New York-based artist Samantha Keely Smith paints abstract landscapes that resemble the swirling, unknown depths of the ocean. Although Smith’s work appear to depict real sceneries, she is inspired by inner worlds- precisely, by the energies and colors that mirror the flux of emotions.
“My images are not at all real places or even inspired by real places. They are emotional and psychological places. Internal landscapes, if you will. The tidal pull and power of the ocean makes sense to me in terms of expressing these things, and I think that is why some of the work has a feel of water about it. My work speaks of things that are timeless, and I think that for most of us the ocean represents something timeless.”
Working with oil paint, enamel, shellac, and large scaled canvases, the artist creates grand works of art that feature multiple translucent layers of color, soft but large and imposing brushstrokes, and sweeping gestures that evoke crashing waves, surging tides, and stormy floods. ( via My Modern Met)
Oakland based artist, Brendan Monroe, creates bizarre compositions that feature imaginary ‘moving’ landscapes and faceless, alien looking creatures that resemble the human body. Monroe takes inspiration from the study of science and his interest in existentialism and self-discovery.
His characters, often portrayed in purple and reddish hues, find themselves in these multilayered, remote landscapes that present themselves as chaotic, or always in motion. The stringy, cool colored worlds precisely double their existence as a wonderful yet confusing space. Monroe is also interested in presenting his funky characters the same way he does his landscapes, as intricate forms that are always in motion.
We can take Monroe’s aesthetic and conceptual approach as one that tries to visually explore what it means to be human in a world that is contingent upon the variety and complexity of our actions, state of mind, or simply the passage of time and the progress it brings with it.
Each is a way of looking at and figuring out life. It’s that human question of what and who we are, how we are here. I also like the emotion and feeling of discovery and also the solving of a puzzle that was not known before. I lean in the direction of sciences I think mostly because I was raised that way, and I like to do my own investigations and draw conclusions.
Tumblr sensation Mister Fungo creates funky, mind-bending gifs that vacillate between psychedelic and zombie inspired imagery. The bright colors, together with their mesmerizing movements, create a lively yet freaky vibe.
Japanese artist and leader of Harajuku kawaii culture, Sebastian Masuda, celebrated color and texture with his most recent, and first exhibition here in the US, “Colorful Rebellion.”
Last month, Chelsea’s Kianga Ellis Projects provided Masuda with the space to create a wonderfully weird, colorful wonderland that included plastic toys, bundles of fake fur, stuffed animals, and other accoutrements of manufactured cuteness. The installation was to be read as an autobiographical space, one that, through its many layers, compiled universal themes such as delusion and fate. The aesthetics of the piece takes from Masuda’s main passion, Harajuku fashion.
The installation included a “zone” for desire, the future, delusion, fate, wounds, and reality, with the seventh zone (a reference to the seven deadly sins), “entrusted in your hands.” Although there was definitely something a bit dark at play, the space, overall, exuded Masuda’s rebellious but lively ways of seeing.
The installation was up until March 29th, 2014 at the Kianga Ellis Projects in New York.
Laurie Simmons‘ recent show, Kigurumi, Dollers and How We See, Salon 94 Bowery in New York, features eerie looking photos of dollers (also known as Kiggers), a circle of Japanese cosplay enthusiasts (Kigurumi), who dress up like anime-style female dolls and wear their costumes out in public. The men and women involved in this fascinating ‘counter-cuture’ go to great lengths to suppress any lingering vestiges of their own bodies, wearing 360-degree masks, wigs, and full bodysuits.
Simmons gathers her own models and Doller costumes in order to create her own line of Kiggers.
Some of my cosplayers are men and some are women but they all portray female characters. I try to explore the psychological subtexts of beauty, identity and persona surrounding the assembled Dollers. At first I dressed them only in fetish latex, which seemed both doll-like and right for their identities, but it soon became clear that they needed to expand their repertoire and play dress up.
Along her collection of photographs, we see this odd juxtaposition between the inanimate and the living; how is it possible to be experiencing something both so fake yet so real all at once? It is that and more- Simmons’ gives these ‘dolls’ the opportunity to experience the phenomenon of the selfie (“Yellow Hair / Red Coat / Snow / Selfie” ) and an overall exposure to what is to be present, as something outside of the realm of the average human being, in the current world of self-promotion and its agenda (perfection, beauty, etc). “Might masking (becoming a Kigger, in this instance) be at least part of the appeal of contemporary forms of imaging and presentation of the self via social media?”, asks Simmons.
In the last decade the boundaries separating identity and persona have become increasingly blurred — as individuals ‘present’ their BEST selves to their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers. One tilt of the iphone can make the difference between a glamorous, funny or obscene selfie. I wonder about the fuzzy space between who “we” are to ourselves and the “we” that is invented, constructed and expressed using the readily available tools of the 21st century? Aren’t we all playing dress-up in some part of our lives?
Laurie Simmons: Kigurumi, Dollers and How We See in on view at Salon 94 Bowery (243 Bowery, Lower East Side) through April 27.
New York-based artist, Keren Moscovitch, attempts to explore the murky waters of open relationships through the lens of her camera. To do this, the artist relies on her own personal experiences with polyamory. The project began when her and her partner, in a monogamous relationship, decided to open their relationship up. Whether or not the decisions was made for the sake of this art project is unknown.
“I was confronted by jealousy and pain, but also got to experience a deep intimacy that I believe is only possible when we are fully vulnerable and exposed.”
The images, some of odd details of body parts, make up “Me into You,” a series of photos that shows out-of-sequence scenes of sexual encounters and romantic embraces. The choppy narrative obscures the the identities of the ones in the photos, resulting in a batch of visual chaos. By not knowing who is who, the viewer finds themselves caught up; essentially, they are having to do some guess work on who was in the original romantic relationship and who wasn’t. But, can that ever be known by just looking through these photographs?
“I wanted my work to show moments and views of the body that most of us experience in our erotic life, but that we aren’t permitted to acknowledge in casual conversation. If we are all sexual beings, we should be able to connect around that.”
The Nairobi-based artist, Michael Soi, was asked by The Center for African Family Studies (CAFS), a Nairobi-based international NGO, to work along their side in order to create an eye-catching condom line with pop art-inspired packaging to promote safe sex and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.
Soi is primarily known for his satirical commentary on socio-political issues (political impunity, greed and Kenya’s growing sex industry). Unafraid to shy away from taboo subjects like sex and interracial relationships, the artist was more than happy to collaborate with the NGO on this important project.
“I felt like everybody is basically trying to deal with this whole issue — HIV, unwanted pregnancies — and when I talk about everybody I mean the church is doing whatever they can, the government is doing whatever they can.I felt the project was a good thing. I wanted to try to chip in and create something that would help fight a good fight.”
Soi’s visual work offers a grounded and relatable aesthetic that engages with the targeted public in a very fun way; his subjects are modern, often interracial couples or young women drinking Tusker, a popular Kenyan beer brand. His “pop-art condoms” are meant to attract young buyers who might otherwise face social stigma.
According to CNN, the project is in its on its first stages, and they are asking for funding on Indiegogo. (Via CNN)
Korean artist Seungyea Park (also known as Spunky Zoe) creates these grotesque portraits that reveal the ‘Monstrousness’ caused by fear in our inner world. Park works with a detail oriented eye, with ball-pen and paintbrush at hand, she creates these monochrome, realistic paintings/drawings of bodies with abnormal characteristics (i.e extra hands and eyes, animal-human hybrids,etc).
Park describes her work as a study of fear. With a deep understanding of what fear means to the variety of people/characters she portrays , Park goes right ahead and gives these confining thoughts a vision. Furthermore, Park wishes to overcome her personal fears as well. Through her images, she manages to overcome avoidance and becomes completely desensitized by “facing monsters, or the true nature of fear itself.”
“Due to fear and horror being used as the most ‘universal’ and constant devices to maintain social systems as ‘injustice’, and consider them ‘enemies’. While regarding tabooed beings deviating from us as monsters. we ourselves become freaks. Monsters are everywhere.”