Dear “Psychedelic” Artists: It takes more than neon paint and a strategically placed black light to blow one’s mind. Just ask Larry Carlson, visionary multi media artist! I would describe Carlson’s work as Magritte and Dali’s love child if such a child were conceived after the advent of Photoshop. Beautiful yet jarring, welcoming yet otherworldly, Carlson’s work is a true feast for the eye.
There is something intanglibly familiar about Korean artist Lee Jeong Lok‘s photoseries “Tree of Life”. Perhaps it is the beautiful, postcard-quality of the surroundings, or that Lee has truly tapped into a cross-cultural metaphor for the spiritual in using an illuminated tree as a subject. Lee has mentioned in previous interviews that he considers himself a deeply religious person, and attempts to give his photographs a palpable sense of spirituality. Says Lee,
“I tried to depict emotions and spiritual imagination in that the sceneries inspired rather than recreated the scenery itself. … Every myth talks about another world that we believe co-exists with the real world we look at and live in. The other world has a powerful presence that we cannot see.”
Lee, who grew up in the Korean countryside, often depicts an intimate bond with nature in his work. In his Tree of Life photoseries, the photographer admits to using installation, sets, scenes and digital manipulation to create his constructed scenes of illuminated trees in spiritually-emotive surroundings. Lee continues,
“But it is very important to me that my end product is photography. I believe there exists another, invisible world within the world we can see with our eyes. If I were to draw an image of this parallel universe, it would become a mere fantastical illustration. However, by using photography the end result is very different; it retains the essence of our experience of reality, while simultaneously conveying a sense of the hidden realm that exists therein.”
Artist Paule Gu gives us a kaleidoscope of dark and hypnotic visions in his intense series of remarkably detailed drawings. Although they may look like monochromatic collages at first glance, this skillful artist has rendered these illustrations by hand. Each piece contains a plethora of eclectic images ranging from seductive nudes to deathly skulls, which are a repeating motif in his work. Small details can be discovered when examining the intricate lines and forms rendered by Gu in his work. A mysterious beauty lures you in closer, as symbols of death and the occult can also be found.
Gu’s work is an interesting mix of objects that are all connected in a balanced composition, perfectly mirrored. He often brings shapes like triangles and circles into the background, creating harmony to the piece and unifying its diverse imagery. The seamlessly symmetrical compositions transfix us, pulling us into a trance. Although Gu’s work consists of many different objects, they are all part of one single piece, morphing and fitting into one another. Various textures, themes, and worlds collide as sea horses live side-by-side three-eyed bats, and nude women dance around tigers and bones. Gu’s work will completely mesmerize you, as you will find another unexpected, bizarre detail every time you see his work. (via Supersonic)
Michael Skattum is another one of those artists that seems to barely exist outside of Flickr- which is a shame. His serigraphs and paintings of 3d melting monsters will leave your eyes weeping for more.
You may remember the murder of French filmmaker/ photojournalist Christian Poveda in 2009, following the release of his documentary La Vida Loca, which depicted the lives and inner workings of gangs in El Salvadore. These very same gang members are now the subject of artist Renato Garza Cervera’s latest work “Of Genuine Contemporary Beast” depicts the MS-13 and MS-18 gangs in a series of hyper realist skin rugs. In this series, he depicts gang members in such a way that we are accustomed to seeing animals such as bears and, by doing so, he plays upon the notions of beasts and fear of such beasts.
His work offers a series of harshly realistic rugs and severed heads whose accuracy makes you question their nature. The “skins” of the gang members are splayed out, wit the heads included in order to make a sort of “gang skin rug”. His depiction of members of these specific gangs comes with a deeper ethical message in the sense that it allows us to determine the parameters of our definition of “beast”, such as we do with regards to wild animals and other aspects of nature.
In this thought provoking series, Cervera is underlining what he refers to as the “ world-wide scapegoating process”, and by this he aims to point our the ways in which certain minorities and groups are viewed as “dispensable people”.He allows us to examine a societal problem and, to a larger extent the ways in which we blame and sometimes demonize the things we do not understand.
Austin Irving’s current exhibit, Portals, at Curio by AFN truly lives up to its name. Her pictures taken on medium and large format cameras seem like entranceways to secret headquarters or the opening images to an epic film. And no piece emitted that cinematic feeling more, then one taken right in the middle of a natural cave formation that was mounted onto a light-box. The color and shading of the rocks, which was amplified by the backlight, made the work seem 3 dimensional. It was almost like you could walk inside of the piece and hear the water actually dripping from the stalactites onto the floor. My advice is to start collecting Austin’s work now, before it’s totally out of reach.
As his name hints, [hu]Man vs. Machine delivers work created with traditional materials in order to mimic what can be done with the computer. His work is very enjoyable and ranges from ink drawings to paintings to installations.