Ilona Szwarc is a photographer originally from Poland who now lives in the United States and has rightfully fascinated with American Culture. American Girls, named after the doll series, is a study of said culture that investigates gender,beauty, and identity in the context of decks with cadillac barbecues, country mansions, and skyscraper porches. The style of her photographs is, like the our culture encourages us to be, perfect, too–styling the girls exactly and directing them to look as expressionless as the dolls they cherish. But the images aren’t condescending, exploitative, or preachy–they just express a genuine interest in the hyperbole that is American gender culture. Still in the SVA already with a body of Diane Arbus quality work, keep your eye out for great things to come from this girl. (via)
Nick Krijno makes blown out contemporary still lives that are the best things to look at. Made out of hot dogs, slinkies, spiders, and clothes, his images update the classic tradition in a way that everyone can get relate to and get behind. It’s a great, inspirational reminder that if you’re ever feeling down about the your staid surroundings, just organize them into an interesting composition, make a backdrop out of your friends’ shirts or some colored paper, and voilá–you’ve got yourself a modern still life. Now just paint it or take a picture of it or take a note from yoko ono and burn it. (via)
The work of artist Vanessa Marsh is perhaps most accurately described as photography. Marsh creates her richly layered compositions one layer at a time. Using drawings on clear acetate sheets and small- scale models she creates a narrative unfolding on a landscape. After producing several such landscapes Marsh photographs the combined layers. The resulting photographs are pictured here. The numerous planes in each piece are similar to past and present time and the memories that accompany it. In fact, of her work, Marsh says:
“Within the series I am exploring not only the working of memory and imagination but also our contemporary relationship to the landscape, where we might find ourselves in the future and how our feelings towards the landscape often center around ideas of dislocation, need and yearning.”
Mustafah Abdulaziz’ Memory Loss is a series of photographs captured throughout the United States. His photographs vary widely in content from landscapes to individual portraits to candid groups. They each in some way, though, seem to portray a disarmingly frank American identity. Among other photographs in the series, Abdulaziz groups together an image of little girls returning from a princess tea party with a gathering of tribal elders on an Indian reservation. Indeed, his statement explains that his work “explores social identification and how our ideas of self representation create instances of cultural disconnect.” In 2010 Abdulaziz became the Wall Street Journal’s first contract photographer and in 2012 he was named one of PDN’s New and Emerging Artists to Watch.
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 )
Tanner Teale’s work uses every day materials to investigate the difference between performance and documentation. With each of his studies, Teale obsessively creates a kind-of “living” still-life that is full of tension and mystery. His most recent piece titled “Hair Dryer Knife Balloon” (pictured above) makes it clear that each of Teale’s portraits are comprised of a series of components that are completely reliant upon each other (like a formula or a recipe) in order to make the portrait as a whole work. Think of it this way: if that fan gets unplugged, the balloon will definitely pop.
Aleksey Kondratyev‘s series Fabricated Adventures is all about adult escapism–making what we want from what we have. Whether you take it as a cynical critique of materialist make-believe, an homage to the capacities of human industry and imagination, portraits of American vacation culture, or none of the above, they’re an interesting series. Here’s what he has to say about them:
“The photographs in this series are of locations which emulate a natural environment for the purpose of recreation. As humans live in their present environments, their experience is determined and limited by their time in history, climate, and physical location.The recreational spaces in this body of work provide a temporary escape from these limitations and from the reality of one’s present physical and geological surroundings.” – Aleksey Kondratyev
We’ve all probably spent too much time watching creamer dissipate into coffee (or at least i did when i bussed tables). The interesting part to me wasn’t how beautiful and otherworldly the plumes looked, but how watching them never seemed to get old. Italian photographer Albert Seveso obviously shares this fascination and expands on it with varicolored inks which he captures with high-speed photography as they unfold underwater. Captured like this, the ink looks incredibly physical, like glass sculptures. Witnessing the transformation of substances feels like watching the cosmos themselves, which we are in a sense, and is why this is a series third graders and thirty year olds alike can get behind.