Paul Kaptein Questions Notions Of Substance, Emptiness And Temporality With His Wooden Sculptures

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Australian sculptor, Paul Kaptein creates unusual but skillful wooden sculptures that question our ability to look past missing pieces in the bigger picture. Kaptein, interested in the Buddhist term sunyata (Sanskrit word for ideas of emptiness as a way to achieve wholeness), integrates (and questions) notions of substance, emptiness, and temporality into his highly skilled pieces of wooden work.

By seamlessly incorporating empty gaps (usually long empty rectangles) into busts and entire recreations of human bodies, Kaptein imposes the viewer with questions as to why these pieces are missing. The simple fact that viewers will directly and promptly question this characteristic first, further enables Kaptein’s interest in challenging the viewer’s resistance, and/or apprehension to accept something that is not complete. The main idea  here relies on getting the spectator to react to Kaptein’s work for what it is: seamless, beautiful wooden sculptures that happen to be missing a piece or two.

It can also be said that these gaps are indicative of conceptions of time:

I’m exploring the notion of the now as a remix of past and future potentialities. This facilitates a renegotiation of perceptual truths resulting in an expression of things not quite truth, yet not quite fiction.

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You Will Fall In Love With Sam Grant’s Catchy Vintage Inspired Paintings

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Sam Grant, an American painter and photographer, creates incredibly catchy, humorous, and colorful pieces that are pop and vintage inspired.  The vibrantly-colored imagery vibes with intensity,  grandeur and witty observations; his collage-like compositions create a visual interplay between surreal elements, pulp imagery of the mid-20th century, and contemporary culture.

Though Grant’s paintwork is incredibly realistic, he still renders his subjects and settings with a whimsical appeal. Often paired with words (comic book style), his paintings reference several characteristics of contemporary culture; from texting to ideas of love and beauty, Grant covers it all in a subtle and comical way that, together with the vintage imagery, will make you wanna go back to the simpler times.

If you live in Oakland, California, you will have the chance to experience these pieces in person. Starting in March 7th,2014, Grant’s work will be on view at Loakal Gallery‘s Double Vision, a show inspired and completely devoted to/by Grant’s work. Double Vision will be up until April 1st, 2014.

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Christina Bothwell’s Fantastical Glass Creatures Will Inspire You

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Christina Bothwell, an American artist, is creator of all things weird. These fantastic yet strange beings (Bothwell’s sculptures) are both creepy but inevitably inspiring. Bothwell’s intriguing sculptures invite the viewer to imagine fantastical worlds; ones where these weird creatures could potentially exist in.

Most often made from cast glass and clay, her made-up creatures are sometimes fitted out with found objects that serve as limbs and other body parts. The glass allows for a more ethereal, surreal feel; it also allows for a soft light to radiate through the figure, simultaneously revealing beauty yet the imperfections found within the glass. This aspect of the work is representative of Bothwell’s interest in notions of vulnerability and childhood innocence. Christina states that her ideas are in many ways autobiographical; the pieces certainly arise from what is going on in her current adult life, or what has gone on in her early childhood. (via Feather of Me)

Robert Mapplethorpe’s Early Polaroids, 1970-1975

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Robert Mapplethorpe, the timelesss American photographer most active in the 1980’s, was mainly known for his highly stylized black and white flower series. However, his most iconic and prolific works, various series of photographs dealing with homoeroticism and sadomasochistic BSDM acts between men of diverse cultural backgrounds, fuelled national debate in the NSA over the public funding of controversial artworks.

Some of these photographs, made visible by The Mapplethorpe Foundation, were part of his first solo gallery exhibition, ‘Polaroids’, at the Light Gallery in 1973.

Mapplethorpe quickly found satisfaction taking Polaroid photographs in their own right and indeed few Polaroids actually appear in his mixed-media works. Two years after his Polaroids exhibition, he acquired a Hasselblad medium-format camera and began shooting his circle of friends and acquaintances—artists, musicians, socialites, pornographic film stars, and members of the S & M underground. He also worked on commercial projects, creating album cover art for Patti Smith and Television and a series of portraits and party pictures for Interview Magazine.

Polaroids © The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation (Via Vice and The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation)

Ji Yeo Questions Female Beauty With Photo Series Of Women With Eating Disorders And Hollywood Models (NSFW)

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Brooklyn-based photographer Ji Yeo  creates Somewhere on the Path, I See You, a project in which the photographer captures two different types of women: one with extreme self-regulation and distorted notions of beauty that suffer from eating disorders, and the other women are aspiring actresses and models living in Hollywood, California, who are interested in the process of being represented because they carry dreams of fame.

By carefully selecting various body and personality types ,Yeo creates a sample of photos (and people) that further examine larger societal issues regarding ideas of beauty, self-definition, and self-respect.

By forcing viewers to confront images of women who by definition had been judged continuously by themselves, it brought focus to the viewers natural impulse to judge. In doing so it implicates them in the complex relationship we have with making aesthetic judgments.

Russian Propaganda Posters Reimagined As Pro-LGBT Campaign

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Russia, the post-Soviet country that is currently hosting the 2014 winter Olympics, has arranged for some pretty illogical legal action to be taken against LGTB groups in its nation. It has caused many to burst into protest and some have been detained as a consequence of various peaceful attempts to showcase discontent.

In the midst of all of this, a tumblr page by the name of Pride Propaganda, takes a different and quieter yet effective approach to all the protests.  In efforts to adhere to the pro-LGBT agenda, PP transforms vintage Soviet posters into brightly colored displays of men, women and children waiving and wearing rainbow flags. The familiar images of Young Pioneers,  working men and loyal mothers (all symbolism for the confining ways of Soviet Russia) take on entirely new meanings when cloaked in the vibrant rainbow flags that we’ve come to associate with the global pride movement.

Participate in the protest by hastagging your tweets #PridePropaganda. (via HuffPost)

Melissa Zexter’s Intricately Embroidery Covered Photographs

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Brooklyn based artist Melissa Zexter combines photography and hand-stich embroidery to create layers of narrative and texture in a unexpected and colorful way. Zexter, an MFA holder in photography, redefines her practice, as she creates a new artistic concoction that provides more context in the already-narrative medium that is photography. The use of embroidery is a reaction to the photographs themselves, a way to overexagerate or emphasizes different aspects of the images.

For me, sewing was another way to build up a surface and to build upon the content of my photographs. I loved the meditative process of sewing – it was in such contrast to the technologically more immediate art of photography. The combination of sewing and photography brought together two very different processes that I love. The use of embroidery is a reaction to the photographs and is a process that aids in the transformation of identity of the person or place being photographed.

Some of the photographs she uses are digital prints and others are gelatin silver prints that she make in a darkroom. The thread, which she uses to compliment the images, primarily acts as a connection between the person/place captured in the photograph and the artist herself.

I always think of the photograph as something from the past and the thread as a reaction to the past and present. The thread makes the photograph more personal to me and allows me to meditate on the image. Combining the two mediums (photography and sewing) allows me to reinvent the photograph; to visually react to a person or a place.

(via Textileartist.com)

Adrain Chesser Photographs Of The Reactions Of Loved Ones The Moment He Tells Them He Has Aids

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In his latest series, “I Have Something To Tell You”, Adrain Chesser uses his own illness, AIDS, in order to catalogue the pure, raw emotional reactions of his friends and family as they are told the terrible news . The Florida-born photographer, snapped portraits of his loved ones moments after he shared this life-changing information.

“When I thought about having to disclose my illness to my friends I would panic, which didn’t make sense, because I have an amazing group of friends who are all very loving and supportive”

Filled with a series of genuine reactions ranging from shock to panic to sadness, Chesser’s loved ones do not hold back. The beauty of this project relies on these subjects’ faces- most which reveal intense, unfiltered emotion. Chesser had long used photography as a method of interpreting and understanding his own emotional life– a “spiritual practice”, he calls it in a interview with Huffpost. The images, past and present, served him as tangible memories that later aide him to further understand past mistakes, or hidden victories. In this case, Chesser uses the camera as a mediator-a placeholder between two entities that feel broken, yet bonded by a painful experience.

Chesser believes that the diverse reactions of the 46 different people he photographed (without their prior knowledge of the project) reflect each individual’s personal experience with death and illness. He remembers everything from tears, to laughter, stoicism and confusion after confessing his diagnosis. (via HuffPost Arts)