Molly Landreth’sA Portrait Of Queer life In America started as a simple self-portrait project in 2005 but has since expanded into a national archive and an international collaboration with the GLBT community. Molly’s goal with the series is to create images of her community that she can relate to and to tell new stories not typically represented in conversations about queer life.
This is the first in a series where each week we’ll gather some of our favorite street that you definitely won’t want to miss. This week we have a mural from Blu that, like much of his work, utilized features of the building. You’ll also find one in a series by Herr Nilsson of some fiendishly violent princesses, a smart wheat paste piece from Peter Drew, as well as new pieces from INTI, Seth, and Ever. Finally, we have Lego block interventions from Jan Vormann, European historical figures with the heads of Olmec statues by Mata Ruda, and a kitty piece from Jesse Olwen. Enjoy!
Interested in landscapes, San Francisco artist Jenny Odell spends quite a bit of time looking at places viewed from above on Google Maps. Searching for industrial forms and shapes that, when combined create an unusual and striking kind of landscape. Odell then creates digital prints, the likes of which have even been exhibited in the Google Maps headquarters. Of her work Odell says:
“Much of the strangest architecture associated with humanity is infrastructural. We have vast arrays of rusting cylinders, oil rigs dotting wastelands like lonely insects, and jewel-toned, rhomboid ponds of chemical waste. We have gray and terraced landfills, 5-story tall wastewater digester eggs, and striped areas of the desert that look as though they rendered incorrectly until we realize that the lines are made of thousands of solar panels. Massive cooling towers of power plants slope away from dense, unidentifiable networks on the ground and are obscured in their own ominous fog. If there is something unsettling about these structures, it might be that they are deeply, fully human at the same time that they are unrecognizably technological. These mammoth devices unblinkingly process our waste, accept our trash, distribute our electricity. They are our prostheses. They keep us alive and able, for a minute, to forget the precariousness of our existence here and of our total biological dependence on a series of machines, wires, and tubes, humming loudly in some far off place.”
Drawing attention to our dependent, but odd relationship with this infrastructure Odell is also exploring what it has to reveal about our habits, patterns and the elements of our everyday life. She is also interested in viewing this infrastructure in a way where it takes on the quality of being the remains from a time and civilization gone by. In other words, her images take on “tragic air: they look already like dinosaurs, like relics of a failed time from the perspective of a time when we will know better—or when we are no longer here.”
Cuban artist Erik Ravelo is known for his ability to confront the difficult and taboo directly by presenting fearless, visually provocative work (previously featured for his Los Intocables, or The Untouchables, series here). Lana Sutra (combining the Spanish word ‘Lana’ meaning ‘Wool’ and ‘Sutra’, which means the thread which connects us) takes the idea of these strings – love, humanity, sexuality – and displays them literally, binding human forms together in intense colored poses.“I’m a human being and I don’t believe in borders. I think the world belongs to everyone born on Earth. This is my planet, our planet. No man is an island. Yes, I was born on Cuba but, above all, I was born on Planet Earth. I like to think that Lana Sutra talks about universal love which cancels diversity.”
Created during his residency at Italian communication research and artistic grant center Fabrica (connected with clothing brand United Colors of Benneton), Ravelo began Lana Sutra by guiding models to pose together, and then casting these poses in plaster. The plaster mannequins were then covered in yarn (in the fall colors of the Benneton line), with separate colored threads from each mannequin being bound together in Kama Sutra positions. Bursting with color, the fifteen installations of present a completely unbiased version of humanity, no longer separated by race, religion, creed or sexuality, and merely bound by our shared humanity. (via collater.al)
Ramona Zordini is an Italian photographer who seeks to explore states of ambiguity and transition in her work. Featured here is Changing Time III, the third part of a series of images wherein bodies float, twist, and thrash in a murky tide of passion and despair. There is a sense of profound liminality as the figures skim the water’s surface; bare skin is exposed to the air and light, while faces are obscured, making their emotional experiences unreadable to the viewer. Some of the photos feature solitary bodies, curled up as the water embraces them. Elsewhere, lovers cling together, groping wet, chilled flesh in postures that are both erotically charged and desperately troubling.
The emotions these images provoke are both powerful and conflicting — are we seeing lovers holding on to each other out of need in an unforgiving world? Or are they destroying each other? Indeed, some of the water around the figures looks milky and eerily bloodstained, suspending the couples in a dark, amniotic fluid wherein they hunger for connection and love. The submerged faces, arched torsos, and reaching limbs suggest imminent death as much as they do the submission experienced in sex and desire.
“I would like the impermeability of things to touch every sensation,” Zordini writes on her biography page, explaining her drive to explore uncertain states of transience and becoming. “Ambiguous term, ambiguous place, gesture, thought […] there is nothing like yesterday.” (Source) Ambiguity permeates Changing Time; drifting in states between life and death, passion and sorrow, the nude figures unfurl on the edges of their own physical and psychological evolutions.
American artist Robert Wechsler is a bit of a trickster. He takes everyday objects and transforms them into unexpected oddities and puzzling sights. He alters things and spaces, changing our understanding of the most understated and mundane item/place. His latest ‘practical joke’ Money was commissioned by The New Yorker and involves him cutting notches into different coins and slotting them together to look like atoms or complex cube shapes.
He has a fine sense of humor, and has practiced it extensively through previous projects. He has welded nine bikes together to create a giant carousel, re-plumbed a public drinking fountain that fooled thirsty members of the public, and instead of quenching their own thirst, watered nearby plants. Wechsler has also worked with currency before – he has cast a penny 30,000 times it’s size and replaced a manhole cover with it. He explains his motivations:
My focus is necessarily on the familiar. Comfortably accustomed to everyday objects and spaces, we are blind to their unseen beauty and elegance. Who looks at a shopping cart or a toaster for the object itself? This state of static expectations is fertile ground for surprise. It is a conscious re-examination of my subjects that re-instates the novel back into the familiar. This is the moment of surprise, the moment we discover what is unseen in what is always seen. In reverence for what initially appears modest we get a small glimpse of the boundless elegance of our world. (Source)
Adding another conceptual layer to the project, the Money series is exhibited on Cointemporary – the online gallery where you can purchase artworks with bitcoins. (Via Fubiz)
Food artist Tisha Cherry turns the mundane into magical with the use of simple foodstuffs. She creates art on Oreos with the sweet frosting acting as her “paint.” The results are portraits of Yoda from Star Wars, Snoopy the dog, Mona Lisa’s face, and more. The small, impressive works look impeccable and present a conundrum for those who have a sweet tooth: to eat or not to eat?
Cherry’s food art extends beyond the twistable cookies. On her Instagram, you’ll find food arrangements, portraits, and a love for The Simpsons under the hashtag #ArtintheEats. Her Oreos are the most impressive, however, just based on their 2 inch scale and craftsmanship. The white icing has a luscious texture with subtleties that look like they were applied using a palette knife.
If you enjoy these portraits, check out the work of Judith G. Klausner. She also created relief sculptures on the iconic cookies. Is this a tasty new trend in art? (Via Illusion)