Coke Wisdom O’Neil’s conceptually driven portrait series The Box feels theatrically avant-garde, akin to Sartre’s No Exit, with strong emphasis on “the look”– or, the dilemma of seeing ourselves as objects in other people’s consciousness.
Each photograph was originally shot in a twenty-two foot tall wooden box, constructed by the artist himself and set up in a variety of different public spaces from New York City to Texas. Such an unnaturally large empty platform allowed curious subjects the freedom to perform when shooting; however, ironically, it also has a tendency to trap when printed– evoking a doll-like sense of display, especially when collected back-to-back on a gallery wall, suggesting “the look” is relative to not only our minds, but also most apparent in photography or art itself.
Alicia Savage captures her life with a surreal twist that pushes beyond the static point and shoot. From absurd flights of fancy to soft reflective moments, each self-portrait conveys an independent sense of travel or transcendence: movement that emphasizes the importance of dreaming in relation to personal exploration and documentation. Conceptually, it’s that simple– but technically, it’s a little more challenging. Her exquisite use of color, light, setting, and digital manipulation curiously compels us to enter these departures with great anticipation.
Zander Olsen wraps white fabric around trees to “intervene” with the organic lines of a landscape, often blurring our sense of foreground and background to generate a jarring sense of flatness. Olsen suggests such compositions convey a new “visual relationship between tree, not-tree and the line of horizon according to the camera’s viewpoint.” As a result, the lush wonders of Wales, Surrey, and Hampshire are transformed into beautiful abstract images, with pops of white.
Project B unearths vintage photographs from the margins of society, presenting rare originals and printing large format limited editions to the public for sale. The artists are anonymous / unknown and this is exactly the curatorial allure. Whether you’re a collector, designer, or everyday art enthusiast, this project is not about capturing the honored. It’s about appreciating the medium’s forgotten past and exploring its throwaways. The personal and technical flaws are just as endearing as the mysterious people who elusively inhabit these cryptic realms.
Perhaps the digital artwork of Antonio Strafella isn’t so profane as it may at first seem. His series Spiritual Hero at once compares and juxtaposes saints and superheroes, the holy and the vulgar. Comic books are often thought of as the exclusive domain of young people, rarely taken serious. However, in a strange way the superheroes don’t seem exceptionally out of place in Strafella’s work. Indeed, many of the grand story lines of the characters featured by Strafella have clear Biblical references. He goes on to say:
“These icons have various aspects in common: saints do miracles and superheroes have superpowers, both are venerated, opening the conflict between faith and zealotry.”
From Instagram to the Flickr, clenched nail art shots are ubiquitous– ranging from classic solids to wild patterns; however, I’m pretty sure Alice Bartlett holds court as best in show. Moving beyond simple fashion trends, Bartlett artistically installs miniature scenes on the tips of her fingers: clad green flocking covers each nail, creating a tranquil resting place for tiny figures to contemplate the massive scope and delicacy of the world.
The work of artist Derek Paul Boyle can often seem humorous. Everyday objects are presented in simple juxtapositions that can be pleasantly surprising. His work begins with suppositions, trusted concepts, and expectations and ‘plays’ with them. Boyle depicts the familiar from a different conceptual angle to make his subject matter new. He says:
“I am interested in the power of contradiction, objects as events, and incompatible states of the self – what was once bound is made free, the known made unknown. In a wavering step between angst and serenity, fear and pleasure, I want to give form to anxiety, a shape to tension.”
The work of Koen Hauser floats somewhere between fine art and fashion photography. His series Modische Atlas der Anatomie illustrates this well. The series’ title is a kind play on words – literally it translates as “Fashionable Anatomy Atlas”, yet with a single vowel change it can be translated as “Medical Anatomy Atlas”. In the series, his subject seem to be modeling her organs as much as her clothes. Portions of the model’s body are cut away to reveal her inner workings. However, rather than depict the organs true to life, Hauser referenced traditional anatomy atlas’ – artistic medical reference works.