In the digital age and generation of the selfie, a spiraling and often disorienting importance placed on consumerism and commodities permeates even the most remote of regions. Through the billboard jungles and beehive of mass media, images relentlessly promoting youth and sexuality haphazardly depict ideals of femininity. Creating a wormhole of inadequacies, the female form has found itself in a constant tug-of-war in either defending its natural state or scrambling to correct propagated notions of aesthetic shortcomings. As Barbara Kruger famously stated on one of her notorious gelatin silver prints from the 1980’s, “You Are Not Yourself”.
Don’t have a green thumb? That’s alright. Japanese artist Yuto Yamasaki hand-carved these wooden flora that look like real potted house plants. To construct this impressive collection, he chiseled away at large logs and formed them into succulents, palms, and bonsais. A coat of paint was applied to the wood afterwards and further extends the illusion. From far away, they might trick you into watering them.
The artist uses wood because it’s easily available to him, and he places a great importance on the physicality of art making as a way of exploring subjectivity. “The issue is not what I make; there is no meaning to be found in my pieces beyond a confirmation of the existence of the artist and his experience of making the work.”
Yamasaki’s attitude is reminiscent of when people describe why they enjoy knitting. The repetitive motion is a calming activity, where your mind can safely wander and while you’re doing something that’s active. “Making art objects with my own hands, void of conscious thought, is a therapeutic and meditative experience,” he says. “The challenge is to put myself in a state where the materials make my hands move automatically.” (Via Spoon + Tamago)
Untitled, 2014. Styrene index cards, metal, wood, paint and glue
(detail) Untitled, 2014. Styrene index cards, metal, wood, paint and glue
Tara Donovan (previously featured here) has famously used inorganic materials to emulate organic shapes, resembling hives, mountains and other natural configurations. Her most recent exhibition, Tara Donovan, at Pace Gallery’s Chelsea, New York, expands on the artist’s use of inventive materials, including index cards, a first for Donovan. Featuring two large-scale works, “the artist continues to explore the phenomenological effect of work created through the accumulation of identical objects”
The former Macarthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Grant recipient is known for her commitment to process, inventive materials, and evocative installations. Says Donovan,
“There is a sense I get of wanting to choreograph someone’s experience of my work, because the surfaces of my work do often shift and follow the perspective of the viewer, there is a perceptual movement that coincides with a person’s physical movement within the gallery space.’”
The charcoal-colored landscapes look like they’ve been under a lot of pressure and are on the edge of collapse. This inspiration came from the industrial rise of Japan, and Iwasaki used satellite images from Google Earth to recreate its old cityscapes. He began forming these sculptures by first soaking towels in ink and then dirtying them to create rags, serving as the base for the delicately-constructed generators and gantry cranes; it’s meant to signify the lands that were leveled in the WWII air raids. These gritty and melancholy scenes depict an era of post-war Japan that is now past, but still recalls the labor and sweat that went into it. (Via JunkCulture, Spoon & Tamago, and Azito Art)
If you are a collector of random things or have an impressive junk drawer, then you will probably appreciate the work of artists Edwige Massart and Xavier Wynn. The duo, who are also married, have taken a random assortments of trinkets and chachkis and assembled them into cross-section sculptures of the human head. Their surreal series is aptly titled Heads, which appear to look like medical diagrams.
In Massart and Wynn’s portraits, we see stones, seashells, door handles, yarn, and even pieces of wood that make up the contents of the skull. There doesn’t seem to be any sort of thematic tie to any of the objects, but that doesn’t detract from how fun and interesting these works are. This series could tell us more about the artists themselves rather than tying a story to the heads. We’re able to see all of the things they’ve collected and all of the memories made by virtue of owning these possessions. (Via Colossal)
Austrian artist Valentin Ruhry often plays with ideas of Minimalism and analog technologies, using light installations as a systematic approach which reveals a metaphor of interconnectedness, even when we do not see them present. In his 2013 exhibition Réclamer at Halle für Kunst & Medien in Graz, (then travelling to Österreich), Ruhry references advertising and promotional communication, using light boxes which generally house these messages. The exhibition’s title, Réclamer, comes from Latin and French, meaning to claim, to appeal, to call back. Ruhry, who was born in Graz, Austria and now lives and works in Vienna, used the empty light to represent a loss of function, “both through their components and in and of themselves.”
This type of installation investigates many of the themes present in Ruhry’s other works. When speaking with Jon Rathenberg’s Artist Interview Tumblr, Ruhry explains his fascination and his process, “I´m not a scientist nor have I ever been educated in mechanical engineering or whatever but I have always had a strong interest in technology. For me, a jet plane or a refrigerator is as fascinating and sometimes as miraculous as the power socket on your wall. Since I don’t understand much about the technical aspects of most of the equipment that surrounds me I study there aesthetic qualities. I try to highlight them by placing aesthetics or form before function.” (via likeafieldmouse and artistinterview)
Amy Boone-McCreesh’s sculptures and 2-D mixed-media works are both self-referential and highlight a larger aesthetic idea, which is the visual aspect of celebrations. For years, she’s explored the way in which different cultures commemorate events in their lives, particularly how they express it with decoration and objects. Now, with a new body of work, Boone-McCreesh goes beyond this initial inspiration and uses things she’s previously created as raw material for new pieces. They debuted at a recent two-person exhibition with artist Sarah Knobel entitled Anything Sacred at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC.
Anything Sacred is a birth of new from the old. Through digital manipulation, collage, printing, and reworking, I allow visual elements from an extant body of work to become new imagery printed on vinyl, paper, and custom fabric. The complex layering, stripping, and blending of the digital with the handmade gives birth to a new visual language.
In sampling my own imagery and re-contextualizing it in an immersive visual experience that is both cyclical and unifying, I am challenging traditional notions about value and pushing for a more complex, dynamic personal aesthetic. Simultaneously, my work in Anything Sacred continues to examine the use and meaning of decoration through formal arrangement and design.
You can view Anything Sacred now at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC until June 21 of this year. More shots of the candy-colored walls and lively work after the jump.
Italian artist Enrico Ferrarini builds upon the famous art history of his country, quite literally, in his unique style which takes traditional sculpture to its digital conclusion. By carving and casting sculptures and then creating multiples of them, Ferrrani combined them, bring a glitched, modernly repetitive styling to time-honored sculpting methods.
The Moderna, Italy-born artist has studied at the Florence Academy of Fine Arts (where some of the most famous sculptures of all time, including Donatello and Michelangelo’s Davids reside), and employs methods of sculpture which are not typically learned by today’s artists. Perhaps that is why his work has a deeper resonance; employing the methods of the past to work with the styling of today. (via myampgoesto11)