Kim Burke’s miniature food sculptures are so realistic you’ll want to eat them in one bite. Inspired by the photorealist movement, Burke creates flawless dollhouse-scale meals from actual photographs, positioned at various angles for maximum accuracy. Each plate of food, so small as to be balanced on a human fingertip, is carefully rendered from clay using needles, razor blades, and a rock for texture. Chalk pastels add color. For cake frosting, Burke uses Translucent Liquid Sculpey mixed with solid clay. The artist’s company, Fairchild Art, offers a range of plates, from sweet to savory dishes, each at a 1:12 scale.
Burke’s passion for dollhouse accessories began as a hobby in 2008, but soon blossomed into what she calls an “obsession.” The work is painstaking and each piece typically requires one to three hours of full concentration, but the result is well worth it. She says of her process, “every time I make something new I always try to add something extra to make it even look more real.”
Decadent and indulgent, Burke’s tiny masterpieces combine the sensuousness of a Caravaggio painting with the whimsy of childhood play. Like Caravaggio’s Still Life with Fruit, each piece is entirely inedible yet invites a mouthwatering appetite. Burke’s delicate fruit baskets emerge like Eden’s forbidden fruit in miniature, igniting the imagination and uninhibited delight. Poignantly small, they remind us of the preciousness of our humanity. When seen on a plate the size of a penny, the most familiar food stuffs become miraculous and spellbinding. Made with tender love and care, the diminutive plates suggest our own fragilities and vulnerabilities. Take a look. (via Demilked)
New Zealand-based illustrator Henrietta Harris, previously featured here, continues to compel the eye with her alluring and dreamily distorted portraits. In her pastel-toned watercolors, she renders the human figure fluid and infinite. Seemingly caught in moments of a romantic introspection bordering on spiritual transcendence, her subjects dissolve into swirls, scribbles, and line.
Here, Harris’s artistic process is inextricably fused with the completed portrait, and the creative act of art making is just as significant as the subject itself. Quick, doodled lines of primary and secondary colors become equally as material and substantial as the multiple-toned and shaded flesh itself, and the artist’s stream of consciousness thrillingly interrupts any objective reflection of reality. Individual identities collapse to form a whirlpool of ecstatic color, and the body itself becomes a cosmic landscape, revolving, twisting, and floating like a strange fleshy galaxy.
The intense movement of Harris’s work is balanced only by her soft, muted colors and the hushed expressions of her subjects. Peering sleepily downwards, her watercolor muses exude a quiet yet concentrated aura, as if lost in a meditative trance. Two-dimensional lines like static electricity course through three-dimensional bodies, slicing their features in two, and still they stare forward resolutely. Deconstructed perhaps by their own imaginations, they surrender themselves to the hand of the artist, which leaps and coils whimsically across the page. Take a look. (via The Inspiration Grid)
Paper artist Rogan Brown, featured previously here, finds an exquisite beauty in even the most deadly pathogens, of which he constructs astonishingly detailed replicas from thinly cut and layered paper. For Outbreak, he maps out a stunning typography of microbes, neurons, and human cells. Renowned for his fastidious process, Brown spends up to five months on a single piece, a true labor of love that serves as a testament to the reverence he holds for the organic world. Here, the smallest microcosms of the human body are expanded, made vivid and sparkling. In complex webs, they form an impressive interlocking network that is heartbreakingly delicate and fragile.
Where disease-causing pathogens and microbes are typically disparaged as unsavory or unclean, Brown’s masterful and unparalleled craft recreates them in dazzling white, like organic snowflakes possessing endless wonderment. In a fast-paced culture increasingly dominated by technology, Brown draws inspiration from the likes of the romantic poet William Blake, who married his love for the earth with a thirst for the divine and mysterious in nature. While he begins from scientific sketches by biologists like Ernst Haekel, the artist ultimately surrenders to the currents of his own imagination, allowing for the warmth of the human mind to color and transfigure the microscopic forms that make up our bodies. After all, isn’t our own evolution and living existence the most intricate and miraculous artwork of all? Take a look. (via Colossal)
With her electric series Outside the Lines, photographer Ramona Rosales elevates the everyday to the realm of high drama by staging eye-catching moments saturated in color. Through the course this witty narrative, a woman, seen only below the knees, undergoes a series of domestic blunders that are both comical and tragic. Each photograph is shot after the fact, as if to chronicle not the accidents themselves but their psychical impact upon our protagonist and her home.
Through a masterful use of color, Rosales plays with our perception, imbuing each still image with a vibrating, buzzing afterglow. Opposite colors create a visual tension as a green wall is juxtaposed with magenta pumps, a blue curtain with orange stockings. At the same time, harmonizing colors seem pull across the frame toward one another.
The wonderfully hectic blocks of color allow the photographs to flatten into a more two-dimensional plane and veer into the aesthetic we normally associate with collage, recalling great works of mid-century pop art and advertising. Unlike those perfected— and sometimes ironical— works espousing the pleasures of modern home, Rosales’s endearing subject appears to inhabit an indoor landscape ripe with tension and anxiety.
For Rosales, color isn’t an objective means of triggering an optical response; instead, she hopes to tap into our subjective memories and associations. Some of the narratives are drawn from her own life experiences, remembered incidents from which she incorporates at least two colors. Both humorous and delightfully suspenseful, Outside the Lines invites us to perceive the dynamic vitality of even the most banal of life’s many moments. Outside the Lines opens July 10 and runs through August 24, 2014 at De Soto Gallery.
For his latest project, titled the Abyss Table, designer Christopher Duff of Duffy London constructs a detailed cross section of the sea bed from sheets of glass and wood. Inspired by mythology, he designed the piece of furniture to look like one belonging to an ancient deity, capable of pulling up chunks of the earth for his own decorative use. From above, the table resembles a topographical map laid flat, but when viewed from the side, it becomes a multilayered and multidimensional model of a three-dimensional mass forged over millennia.
The brilliance of the Abyss Table lies in part in the conflicting nature of its form and function. By its very definition, the table is not an abyss but the exact opposite: a protruding surface capable of supporting objects. Here, the liquid surface of the ocean is transmuted into an imperturbable solid, and fluid space becomes sturdy and unbroken.
On the website of Duffy London, the preliminary image of the table, which will be released this fall, is accompanied with a line from Friedrich Nietzche’s “Beyond Food and Evil:” “And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” This oft-quoted passage, almost always meant metaphorically, finds a very literal manifestation here. Contained in this table, the dark, unknowable emptiness that consumes the human mind moves poetically into the home, merging its mysteries with the normal routines of domesticity. Each image shown here is a digital model from which the actual table will be built. Take a look. (via Colossal)
For his surreal photo manipulations, the Buenos Aires-based digital artist Martin De Pasquale contorts his own body to imbue the mundane rituals of daily life with a sense of humor that sometimes veers into the realm of terror. With the wonderfully oxymoronic title “Impossible Photography,” De Pasquale’s work stretches the medium to its limit, boldly questioning our assumption that the photographic object necessarily reflects reality. Though indeed impossible, the strange and comical mishaps— and horrors— of the work speak to very real existential anxieties.
Here, the human body emerges as mechanical, much like the the camera itself. Like the gears of an advanced automaton, heads and faces are replaced with ease, and the treat of mortality is abated with ever-renewed body parts. In some ways, the impossible photographs recall the paradox of the Ship of Theseus, a thought experiment which asks if a ship remains essentially the same after each of its parts are replaced. Here, the ship becomes a human being; in the daily grind of life, our protagonist is continually deconstructed and reassembled. Does he become generic, or does he hold fast to his identity?
In so questioning the individual, De Pasquale’s imaginative images challenge the notion of replication, which in turn examines the very nature of the photograph. Seen here many times over, the self is given over to a mysterious—and frightening— sort of duplication, giving rise to unnatural yet indistinguishable bodies that are ultimately mere simulacrums of the original. Take a look. (via Demilked)
Emily Deutchman’s “Presidents with Boob Faces” are exactly what it sounds like: a collection of paintings of the United States presidents with breasts appended to their facial features. After graduating from Skidmore College, the young artist found herself doodling human mammary glands on portraits of her friends, and she soon extended the project to historic leaders of the free world. With the exception of Obama’s portrait, which is modeled after the iconic “Change” poster, each piece is based off of its subject’s official presidential portrait. The facial features of each man dictates the placement of the breasts. For Ronald Reagan, it’s skin above the neck. For Clinton, it’s the nose. Some of the boobs are painted from actual breasts, sent to the artist by friends.
While Deutchman insists that the work has no clear agenda aside from humor, she invites political interpretations. With the expected candidacy of Hillary Clinton in 2016, dialogues on women in politics have come to the fore, and we are asked to consider the gender inequality that persists in the upper echelons of power. There are few art pieces that exude the machismo of the presidential portrait, and in adding female sex organs to the idealized masculine visage, the artist subverts our notion of national power and authority. Deutchman’s use of pastel-toned watercolors heighten the feminine softness inherent in the work. A more naughty glance at the work renders it a scathing satire of contemporary politics and the corruption of high offices. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor)
When all else is gone, it is often the things we most take for granted that endure, like an old, torn t-shirt. For her collaboration with writer and actress Hanne Steen, photographer Carla Richmond collects intimate portraits of the brokenhearted, women wearing shirts left behind by ex-lovers. Hanging loosely about the contours of bodies they do not quite fit, the shirts and their wearers remain anonymous, their words recorded only in unending, stream-of-consciousness style poetry.
Alone in Richmond’s tight frame, against a simple and unembellished background, the women clutch at the forgotten fabric, hugging themselves and bracing against the intrusions of memories. The irresistible poignancy of the work lies in the inextricable nature of the banal or incidental with the profound and monumental. The shirts’ unexplained tears, accidental stains left by the passage of time, and obscure graphic lettering collide with mournful faces, eyes both resolute and pleading. These t-shirts, gifted by accident or on purpose, serve as the painfully insufficient evidence of great loves, irretrievable losses, and things unsaid.
At times, the shirts themselves become integrated into the very fabric of their wearer’s being. A woman wears a grey-blue shirt and dusts her eyelids with shadow of the same hue; similarly, a scarf or ring might match the color of a now-faded garment. As the only tangible remnants of something that exists no longer, the shirts become reminders of something in danger of being forgotten, a soft comfort that may be turned to in quiet, private moments. (via Feature Shoot)