Michelle MacKinnon‘s photorealistic portraits use the human face to investigate secrets and their relation to the idea of public/private. The artist explains:
“The series is a combination of a list of exposed secrets, and with no direct link to them, portraits of the sitters expressing their emotions/reactions to their listed secret. Provoked by the idea of confession, this series will explore the public/private relation of people and the exposition of their secrets. By anonymously submitting secrets to the artist and later posing for a portrait depicting their secret, this series strikes an interesting note of juxtaposition between the public and private sphere of secrecy. Publically, these secrets, and therefore their keepers, have been indirectly exposed. Out of instinctive human nature, curiosity drives the viewer to either intuitively match the portrait to their secret, or become empathetic to the portrait deriving from relation to their own secrets. Privately, the confession becomes an outlet for the sitter; a chance to formally acknowledge and confront their secret, yet knowing that, though it may be assumed, no one but themselves will be entirely accurate as to which secret is theirs. It becomes a veiled breach of the private into the public and a connection without fact; after all, we all have secrets.” – Michelle Mackinnon
In honor of Rineke Dijkstra‘s retrospective currently on view at the Guggenheim, we figured we’d do our own little rundown of the photographer’s work. Dijkstra’s portraits illuminate all the subtle emotions and struggles inherent in being a youngster. When you’re a kid, you can’t help but be the underdog. Some cosmic order of the universe is keeping you down in some way. You want to be taller, smarter; or maybe you want a pair of sneakers that you can’t afford. And all the while, you’re not sure if you’ll ever make it out of adolescence alive. And your lack of hope makes the whole process that much worse. The painful existence of childhood brings about a certain unique wisdom. It’s not true wisdom (you haven’t experienced enough of life to be wise), but it’s close. Maybe the right term is jaded. In Dijkstra’s photographs, youthful subjects stare out at us in disdain: “what are you gonna throw at me next?” And you just want to tell them that everything’s going to be alright, that it gets better with time. But then you wonder if you’d be lying. Reconnect with your younger self with more images after the jump.
“Found antique objects and miniature tintype photos form the emotional core of several works, juxtaposing the musty aura of a dusty attic with smooth, delicate ethereal forms, computer rendered yet exquisitely hand-crafted.”
Brooklyn via Russia artist Stanislav Ginzburg‘s Curiophyla is a series of staged photographs of original sculpture placed within specific, relevant mise en scène environs. The sculptures, beautiful references to cellular anatomy that incorporate emotionally charged vintage (and faux-vintage) tintype portraiture, take on a unique appeal when positioned amongst their ethereal settings. The overall aesthetic perfectly captures an elemental, organic feel (moss, insects, blood, etc.), while the photographic elements within the works offer a distinctly human connection. By reducing things to their most basic, cellular level, Ginzburg illustrates a deep connection between past and present. So beautiful.
Trevor Appleson is a photographer out of London. Appleson travels the world, stumbling upon one fascinating subject after another. Overall, he has a very dramatic, forthright style that stems, often, from his placement of solitary figures against stark, black backgrounds.
Rich Pellegrino has a fantastic way of splattering paint and pigment all over the place in order to create vivid portraits of famous people and myths. He’s a fan favorite at galleries who have pop culture themed group shows, like Spoke Art in SF and Gallery1988 in LA. In fact, it just wouldn’t feel right to go to an exhibit based on any kind of film, comedian, or obscurely famous what-have-you without one of Pellegrino’s pieces in the space. His style is recognizable from across the room and he’s one of the few illustrators I’ve seen who employs a use of texture in his work that makes it pop up a little bit from the page even when it’s in the usual purchasing form of a print.
The work of Johan Björkegren feels like a fairy tale, with twists and turns. It’s what I pictured when I was 5 and holding the covers hearing stories. It is decrepid and pronounced, and can, at times, feel like a house that won’t stop squeaking. It feels loved and nurtured, but it doesn’t believe in purity or the idea of white.
Kaeleen Wescoat-O’Neill has recently been working on series based on mugshots from her hometown in Florida. She recently flew out of Art Center with a Bachelor of Fine Art. Her work has a beautiful air, like Elizabeth Peyton or Alex Katz, but offers something uniquely her own.