Lucien Shapiro‘s sculptures are a bit frightening. These baseball bats-turned-weapons seem to be pulled out of a post-apocalyptic neo-dark ages. In fact, these sculptures are part of the larger Urban Obsessions series. Like the title implies, the weapons suggest a sort of violent desperation, an urban restlessness taken to its hyperbolic end. Also, the sculptures of Urban Obsessions are nearly ritualistic like implements of a a post-modern tribal religion.
Shapiro’s Bats will join the work of nine other artists in Group Show Vol. 3 at Denver’s Gildar Gallery. The group exhibit opens Saturday January 12th and runs through February 1st.
Matt Jacobs is an artist living and working in Kansas City, Missouri. The thing that I really enjoy about his work is his sense of play that comes through not only in the titles but the actual materials used to create his pieces such as inflatable toys, tic tacs, buckets, and brightly colored enamels. In many pieces Jacobs uses juxtaposing materials almost as a means to test the limits of the materials itself. An example of this is in his “Don’t Worry. I Won’t Hurt You. I Only Want You to Have Some Fun” in which he balanced cinder blocks 9 feet high and stuffed pool toys through the openings implying gregarious ornamental decoration of a fun day at the pool. Jacobs is the master of balancing objects by shape, form, and color. He has a great archive of studio photos on his website which is worth a look through, as well as his past installations and drawings.
Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardottir (also known as Shoplifter) created a playful inanimate entourage. Her series Imaginary Friends is composed of a number of various sculptures which seem to each vaguely resemble a person. The Friends appear to be sparsely constructed and made of familiar materials. It is intriguing for how well they imply human figures considering the little they use. Imagining a unique personality for each piece isn’t difficult. Arnardottir also seems to touching on the way identity is expressed in personal adornment and dress.
Really, much of Arnardottir’s work tip-toes between fashion and art. In fact, her familiarity with style and design has garnered her collaborations with several magazines. Arnardottir’s art, however, has teamed her up with some especially high-profile creatives such as legendary musician Bjork and super-artists Assum Vivid Astro Focus.
Romanian artist Felix Deac creates hyper-realistic sculptures…sort of. His pieces covered in human-like skin are replete with moles, veins, blemishes, and hair. However, their form is anything but familiar. His sculptures are intentionally amorphic and anthropomorphic at the same time. In a way Deac encourages the viewer to contemplate the irrational situation in which a creature like this would be a possibility and how it came into existence.
Artist Eugenio Merino produces overtly political sculptures. His witty work explores issues such as class, violence, war, religion. For example, the piece Redecorate Your Life is an ultra-realistic silicone model of a homeless man who seemingly fell asleep (or died?) while flipping through an Ikea catalog. His home, however, is simply the packaging of the items he was glancing at. Merino’s work cleverly comments on materialism, poverty, and homogeneity. His sculptures make a statement with a sense of humor while retaining a sense of gravity.
These melting disco balls are the work of German collective Rotganzen. The installation, titled Quelle Fête, features scattered disco balls in various stages of melting. No longer operable or spinning, they lie lazily on the floor. Regarding the concept, Rotganzen says:
“Our conscious choice of the material and form contains a contrast to the message. It’s a reminder of the momentousness of glamour and swiftly passing glory. What once may have been a perfect shape takes on a new character and meaning. However, rather than a cynical take on reality, our intention is to offer a playful approach to observing our object of depiction.” [via]
The figurative drawings and paintings of Pasadena based artist Ching Ching Cheng are remarkably captivating to me. She uses members of her family often as subject matter but continually chooses to portray them in a conceptual way embracing different ways to illustrate a memory of that person in her past more so than the realistic representation of them. Ching uses sculpture and installation mediums in her work, such as her vintage polaroid and mm camera sculptures made of found books & maps. Each camera sculpture has tremendous amounts of character to them feeling to me as if they are alive beings or the “true” soul of whatever camera they are embodying. Ching’s work is thoughtful and personal slivers of her life past and present. Her primary influences include nature, and psychology.
Olaf Breuning commissioned a series of coffins to be created by Ghanaian casket makers. The design of eccentric coffins actually has a long history and tradition in Ghana, so to some this work is actually not that peculiar. Still, it’s not every day you see a coffin in the shape of a melting popsicle. More images of the coffins and the process of making them after the jump.