Pop culture and classic, fine art mashups aren’t anything new, but they nevertheless provided an interesting juxtaposition between the visual culture of then and now. Philippines-based multimedia producer Eisen Bernardo has created a series that places the covers of contemporary magazines like Vogue, Rolling Stone, and Vanity Fair. It’s appropriately titled Mag+Art.
Bernardo told Buzzfeed that he began the project because he felt that magazine covers were inspired by classical paintings. This is his way of comparing the aesthetics of the long ago as well as the present. What kind of clothing, hairstyles, poses, etc. are popular now? How has beauty changed or stayed the same. He poses the question, “Do we still see a naked woman as an object of art/beauty? Can the celebrities and models on magazine cover be considered as muses of the contemporary masters?” And, he hopes that these covers can be considered classic art. (Via The Huffington Post and Buzzfeed)
Exquisite Corpse refers to the collaborative game whose origins are rooted among the Dadist writers as a poetic exercise and the Surrealist later turned into a drawing game. You might’ve played it before; when each person does their part well, it creates an alluring, sometimes grotesque body that was completely unexpected.
This exhibition brings together artists working in both Los Angeles and NYC. As MASS Gallery poetically describes:
A central problem of 21st century life is that the old, psychologically fortifying myths are fading. Philosophers and scientists have described us as wet robots and biological algorithms, which is perhaps an intentionally shocking way to describe humanity, but these descriptions also seems to get close to a dangerous truth that contains a kernel of abject horror. It is the artist’s job to create psychologically coherent images which look forward. It is now a matter of viewpoint whether, when it is all said and done, you are a dead body or an Exquisite Corpse.
In addition to the show, the gallery also produced a full-color catalog that showcases all of the work and an essay by Bill Donovan. The limited-edition, 102 page publication features a beautiful spot UV with fluorescent cover. If you can’t make it to Austin for the show (it’s up until October 25), then the inexpensive-yet-high-quality catalog is totally worth it.
More work by the featured artists as well as sample spreads from the publication after the jump.
Looking at these paintings out of context, you might not know that they are very small. In fact, sometimes these works are no larger than a coin or someone’s fingernail. Artist Lorraine Loots says that she creates “paintings for ants,” but you wouldn’t necessarily know it at first because of their intricate details. They have as much visual information as paintings 10 times their size.
Every day, Loots posts a new small picture to her Instagram, @lorranieloots. It’s always of an impossibly tiny subject and the caption features information about what they are and what we’re looking at. Loots realistically-rendered cars, landscapes, boots, birds, statues, and much more. The small scale is a nice twist on what we’ve seen before, and here the short explanation helps, too. “Paintings for ants” is an amusing thought, and one that’s entirely possible given the size.
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.”
Artist Seth Alverson paints the body in a realistic fashion, but not in a way that looks aesthetically appealing. Severed hands, bizarre contortions, and skin linked together like a sausage casing are just some of the ways he’s depicted the figure. It stands in stark contrast to the Old Masters traditions of life-like renderings, which are all about idealizing and hiding flaws. Instead they’re in-your-face in a way that it’s hard to look away from.
There’s a range of grotesqueness, from detached body parts (bloody ends and all) to oversized hands, and finally to things that aren’t shameful, but our society dictates they are. This includes cellulite on thick legs or sagging breasts. They seem to mock the airbrushed media and when compared with Alverson’s other more ghastly alternatives, definitely aren’t as bad. (Via Hi Fructose)
Mexican artist Ricardo Solis has re-imagined both the divine and evolutionary theories on the origin of life. In his whimsical paintings, artist depicts various animals — from a goldfish to an elephant — being colored, carved out of stone or even weaved as the friendly mama bear below. Solis’ works connect the realistic style of painting with his tameless imagination.
The viewer is presented with a variety of animals, painted in an almost anatomically accurate manner. Under closer inspection, the works reveal a Guliver-inspired action: tiny humans crawling up and down the monolithic animals, covering them in paint, sculpting or attaching ribbon stripes from a flying Zeppelin. Although Solis’ creative interpretation is far from reality, his lighthearted version of genesis is relaxing and fun to observe.
Solis was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. Despite being brought up in a large metropolis, he was always attracted to art and nature. After graduating from the School of Visual Arts and becoming a professional painter, Solis has a chance to link these two passions together and channel them through his dreamlike works of art. In his website Ricardo Solis claims to believe in “the undeniable existence of a Creator” which seems like the epitome of his work. (via Lost At E Minor)
Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) was a celebrated 20th-century American painter and illustrator, whose works became the imagery depicting everyday life in the States. It appears, Rockwell’s photo-realistic artworks were often accompanied by staged photographs which artist then used as a reference to paint his nostalgic scenes.
Storytelling is a natural part of all of Rockwell’s paintings. Often disguised, the true story would reveal itself through the smallest details which the artist always considered beforehand. Take his illustration called “Marriage Counseling” (below): the intention is clear but there are many unfolding details like the man’s black eye or even the books stacked in the shelves reading Van Eyck and Giovanni Bellini. Due to these impeccable narratives, even the reference photographs become works of art.
“There were details, accidents of light, which I’d missed when I’d been able to make only quick sketches of a setting. A photograph catches all that.”
At first, Norman Rockwell was hiring professional models but after awhile he switched to having his friends and neighbors posing for the photographs. For example, the tattooed sailor (below) was also Rockwell’s neighbor, Clarence Decker. During his career, artist produced over 4,000 original works and snapped more than 20,000 reference shots. The collection was revealed by the Norman Rockwell Museum and its curator, Ron Schick. It was also turned into a traveling exhibition and book titled “Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera”. (via NPR)
Beauty is a treasured thing in our culture, and Turkish artist Merve Morkoç, aka Lakor mis, turns this ideal on its head. At first glance their paintings are of seemingly young, glowing-skinned models, but a longer gaze reveals that these subjects all have something seriously wrong with them. Coupled with their well-coiffed hair are fantastical disfigurations that you’d see in a horror film. Warped eyelids, caved in faces, and rashes exist on these young women.
Any sort of pleasant response you initially had is probably gone, and the works are like a train wreck that you can’t look away from. The strange details are intriguing, and it speaks to Morkoç’s expert handling of the medium that they are easily able to fool us into thinking something that’s repulsive is actually beautiful. (Via Hi Fructose)