Here are the last three in B/D’s series on cut paper.
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We’ve been long time fans of Wendell Gladstone’s work since we first featured him in Beautiful/Decay Magazine Issue: T. Last week Wendell opened “Cave to the Grave”, a solo exhibition of new paintings at Kravets/Wehby Gallery in NYC.
In Cave to the Grave, Wendell Gladstone debuts a new series of paintings that depict the life of a man from his youth through his death. Referencing the allegory of Plato’s cave, the story begins with a boy immersed in darkness and continues to trace the boys’ life after he emerges from behind the curtain. Gladstone uses a collage sensibility by mining ideas and images to create his own fabricated myths. His paint handling is also diverse, a wide range of techniques are employed from very thick geometric hard edge areas, to subtle mists of airbrush, to organic veils of transparent stained color.
This past Sunday I headed out to the Music Box to see Die Antwoord. By my previous posts you know that I’ve been into the group’s videos, but I wondered if they held up on a stage with a few thousand fans. It’s too soon to tell if the group is just the flavor of the month or a powerhouse that will hold the attention spans of youth for years to come, but I will say that I enjoyed every minute of the show from beginning to end. Not only did they sound great but these guys are simply bonkers. With only a simple backdrop and crazy costumes that look like homemade Halloween costumes they managed to tear up the stage. Here’s a few photos and thoughts from the show….
Great animation for Flogging Molly‘s Float. Can’t find much about the directors other than they are Kami & Saul. If anyone has a site for them please post it.
For photographer Ellie Davies, the forest is her studio. Her images are an immersive mix of realism and heightened fantasy. In a mossy clearing, for example, galaxies have been interposed with the landscape like clouds of will-o’-the-wisps, while elsewhere, stars resembling flaxen particles drift down in a column, illuminated by the sunlight. Her landscapes are not only places of mysticism and beauty, but of darkness, as well. Fog and clouds drift amongst the trees like ghostly breaths expelled from the twisted, bronchiole-like branches. In one particularly haunting photo from Between the Trees Triptych (2014), skeletal trees flank a spectral cluster of mist.
Whether glowing bright or cast in shadow, all of Davies’ images reveal a reverence for the forest, as well as her intimate understanding of the way such landscapes have manifested themselves in our cultural imaginations. As she writes in her Artist’s Statement:
“UK forests have been shaped by human processes over thousands of years. […] As such, the forest represents the confluence of nature and culture, of natural landscape and human activity. Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In recent cultural history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious.”
And it is true; all of these cultural legends, practices, and traditions have made the forest — indeed, “nature,” as a concept — a construction, a story we tell ourselves to try and understand our individual connection with it. We imagine the woods as a symbolic place of “elsewhere” and “otherness,” and this cognitive distancing allows us to romanticize it, fear it, and/or exploit it.
Davies wants to confront us with these fictions “by making a variety of temporary and non-invasive interventions in the forest, which place the viewer in the gap between reality and fantasy” (Source). She creates her scenes in what she calls “small acts of engagement [that] respond to the landscape” — she builds things, creates pools of light, incorporates craft materials such as paint and wool. As I read it, the images have several effects. They resonate with our fantasies about the forest, but at the same time, we recognize their construction, which helps us to perceive that our cultural relationships to the forests of the real world are also constructed. In unveiling such narratives, Davies’ work encourages a more ethical connection to the woods: we recognize “reality” as a series of stories that have been told to us, we sense that we are not truly separate from what we call “nature,” and we accept that we can never fully understand it — an acknowledgment that fosters both respect and peaceful coexistence.
Beth Livensperger’s painterly canvases are full of confusingly convincing visual miscues. Fluorescent lighting, mirrors, and expanses of reflective glass complicate vision by blinding, doubling, and flipping what we see. Livensperger uses these illusions in ways which prompt the question “what exactly am I looking at?” She makes us pay attention to places we would normally ignore, like store fronts, wood shops and laundry rooms. In the process bringing us into a one on one confrontation with our sense of sight.
Beth Cavener Stichter uses animals in her sculptures as metaphors for the irrational world humans have trouble tapping into. As sculptures of animals, we’re encouraged to feel more directly what we see the animals going through, more so than we would with a human being whom we would try to supply with a narrative context. This is part of the problem Beth is trying to deal with,to get us to embrace the unconscious and irrational parts of our existence instead of repressing them in order to assert our Humanity. The artist explains:
“There are primitive animal instincts lurking in our own depths, waiting for the chance to slide past a conscious moment. The sculptures I create focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms. On the surface, these figures are simply feral and domestic individuals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface they embody the impacts of aggression, territorial desires, isolation, and pack mentality. ”