The candy-colored works by New York-based artist Jaz Harold have a subversive nature about them. Although they use pastel colors have soft features, you can’t avoid the sexual undertones and overtones that are prevalent throughout Harold’s sculptures. We see grotesque displays of rotting skin, nippled pom poms, and sensual lips with just a hint of tongue. She writes about her charged works, stating:
Using an aesthetic that consciously appeals to child-like naïveté, Jaz’s work softens the emphasis on the ego, ritual, intimacy, and stigma that society generally attaches to sex.
Cherry blossoms (sakura) are a perfect balance of sexual innuendo, beauty, and innocence. The cherry blossom, symbolizing love in many cultures, adds an additional element in a body of work that covers both areas- an innocent love, and a simple uninhibited lust.
Harold makes the pure not so pure, perhaps in an attempt to scramble the visual culture that we’re used to, or as a way to offer a confusing reflection onto being young and learning about sex/being sexual. (Via Asylum Art)
Artist Harry Roseman takes the ubiquitous material known as plywood and with careful cuts and placement, creates the illusion that this rigid material is pliable. The large pieces include “folds” that make them look as though they are textiles. Roseman uses a single piece of wood and mismatches its grain to break up the visual monotony; it fools us into think that there’s a back and a front to this “fabric.” The rigidity is reminiscent of a plastic camping tarp, but it’s still impressive at how, with relatively few cuts, the pieces are believeable as something other than what they’re made of.
These sort of observations and overall sentiment is part of what Roseman is trying to achieve in his sculptures, writing:
The subjects of my work are the bend of a curve, the conjunction of edges, the turn of a fold, the weight and nature of objects, the conjunction of idea and object, the way an idea sits in an object and next to an object and the way surface can obscure and also reveal. One of my aims is to close the distance between thinking, looking and making, to the point where it is hard to tell the difference.
Hedi Xandt is a multidisciplinary creative who has a formal graphic design education, but doesn’t see himself limited to this field – his work takes the form of fine art paintings and sculptures. Xandt’s three-dimensional pieces are visually powerful and conceptually compelling. They feature busts and skulls composed of gold-plated brass, polymer, distressed black finish, and marble. The gold acts as an accent that adds an element of terror to the work, such as giant spikes or dripping blood.
The skull and bust are symbols of both art and humanity, and the aggressive nature of Xandt’s sculptures makes it appear as if he is rejecting these classical notions. The sleek and stylish “killings” coincide with his philosophy about creative spirit. Instead of mastering one thing and sticking to it forever, Xandt favors a more fluid approach, writing:
I think that the main and most important aspects of my work are creativity and concept. Being permanently on the experimental side of thinking and creating, I seek to add to my skills with every piece I begin. Learning-By-Doing, this awfully overused term, applies to me just as well as Doing-By-Learning. The unison of knowledge and skill provides me with inspiration and a broad foundation to be used as a starting point for any kind of project. (Via Inkult)
Mihai Marius Mihu, Heresy, from “The Nine Circles of Hell”
There’s a lot of impressive things built using LEGOs, and a lot of times the family-friendly toy stays PG in content. In Mike Doyle’s new book titled Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark, however, the dozens of creations are more sinister in nature. The publication includes a number of MOCs (a community acronym that means “My Own Creation”) that feature the likes of a scary bear, an electric chair, giant insects, and more. The artworks are an interesting and entertaining spin on LEGOs as they venture into adult territory. And, since we’d usually think of them as something that’s more lighthearted, it makes even more of a visual and conceptual impact. Beautiful LEGO 2: Dark comes out next month. But if you enjoy these unconventional builds and want to see more of the now, be sure to check out its predecessor, also by Doyle. It’s titled Beautiful LEGO. (Via Wired)
Victoria Wagner is an artist who is fascinated by unlikely pairings. Her set of gem-like sculptures called Woodrocks are comprised of wood and decorated with color, as she explains, “My eye generally and naturally tends toward tessellation and pattern, seeking a rhythm that mimics regular pulse. On the one hand, visual order provides a place for the senses to rest, while color relationships create problems for the brain to solve. I like this simultaneity.” The natural material and the unnatural oil pigments combine to create a precious object that’s small enough to be held comfortably.
Woodrocks serve as an iconic reference to the downed tree. They’re salvaged from local materials and painted to follow organic growth patterns and feature gradient spectrums.These sculptures were influenced by two books that Wagner read: The Golden Bough by Sir James Frazer and The Secret Life of Plants by Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird. “Both pseudoscientific works that examine sentience among carbon-based life forms and human revelation, practical and metaphysical,” she explains. “Both books forced a recognition in my life-of my own personal reverence for the trees being downed in the forest surrounding my studio.” The result? Woodrocks.
Galleries come in all sizes, even in a really, really tiny scale. Swedish graphic designer and illustrator Henrik Franklin has created an installation that’s something you’d be more likely to see in a dollhouse than anywhere else. But, instead of a bedroom, it’s located at the Odenplan underground station at Gallery 1:10 in Stockholm, Sweden. The group exhibition is titled If You Tolerate This – an exhibition about resistance. Franklin’s piece features a library of colorful books, all small enough that you can hold between two fingers.
In a show centered around worries of the future and the holding on to hope, Franklin’s tiny books represent how important literature is in our development. It teaches us the lessons of the past so we won’t be doomed to repeat them; prose also encourages and inspires us to dream and to think differently.
If You Tolerate This – an exhibition about resistance is on view until December 6.
Sally Hewett is a UK-based embroider who gives new meaning to a sculptural approach to the craft. Instead of stitching subject matter like flowers, puppies, and generally happy scenes, she fills embroidery hoops with butts, breasts, and genatalia. The circular compositions rise from the surface and Hewett uses well-placed stitches to give form to these bulbous shapes. In addition, she’ll use dangling threads to simulate public hair, both trimmed and natural.
In her artist statement, Hewett states that she’s interested in ideas of beauty and the things that people do because of it. She writes:
Men and women almost ritualistically shave and remove hair from their bodies – beards, underarm hair, pubic hair, leg hair etc, whereas other hair – hair on the head, eyebrows, eyelashes – are valued and encouraged to flourish. But there is other hair which not everyone has. Sometimes this special hair seems to be reason to feel ashamed. A large number of women and men submit their bodies to extraordinary procedures in the name of convention or beauty – liposuction, implants, scarification, surgery, laser treatment, electrolysis etc.
Embroidery is often see as an innocuous craft, and part of the reason that Hewett works this way is to see how the medium affects how the content is seen. Is it more shocking, amusing, or beautiful simply because it’s portrayed with a needle and thread?
Modeled after the iconic Terracotta Warriors, artist Prune Nourry’s series Terracotta Daughters is an installation featuring eight life-size sculptures modeled after eight Chinese orphan girls. It’s meant to reflect upon gender preference in China through the familiar symbolism of the soldiers, and Nourry created an army of 116 figures using the same clay that was dug up over 2,000 years ago for the original warriors. In this project, the artist also learned the local copyists’ technique based off the ancient practice.
Together, India and China represent ⅓ of the world population and both have a similar gender imbalance. This is because of the preference that parents give to having a son; the number of single men has been increasing since the 1980’s as well as the misuse of ultrasounds to choose the sex of the child. This has detrimental consequences for the women in Asia including kidnappings of children and women, forced marriages, prostitution, and more.
Nourry met the 8 orphan Chinese girls that inspired the artworks through the non-profit organization The Children of Madaifu. She photographed the girls during her visit to their villages in August 2012 and used the portraits as models for the sculptures. Nourry series that go beyond the sculptures and does good, too:
With the idea of continuity in mind, Prune works hand-in-hand with The Children of Madaifu to support the education of the 8 little girls for a minimum of 3 years thanks to the sale of the 8 original sculptures. In addition, each one of the little girls will be invited to the exhibition in Beijing in order to meet their terracotta double. The girls will also receive a 30 cm artist proof of Prune’s Mini Terracotta Daughter.
Thus, each collector who acquires one of the 8 unique original terracotta sculptures supports the project, as well as 3 years of the education of the little girl depicted in the Artwork.
Terracotta Daughters has travelled the world, and now they are in New York City. From September 11 to October 4, you can find them at China Institute.