Kunihiko Nohara creates lofty sculptures whose subjects hover between the earth and sky. Using a single piece of wood for each of his pieces, Nohara replaces clothing with clouds making his figures seem ready to take flight in a hot air balloon.
Nohara’s works have earned him the name “The Cloud Man” in Taiwan. But while this name visibly connects him with his works, the clouds also mean something else to Nohara. In interviews he says that clouds are emblematic of his practice in that he often feels “blurry” within his own thoughts. Dealing with this space of fuzziness between thoughts and dream, he further says that his “creations are not necessarily based on fantasy, but neither are they overly grounded in reality – they’re just reflections of my experiences of the world.”
Despite the delicacy and softness of these sculptures, Nohara works entirely in wood and, more notably, only uses one piece for each work. His preference for wood emerged in school but he also believes the use of material aligns his work with Japan’s propensity towards wooden objects, like houses and furniture.
Nohara’s works were recently shown at “Laissez Faire,” a group show presented by Gallery UG at the Luxe Art Museum in Singapore. His sculptures were included with works from 17 other Japanese artists.
In her exhibition “Black Fairy Egg Nest,” Julia Sinelnikova asks us if fairies are good or bad. Experienced as a ritual site with candles and stones, “Black Fairy Egg Nest” feels like a secret den where winged creatures could emerge at any moment. The primary piece hovering overhead is a nest of hand cut resin light sculptures dripping into the exhibition space. A pregnant mass leaks thin glowing strands and dark stones dangle towards the ground below.
But while there is a medieval and religious feel to the work, Sinelnikova is more broadly concerned with the distinction between who we are and how we present ourselves to the world. Her use of a fairy as the icon of the work symbolizes the contradictions inherent in our identities. As Sinelnikova points out in her artist statement, fairies are represented as both benevolent creatures who grant wishes and tricksters who can thwart even the most noble of plans. In this way fairies seem to be like us, flying between the light and the dark.
“Black Fairy Nest Egg” is part of Sinelnikova’s larger “Fairy Organs” work and includes sculpture, video and performance. “Conjuring Rebirth,” performed by Sinelnikova aka The Oracle and Xenolith Yolita aka Culttastic uses the glowing, dangling sculptures as a location for mystical curiosity, acquiescence and frustration. “Meditation on Suffering” centers around a glowing square where multiple women decked in shimmering foil move in concert with whispering voices in a neon lit disco. “Sentinel Seraphim” moves the multiplied women out of the geometric world of “Meditation” and into nature where the foil then takes on the likeness of wings.
Julia Sinelnikova is an artist and curator working in New York City. She has had solo exhibitions in Brooklyn, Austin, Houston, Barcelona, and Oulu (Finland). She recently curated “LEMNIVERSE: Vector Gallery at Art Basel” at SELECT Fair, Miami Beach and “Seeking Space 2014” at the Active Space, Brooklyn.
Joanna Black, a photographer, entrepreneur and collector in Edinburgh, UK, uses surrealist images to show us what ugly doesn’t look like. Her “Black Teeth White Heart” series is a compilation of Black’s nose, eyes, lips, and even toe nails in a style that is hauntingly beautiful.
In describing “Black Teeth White Heart” Black begins by saying, “people always told me I was ugly.” As a child, Black suffered from an acute form of scoliosis, causing her to live, sleep and play in a waist to neck metal brace. Her brace in addition to blackened teeth, which were caused by a treatment of tetracycline, were devastating. In an artist statement she recalls the pain of being pitied by adults and mocked by her peers. By the age of 13, however, the brace was removed and her teeth corrected and she left behind that “ugly girl.” It seems impossible that Black, now the owner of Miss Bizio, a couture vintage clothing shop in the Stockbridge neighborhood of Edinburgh and partner at Black Appointments Executive Search, could be ugly or pitied. Relatively new to professional photography, Black has already been shown at the Rencontres d’Arles (2015) and the International Photography Awards (2014).
In “Black Teeth White Heart,” Black takes intensely close photos of her body that, while pinpointing her physical idiosyncrasies, leaves you feeling like you are gazing on your beloved. Reminiscent of Dora Maar portraits by Man Ray in the 1930’s, many of her black and white photos capitalize on Black’s ability to be completely at ease in front of the camera while simultaneously executing the shot. Others are developed to include shadows and graininess and, at times, seem to allude to the many x-rays that Black must have undergone throughout her childhood. Her color photos are more playful and sexual, accentuating her mouth and parted lips. Close photos of her staring eye feel more medical than voyeuristic and her toes a reminder of our fragility.
While “Black Teeth White Heart” covers a lot of photographic ground, the core of the piece, an investigation into beauty, comments on the singular perfection of our features.
Photographer Lynn Lane captures dancing spirits in a series of haunting photographs. These site-specific images were created to evoke the history of the Wynne Home Arts Center, a 19th century mansion located in Huntsville, Texas, 70 miles north of Houston. Wynne is now a performance and gallery space and its history serves as a counterpoint to the contemporary works it exhibits.
Imagining what life must have been like in a small town over 100 years ago, Lane collaborated with dancers in capturing photographs that invoke the memory of the past inhabitants of Wynne House while also utilising the unique characteristics of the house as a backdrop. Stairways and attics provide opportunities for the dancers to tell stories while floating in mid-air.
These photographs, developed specifically for site specific project were created in collaboration with NobleMotion Dance choreographers Andy and Dionne Noble, lighting designer David J. Deveau, and dancers: Alexis Anderson, Mark Chaves, Jennifer Mabus, Brittany Thetford-Deveau, Tristin Ferguson and Travis Prokop. Lynn and Dionne co-choreographed a dance in response to the work that was performed in the gallery space as well.
Based in Houston, Lane works primarily in the arts shooting performance as well as documentary and fashion work for designers. He is the official photographer of the Houston Grand Opera and has worked with opera companies across the US and dance companies around the globe. His work is regularly featured in magazines and newspapers internationally including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Opera News, Dance Magazine and many more.
Milan-artist Thomas Cian merges portraits with nature in his highly detailed drawings. Utilizing graphite and marker, Cian captures delicate expressions in his subjects which range from indifferent to melancholy. His ability to render life-like images of birds, flowers, and landscapes into these portraits create surrealistic drawings that speak as much to the likeness of the subject as it does to their mood and circumstance.
Cian’s skill and style allows him to create works in his sketchbook quite quickly. One example is a highly realistic sketch of a man in front of his computer which was captured by time lapse video, found here. Completed in thirty-minutes, the clip illustrates Cian’s drawing method and his ability to compile very specific details even within the constrained space of a Moleskin. (via artfucksme)
Additional images of Cian’s work can be found at Behance.
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg uses DNA extracted from items like chewing gum and cigarettes to create three-dimensional portraits. For her project, “Stranger Visions,” Dewey-Hagborg collected discarded trash from the streets of Brooklyn, New York and sequenced them at a biotechnology lab. Through this process, she was able to isolate specific DNA strands, which helped her unravel the ethnic-gender identity of the past users. She used that information to create a sketch of what each of these people might have looked like. This information was then relayed via three-dimensional printer into the final hanging works.
As an information artist, Dewey-Hagborg is interested in the intersection between technology and art but her work is more complex than that. Through “Stranger Visions” Dewey-Hagborg confronts the impossibility of privacy. If even the smallest bit of rubbish can detail what we look like, what else could be used to expose us to the world at large? Is DNA the identity theft problem of the future? (via Design Faves)
Juan Ford uses duct tape to piece together a post-apocalyptic world. By connecting elements like sticks, “fragile” tape, leaves, chains, and sports gear, his paintings foreshadow a future where nature and plasticity merge as human beings fight for survival.
Ford’s paintings are a combination of solitary figures and haphazard geographic markers that point to an existence imagined in futurist novels and sci-fi movies. The figures, whose survival gear is a collection of protective pieces and camouflage, are both stoic and pleading, and we are urged to decipher the identity of each one via the costume they have assumed. Branches wrapped in tape indicate a fragile political boundary that time and weather cannot guarantee.
Ford is trying to extend traditional painting into a genre “as relevant as the most cutting edge contemporary art,” but these works become even more powerful in an installation environment. For ArtBasel Hong Kong (2013), his exhibition space was covered in a large panoramic forest scene. With works hung on top, this photographic backdrop starkly differentiates his hyperrealistic paintings and asks us to step between a real and imagined chaotic world. His Mildura Palimpsest Biennale show (2013) had works hung on black walls surrounded by primitive hunting tools.
Ford considers the outcomes of a fragile and politically intertwined existence. His images, which seem to lack meaning in their arbitrariness, present a poignant and uncanny unity to a world that we may not live in yet but is not too difficult to imagine. Ford lives and works in Australia and was recently awarded a New Work Grant by the Australia Council for the Arts. (via booooooom!)
Tables designed by Alexandre Chapelin make having coffee at the beach everyday a reality. By carving slopes into travertine and adhering layers of blue resin, his tables provide a home to what appears to be lapping waves on a sandy beach – transforming your morning coffee into a tropical vacation. Saint Martin-based, LA Table produces one of a kind tables forged with found objects and resin in order to give purchasers unique pieces that reflect their personal curiosities and desires. (via Colossal)