Brooklyn based painter Alexandra Rubinstein‘s paintings of women in orgasmic moments are beautiful, sensuous and a little bit kitsch. Reminiscent of some over-the-top romance novel illustrations, her paintings are full of women with blue eyeshadow, novel earrings and big hair – kissing, moaning, or caught in the moment of climax. Even though they are a little bit 80s, her paintings focus on an important, modern day feminist issue – the women’s perspective during the act of sex. The series Looking for Mr Goodsex is a series of small sexy vignettes inspired by vintage porn films, in particular the well known ‘Deep Throat’ movie.
The artist explains more about her work:
Inspired by the title of the 1985 movie, they highlight the shots taken of women’s faces – which are less emphasized in contemporary videos. This disparity questions progression in sexuality and value placed on female pleasure as pornography became more accessible and mainstream. The portraits also explore the emotional states of the women in these films. (Source)
While they seem at first to be quite superficial, cheesy and perverse, Rubinstein’s paintings are a celebration of coitus. She has managed to capture moments of tenderness and enjoyment, even though the source from which they come from is something that usually isn’t so sentimental.
While the styling and acting portray a romanticized version of reality, the faces suggest more honest emotions like vulnerability and withdrawal – left up for interpretation of the viewer. The series evolved into stills of male faces, as well as kissing stills. (Source)
“Para-para Dancing (Great Empire of Japan) vs. Break-dancing (America)”
Tenmyouya Hisashi is a Saitama-based artist who infuses traditional Japanese art with non-traditional media (mostly acrylic paint) and images from modern life. Calling his work “Neo Nihonga,” Tenmyouya seeks to renew the relevance of Japanese-style painting by portraying old motifs through a modern lens, thereby celebrating a long history of Japanese culture and artistic tradition. Among his images are samurai playing soccer, armor-clad animals, and a Japanese/American street “dance-off.” His work is also informed by contemporary cultural theories and critical thinking; for example, in “Japanese Spirit #3,” a man wearing a traditional tsuna rides a motorized skateboard. This painting “draws upon and amplifies the stereotypes foreigners hold of Japan and was intended to be viewed by a foreign audience” — hence the odd mix of traditional Japanese imagery with high-tech apparatuses (Source).
In 2010, Tenmyouya proposed a new art concept called Basara, referring to an aestheticization of defiance, extending from the “outlaw samurais” of the Nanboku dynasty era to the youth subcultures of present-day Japan. Exploring this trend through neo-traditional Japanese art unravels assumptions about a conservative and subdued cultural history (Source). Basara is also a response to enculturation from the West — the inflow of Western culture and media that immensely influenced Japanese life. As written on his website, Tenmyouya seeks through his art to bring back the vibrant “sun” in Japanese art, where before it was relegated as the passive “moon”:
“Basara aims to reverse traditional values in order to restore the fertile light of the sun that originally characterized Japanese art. It is at once an attempt to claim back through relativization within Japanese art—rather than by comparison with the outside—the diversity that it is supposed to abound in so much more.” (Source)
Using up to 30,000 volts of electricity, artist Dries Ketels tries to capture a quality usually unseen in most portraits. His latest series, called Our Souls Captured in the Electromagnetic Field is an exploration of the human condition. He says by using a unique combination of different chemicals, painting materials and electricity, he is able to capture something more about his subjects. He wants to go deeper into their psyche, and to reveal something about people that is usually unseen. In the process he has come up with some pretty striking images.
He raises some pretty interesting questions while trying to reveal the working of our inner selves:
What is this soul or this character of an individual other than a bunch of electromagnetic interactions in the brain of that individual? What is the most important thing that a portrait should grasp? Are our actions, that define us as a human being, more than electromagnetic interactions? (Dries Ketels)
Ketels also makes the connection in his images between the patterns formed from the lightning and veins in the body, or synapses in the brain. He links the macro-world to the micro-world; the external universe to our internal one. The young artist is interested in new, exciting and innovative methods and ideas:
For a few of my series around realism I leave the traditional realism behind and present the reality of realism. One of the most important attitudes that helped me developing a relaity of realism and becoming what I am is the simple act of going left when everybody else is going right. It’s the only way to discover the new and push the boundaries forward. (Source)
To see more of his boundary pushing art, see here.
Stefan Siverud is a Swedish hobbyist who has been giving snails fun custom shell designs. Humorously titled Snailpimp, his project includes shell upgrades depicting everything from rainbows, to spikes, to popular logos; snails resembling sharks, Pac-Man, volcanoes, and McDonald’s advertisements populate his endearing and slimy collection. Since 2010, Siverud has been uploading photos of his beautified, living creations onto his blog, providing amusing backstories with each one. Some of his works even derive from social and political matters: the pirate snail, for example, is a marker for the Piratpartiet (Pirate Party of Sweden). This snail was painted the day after the party won a seat in the EU parliament.
The made-over snails in the photographs seem unperturbed, moving along in their indifferent way and attending to their usual business in the garden. However, some people may suggest that the colorful new hardware could endanger the snails; for example, it might make it difficult for them to maneuver if the shell has been physically modified (such as the one with the lighthouse fused to it), or it could mean they become more visible to predators. Siverud, however, has his best intentions for his mollusk companions. He uses non-toxic paints that will not harm the snails’ sensitive and porous bodies. In addition, the bright colors may also prevent people from stepping on them. In this way, Siverud’s project is one aimed at appreciating the lives and uniqueness of our tiny invertebrate friends.
What do you think of Siverud’s snails? Comment below, and be sure to check out more photographs of the Snailpimp project after the jump. (Via My Modern Met)
“Chojun (Zhang Shun),” from Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Zhang Shun in the White Streak of Waves” – from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden (2014).
Otokogi (Chivalry), from a Matsuri (festival) (2013).
Otokogi (Chivalry), from a Matsuri (festival) (2013).
“Kaosho (Tattooed Priest),” from Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Lu Zhishen, the Tattooed Priest” – from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden (2014).
Takeshi Haguri is an artist from Nagoya, Japan, who creates incredibly detailed wooden sculptures of traditional figures from Japanese art and culture. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Haguri created series of works depicting musicians, “Yankees” (delinquent Japanese youth), and melancholic outlaws. His more recent works, featured here, are modeled after traditional prints from Edo-period (1603-1868) Japan, such as Toyokuni Utagawa’s “Kauraiya: Portrait of an Actor on Stage” and Kuniyoshi Utagawa’s “Lu Zhishen, the Tattooed Priest” from the 108 Heroes of the Suikoden. In a current series titled Otokogi (meaning “chivalry”), Haguri features a cast of men wearing fundoshi (undergarments) while standing proudly and wearing masks of traditional creatures and characters, such as the long-nosed tengu and clownish Hyottoko.
Several of Haguri’s works are covered in beautifully painted tattoos in the style of traditional Japanese art: dragons coil around torsos, koi fish arch over shoulder blades, and sakura bloom across arms and legs. Created by Haguri’s apprentice, Miki Nagasaki, the tattoos signify an interesting reversal of 2D and 3D art; instead of woodblock prints on flat surfaces, Haguri’s wooden sculptures transform the traditional images onto dynamic, wooden “bodies.” Drawn from the rich archives of art, myth, and cultural memory, these characters (and their tattoos) can be viewed and appreciated from all angles. By exploring tradition through a different medium, Haguri reinvests age-old images and artistic practices with his beautiful and contemporary style. (Via Sweet Station)
It’s a never ending summer inside Dan McCarthy’s world. The mirage created by the blue ocean and the red flesh of the bodys on the beach, captivates the eye which is enticed to stare at the warm nuances that the painting is offering. The “dreamscapes” are liberating.
The artist is not only is a painter, sculptor, messenger; he is a poet. Through his art, his desire is to create a memory. The details don’t have to be remembered; the viewer leaving with a feeling of freedom and comfort is the optimal destiny of his work.
The barely dressed women and men are expressing personal emotions and allowing the viewers to feel their fragility. Accessorized by fish, birds, mountains and rainbows they encourage a dialogue in the direction of nature and the world at large. The props such as a guitar, skateboard and surfboard are symbols used to reiterate location; these devices lead the viewer to fill in the gaps based on other clues like paint handling and materiality.
Dan McCarthy works quickly by rinsing and blotting thin layers of washed out pastel tones, allowing the paint to drip down the canvas. It’s a process based largely on intuition and working within the moment. He is stripping it all down to the essential basics, trying to let the sunshine in.
He recently started to work on ceramic sculptures that he calls Facepots. Wanting to express emotion, attitude and humour in his work, he chose faces as an obvious starting point. As Dan Mccarthy once remarked: “I’d like to include in my work something of the living spirit, something positive that can be taken away and built upon by a viewer. Certainly more a feeling than an attitude or ideology”.
Julio Le Parc is the precursor of op art. Originally from Argentina, he moves to Paris, France after his art studies to discover what the city has to offer. Today, he is displayed next to Vasarely’s immersive art pieces. The artist uses fourteen pure colors to create combinations on its paintings. This starting point allows him to work around real movement, multiplication of images, transparency, coloring, space and light. Experimentation is how Julio Le Parc likes to work, that includes making mistakes and taking risks. In another black and white series where he uses spray paint he is looking to experiment with multi surfaces, dynamic visuals and different levels of shades.
Behind the numerous studies of light and movement there is a need for Julio Le Parc to search for a shortcut between the creation of a piece and the experience of the viewers. By rejecting psychology, his aim is to reach the mass with no third party involved. He is taking his political message, his “general analysis of the situation” directly to the eyes of the viewers. He condemns the government method to impose its vision and to leave aside the ideas and opinions of the people. Ideally, he wants a new method to acknowledge ideas wether it’s by a State or an art gallery. For Julio Le Parc, people don’t appreciate art in its time and that’s the fault of galleries and museums imposing their opinions and deciding who will be the next “famous and hot” artist instead of letting the people decide.
Julio Le Parc’s art pieces will be displayed this week at Art Basel and sixty of his work will be printed on silk scarves in collaboration with Hermes.
Josh Jefferson is a Boston-based artist who paints and draws raw, coarsely layered, and geometric portraits. Viewing the face as the locus of emotion and individuality — as well as a mask we shape to convey our identities — Jefferson’s rough-yet-sophisticated style allows him to represent the structures of the face while simultaneously exploring the symbolic interiority of each portrait; with loose and boldly-colored brush strokes and layered washes of paint, Jefferson gives each portrait a constructed superficiality as well as a deeper, visible core: translucent shapes become thoughts floating around inside a skull, eyes sink into deep vortexes, and mouths smile and grimace all at once. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Jefferson described his style and motivations:
“What really gets me excited is when I see a painting that seems effortless — when an artist has confidence and it appears that the painting came about like one fast whiplash, a slaphappy moment. If I could convey that feeling of loose abandon and control I would be happy. The distortions and geometric interpretations in my drawings and paintings act as structures for me to build on and react to. I kind of need to repeat things to find their meaning, and the structures help with this process.”
Just as our emotions shift, fluctuate, and blend together, Jefferson’s imaginative-yet-structured portraits manifest the complexity of inward experiences — experiences that may seem abstract or unreadable to anyone not enduring them personally. As Jefferson strives for that balance between “abandon and control,” there is a distinct sense of chaos and order, childhood lightness and adult stoicism; shifting between semi-transparent shapes and bold lines, Jefferson’s faces invite and repel us. In showing the imperfections amidst an otherwise bold exterior, the portraits allow us to view identity as a careful construction — a facade — over a complex and vulnerable personal world.
Jefferson’s works will be featured at Head First, an exhibition at the TURN Gallery in New York City running from June 24th until August 16th. The gallery will be hosting the opening reception on the 24th from 6-8pm. Check out Jefferson’s website to see a larger collection of his work.