Anthony and other boxer connecting punches. (Old Fire House Soho, February, 2012)
The crowd consisting of a large number of Charlie’s friends celebrate as Charlie wins his match. (Old Fire House Soho, September, 2012)
Two boxers pair up before their match. (Old Fire House Soho, September, 2012)
Ring girl entertaining the crowd in-between rounds. (Old Fire House Soho, February, 2012)
Photographer Devin Yalkin points an unflinching eye to the underground world of illegal fight nights, capturing their raw intensity. These “Friday Night Throwdowns” happen in secret locations and venues all over New York City. In Yalkin’s series The Old One Two, this hidden world is revealed through intimate, black and white photographs with a Film Noir flavor to them. This powerful series gets you up close and personal to the fighters and the erupting crowd cheering them on. The compositions in this series can be as hazy and chaotic as the fight itself, capturing the true atmosphere of these fight nights. You can see the unrefined aggressiveness and brutality between the fighters, but also feel the excitement and energy from the audience.
Devin Yalkin allows us to take place of the spectator, seeing every bead of sweat and drop of blood on the skin of the fighters. The high tension and motion happening during these Friday Night Throwdown’s can be felt in each photograph. It is as if we are standing next to each eccentric character; the screaming fan, the eager fighter, or the elusive woman in lingerie whose role is somewhat unknown. All of the individuals shown in Yalkin’s series seem to come from all walks of life, having only the love of the fight connecting them.
Make sure to check out Devin Yalin’s new strange and beautiful series Abductions, which captures ominous scenes of which we cannot place, mysterious and alluring.
Often treading between reverence and ridicule, the mystifying allure of art that reiterates sexual transgression remains suspended within a deviating purgatory of the sacred and the obscene. Buoyantly drifting within the underbelly of normative culture, the erotic and transgressive create a synergetic relationship in a strike against societal conventions. Through a crude presentation of social perversions, the atmosphere created through sexually transgressive art permits an insight that challenges not only sexual precepts, but invites a critique of human behavior irrevocably influenced by social structures. In an explosive resurgence of suppressed sexual impulses, the following artists create frantic, tense and exquisitely obscene renderings of deviations and sexualized social distortions.
The human relationship with the natural world is a complex one that doesn’t seem to untangle anytime soon. With animal life increasingly being abused and habitats encroached upon anxiety is understandably mounting. Artist Chris Musina address these issues in painting and also sculpture. Musina depicts the uglier side of the human/animal relationship. Rather than highlight idyllic scenes of nature, he draws gruesome imagery of animal mistreatment to the forefront. Animal carcasses are often kept as trophies, dead souvenirs of a once living creature. Painting’s tradition of depicting killed animals is extensive – the fox hunt alone, for example, an entire genre. Appropriately, then, Musina’s animal carcasses are not there to be admired but act as animals condemning the viewer. They seem to be holding an accounting for their present condition in the painting as well as in a larger abstract sense. They act as a tool to deconstruct disassociation. Musina further explains his use of painting in addressing ecological and animal issues:
“Dealing directly with our increasingly volatile and uneasy relationship to the natural world, I draw from contemporary animal thought and a deep phylogeny of cultural cues. My work dismantles how we look at animals via “nature morte” painters, philosophy, hunting, museum dioramas, and the like. Manifested in life size compositions full of dark humor and bright color, I am addressing the animal as neither symbol nor object, but as subject, a subject aware of his or her own powerful symbolic nature. Painting represents the bulk of my practice precisely due to its place in the forefront of a history of representing animals. My paintings are populated with animal protagonists who stare back at the viewer in an uneasy gaze; aware of that place in our cultural history– asking for compassion, mercy, or simply to be put out of their misery.”