Olivier Valsecchi is a photographer with an eye for transforming bodies into emotional landscapes of strength and despair. We featured his powerful I Am Dust project last February. The series featured here, entitled Drifting, takes a different approach to human architecture; instead of majestic, stately nudes, we see men and women reclining alone and in pairs, arching their backs against bare tables and chairs with a baroque-style melancholia. The darkness surrounding the figures highlights their pale expressions of death and defeat, lending the illuminated flesh a cadaverous-yet-living quality. The series statement elaborates further on this bodily ambiguity:
“Straying the audience from their grounds of certainty, Valsecchi induces an unsettling doubt on whether his subjects are falling apart or withstanding paralysis. He investigates this tenuous and brooding space between inertia and the urge to go somewhere. His bodies appear to have been submitted to an exorcism, an epileptic trance, or a mutilation akin to a reptile being cut in two pieces — and yet still crawling.”
Drifting also channels the art tradition of still life. Posed to capture the wordless throes of pain and despair, the figures’ perfect configurations make them portraits of emotion. Speaking to the use of the genre, Valsecchi writes: “Still-life was the perfect fit for a post-war atmosphere. Beyond symbolizing the ephemeral nature of life, it relates to the notion of transitioning. I wanted to set bodies into an unfamiliar environment and infuse them with a feeling of disorientation, as if recovering from trauma or stuck in a vertigo.” Despite their static postures of grief and submission, Valsecchi’s tragic nudes tremble on the verge of healing, embodying and enduring the darkness so that they can overcome it.
We probably all have an image of Paris in our heads; a romantic, cliched view of a city most English speakers idealize and fantasize about. As a recent first-time visitor to the city of lights (affectionately nicknamed la Ville Lumière), I am also guilty of having this idea. I dreamed it would be full of tiny quaint shoebox-sized apartments covered with ivy, or snow (depending on the season); the cityscape full of scooter sounds zipping through the alleys, or cats screeching as they scampered over falling garbage cans. I’m not sure if I can say whether that vision was realized while I was there, or entirely imagined, but I can relive a certain nostalgia when I see the photography of Alain Cornu.
Cornu captures a theatrical side to the romantic city, illuminated in the moonlight. Focusing on the endlessly interesting rooftops of Paris, his images are a treat to look at. Full of so many angles, hidden corners, inviting skylights and alcoves that we would normally overlook, the images are like a sweet homage to the power of potential in the city.
Having previously worked in the genres of landscape, Cornu is well versed at turning his subjects into fascinating objects. His past series include trees, rocks, misty fields, piles of twigs, windows, walls, doorways, streets, beach fronts, and walkways. And while all of these things could potentially be boring and un-inspirational, they turn into something absorbing and engaging in the hands of this observant photographer.
Artist and filmmaker Philip Haas has taken 16th century paintings and brought them into modern day in the form of larger than life sculptures. Haas has created four busts of the paintings titled The Four Seasons by Renaissance painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo. The original paintings portray four busts cleverly formed from fruits, vegetables, and flora that represent each of the four seasons. The piece Autumn appropriately displays lush fruit making up the person’s plump cheeks, while Winter is revealed through bare twigs for hair and lumpy roots for the face. Haas’s sculptures are enormous and spectacular replicas of these paintings, down to every last plant that makes up the face of each character. The paintings as well as the sculptures portray and compare the never-ending cycle of life and unavoidable aging of humans in a beautiful and fascinating way.
What is absolutely amazing about the work being re-imagined and recreated as sculptures is that each of the works are fifteen feet high. Each intricate face completely engulfs the viewer in its interesting details, allowing you to examine every leaf, vegetable, and vine protruding from their facial features. Haas has given us a monumental series of works that shine a new light on the original masterpieces from the 1500’s. Haas’s sculptures have been shown all around the United States in a variety of unique venues including the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
Featured here is Moorhouse’s new series called the Wonky Movie Poster Show, wherein she has illustrated twenty movie posters. As she wrote in an email to It’s Nice That last week, the paintings are intended to be “weird and ugly and hopefully funny” (Source). Her assessment is correct; the eros of the Nymphomania poster is reduced to a bedraggled woman who appears to be yawning, and the stately lion of TheLion King looks apathetically over the white void of his kingdom. By filtering these familiar images through her own bizarre lens, Moorhouse strips away the hype and seriousness surrounding these films and makes us laugh.
Moorhouse’s unique style has gotten her work recognized. In addition to her fun and bizarre self-initiated projects, her clients include The New York Times, Salt Hill Journal, and Epiphany Zine. Visit Moorhouse’s website, Instagram, and Twitter to follow her work. Prints, ceramics, and other goods can be purchased via her Etsy shop. (Via It’s Nice That)
With razor-like precision sculptor Willy Verginer creates figures from a single tree trunk. He carves delicately made pieces which speak and brings to light important issues affecting living things. His latest delves deep into the environmental concerns of crude oil. Instead of overly stating the obvious Verginer makes subtle references to its affect. He places his latest figures including animals and people atop barrels of crude oil. Since oil is liquid the artist purposefully depicts the figures beginning to become stained or contaminated by the substance. This is graphically shown around their feet, hooves or paws and also in their faces. In some he will paint the base on which the figure stands in silver or gold signifying the value placed on the highly valued commodity which is gotten through sacrifice of both creature and environment. When a human figure is used he shows the gold or silver seeping into their shoes or clothes which signifies man’s greed.
The one lingering fact about crude oil responsible for almost every aspect of modern day living is that it is highly toxic and carcinogenic in every form. When it is burned the smoke it produces causes black soot in the air which gets captured in our lungs. If oil is accidentally spilled into the ocean it will kill fish and other sea life almost instantly. As we learn more about its ill effects scientists are looking to provide more alternative ways to produce power which include solar and wind energy. (via hifructose)
Izumi Kato’s characters resemble angelic porcelain dolls. On the verge of breaking apart, they don’t seem to care. They just are, and that’s why they are so touching. The artist, from the tips of his fingers; with which he paints; brings to life innocent beings with extraterrestrial features. Their googly eyes, cracked noses and little bodies create an eerie harmony in the painting. So much that we would almost want to nurture them in real life.
As if he knew, their “dad” turned them into sculptures. He made them out of wood, three-dimensional, and as moving as their little brothers and sisters.
All that they evoke; strangeness, ambiguity, revulsion or sympathy is meant to dig into our contemplation on relationships. The poetic landscape of morbid embryos leads to question the nature of interaction with others but foremost with oneself.
Izumi Kato elegantly directs the viewer’s eyes to the characters’ heads, growing out of their svelt bodies, totemic figures; a blend of ancient Egypt and tribal African culture. He creates a bridge to our own head and thoughts because he wants the viewer to develop their own ideas from his abstract paintings and sculptures.
“Painting challenges the world. It is an unnatural form that has been singled out from our current three-dimensional living space. There is nothing strange about sculpture in our world, but painting is different. We search for another world in it.”
If you have a soft spot for cross stitch and tattoos, the work of this artist could well be your new favorite thing. Turkish tattoo artist Eva Krbdk is carving a new niche out for herself in the world of body art. She inks up cute, simple and striking designs for clients who are looking for something a bit different.
Krbdk tattoos anything from Marilyn Monroe, to Darth Vader, to roses, foxes and popular sayings. She of course, isn’t only limited to cross stitch designs – there are tons of other tattoos on her Instagram account, including great watercolors and pixelated work. She has a great eye for color, geometry and simplicity. Not relying heavily on black, or outlines to create definition, she utilizes spacing and natural contrast to create her distinctive markings. (Via Bored Panda)
The multitalented, Berlin-based artist James Reka uses striking colors and organic shapes to create his unique style of painting. Known as “REKA” as a street artist, his large-scale murals steal the spotlight in any setting, whether it be the railway lines of Melbourne, where he is originally, from, or the alleyways of Berlin. Heavily influenced by pop-culture, cartoons, and illustration, his work possesses a pulsating rhythm that brings the streets alive. His abstracted figures take on new shape and form in psychedelic waves that weave back and forth. With a palette reminiscent of the 70’s, Reka’s curved lines swirl around his compositions, creating a sense of depth that is both flattened and rounded, forming incredibly unique aesthetics.
Reka uses influence from his logo design background, integrating a pop-surrealist style into his murals and paintings. The sharp style of shapes and design used in his work creates a harsh contrast to the gritty walls and abandon buildings where his artwork often lives. His smaller paintings can be found in a more traditional environment, like on gallery walls, or in an even more unconventional place, on discarded, found objects. Reka’s newest body of work can be found at Avant Garden Gallery, located in Milan, Italy. The solo exhibition of the artist’s work, titled Olympus, exhibits paintings of Reka’s that pulls inspiration from ancient Greece. While still using his signature style, Reka renders scenes of bathhouses and Greek columns. This exhibition is on view now until July 10th.