A seemingly unlikely source of inspiration for contemporary artists, figurative sculpture has a long history. From the classical figure sculpture of Greek antiquity to African Yourba figurines artists have always had an inclination to depict the human form. Meeting the challenges of making such an old tradition new and relevant, these contemporary artists re-imagine the human form.
Contemporary master Jim Dine, often categorized as a pop artist, appropriated from art history. He selects icons, such as the Venus de Milo, to re-contextualize for a modern audience. Nathan Mabry draws from archaeology, Dadaism, surrealism and minimalism. He makes references across the art historical timeline, “crashing,” as he calls it, multiple aesthetics together. Interested in the impact of historical and mythological events on our collective consciousness, Katy Schimert creates sculptures that feel like they might have walked out of history. Fascinated with surface, Schimert uses her mediums to make the forms feel new, evoking a unique kind of introspection. Kevin Francis Gray’s work addresses the complex relationship between abstraction and figuration. He combines Neoclassical sculpture with an urban aesthetic. Fernando Botero is a Colombian artist who creates sculptures depicting people and other figures in large, exaggerated volume. The overstated features are meant to be humorous and generate political criticism.
Charlie Engman is a New York-based photographer who looks to capture everyday elements that have been stuck together in new and bizarre ways. The Oxford University graduate came to photography late, but his photographs show a true talent in bringing an air of surreality to the everyday. More of his work can be seen below.
Marbled Reams is a print project initiated by Tom Godfrey in the UK in 2009. The idea was simple: Produce a single 11.7 x 8.3 inch work and photocopy it onto an entire ream. The reams are then marbled along one edge and displayed in a stack. The result is a miniature monument that consists of 500 multiple works of art. The project has grown and these days new reams are produced on a bi-monthly basis featuring guest artists. The faux marbling enhances visual impact and lends a sculptural quality to the editions.
Brooklyn-based artist Julia Dault manipulates tangible materials, such as plexiglass and formica, to form site-specific sculptures shaped into giant cylinders and held by rope. Although she has also created a series of oil paintings, her sculptures are particularly captivating for their transient quality, as they seem to be almost collapsing in both time and space; this element of time is key to her work as each piece is named after the time stamp of its creation. More after the jump.
Acclaimed photographer Gregory Crewdson is a master of creating creepy scenes that have an air of mystery, violence and drama about them. He sets his images in small town America, but not as we know it. He presents scenes laden with loneliness; scenarios that are surreal; moments that are unnerving. Taking stylistic cues from Steven Spielberg, David Lynch and Diane Arbus, there is a strong narrative to Crewdson’s work. He repeatedly visits certain locations and waits until a particular moment presents itself in his mind’s eye, and then he tries to represent that as accurately as possible.
His photos are moments of people in a strange sort of limbo, or some state of reflection, all bathed in a dramatic, cinematic light. A woman lies submerged in a flooded living room, it isn’t clear whether she is dead or contemplating what went wrong to cause the disaster in her house; a young girl sits up in bed at night time, either going over some sinister, violent plan, or deciding whether her nightmare was real or not; a woman stands in the middle of an empty street, taxi behind her, door still open and driver waiting. All of Crewdson’s images are filled with heavy subtext, something that is left unsaid. He talks about the mysterious worlds he creates in an interview with The American Reader:
I think that’s really kind of a beautiful point, that at the core there is something very childhood-like about the whole activity of building and constructing a world. My mom just recently reminded me that I used to build these little miniature worlds outside at our country house and populate it with little figures. That whole thing about trying to create a world – there’s something very connected to childhood and reverie and daydreaming and fantasy. (Source)
See more snapshots of his dreamlike worlds after the jump. (Via We The Urban)
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