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James Roper

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Recently featured in the “Seasonal Changes” show at nearby LeBasse Projects, Mancunian artist James Roper is an up-and-coming painter and sculptor creating some beautiful work. Roper writes that,

The construction of each painting fuses disparate images from a variety of sources such as fashion magazines, animation stills, comics, the Internet as well as my own photos and drawings. I predominantly choose images and try to create forms which I feel register a visual ‘peak shift’, a term given to the phenomena of ‘neurological attraction’ that appears in both humans and animals to an extreme characterisation of an object.

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Rafael Gómezbarros’ Giant Ant Installations Shed Light on the Plight Of Migrant Workers

Rafael Gómezbarros
Rafael Gómezbarros
Rafael Gómezbarros
 Rafael Gómezbarros

Casa Tomada is a project of traveling installations started in 2007 by Colombian artist Rafael Gómezbarros in which giant sculptures of ants are fixed in swarms on buildings and structures. Self-described as “urban intervention” by Gómezbarros, the ants have been showcased in locations varying from London to Cuba with a very specific goal in mind: shedding light on immigration, forced displacement, and uprooting through historical points of departure for travelers and immigrants. The 2-foot ants themselves are crafted out of tree branches for legs and two joined skull casts made of fiberglass resin and fabric to make up the torso, making for a particularly morbid, visceral depiction of migrant workers in Latin America who are looked at as nothing more than vermin.

When placed on the facades of government buildings and blank gallery walls alike, the ants give off a chilling sense of foreboding and encroachment. By placing them in swarms, Gómezbarros makes the insects even more strikingly representative of the peasants displaced by war and strife in Gómezbarros’ native Colombia. The giant insects that make up Casa Tomada, which translates to Seized House, are certainly works that are bound to linger with viewers, whether in nightmares or otherwise.

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Jessica Snow

jessica snowJessica Snow is an artist from San Francisco, California. Her beautiful abstract paintings are vibrant and fluid. Jessica feels that “each of [her] paintings expresses a new possibility, an opening into a new direction where meaning is continually at play and in flux. The most interesting pieces are those in which something has been left unresolved; its reason for being has not been entirely spelled out for the viewer or even for the artist.”

4 Hours Solid: Art Center GradMediaDesign Thesis Exhibition

This coming Wednesday and Saturday night, the thesis work from the GradMediaDesign department at Art Center will be on display at the South Campus Wind Tunnel, a former supersonic jet testing facility at 4 HOURS SOLID. On a personal note… I’m in this! Other graduate departments on campus (broadcast, fine art, environmental design, transportation design) will also be on display. The show will feature a very diverse group of work. The early versions of some of the thesis work has even been featured on BD in the past!

4 HOURS SOLID: Work and Ideas from the Graduate School at Art Center College of Design.

First Showing: Wednesday, April 18, 6-10 PM.
Second Shoring: Saturday, April 21, 8-10PM

Wind Tunnel Gallery, South Campus.
Art Center College of Design
950 South Raymond Ave., Pasadena, CA 91105

GradMediaDesign thesis project descriptions after the jump!

Michael Ray Charles Confronts Evolving Racial Stereotypes In His Paintings

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The paintings by Michael Ray Charles depict controversial imagery regarding racial stereotypes from the past and present commercial culture. In Print Mag, he suggests his usage of such stereotypes are not designed to thrill, throw, or flaunt, but more so to excavate their societal relevance, revulsion, and power– examining how each affects our personal symbolic lexicons.  It’s an ongoing compounding struggle to discern and detach from this branding.

Regarding this, Charles asserts, “I think about so many people whose lives these images have affected. A lot of Black people have died and many are dying under the weight of these images. That’s motivation enough for me to explore, and deal with, these things.”

Portraits Created From Poetry

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Artist Jamie Poole has taken a dramatic turn in his art recently.  Majoring in Design Poole has primarily worked in landscapes.  However, to create a portrait of Sophie, pictured above, he used a medium tied to her identity: English literature.  Poole uses strips of poetry to create a unique collage.  Words wrap around eyes and slide down noses to create incredibly realistic images.  The pieces are particularly large compared to the intricately placed lines.  Regarding this, Poole says:

“The repetition of collaging each line of text onto the board to make the image becomes similar to meditating in my view.  It also means I can really focus my attention on each individual area of the picture to really look closely at the subject and learn about her.”[via]

Millicent Hailes’ Provacative Photos Mirror Relationships In A Strip Club

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Photographer Millicent Hailes recently completed a two-month stay in Los Angeles where she traversed some of the city’s finest strip clubs. “You can find the erotic anywhere, you just have to look for it,” Hailes told Dazed, and her journey included spots where Courtney Love danced pre-grunge era.

Hailes was on the hunt for a club that breaks away from the chauvinistic, clichéd joints that we’re used to seeing. She found a string of clubs where women hold the power, prostitution is low, and the women actually enjoyed themselves. In a place called Cheetahs, Hailes explains, “The girls each had a different style of dance and look, and each danced to a song of their choice,” she says. “It felt a lot more personal, and it was a lot of fun.”

To pay tribute to Cheetahs, Hailes began a project that mirrors the separation between dancer and customer. She placed a sheet of plastic between herself and model Nadia Lee. “The plastic sheeting is a metaphorical barrier between the model and the audience. She is pressed up against it, but you can’t fully see her or touch her,” Hailes explains to Dazed Digital. “I wanted the shoot to seem very ‘bodily’, and by having the body pressed against the plastic and capturing the breath creating a fog over the images, it feels a bit intrusive, but also has a distance because of the sheeting.” (Via Dazed)