Tristan Pigott’s Paintings Capture Social Awkwardness And The Male Gaze

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The painter Tristan Pigott heightens the drama of everyday awkward interactions by imagining the mundane in dreamlike ways; altering proportion and shape to express his subjects’ self-conscious anxiety, he constructs an uncomfortable world dominated by the uncertainty of twenty-something men and women. As they form their adult identities, Pigott’s subjects fret over their appearance and public behavior.

Alcohol, hip clothing, makeup, and grooming products cease to be superficial or incidental and are transformed into poignant markers of inner dialogues. Two female subjects abandon words, opting instead to communicate through their own physical presentation; one applies mascara in her skivvies, while the other furrows her brow at a magazine advertisement. An attractive persona is of the utmost importance; a seductive lip tattoo becomes the subject of another painting, and similarly, a lady is shown carefully eating a hamburger that perfectly coordinates to her outfit, sure not to spill on her blouse.

Further heightening the psychological importance of public surroundings and everyday objects, the artist plays with perception, placing an out-of-context wine glass here, a gravity-defying newspaper there. Similarly, a see-through table alters the hue of the legs below as harsh brushstrokes break the illusion of realism, and a man peers at his watch, his anxiety seemingly circumventing the laws of physics and allowing his body to float above ground.

In this world where identities are malleable and uncertain, the male gaze is uncomfortably prominent. Where a man is shown to watch himself in the mirror, the women are seen with a subtle degree of voyeurism. In mixed company, women peer thoughtfully, even fretfully, at the viewer, where men seem to please only themselves, remaining blissfully unaware of onlookers. When the male subject is nude, his back and face are turned away, but breasts and glances of the unclothed female are directed outwards. Dominated by familiar social anxieties and uncomfortable sexual politics, Pigott’s imaginative public space is perhaps not as surreal as it might seem. (via iGNANT)

Malika Favre’s Animated Kama Sutra Alphabet

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In 2011, illustrator and graphic designer Mailka Favre was commissioned by Penguin Books to illustrate the new Deluxe Classic Cover of the Kama Sutra by Vatsyayana. Using the first 7 letters she illustrated for the commission as a starting point, Favre decided to develop the full set of the alphabet, resulting in a racy Kama Sutra typeface. After creating the designs, Favre worked with animators to turn her images into actively coital gifs. Inspired by the everyday design and fashion she encounters in London, Favre’s aesthetic is bold and colorful, with clean and simple lines and curves. Favre admits she often wears the colors she uses in her designs, and she’s unsure which design choice influences which. Because her designs are so simple, Favre has to approach her work with a strong concept, something that is elegantly evident in her Kama Sutra alphabet. Each letter of the exhibition is available for purchase as a limited edition of 25 screenprints, numbered and signed by the artist.

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Artist Interview: Facebook Censored Photographer Gracie Hagen’s New Book

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If you were following us back in December, you may remember a post we did about Gracie Hagen‘s project, “Illusions of the Body.” This proved our most popular post to date, and was even flagged and banned by Facebook as inappropriate, something I covered in a separate post. Since the December post, Hagen has finished putting a book together of full color images of the project, including 17 never before released images. The book is available for pre-order on sale for $50 (regularly $60) to be shipped on May 1st, and each advance purchase will be numbered and signed by Hagen. What better way to show your support of work like Hagen’s, work that shouldn’t be censored by social media just because it features nude bodies, than to own your very own collection of these powerful images?  Hagen was able to answer a few questions about the ban and her work via email.

Censored Pornography That Oozes An Uncomfortable Eroticism

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After searching through the deepest corners of the internet pornography universe, the South African mixed media artist Von Brandis blanked out the carnal content in an attempt to reinterpret sexual imagery. The project, titled “Obscene Interiors” somehow heightens the voyeuristic thrust of the erotic images; behind a shield of white, sexual activities become more mysterious and forbidden, forcing the viewer to examine the images with more self-consciousness than the original porn might elicit.

The series also works to redefine the erotic. As blanked-out figures magically flatten and morph into a single two-dimensional being, signs of intercourse and movement disappear. In contrast to the white-out bodies, which often appear to be pasted onto the photographs, the space of the pornography sets do indeed become the “obscene” photographic content, inviting the eye to penetrate their depths. The pornographic subject becomes the interior itself: the cheesy bedding, the slightly parted curtain, a glistening clock radio, a stained rug.

The images, if slightly dehumanized by their alterations, maintain their intense sexual charge; the off-kilter frame suggests movement within the room, an amateur pornographer’s fast and anxious shots. Shadows billow from the white shapes, hinting at the breath, dimension and passions of the human form.

The series, with its censorship, paradoxically becomes more suggestive and uncomfortable. Forced to consider the erotic impulse and visual fetishization, the viewer cannot help but feel awkward about our engagement with the porn. In this way, this powerful piece touches on contemporary debates about the medium: is porn a healthy, natural human activity, or is it objectifying and morally ambiguous? What do you think? (via Lost at E Minor)

The Wonderfully Disturbing Work Of Geneviève Santerre (NSFW)

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French artist Geneviève Santerre‘s body of work is, well, about the body. Explicitly erotic, her work is shocking and provocative. It speaks to central concerns about women’s bodies and sexuality in general. From human-animal-creature genital hybrid sculptures to bronze cast vaginas to a pair of discharge-soaked underwear hand stitched with the words “shit happens” to a tangled and suspended speculum to a performance piece wherein she wears a Niqab adorned with silicon vaginal molds, Santerre is by no means subtle. Her work is direct and compelling, challenging the viewer with something powerfully resonant yet potentially disturbing. Santerre pushes boundaries, asking us to reflect on recontextualized sexual images.

Santerre explains in her statement, “Belonging to a generation that is supposedly open sexually, I wonder why this jubilation is considered taboo. Despite some improvements since the feminist movement in the 1960’s, contemporary society remains patriarchal and regards women as objects, while frowning upon sexually open women. 

Rik Garrett Transforms Two Bodies into One

Artist Rik Garrett explores physical relationships in his series Symbiosis.  By painting directly onto the photograph, Garrett literally fuses two bodies into one.  Two writhing bodies seem to become one organism.  It’s a nearly a literal interpretation of “two becoming one flesh”.

Garrett says, “Symbiosis is a new series exploring ideas regarding love, relationships, magic, Alchemy and mutually beneficial partnerships in nature.”

While the idea sounds romantic the imagery can appear otherwise.  The single masses almost appear to be struggling against itself, perhaps alluding to the complexities of sexuality and relationships.

Animalistic Paintings with Eastern Aesthetics from Brooklyn Artist Mu Pan

SVA grad Mu Pan brings East Asian woodblock aesthetics to his colorful, animated paintings. Not much of a “Zen” vibe is to be found here, though. Full of life, the Brooklyn artist’s work explodes off the canvas in a rush of sex and violence. Base, animalistic sensibilities are collected and processed en masse within each piece, and hardly any opportunity for impact is passed over. Really engrossing stuff, whether the focus is placed on a few central figures, or all-encompassing atmosphere.

SCOT SOTHERN SHOT PROSTITUTES…WITH A CAMERA

 

Scot Sothern is an older photographer, who due to a gnarly motorcycle injury, now walks with a cane. His stunning black and white photographs taken years ago explore what many consider to be the world’s oldest profession, prostitution, while his recent color shots document the random scenes he encounters on a daily basis. And while many of us roll up our windows and try to avoid even subtle eye contact with street corner hookers, Sothern welcomed them into motel rooms to pose for his unnerving lens and even partake in debauchery reserved for a pervert’s imagination and Charles Bukowski’s pen. He was probably the only person to ever shoot his subjects with something other than a gun or semen and his photos, mostly taken in the late 1980s went largely unseen until his first exhibit in 2010 at DRKRM Gallery in downtown LA – just blocks away from where a fan could’ve gotten into some serious trouble if they were inspired by the work. Besides living a wild life and making sure to have a camera there to capture it all, Sothern is also a wonderful writer who is able to describe his experiences with literal crack-addicted whores like they were the most elegant things you’ve ever read about in your life. WARNING: This post contains images that are NSFW.