Cristina De Middel brings a striking beauty to space travel in her series The Afronauts. Her series is based on the aspirations of Edward Makuka Nkoloso – a 1960’s Zambian school teacher who wanted to land his countrymen on the moon before the United States or the Soviet Union. Nkoloso was openly mocked, even by journalists. Through his story, the series’ pleasant imagery gives way to more serious underpinnings. De Middel says:
“The images are beautiful and the story is pleasant at a first level, but it is built on the fact that nobody believes that Africa will ever reach the moon. It hides a very subtle critique to our position towards the whole continent and our prejudices.”
Artist Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen combines something that we’ve seen many, many times throughout the history of art – figure painting. But, he does it with a contemporary approach. His moody paintings feature partially obscured people as they rest beneath the water. They are just below the surface of the dark, deep pool, and the light from their bodies is all that’s visible.
According to Uldalen’s artist statement, his work, “…explores the dark sides of life, nihilism, existentialism, longing and loneliness, juxtaposed with fragile beauty. The atmosphere in his subject matter is often presented in a dream or limbo-like state, with elements of surrealism.” Although these figures are rendered realistically, they rest in a void with little additional visual information. We can’t be sure of where they are or what brought them there. And, for some, if they are dead or alive. It’s this open-ended narrative that gives drama to Uldalen’s paintings, and the hauntingly gorgeous images are the kind that will stay with you – even if you don’t want them to. (Via I Need a Guide)
Artist Hillary Waters Fayle creates delicate stitched collages using found leaves, branches and pods. The artist’s work transforms natural elements into tiny keepsakes using traditional methods of needle work. She coats her source material with a non-toxic preservative, allowing each piece to remain unharmed. The use of her hands during her artistic process invites in a recognition and romanticization of man’s interactions and relations with the nature. Her work aims to explore and encapsulate the complexity of this relationship, proving it to be one that is simultaneously “tender” and “ruthless.” Each of Fayle‘s pieces, with their intimate details and delicate disposition, almost create an aesthetic of Victorian jewelry, yet are in of themselves completely timeless. Each work truly acts like a tiny object that can transcend the notion of time and place. Within her artist statement she notes:
“The way I think about and make art mirrors the way I think about my life and how I walk through the world. What I do is about elevating details. It is about noticing cycles and connections. It is about regarding a familiar object in a new way. It’s about seeing things and considering their connection to you, their potential futures and possible pasts. There is a depth and an importance to what is present, and what is absent. Invisible narratives are woven into and around each piece, each interaction. As I gather materials with which to work, I consider what connections might exist between us, or how each object might be related to another.”
We’re taking the day off to spend some much needed time with our friends and family and to give thanks for all great things that have taken place over the last year. We’re also thankful for all of you who support us each and everyday by subscribing to our book series, reading our blog, and taking part in our creative community. It’s going to be a great holiday season and we have lots of great projects ready to go to get you all inspired. So get off the computer (just for today), spend some time with the fam, and eat delicious food until you’re about to burst. Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll!
Body painting is a tedious, but amazing process with stunning results. Incorporating the technique in unique ways, each of these three artists captures beautiful and poetic images after applying paint to skin.
California-based photographer Jean-Paul Bourdier combines the human form with landscape to create a unique visual synchronization. Painting the bodies, posing them just so, and taking the photographs, Bourdier explains that, “arising in each visual event conceived are the geometries generated by the body as a determinant of ‘negative space’—not the background of the figure and the field surrounding it, but the space that makes composition and framing possible in photography.”
Incorporating what is largely traditional painting, Alexa Meade also uses the unique canvas that is the human body. Painting directly onto the skin, Meade creates a trompe l’leil that is wholly unusual. Camouflaging her figures into the background Meade creates optically engaging images that confuse 3D and 2D planes.
Australia-based artist Emma Hack combines painting on canvas, body painting and studio-based photography. Hack’s works incorporates rich visual narrative with magical realism. Also interested in the idea of camouflage, Hack spends approximately 19 hours painting her wallpaper and then anywhere from 8-15 hours painting her subject to throughly explore the subject. The arduous process is time-consuming, but the results are spectacular.
Ghada Amer is an Egyptian-born artist who speaks assertively about feminine depiction in her paintings. In earlier work, she used soft-core pornographic reference images for her large-scale thread paintings. In an interview with Border Crossings, Amer explains her decision to use thread as her primary medium. “I didn’t invent embroidery, but I wanted to paint with embroidery. I was speaking about women in a medium for women, and it made the speaking stronger and more present.” Embroidery, weaving, and other traditionally female mediums are often categorized as craft, in many ways as a dismissal of the expression as inferior to painting, sculpture, and other ‘high art’ mediums. Amer decided to reappropriate the media, and has made a very successful career out of it. Ghada Amer: Rainbow Girls was the artist’s most recent exhibition, showcased at Cheim and Read, certainly not low-hanging fruit in the commercial art world.
Amer has branched out from pornography, originally a means for her to rebel against her family. She’s made sculptures and borrows feminist slogans like: “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition” in text-based work. Her colours can be sever with a black ground and an abstract explosion of thread or bright and playful, which is also reflected in her approach. Her intention is serious, but like the thread she embroiders, she is also loose and celebratory of the feminine condition.
Just found Jesse Draxler’s pics on the B/D Creative Pic Pool. Every now and again I like to check out what our readers got goin’ on. The premise of these images is super simple: vintage photo + black face paint + colored background. But the result kind of looks like funky super hero trading cards that you wish you found at a flea market!
Perhaps Lady Gaga will up the ante on her outlandishly “avante-garde” sartorial sense, and start rocking these ten inch bejeweled and beaded poo poo-shoes- and you thought stilettos were hard to walk in! Or not. As part of a recent exhibition, Tate Britain asked artists from around the world to respond to Chris Ofili’s controversial elephant dung on the The Holy Mary painting that caused a “Sensation” in NYC 15 years ago. UK-based INSA’s contribution? Poo shoes. Is this what the controversy has been reduced to today? Ohmigawd shoez? Looks like it.