Photographer Jeremy Ayer and graphic designer Julien Mercier have been collaborating on a series of photographs titled “Aude” that feature a nude female exploring, or used as a decoration in, a large mansion. In some of the photographs, the female body appears to be on ornamental display, almost doll-like, and contrasted with some of the other objects on display in the mansion. Despite her nude body, the photographs are shot in such a way as to leave the female figure shrouded in a bit of mystery.
“With her pale skin, her slender body, she represents a certain ideology of beauty, as dictated by contemporary magazines. But paradoxically, the raw image remains in a direct visual language, not constrained by any commercial obligations. There is no digital manipulation which would withdraw all of her natural eroticism. In the same process, the statues whth their perfectly carved silouhettes, oppose with her curves left intact. The brutal and frontal lighting, exposes here entire body. But always fleeting, she remains inaccessible to the viewer, out of reach, in height.” (via ignant)
Using the natural shapes and contours of the body, German artist Gisene Marwedel transforms the human body into a living, breathing work of art. Marwedel paints finely detailed images, ranging from animals to landscapes to abstraction. She first learned the art of body painting while in India, where she began painting with henna. This skill evolved into a full-time hobby (she has a day job as a speech therapist). Her work depicts scenes of movement and grace with a hauntingly surreal aesthetic. (via mirror)
Jessica Stoller‘s porcelain sculptures exaggerate the objectification of female bodies using 18th century French aesthetics. Through the medium of clay, Stoller sculpts fluid and grotesque shapes, emphasizing the lack of boundaries between bodies and other materialist images related to consumption. She embellishes this unsettling bodily abundance with a soft, feminine, candy and ice-cream color palette and opulent adornments. These figures are often erotically or mythically charged.This creates an experience of surreal bodily and material abjection for the viewer, while addressing cultural concerns about the control of the feminine body. Stoller’s work, “Spoil,” is currently on view at PPOW Gallery in New York until February 8. (via hi fructose)
Hikaru Cho‘s method of painting could best be described as a physical and unconventional type of doodling. Cho primarily uses acrylic paints on bodies or food to create believably 3D surrealistic effects, and even transfers this skill to stop-motion film and other video work. Her work alters our perspective of seemingly stable universal concepts, creating new forms that demand our engagement using only the special effects rendered through paint.
British photographer Vikram Kushwah recreates pieces of the past with staged photography. Working with fashion designer, writer, and researcher Trisha Sakhlecham, the two produced a series of images titled Memoirs of Lost Time. The subject matter, its tone, and coloring of the photographs are a dreamy and hazy. They straddle the fine line between what is a dream and what is a memory. Each image features a person gazing beyond the landscape, as though they are longing for something lost.
On his website, Kushwah writes about Memoirs of Lost Time. He says that the series is inspired by the romantic notions of childhood memories, and goes on to say:
…A biographical documentation of sorts, of seven creative personalities’ childhood recollections, this book captures not only what was, but also suggests a very imaginative take on what could have been.
Stories evocative of the intimate moments and bygone days of these personalities are embellished with wondrously staged pictures featuring the subjects themselves. Each chapter takes you into the personal and never seen before world of one of these personalities with a short story, an insightful interview and photographs, weaving in and out of reality, where you start beginning to drift into a realm of imaginative possibilities and yet remain attached to the facts that were.
With dreams, like distant memories, we sometimes question whether or not something actually happened. While this could be distressing, Kushwah chooses to embrace uncertainty and magic of it all. There are some fantastical elements, like a woman that is carried away by small umbrellas. But mostly, these images lack action. Instead, they depict quiet moments in the company of many books or the vast outdoors. Reading and nature provide the perfect fodder for imaginations to run wild. (Via My Modern Met)
The surreal photographs by Christopher McKenney are haunting, as a (mostly) faceless figure interacts with a deserted environment. The desaturated images are shot in the middle of the woods, a corn field, a lake, and back country roads. Sometimes, we see a ghost. Other times, a man is lit on fire. Whatever the situation, McKenney crafts a quietly desperate image.
The photographer recently told art blog iGNANT that he one day found himself in the woods with nothing but a sheet, chair, and frame. He placed the sheet over his head and photoshopped his body out. He tells iGnant, I like taking away identity when photographing and to leave people thinking. “I only make the photos I do to express myself and what other people see or think is up to them, as long as I make them feel anything I’m ok with that.”
Personally, I experience cognitive dissonance when looking at McKenney’s work. I find a lot of these images disturbing yet beautifully composed.. For instance, the photo Fragile Perspective (above) features someone with a burning box over their head. Formally, the colors are rich and the orange of the fire is stunning against the blues, browns, and grays. But, then I study the content of the photograph and realize that it depicts someone who is essentially set on fire.
Not all of McKenney’s photographs are like that. Other times, they are simply whimsical and nonsensical. In Let Go, a suitcase with a balloon tied to the handle stays on the ground as its owner floats away. Another photograph has a chair in an empty field with a pair of hands (only hands, no body), infinitely holding a mirror. It’s these photographs I enjoy more – ones that are odd, but don’t communicate utter despair. (Via iGNANT)
Baltimore based illustrator and designer Gel Jamlang illustrates surreal watercolor and acrylic pieces that largely feature the human body, sometimes paired with animals or painted with an interesting symmetrical or mirroring effect. Jamlang’s illustrations combine realism with whimsical imagery to create a dynamic and energetic composition. The figures in her illustrations seem to lack boundaries – they merge or spill into other figures.
Of her process, Jamlang explains, “Watercolor behaves so unpredictably… It is very exciting to use. It drives itself. The transparency and the brilliance of the colors all swirling around are thrilling. And when you use it side by side with acrylic, the more opaque, dense and unyielding medium, the contrast can be beautiful.” (via hifructose)
Spanish artist Iván Prieto‘s sculpture work is surreal and sometimes a bit disturbing. In order to heighten the jarring effect of his creations, Prieto places some of his work in abandoned places, creating a narrative that lends his work (and the places they inhabit) a haunting presence. His sculptures are largely figurative, and feature bodies that are warped or grotesque, speaking to ideas of excess and deficiency. Even when he’s not using empty spaces to feature his work, his gallery installations are just as provocative and strange. Prieto’s talent for sculpting fascinating figurative shapes and contortions and then contextualizing them within spaces indicates an awareness of an overall composition of his creations, something not all sculptors think about when featuring their work. (via slow art day)