Londoner Petra Storrs is not just a set, prop, and costume/fashion designer– she’s an artist who collaborates with performers to transcend ideas beyond the ephemeral and into a sturdy cult of fantasy. The “reflective mirror dress” she designed for Paloma Faith, for example, not only sharpens the singer’s playful theatrical identity, but further investigates this concept of “the gaze”. In Dazed and Confused Magazine, Faith elaborates on the intention, “Obviously, as a performer, I am normally the observed, but I wanted to flip that dynamic around and make the audience the focus.” Storrs response, of course, was to whip up a garment that literally does just that.
But it’s not just creative camaraderie that gets Storrs’ juices flowing– she also finds inspiration from everyday objects and history, or everyday objects that hold history such as . . . tea. Camellia & the Rabbit, her latest design endeavor (collected here), involves performance artist Rachel Snider, who uses “tea as a central motif/metaphor” and a narrative “like sea shanties” to interweave “historical facts and stories of tea”– thus, evoking our own personal relationship to this British afternoon tradition.
London-based artist Oddly Headdepicts classic films in his series titled Hollywoodland, but it’s all with a dark(er) twist. Using iconic scenes and images from the likes of Poltergeist, Jaws, and The Wizard of Oz, he interjects different narratives. The drowned Statue of Liberty in Planet of the Apes is still but in Oddly Head’s telling it overlooks happy beach-goers. Likewise, celebrity Simon Cowell’s face appears on the Poltergeist TV rather than its original eerie glow.
By stripping the shocking/memorable parts of the original scenes, Oddly Head takes some luster away from Hollywood. Instead, he’s made them seem trivial, silly, and completely changes the tone. Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music suffers a distressingly-painful fate and is hitched to crosses. This much more sinister than its mostly-cheerful tone. Singing in the Rain also has the same treatment. As Gene Kelly belts out his the lyrics, a homeless man sleeps next to a graffitied door. Hollywoodland is part absurd and part amusing, and will definitely make you look at these films in a different light.
If you enjoy Oddly Head’s work, check out his intricate prints made from thousands of tiny vintage images.
The works of artist Marco Grassi are so realistic, they appear to be photographs of women. However, his work is not your traditional portraits. If you look again, these portraits have an offbeat element, creating surreal characteristics that cannot possibly exist in real life. Because Grassi’s incredible skill in painting allows him to create such hyper-real images, the out of place component in each painting is our only clue to these being oil paintings and not photography. The artist impeccably renders such a variety of texture; until we believe we can feel the glossy, sleek glass and the soft fabric the women are wearing in Grassi’s work. Even close up, you can see the details of each wrinkle, pore and eyelash of every woman he paints, intensifying the illusion of reality.
The twist is, the women in Grassi’s paintings are not normal, they have a hand covered in intricate patterns or a blue tree stretching across their upper torso, both like glowing tattoos on their bodies. One woman even has a design carved into the skin on her back, revealing not blood and bones, but hollow darkness. However strange these unexpected details may be, the women in these portraits remain just as beautiful and realistic as ever. Despite the unusual, serial quality Grassi’s paintings have, they still appear believable. We are left in awe believing in these striking, mysterious women, not knowing why they look as they do. (via Hi-Fructose)
One of my favorite artists Ai Kijima will be having a solo show at 212 Gallery in Aspen August 1st. More info about the show after the jump and if you love Ai’s work you can still get a copy of Beautiful/Decay Issue: R which features a full length interview with Ai about her pop culture infused works that are painstakingly sewn together from various fabrics.
Ethan Cook lives and works in New York. He utilizes dye and pigment to create large abstractions that are both earthly and galactic. The press release from a May 2012 exhibition at Ed. Varie in NY states that “Cook’s current body of work is a continuation of his interest in representing time and space through the exploration of traditional craft and process. Through an additive and reductive process of dyeing, bleaching, boiling, painting, folding and staining, the materials Cook employs become a part of the canvas’ weave. The canvases are worked, dried and reworked again and again to completion, resulting in an indexical manifestation of it’s own history.”
Manifest Destiny! is a temporary rustic cabin occupying on of the last remaining unclaimed spaces in downtown San Francisco. Positioned above and between well established city buildings the tiny cabin can be seen affixed to the side of the Hotel des Arts, floating above the restaurant Le Central like an anomalous outgrowth of the contemporary streetscape.
Created by Jenny Chapman and Mark Reigelman, Manifest Destiny is a commentary/critique on the unwavering perseverance of San Francisco’s early settlers. During the mid 19th century, as the eastern United States became over-crowded and expensive, the West offered limitless possibilities for those willing and able to make the journey. The drive to seek new possibilities and establish a better life at any cost is the conceptual motivation for this project. See more photos of this piece and some installation shots after the jump.