Sonia Rentsch is an art director and still life artist from Melbourne. From intricately arranged appetizers to a hanging lamp fashioned out of a head of lettuce, Rentsch’s work is both dynamic and elegant, often incorporating food as a subject. This trend is put to most effective use in her series Harm Less, an installation in which Rentsch fashioned weaponry out of completely organic objects. Each piece is visually arresting, the imagery of handguns and bullets hauntingly familiar and yet transformed into something beautiful when created out of green produce and plants. The series, in which handguns are made out of everything from bamboo shoots to roses, presents a powerful statement about gun violence and its impact as well as Rentsch’s impeccable eye for detail.
Rentsch has worked with photographer Scott Newett, assisted with design duo Tin and Ed, and worked as the production designer for Australian popstar Kimbra’s music video for “Good Intent”. Her work is consistently bright and colorful, but always proffers a lens through which viewers can fully immerse themselves in the elaborate scenery. One of her most recent projects, a public installation with artist Ben Davis, included a garden of colored pinwheels displayed in Melbourne’s La Trobe Place. Although the meticulous design behind Rentsch’s still life images is evident in each minute detail, Rentsch is assured in working with no set process. As she said in an interview, “An idea comes as quickly as it has to.”
My favorite painters, the Singh Twins, talk about their commissioned works for Liverpool European Capital of Culture 08. The Singh twins recontextualize a traditional style of Indian Miniature painting with pop culture references to create something lovely and new.
Amy Boone-McCreesh’s sculptures and 2-D mixed-media works are both self-referential and highlight a larger aesthetic idea, which is the visual aspect of celebrations. For years, she’s explored the way in which different cultures commemorate events in their lives, particularly how they express it with decoration and objects. Now, with a new body of work, Boone-McCreesh goes beyond this initial inspiration and uses things she’s previously created as raw material for new pieces. They debuted at a recent two-person exhibition with artist Sarah Knobel entitled Anything Sacred at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC.
Anything Sacred is a birth of new from the old. Through digital manipulation, collage, printing, and reworking, I allow visual elements from an extant body of work to become new imagery printed on vinyl, paper, and custom fabric. The complex layering, stripping, and blending of the digital with the handmade gives birth to a new visual language.
In sampling my own imagery and re-contextualizing it in an immersive visual experience that is both cyclical and unifying, I am challenging traditional notions about value and pushing for a more complex, dynamic personal aesthetic. Simultaneously, my work in Anything Sacred continues to examine the use and meaning of decoration through formal arrangement and design.
You can view Anything Sacred now at Hamiltonian Gallery in Washington, DC until June 21 of this year. More shots of the candy-colored walls and lively work after the jump.
Swedish photographer Christian Åslund realized that the city streets of Hong Kong looked like a giant video game while hanging out on a friends rooftop. So with the help of a few fun loving friends, his camera, and walkie talkies he orchestrated this playful and disorienting photo series that reminds us of the golden days of video games where Super Mario was king and the Power Glove was all the rage. (via)
Based in France, skull artist Jim was born in New Caledonia, “gateway for Oceania and many other horizons. He goes to New Zealand, stops over the New Hebrids, discovers Australia, India, and lands in Hong-Kong. Human experiences, cultural, ritual, he is marked by his travels and encounters…” He is informed by “contemporary art, African, Oceanian, Amerindian, popular, religious…multiple passions and a melting-pot of influences”. Now that’s a lot of location-dropping, but it’s evident that a lot of brain-stewing and new-material-hunting goes into his sculptures.
LA-based artist Melissa Manfull‘s watercolors and drawings are all at once architectural and abstract. And, wouldn’t you know it, modern architecture and colorful, geometric art are two of my favorite things. Manfull has studied and practiced studio art both in the US and Canada, but she is now living and work in Los Angeles, California, USA. She has had a few solo exhibitions, and is currently represented by Taylor de Cordoba Gallery.
Barbara Wildernboar, a South African photographer and sculptor, creates a series of altered books that are visually reminiscent of organic, sea-like organisms. Some emulate the visually striking legs of a star fish, others are reminiscent of wild, but beautiful jellyfish- but most of her work imitate the very beginning of any type of live being, a very basic but important part of life as it is- the shape of an atom or a mitochondrion found in eukaryotic cells.
Wildernboar strictly uses books that she buys in flea markets while she’s abroad; usually, she uses books that are dated and redundant- however, there seems to be a pattern to the kind of books she picks- almost all, if not all, have to do with earth/physical science or biology. This specific detail could or could not be relevant, but the ways in which she shapes and manipulates the paper within the book tells us otherwise. She states the following about this speculation:
Although my work has strong ecological themes, I do not see myself as an activist for environmental change, nor is the body of work to be seen as a green campaign. It is rather a reflection on my personal response to climate and environmental issues that can often leave one feeling overwhelmed and distressed.