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Aphte’s Secret Cavern

Secret Cavern

Secret Cavern, a.k.a. Aphte (who’s secret real name is Daniel Abensour, a Frenchmanguy), has a unique illustrative style. Whimsical and sometimes deceivingly morbid, Secret Cavern applies wonderful details to each work of art.

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Wolfgang Laib Makes Art With Yellow Pollen Fields

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German conceptual artist Wolfgang Laib creates his installations from natural materials displayed in very unnatural ways. In “Pollen from Hazelnut,” Laib collected pollen from the area around his studio for over 23 years. In the gallery, he carefully sifted the rich yellow powder into a saturated rectangular field. He says,

“I wanted to have this very intense, concentrated experience … with the pollen. So, the meadow with flowers where I collect the pollen is something very different from how you see it here, a real concentrated experience without any distractions, nothing else.” (Source)

Traditionally, conceptual art is primarily concerned with ideas—aesthetics are mainly disregarded. Laib’s pollen fields are unusual in that they have a strong conceptual basis, yet they’re also lovely and striking. The geometric shapes, as large as 380 square feet, have been described as a “vast luminous field of color” and “a blanket of pure pigment.”

Interestingly it is in the collection of the pollen and the amassed pollen itself where Laib finds the most meaning. The sifting onto the floor is almost irrelevant to him. This exchange is from an interview in The Journal of Contemporary Art

Ottmann [interviewer]: Your pollen pieces are for sale. If a collector wants to own one how exactly does that work?

Laib: He buys three jars of pollen and it’s his choice of keeping it in the jar or to get rid of his furniture and spread it out on the floor.

Ottmann: Would you go to his home and do that?

Laib: Yes, but of course I would be even happier if he would do it himself.

Some critics of the work are concerned with Laib’s “waste” of natural materials. This is not a concern for Laib, who, although he works with natural materials, does not consider himself a naturalist. It’s important to remember that the pollen is gathered by hand over a long period of time, not mass harvested, denuding the environment in one obscene swoop. From concept to exhibition, every aspect of Laib’s work displays patience, precision, and peace.

Read more about Wolfgang Laib on PBS’s wonderful Art21 website and look out for his episode airing soon!

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Macroy Smith

Macroy Smith

Macroy Smith is a 23 year old graduate from Brighton University specializing in design, illustration and screen print (and maybe the use of blue and pink inks in his color palette?). He founded People of Print, a free online library of contemporary printmakers.

Craig Ward Typography

craigward1I am by no means a typography or design buff. I have heard at length discussions on Helvetica and whatnot- don’t ask me, I definitely used Comic Sans back in highschool to make my Pug Fans of the World website. Lol. Maybe I wasn’t that bad. Anyways, while perusing one of my favorite websites, FairSpot (an amazing directory for new creative talent) I came across Craig Ward. I really liked some of his takes on typography- like above, a weird silly string metal record looking layout that seems to vibrate. More creative solutions below. 

 

HUH. Magazine

HUH. magazineHUH. Magazine is a new free zine coming out of the UK. The color newsprint showcases some pretty neat art and photography from all around the world. You can find the dope zine in bookshops and galleries in London, NYC, Stockholm, Paris, and Chicago. Plus if you order it online, all you need to pay is postage. Pretty legit.

Arie van’t Riet’s Colorized X-rays Emphasize Natural Beauty

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Arie van’t Riet became an artist by accident. As a medical radiation physicist, van’t Riet experienced first-hand the technological developments in quality image x-rays. One day, a colleague asked him if he could x-ray one of his art paintings. van’t Riet had never done anything like that before, but found that it worked and became curious about what else he could x-ray. Starting with a bouquet of tulips, van’t Riet found that the image resembled a black and white negative. After digitizing the image and using Photoshop to color the image, people began to tell him that he was creating art, and the rest is history. van’t Riet refers to these stunning images as “bioramas.”

“Looking with X-ray eyes to nature. That’s what I like to experience with my X-ray camera. I prefer X-ray objects of ordinary scenes like a butterfly nearby a flower, a fish in the ocean, a mouse in the field,a heron along the riverside, a bird in a tree and so on. Each time it is challenging me to arrive at an X-ray photograph that represents the sentiment of the scene, do raise questions and excite curiosity.”

van’t Riet relates his incredible journey and his artistic process via this TEDxGroningen talk from October of this year. (via my modern met)

Francesco Albano’s Melting And Grotesque Body Sculptures

Francesco Albano

Francesco Albano

Francesco Albano

Francesco Albano

Francesco Albano‘s human body sculptures drip, melt, hang, and often appear to be boneless – even the work primarily featuring bones is distorted and lumpy. Working with wax, polyester, latex, iron, and other materials, Albano sculpts shapes and contortions that render the erect and boundaried body flaccid and grotesque.

Albano is “interested in and influenced by a wide range of subjects from philosophical, mystical and spiritual arguments to scientific theories, from psychological studies to real life stories. Albano uses skin and bone as a critical and personal tool of expression to focus on the effect of societal pressures and psychological violence on the human body and collective conscience. More than an inner envelope the artist defines the human skin as a limit and an identity, that interacts with outer world.” He’s lived in Istanbul since 2010. (via my amp goes to 11 and galerist)

Per Johansen’s Grotesque Photographs Of Meat Stuffed Into Bottles

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For the photographer Per Johansen’s new series, the artist shoots plastic bottles filled and overflowing with raw and bloody meat, exploring human consumption and calling into question the ethics of the meat industry. The project, titled Mæt (meaning Full) uses recycled plastic bottles to stand in for the human stomach and appetite; each is then stuffed with chicken, eel, sausage, liver, fish. When viewing this disturbing and probative project, viewers are forced too to consider the morality of using a once-living being in art; if the work makes a statement against cruel techniques in meat production, is it then exempt from the same ethical criticism?

Shot under expert lighting to reveal the textures of the dead flesh, each image reads like a scientific specimen, an objective and disturbing archive of meat production. The stomach-turning images are hard to look at; like organisms preserved in jars and formaldehyde, the meat products look less like food and more like grotesque captives. Their biological beauty is expressed through the ridges of a snail shell; a compressed cephalopod fleshes emerald hues, and the shiny metallic glint of scales presses against the cruel plastic. A pair of eel eyes appear deadened, and an eel mouth seems to open in a silent scream, a head thrust from the bottle neck.

Here, the human appetite for meat is shown as wasteful, the stomach equated with the plastic bottle, an object associated with careless consumption. The work’s website asks viewers, “Are you full now?” This idea brings us back to our initial question: is it humane to use meat for creative purposes, or is it degrading and wrong to use once-living organisms in such a way? Does the answer change when the work is meant to protest human gluttony and the grotesque nature of mass meat production? Let us know what you think in the comments! (via Feature Shoot)