Marta Soul’s alter-ego unapologetically kisses 18 different men in the photography series “Idilios.” The red headed protagonist moves from idealized scene to idealized scene engaging in a single kiss with a different suitor each time. Soul says on her site, “immediate satisfaction is found in the kiss. It is the begin[ning] and end[ing] of the entire narrative scene and it is the iconographic element of the image too.”
It is true that the kiss is the central role of the series. Soul poses the lovers with their back turned towards us, bodies entirely choreographed, masking their expressions. Perfectly dressed and suited, the kiss is the only thing we know about the lovers, aside from the incredible wealth demonstrated by their scenarios. With these gestures, the passion between them is concealed from us and allows us to imagine the story between them.
In some ways, the saturation of colors in these passionately distanced and stylized environments are reminiscent of a 1950’s film. They might provide us with the possibility of Hollywood romance: exquisite clothes and remarkable vistas. But, more aptly, the unidentified lovers offer us a paperback romance experience where we can transfer our own fantasies into a world that does not exist outside a creative director’s imagination.
Christopher Chiappa has been casting sculptures of eggs in plaster for the past five years and now they have taken on a life of their own. His work,“Livestrong” uses 7,000 eggs in a gallery installation and makes us wonder if we should be worried about an imminent egg invasion or if he’s simply putting egg on our face.
The pieces, which are the outcome of countless drawings and photos, have been painstakingly attached to Kate Werble Gallery (NYC) and look like an infestation climbing down walls, oozing across floors, and dripping from ceilings. But the Gallery provides us several ways to access the significance of the work, not all of which include a perilous plague. Perhaps the eggs are the energy of a large group, a non-threatening crowd, a recommended high-protein “Livestrong” recipe, or a nod to the “this is your brain on drugs” advertising campaign.
Mayan Toledano uses evocative photographs of adolescent girls to show the melancholy of burgeoning womanhood. Combining glittered rainbow and unicorn imagery with loneliness and frustration, Toledano takes us behind a nymphette’s bedroom door. Toledano along with her collaborator Julia Baylis originally used these images as a way to document and design a more “girly” aesthetic that was suppressed in fashion school. In an interview with Elephant, Toledano expresses her desire to incorporate playfulness in an otherwise serious and drab world. This resulted in “Me and You” an online store where you can buy sweatshirts, stickers, cell phone cases, and “feminist” cotton underwear. She says, “we [Toledano and Baylis] both feel that something is lacking in today’s fashion world and we wanted to start something that felt more inclusive, safe, and inviting, more celebratory of our girlhood and femininity.” But while Toledano documents the growing pains of these girls, and issues like body consciousness and eating disorders, she is also a shadow to their emerging sexuality and many of the voyeuristic images are uncomfortable to look at. But, even with those things said, Toledano asks us to imagine a less complicated adolescence with best friends and large sunglasses, sitting on the bed, daydreaming, waiting for the phone to ring.
Quotes taken from: Elephant, Issue 25, Winter 2015 – 2016.
Julien Previeux’sPatterns of Life uses dancing lightsabers to reveal the simplicity and power of gesture. This 15 minute video is a highly choreographed work whose opening section uses light to uncover the essence of human movement. Dancers wired with lights illuminate the darkness and reveal the simplicity of movement.
Part galactic warrior and part neon sign, the dancers fill the space with the linearity of their limbs punctuated by shining spheres that add curvature and depth to their geometry.
But this is just the beginning of Previeux’s exploration of the intimacy of gesture and its implication in a world shared with others. Through what looks like a strenuous eye exam, Previeux demonstrates that eye movements have the power to reveal our thought patterns and perhaps betray our inner world to those who observe us carefully enough.
Also compelling is Previeux’s fascination with walking patterns and our natural tendency to follow the same paths again and again. By mapping the route of a young Parisian woman, where she works, where she lives, and where she goes to school, one of Previeux’s dancers uses tape to create a three dimensional model. Once mapped, her movements, which were assumed to be open and carefree, seem controlled and confined.
Patterns of Life switches between time frames and points of view. In doing so it presents us with various choreographed vignettes. Narrator Crystal Shepherd Cross guides us tranquilly through the intellectual terrain with ease so we can enjoy the grace that is Previeux’s work.
Julien Previeux’s Patterns of Life can be seen at DiverseWorks, Houston, Texas, in “What Shall We Do Next” until 19 March, 2016.
Cuba’s 3,570 mile coastline, nestled in the Caribbean Ocean has seen everything from glamorous vacation resorts to the horrors of revolution. But as Cuban artist, Yoan Capote shows us in his Isla (Island) series, the heart of Cuba is her relationship to the water.
Capote’s collection of canvases illustrate the beauty and turbulence of the sea. He says,
“the sea is an obsession for any island country .. it represents the seductiveness of dreams but at the same time danger and isolation.”
In the Isla series, Capote captures that feeling by utilizing fishhooks to create texture and density on his large canvases. At first glance, the works seem to be made of heavy oil but upon closer inspection you see that each wave in his ocean scape is an individual fishhook that has been painstakingly painted and nailed into place by Capote and his team. Layer after layer of fishhooks creates a physically dangerous work. If you aren’t careful, it could stab you. Capote says, “I wanted to use thousands of fishhooks to create a surface that would be almost tangible to the viewer upon their approach.” Accomplished.
The result of this intense work is not only the undulating motion of the sea, but it is a comment on Cuba’s situation, more generally. The fishhooks are a symbol of Cuba’s fishing trade and they illustrate its perilous borders but through this work Capote is also able to point to economic issues, emigration, and political isolation thus evoking a shared sense of uncertainty about the future of the country.