the photographer Linda Kuo examines the illegal importation of exotic animals into the United States; her subjects, some torn from their habitats and others unable to adapt to their environments in captivity, give voice to the 300 million animals similarly brought to the states as pets.
Each photograph captures the life of a creature being treated for illnesses or wounds at New York City Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine; placed within the sterile context of the hospital, the displaced beasts oscillate between confusion, curiosity, and lonesomeness. The emotional core of the work is rooted in each creature’s supreme isolation; a bird sits alone on a scale, searching for some sort of recognition. Simultaneously, a guinea pig resigns himself to the clean, white basin, and a bird turns his puffy green back.
Amidst this sorrowful sense of displacement emerges an unexpected warmth, fueled by the desperate yearning of both animal and man to feel safe. After a failed resuscitation, a yellow bearded dragon falls into a gentle set of female hands that tenderly enfold his delicate flesh in a bright blue towel. Similarly, a turtle is offered carefully diced vegetables, which he cautiously accepts from giant human fingers; a bird’s heartbeat is measured anonymously but tenderly. Amidst a chaotic world, the hospital is shown to be a respite for the animals, fighting for their wellbeing against the odds.
For Kuo, the series is personal; bullied as a child, she empathizes with those oppressed, alone, and out of their proper place. The work’s resounding message is one of compassion—for ourselves, for the earth, and for those we share it with. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot and Slate)
From setting hipster traps to designing tourist lanes on sidewalks, Jeff Greenspan’s work consistently employs a certain playful cleverness that questions our social norms in relation to spaces, New York City in particular. The Statue Experiment (pictured above) is no exception. Examining our own reality as far as engaging with art and its contextual expectations is concerned, Greenspan adds a little bowl of change in front of Frank Benson’s statue for a whole new effect. In fact, it just might be the best street performance art performed by an actual object . . . or maybe it’s the audience members who are the real performers? Click on the video after the jump to see what we mean.
DIAcussion, a group show that engages in dialogue and discussion through form and subject, opens tonight at envoy enterprises, 87 Rivington St. (6-8 PM). The exhibition seems to approach its concept very directly; a lot of the interplay between the work is very pronounced, sort of in your face. This is far from a problem, as the overall quality of the show looks to be pretty high. The focus on figurative elements opens up a direct, personal vein through which we are able to consider the implications of the vastly different ways in which we approach the same goals. You can keep your questions at face value (medium vs. medium, subject vs. subject). And you can take in the decaying face of Gerald Collings’ The Hollow (above) and go all out dust-to-dust; considering the myriad ways you might choose to live your life in the face of the possibility that we all end up in the same lame, dead position eventually, that we all think we know the best way out of the maze but none of us actually find the exit in time.
All images courtesy of the artist and envoy enterprises, New York.
Mark Mulroney is currently showing new work at Mixed Greens in Chelsea. The exhibition, entitled We’re Never Getting Rescued With That Attitude, features paradisiacal scenery created with graphite and acrylic applied to both found book paper and carved wood panel, respectively. In addition to reading Gauguin’s letters from Tahiti, studying Tarzan imagery, and internalizing clichéd tropical sunsets, Mulroney investigated 30-years-worth of Playboy and Penthouse magazines in preparation for the show. Click past the jump for some installation views, and check it out in person before April 20th.