Paul Rucker’s Provocative Artwork Takes Back America’s History Of Racist Imagery And Symbols

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KKK robes recreated, bullets shot on purpose on white paper, a video pointing out the current incarcerations and lynching images depicted on a throw.  Paul Rucker’s exhibition is comprised of texts, a video, quilts, textiles and installations. All with the aim to tell stories that will shock, question and reflect on America’s police violence. According to Paul Rucker, it’s an ongoing process, hence the title of his exhibition: ‘Rewind’.

The artist’s vision is plural. The exhibition translates a dramatization of how the history of racism is affecting our present lives. The Klan robes are made out of new fabrics to strike and draw curiosity. He is using powerful symbols of racism to lead our current society to communicate and debate. His subjects are intentionally provocative.
When he stitches killing images on throws that are originally suppose to bring warmth and comfort, he is deliberately choosing to oppose two major elements: life and death.
In a ten minute video, he represents the 2.3 million people currently imprisoned on a map. The use of different color make the rendering visually more effective and speaks a greater deal to the eye.

Another series consists of shots on pieces of white paper. They are created with a pistol and are named by the city and date of the event. The artist runs a series of statistics and unveils that a number of unarmed individuals were shot by the police. Once again Paul Rucker wants to make a visual impact. Instead of explaining and narrating a story, the shots on the white papers create tension. It’s an effective summary of a thousand words.

The purpose of this exhibition is to make a clear testimony on what has happened, is happening and will, undoubtedly happen again in the future.
Paul Rucker’s ‘Rewind’ exhibition is displayed at the Baltimore Museum of Art until November 15th 2015. (via huffington post)

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Ted Lawson’s Eerie Sculptures Question The Meaning Of Identity

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Ted Lawson’s figurative work actualizes difficult concepts of physical identity. His work both strips individuality from his subjects while simultaneously forcing character through implications of the viewer, and therefore, complicating the very meaning of identity.

For example, in his piece titled, Eve, referring to the bible’s first woman, he depicts the cycle of a mutating female figure based on her weight. In this work, Lawson juxtaposes bodies with hanging flesh riddled with cellulite against ones simply constructed of skin and bone. The piece forces the viewer to formulate his or her own opinion of which body is the correct body. Or rather, which body correlates to which type of identity. When reflecting on this piece, the viewer is faced with his or her own interpretations of the same woman. It is then that a more interesting question is posed; does this piece prove that physical appearance identifies who we are, or, does it question the importance of the body— is our physical appearance, perhaps, arbitrary to who we are? Is this woman not the same woman in each representation?

The same questions are raised in his piece The Death of Narrative. There we find a naked woman laying, as if posing for a Renaissance painting, perhaps a Venus. However, instead of being surrounded in objects, hues, and sentiments that would then create allegory, this figure is encompassed with a pastiche of plastic objects. She is not grounded in space or time. She has no history, no narrative, and therefore, no implemented meaning. When observing a subjectless subject, one cannot help but to create purpose; it is human nature to understand through vehicles of narrative and history. Thus, by placing a being in a certain trajectory of non-meaning (the artist describes his work as existential), meaning is then inevitably created due to the human brain’s need for association.

Ted Lawson’s work constantly plays with identity not only through narrative, but also through the its relation to art history. His titles are always referential, if not playful. Even in the means by which he makes his work, sculpting through digital technology, is a manipulation of the tradition of his medium. Lawson’s work is a contemporary interpretation of classic quandaries, however, perhaps his work poses more questions, rather than attempting to answer. (via Empty Kingdom)

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Mary O’Malley’s Sea Creature Encrusted Pottery Mimics Our Daily Fight Against Nature

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Mary O’Malley is a New York based potter trained in traditional English and Japanese techniques. Her work is primarily an ode to her craft and an homage to her childhood spent by the sea. However, it is also structured around delicate binaries involving the human need to search for beauty. She states:

“The technical difficulties I began to encounter when enveloping the service ware with ferocious and unforgiving aquatic life got me thinking about a common need we all have to control our own representation of beauty. There is so much fastidious control involved in creating each one of the Bottom Feeder pieces, but with ceramics there is always a margin for error, and some degree of control must be sacrificed. The composition of barnacles and crustaceans populating each piece, the way the iron oxide discovers every nook of the creatures I’ve created, the way the tentacles warp in the firings, etc., is always a surprise. I’m never exactly sure how anything’s going to turn out.”

She fuses different modalities, both literally in her potting techniques as well as what each form represents. The more classic aspects of porcelain, the cream white tea pot, the gold rimmed vase, correlates with a more tamed, predictable side of life. These pure little moments of calm crafting are then overtaken by octopus tentacles, barnacles, and coral, representing the aspect of chaos the is inevitable in everyday life. She explains:

“This play between total control and inevitability has sustained my interest and attention because it mimics life in so many ways: we try our hardest to compose the aesthetics surrounding us—from the buildings and environments we live in to the way we dress and present ourselves. Our daily fight against nature is a fruitless pursuit, yet one we never seem willing to abandon. I find this play between forces endlessly challenging. The dance that results from trying to find a balance between what we can control and what we cannot is where I believe true beauty lies.” (Via Colossal)

Dustin Yellin Densley Collaged Lifesize Figures Are Beautifully Suspended Between Layers Of Glass

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Glass boxes reveal human silhouettes made out of drawings, newspapers and discarded cutouts of images. Dustin Yellin, an artist based in New York, piles up layers of glass sheets and ripped up medias. It took up to 6 years for the artist to complete this work initially produced for New York City Ballet’s annual Art Series. He was influenced by the movement and the discipline of the dancers.

The artist’s work consists on drawing on slides of glass. He collects newspapers, magazines and cuts out heads and shapes he finds interesting to apply to the character he is working on. He only depicts humans. By stacking up the collages, drawings and the slides of glasses he creates a “window sandwich”. The 3D silhouette designed in the end is poetic, colorful and up close extremely creative. He calls the series of his 12 characters, “Psychogeographies”, or archive in the shape of humans.

His purpose is to redefine the insides of individuals. In order to bring humans together and to evolve together towards a brighter future, we need to make one.
He claims that countries, borders and religions are not relevant when it comes to human kind. Instead of being divided by external elements, Dustin Yellin believes in exchanging as much as we can before the world of differences we produce and live in collapses. (via High Fructose). 

Livia Marin Ceramics Melt Away Into Beautiful Puddles

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Artist Livia Marin’s Nomad Patterns is a series of classical ceramics depicted in a most unconventional manner. Her representation of the destruction of ceramics is fascinating in the sense that she has chosen to use melted ceramics rather than breaking, chipping, or shattering them in the way they are known to do. In this sense, she has brought a sort of silent, unconventional destruction to the ceramics in her series.

The fascinating aspect of her work lies in the way the ceramics are being destroyed. She merges the ideas of “care and ruin” by making it difficult to distinguish whether the ceramics are being destroyed or put back together.The fluidity of the melted ceramics and the way that the patterns are maintained add a touch of surrealism to the series. The physically impossible nature of her project as well as the aesthetic aspects of her work make for an original merging of physics and art.

In this sense, her work reaches beyond its artistic capacities and underlines the artistic aspects of physics as well as the merging of science and art. Marin’s work merging of the notions of restoration and destruction also provides a reflection on these two notions, which are, in her work two sides of the same coin.

Choi Xooang Depicts Hyperrealist Human Sculptures To Extract Collective Emotions

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Naked hyperrealist sculptures made out of polymer clay. South Korean artist, Choi Xooang, uses the human naked body as a mean to express pure emotions. The artist doesn’t represent his personal state, he is trying to extract collective emotions.

Choi Xooang manipulates the outcome of his sculptures, enabling us to relate faster to the point he is making. It’s easier for most of us to connect with a human body than a painting, or an abstract sculpture. The characters are bold and skinny. Attributes that accentuate our vulnerability. The artist, by using these shortcuts, has us standing in front of his pieces with all our fragility and our compassion at the surface.

The purpose of Choi Xooang is twofold. He is presenting his humanistic vision of the world. Human emotions are the only thing that were given to a man and a woman apart from their social status in a capitalistic society. Therefore, he has chosen to show through his art, the most intense and dark emotions an individual can come across such as fear, sadness, desire, sexual tensions and relationship confusions. If this process is not clear when facing the sculptures, the realization that something is touching us deeply eventually happens.

We might not know exactly what it is. The weird combination of animals and humans, the poses of same sex characters, the suggestive poses and the non expressive stares have us reflect internally. We are seeing in this sculptures what we are feeling inside. It might not be obvious at first, and we might not know what detail sold us out, but we are. (via Juxtapoz).

Miniature Movie Sets Crafted With Such Detail You Won’t Believe Your Eyes

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As crazy as it may seem, there was a time when computers did not exist. Before the days of digital manipulation tricks, also known as CGI, the magic of the movies was created by hand. Instead of “copying and pasting” in explosions and aliens, hundreds of artists would gather to create miniaturized life-like movie sets. These sets would then allow filmmakers to generate a larger-than-life type scene on a more manageable sized scale. They act as little doubled false realities, that on film, become truths.

The crafted preciseness of these rooms are absolutely spectacular. As you peek through the models, you’ll find an endless amount of detail that will leave you in awe. Not only are the replicas life-like through spot on accuracy in scale and space, but each room has carefully selected fixtures and decorative touches, grounding them in time. With windows that look as if they have had their own personal histories, kitchens fully equipped with tiny utensils, a library thats perfectly slight disorder allows it to seem genuinely used, these miniatures truly own their connected to reality. What further enhances the believability is the way light floods through these places, positioning them in certain moments of day a certain time of year. To think about the amount of work and craftsmanship that used to go into the production of a film is mind-blowing.

CGI has completely changed the nature of what it means to make a film; something that was once a collaboration of artists and craftsmen talented in skilled labor, now falls to a man behind a machine. These sets are a reminder of how much we have truly changed, how our association with the word skill has moved away from a physical sense and has fully been relocated to a cyber one.

You can find over 100 of these look-a-like rooms and over 300 props at the Musée Miniature & Cinéma in Lyon. (via Web Urbanist)

Plant Sculptures Reflect Complicated Relationship Of Human Beings With Nature

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French artist Emeric Chantier’s recent series of plant sculptures provides a strong reflection on the place of human beings in nature, as well as our role as both internal and external elements of nature. His series of plant sculptures depicts skulls, weapons, and human faces amongst others. The striking way he has put together his work in both inspiring and terrifying in the way that it illustrates the gentle balance of man and nature, as well as our role within nature and the struggle of equilibrium between manmade objects and the environment.

His work is put composed of dried plants, combined with industrial and household items held together with molding and glue. His combination of materials makes for a very visual depiction of the merging of man and nature. The carefully knotted branches in the sculptures form winding masses of matter in a way that looks almost painful. His pieces including industrial materials translate the deep melancholy associated with the suffering and destruction of our environment and the ways in which we impact our environment.

His use of the skull and the heart in his work also brings in another level of symbolism in the tradition of still life paintings. Here his work addresses the beauty and tragedy of nature as related to death, as in the ends she delivers, and the ends we bring to her. The three dimensional aspect of Chantier’s work really brings the urgency of our deteriorating relationship with nature into the foreground.