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Could Retro Stefson be Iceland’s Next Great Musical Export? Definitely!

I first saw Retro Stefson perform back in 2009 at an off-venue Iceland Airwaves party at a downtown clothing store in Reykjavik. The name of the store escapes me, but not the lasting impression this young band had on me. People were going crazy for this band I had never  heard of, so I immediately bought their CD and followed them around wherever they played. Three years later, I’m about to head back to Iceland and low and behold, they have a new record and video out and will most likely be one of the highlights of this years Airwaves festival. I challenge you to not bounce your head up and down while watching the video for their song Glow.

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Adam Gondek

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Keeping with my collage theme for today I present the work of Chicago based artist Adam Gondek. Am I crazy or do some of these have a Richard Prince feel to them? Maybe it’s just the naked ladies.

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Pavel Samokhvalov’s Provocative Day-Glo Nude Photography

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Photographer Pavel Samokhvalov captures intriguing images of the nearly-nude body set against day-glow neon lighting. The provocative photos feature models clad in see-through hosiery and whose bodies are bent and contorted towards the camera. Often, their faces are obscured by hair or poses. Samokhvalov will also only shoots part of the torso, zeroing-in on a small tattoo or glitter-covered nipple.

The photographer does a lot of editorial work, specifically in the fashion realm. His background is cinematography from the Moscow Film Institute, and this training can be seen in his work. The images tell a story, and each fuschia-colored background is one piece of a larger puzzle. They double as character studies, showcasing a product while at the same time providing subtle clues about the nature of the pieces and the people who wear them. (Via Scene 360)

Sarah Joncas, and Other Ladies of Distinction

Recent Ontario College of Art and Design graduate Sarah Joncas already has a distinct, characteristic style that has earned her several awards, as well as garnered the attentions of top galleries around the US. Her paintings often focus on a lone woman, drawing out her narrative in a combination of bold hues and shadowy tones. The themes explored in her works are at times dark but at other times quite whimsical. Currently, the Toronto-based artist is representing Canada in an all-female group show entitled ‘International Woman’ which can be caught at the UK’s Warrington Museum now through July 7th. Living on this side of the pond, as they say? Then check out the artist’s upcoming joint show with fellow painter Caia Koopman, opening June 16th at Thinkspace Gallery in Culver City, California.

Paul Brainard’s My Body is a Grave

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October 17

Walking up to the brick façade of an industrial NYC building, the rumble of a freight elevator vibrates through the entrance until it creeeeeaks to a halt on street level.  The gate lifts.  Paul Brainard pushes one foot down onto the bottom half of the freight elevator door so I can climb inside.  Genial and quick, he leads me through a warren of artists’ studios, every space is spilling over with the alchemical instruments of the artist: tools, canvases, and paint.  Nestled against a large window is Paul’s studio with a drawing table and painting shelf.  After a few pleasantries, he reaches into a plywood painting rack and rotates with a golden frame that catches the evening light in a bloom of yellow.  The drawing inside is so thick with gunmetal tone graphite it hardly resembles paper.  Underneath glass, some images are suspended like intricate seahorses, in a thought-space, thick and transparent, like gelatin.  Other images appear to dance languidly on the metallic ground. Paul talks briefly, painfully, about how both his parents passed away this year.  He shows me a tattoo on his arm from an old New England gravestone rubbing.  Everything, the language, people in his life, and images in his drawings, are appearing and receding like a tide.  Paul addresses this topic we all eventually face with a solo show, My body is a grave, opening October 6th at the Second Street Gallery in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Marco Gallotta’s Intricate Paper Cuts Portray People In Their Natural State

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New York-based artist Marco Gallotta uses paper cutting as a way to create intricate portraits that “portray people in their natural state.” A combination of linocuts, watercolor, and collages, the multilayered images feature frontal views of people who have decorative shapes masking their faces. Patterned flourishes, water-esque ripples, and clashing swirls appear front and center as they obscure any sort of realism and transform it into an abstract work of art.

Despite these different techniques and media, Gallotta brings them together in a harmonious way. Here, each layer seems to tell a different story. There’s often a photo beneath the artist’s hand cut work, but it’s what’s above it provides a conceptual look at who the subject is. It’s their essence, and these decorative adornments speaks to the complexities of who someone is – their perceived versus actual identity. (Via Lustik)

Andrew Sutherland

Luke Stephenson

Glue must be sculptor Andrew Sutherland’s best friend. Objects falling victim to its liquid strength are made from paper: New York Times’ made to look like a from cradle to grave stump of wood, cardboard cut out to create strange optical illusions, newspapers combined with thread and zippers for a lightweight sleeping bag.