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Monica Rohan Paints Self-Portraits Being Swallowed Up By A Beautiful Vortex Of Patterned Fabric

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Monica Rohan paints realistic self-portraits where she is covered, buried, and engulfed in fabric. Although we see the artist portrayed in many different setting in her paintings, we can never see her face. Each of her subjects, all being representations of herself, hide their face in the mass of textiles. Rohan beautifully depicts different types of fabric, vivid in color and pattern. She is a master at bringing to life vibrant hues on different thread. Sometimes, there is no fabric in her paintings, but instead a sheet of grass or a plethora of flowers that stretch over the figure. Each sheet or quilt wraps around the figures, surrounding them as it moves across the composition. Although Rohan’s work appears lighthearted and playful at first, with frolicking and mischievous women, there is a level of anxiety present in her work. Each figures seems to be frantically attempting to hide their identity, almost desperately trying to hide. Mountains of patched fabric and colorful silk are swallowing up the artist’s likeness, sometimes consuming two figures at a time.

Monica Rohan, originally from Australia, is inspired by her upbringing in the remote countryside of Queensland. A sense of isolation can be felt in her paintings, as the only person present in her work is the artist herself. You can feel the artist’s emotions about to burst out of the many folds of the fabric as they create a powerful vortex of movement around her own self. (via Hi-Fructose)

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Ah Xian Sculpts Dreamlike Busts Flowing With Chinese Porcelain Designs

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Ah Xian is a Chinese-Australian artist whose beautiful porcelain busts explore the intersections between artistic tradition, cultural identity, and the body. Sculpting each statue in the likeness of his family members, Ah Xian paints over their dreaming faces with a cobalt blue glaze; tree branches grow across temples, flowers bloom over silent mouths, and necks and shoulders become geographies for mountains and lakes.

Drawing on an enduring fascination for the human form, Ah Xian’s creations exude a sense of mystery and otherworldliness, transcending history as embodiments of a living past: their very “skin” is made of materials used in traditional Chinese craft methods. Ah Xian’s intent, however, is not to show the disjunction between past and present, but rather how such heritages have ongoing relevance and meaning in the present-day world. As he states in an interview with Craft Australia:

When I think about human history and civilization, it always appears to be like a string: one extreme is old time and tradition; current and contemporary is the other. Interestingly, when we turn and join the two extremes together, it forms a perfect circle and creates a new language of art.

This is why I choose traditional materials and hand craft those materials; our ancestors have created and handed down to us such wealthy and brilliant art and culture heritage. Why don’t we use such a rich and meaningful deposit as our resources to develop and create our new art and culture? (Source)

When viewing Ah Xian’s work through a contemporary lens, there lies the potential criticism that his busts — like the porcelain vases that preceded them in the nineteenth century — evoke an imperialist form of exoticism; that is, just because they are objects of beauty, they speak to a tradition of cultural appropriation. Ah Xian, however, maintains that no matter what context in which porcelain is crafted, it is always a valuable and admired art form:

“Porcelain is beautiful and meaningful, not necessary just for meeting the exotic appreciation among some of the western people only, but for the whole human society, for every single human being, I believe.” (Source)

Ah Xian is based in Sydney, where he has lived and worked for over two decades. Check out Craft Australia’s fascinating interview with the artist to learn more about his work. (Via Lost at E Minor)

The Digitally Decaying Animals of Juan Travieso

Juan Travieso‘s work is a sort of contemporary nature painting.  His paintings of monkeys, bears, birds, seem to be falling apart into garbled digital information.  Travieso appears to be capturing the animals a moment before they degenerate into unintelligible pixels of color.  This could reflect an environment that is falling apart despite (or perhaps because of) constant technological progress.  Travieso captures a sense of urgency in the paintings, an irretrievable moment soon to pass.

10 LAST MINUTE GIFTS IDEAS!

Have you been putting off your holiday shopping until today? If so here are 10 great gift ideas from our shop that will not only make your loved ones ecstatic but will keep them inspired just in time for 2012!

Mark Benson

Sculptor and all around funny guy Mark Benson uses the readymade  to make us think about success, failure, and what it means to encounter both.

Alex Da Corte’s Dollar Store Art

Alex Da Corte is an artist who makes incredible sculptures and images out of what looks to be the items he finds in the dollar store. They’re reminiscent of Daniel Eatock‘s sculptures, but  with more of a fine-arts bend as opposed to Eatock’s design/humor approach. Not that Eatock isn’t a serious artist, or Da Corte is humorless, they’re just two ways of interacting with similar materials, both of which produced phenomenal results.  Rozalia Jovanovic gives a great description for the Gallerist:

“Mr. Da Corte’s work revisits the objects and fascinations we’ve left behind by using low-cost items the way Jim Hodges uses bodily fluids. However, while Mr. Da Corte references Abjection, and artists like Mr. Hodges and Eva Hesse, the approach is different.

“It’s kind of that romanticism with objects,” said Mr. Sheftel, “but in a different way. Rather than bodily fluids, [Mr. Da Corte’s] looking at things like shampoo. Shampoo is a really intimate substance. We put it on our bodies, it seeps into us. It gets under our skin. So it’s not really abjection, but it’s related—it looks at the things that are close to us now. It’s a different conversation when Alex is going to the dollar store in Philly and using that as his art supply store and looking at off-brand soda, shampoo, and low-level items that engage in a conversation about class and race.”

“I am attracted to these items for their accessibility,” Mr. Da Corte told Gallerist via email. “Despite their common place, they offer promises of escape and pleasure through smell, color and texture. Framing shampoo, removes its utility, allowing me to reconsider it as a voyeur and scientist.”

Mr. Da Corte’s upbringing also heavily informs his work. “There’s a Philly bent too, I think,” said Mr. Sheftel. “Looking in Fishtown, Philadelphia. He grew up in Camden and went to Philly for school.” Mr. Da Corte, who divides his time between New York and Philadelphia has an upcoming solo presentation at its Institute of Contemporary Art.”- Gallerist NY (via)

Brian Dettmer Uses Surgical Tools To Carve Intricate Drawings Into Old Books

brian-dettmer1 brian-dettmer2brian-dettmer11 brian-dettmer12New York-based artist Brian Dettmer’s sculptural, multi-layered books are so intricate that they require him to use surgeon tools in his process. He carefully carves illustrations and text out of old medical journals, dictionaries, maps books, encyclopedias, and more. Nothing inside of the books is implanted – pieces are only removed. The idea is that these subtractions will reveal new histories and memories now that the story and context has changed. Dettmer sees his work as a collaboration with the existing work’s past creators.

He writes about his creations, which are a comment on the changing landscape of technology. From Dettmer’s artist statement:

The age of information in physical form is waning. As intangible routes thrive with quicker fluidity, material and history are being lost, slipping and eroding into the ether. Newer media swiftly flips forms, unrestricted by the weight of material and the responsibility of history. In the tangible world we are left with a frozen material but in the intangible world we may be left with nothing. History is lost as formats change from physical stability to digital distress.

 

The richness and depth of the book is universally respected yet often undiscovered as the monopoly of the form and relevance of the information fades over time. The book’s intended function has decreased and the form remains linear in a non-linear world. By altering physical forms of information and shifting preconceived functions, new and unexpected roles emerge. (Via Demilked)