Erik Parker was preparing for two solo shows, one in LA, and one in Fort Worth, when I visited his studio in Brooklyn. Parker is known for making large scale paintings that are as comfortable with their roots as they are disorienting with their forms and spaces. First you get a hug, and then a slap. He said he wanted his paintings to still look good 40 years from now. By reorienting Modernist and Pop sensibilities, and then almost using contrapposto to create a balanced but expressive distortion, Parker was remixing some old school classics — like flower still-lives– into something fresh. His LA show is at Honor Fraser and opens on October 30th, and the Fort Worth show is at the Fort Worth Modern and opens on December 5th, and is curated by Andrea Karnes.
This beautiful series of portraits is part of Sylwana Zybura aka Madame Peripetie‘s award-winning photographic book project, Dream Sequence. The strange, but intriguing and striking aesthetic derives from Peripetie’s varied influences- from surrealism and film, to ideas of beauty and the sublime, this project covers it all.
It is hard to categorize the project; because of its extensive preparations, it extends itself to Avant- Garde fashion, performance and art photography. The most impressive thing of all here, is that the subjects were shot in-camera with minimal retouching involved during the post-production period. The body painting, prosthetics, wigs, unusual 3D make-up techniques and other props were the characteristics that made this project as special as it is.
The series was initiated in Germany and originally styled and conceptualized as a solo project. I continued the project in London, where I have worked and developed its visual nuances with a regular team who have constituted the core of the project – stylist Stella Gosteva, and make-up artist Marina Keri. In addition, I have collaborated with a variety of eminent up-and-coming designers from the leading Fashion and Art Schools in Europe. It is the involvement and donation of these unusual and beautifully crafted pieces that have crucially contributed to the creation of the final images
British artist Tom Phillips released the first edition of A Humument in 1970. To create this stunning book, Phillips illustrated and/or collaged each page of a found Victorian text – WH Mallock’s A Human Document – leaving parts of the original text exposed and uncovering a new story line with a new protagonist named Bill Toge, whose name appears only when the word “together” or “altogether” appears in Mallock’s original text. Of the text and his project, Phillips says,”It is a forgotten Victorian novel found by chance …I plundered, mined, and undermined its text to make it yield the ghosts of other possible stories, scenes, poems, erotic incidents, and surrealist catastrophes which seemed to lurk within its wall of words. As I worked on it, I replaced the text I’d stripped away with visual images of all kinds. It began to tell and depict, among other memories, dreams, and reflections, the sad story of Bill Toge, one of love’s casualties.”
Over the years, Phillips has revised and replaced pages of the text, resulting in updated editions. The most recent 5th edition was published in 2012. In 2010, A Humument made its digital debut as an app for the iPad and iPhone. Assisting in its develop, Phillips is very pleased with his work’s transition to the digital realm. For Phillips, a bright screen enhances his illustrations, lending them a glow his pens and paints couldn’t achieve, “almost like church windows at times.” After Phillips started working on the book in the 60s, he dreamed that it could one day be used as an oracle. Forty years of technology later, Phillips’ dream has been realized, and he’s become his own consumer: “Each night after midnight I consult, somewhat furtively (even though alone), the Oracle I have made. I’m often surprised by pages made long ago and almost forgotten, as well as by the sometimes uncanny predictions they offer their maker.” (via the guardian)
A mesmerizing, surreal experience awaits anyone entering the Japan Pavilion at this year’s Venice Art Biennale. In a stunning installation called “The Key in the Hand,” artist Chiharu Shiota has filled a room with webs of red yarn. Suspended from the ceiling, the yarn is tied together so densely that it filters out the lights above. Hanging from the mass are over 50,000 keys collected from people all over the world. Like dark, frozen drops of rain, they appear to spill from the stringy red “clouds” into two weathered boats below, creating a dual sense of breathtaking movement and suspended time.
Despite their seemingly simple utility, keys are intimate objects that we all carry to keep ourselves—and the things we love—safe. Invested with our deep trust and passed between hands over time, keys symbolically bind us together. The Curator’s Statement for “The Key in the Hand” eloquently describes this further:
In our daily lives, keys protect valuable things like our houses, assets, and personal safety, and we use them while embracing them in the warmth of our hands. By coming into contact with people’s warmth on a daily basis, the keys accumulate countless, multilayered memories that dwell within us. Then at a certain point we entrust the keys, packed with memories, to others who we trust to look after the things that are important to us. (Source)
The keys represent a collection of human feelings, while the yarn visualizes their immaterial connections across time and space. Furthermore, while far removed from their international owners and original purposes, the keys also embody emotions and memories on a transcultural, transnational scale, as they are webbed together without perceptible distinctions of race, class, gender, or nation. As all the keys fall perpetually into the same ancient boats (which are described as “two hands catching a rain of memories”), Shiota’s installation beautifully visualizes a global form of connection spanning borders and generations. (Source). As the Curator’s Statement movingly concludes:
I look forward to watching as The Key in the Hand, an installation that forges a link between a space made up of keys, yarn, and two boats, and photographs and videos of children, transcends national, cultural, linguistic, and political contexts, and emotionally arouses countless visitors from all over the world. (Source)
Heather Benning refurbished an abandoned farmhouse built in the 60s and turned it into a life-sized Dollhouse in the style of the era. Her project began in 2005, as she remade the house to be used, re-shingling the roof with recycled shingles, restoring and furnishing the house, and stood open to the public until 2013. She removed the north side of the building, and replaced it with plexi-glass, to look like an authentic children’s toy. When the building was no longer structurally sound, Benning – who has already planned for such an event – burned it down. The resulting images of the 8 year long project are lovely, although I’m sure seeing the thing in life would be much more exciting!
Benning grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. It has profoundly influenced her practice. Rather than installing in urban centers, as is the general practice of sculpture and installation artists – because, you know, there are more people to see your work – she installs in rural settings similar to where she grew up.
Benning speaks about her relationship to farmhouses:
I grew up on a farm in Saskatchewan. I was affected by my surroundings; when I was young, my parents would give me disused farm buildings for “play-houses.”
There was also an abandoned farmyard/house about a mile through the field on some land my father worked. In the summer months and on weekends, I would spend days exploring this yard and house, imagining what it was prior—who the people were, make up stories why they left. My sister and I would play “pioneer” based on the tales our grandmothers told us.
(Article and quote via Canadian Art)
Wayne Gilbert doesn’t just paint your average minimal iconic paintings? His painting process involves mixed REAL human remains into his work. I’m not sure if he’s visiting the local funeral home to pick up a bag of dust or taking bones and pulverizing them to mix into paint but he definitely gets the “creepiest art material” award for 2011. Check out the rest of his work after the jump.
Jim Callahan is a multi-talented creative who lends his bold pop-icon vibrant graphic style to a potty-mouthed vision of vulgar humor and the macabre. His humorously outlandish take on his subjects disarms their gritty gore visuals of exploding skull & brains, guts and the spray of blood. James Callahan also runs his own fledgling deck company: Nowhere Skateboards, and has illustrated comics, such as Strange Detective Tales and Rotting In Dirtville. He is also responsible for the DVD covers to the daybyday films, among art for piles of records, CD’s, shirts, toys, posters, and beyond.. James was interviewed in issue: D of Beautiful/Decay magazine and designed the three-dimensional stunner “Barf 3d” for Beautiful/Decay Apparel- which featured, of course, a three-dimensional skull puking a cacophony of vile beasts. Most recently he contributed the mind-blowing (no pun intended) graphic “Kersplat” that shows someone’s brain literally exploding from reading B/D!