Photographer and Indiana University Northwest professor Jennifer Greenburg has been gathering vintage negatives for years. In her work Revising History, Greenburg appropriates these black and white images by digitally inserting herself as a main character, mimicking the gestures of the moment and the clothing of the period. By circumventing someone else’s photographs and calling them her own, Greenburg exhibits the innately false nature of memory and the family snapshot.
I think a lot of artists collect old photographs as there is a sort of mystery and unknown to them. What made you decide to insert yourself into someone else’s memories?
“When I look at someone else’s life though the lens of someone else’s camera, I create my own stories. I have done this as long as I can remember. Usually when someone shows you their photographs, they cannot help but narrate the images. I ignore that narration. Instead, I make up a fantasy in my own mind. I idealize everything– becoming quite nostalgic– even if the subjects in the photos are completely unknown to me. I prefer a wistful interpretation. Photography is an interpretation of what is in front of the lens. Yet, as a culture, we rarely acknowledge that. We still believe that what we see in a photograph is truthful.
“The fantasy of all photographs is what I am commenting on through my work. By placing myself in a time and place that could not possibly be real, I address the concept that the lens does not hold much, or any, truth.”
Germany based Kuin Heuff paints portraits on paper which she then cuts up from the layers of paint into ornate lace-like structures. These intricate cuttings create a complex web of patterns that reference everything from anatomical drawings to woodcut prints. (via)
Japanese artist Yukinori Yanagi uses a pretty unique technique in his work. For years now, he’s created custom ant farms with colored sand and used the natural lifecycle of ants to manipulate images rendered with the sand. His work using national flags is some of his best. Soviet banners assembled into a pyramid. Japanese Hinomaru fractured by tunneling ants. The strong symbolism inherent in banners and flags lends the work a lot of power. The ants show us that even things that once seemed unshakable are susceptible to decay and eventual ruin, even at the hands of seemingly tiny, insignificant forces. (via)
“In my recent body of work the visual elements of Sci-Fi and point and shoot photography intersect. The resulting overlap of vivid imagery evokes the idea of parallel universes and alternate versions of ourselves. These other worldly landscapes are inhabited by “mall chicks and misfits” and conjure up questions of how we connect with these hypothetical figures. I like working with opposites, conflicting genres, and subjects from polarized sides of the social scale. I find that when you interweave contrary ideas, it gives a perspective on how strange it can be in present day life.”
When the artist Adam Brown paints a portrait, he sprinkles cremated human remains into his palette, hoping to memorialize the dead in a way that celebrates their individualism and vitality; each image, most commissioned by the loved one of a recent decedent, serves as an alternative to the traditional urn.
After Brown’s clients submit a sampling of sandy ashes, the artist dons a pair of gloves and mixes them with paint to create personalized renditions and imaginings of the dead that span from straight black and white portraiture to dreamy colored abstractions. He carefully preserves any and all unused ashes, ultimately returning them to his client.
The project, titled Ashes to Art, poignantly aims to reconstruct the deconstructed body, fixing delicate cremains with glue and paint; in this way, his paintings work to incapsulate the entirety of the human body and lifetime into one sly smile, one glint of the eye, or one splash of color.
Brown’s ambitious body of work subverts morbid thoughts on human remains, adopting the medium to create shockingly cheerful faces, heavily textured hands, and vividly yellow flames. The idea of permanence figures prominently into the work; not unlike the popular ritualistic scattering of ashes over the sea, his landscape paintings elegantly incorporate the corporeal into the seemingly eternal earth, everlasting sky, or immovable mountains.
With each work, the artist ensures the respectful remembrance of human life with a simple inscription; lest a piece get lost or auctioned and taken for an average painting, he writes a disclaimer on its backing: this work of art contains human remains. (via Daily Mail and Oddity Central)
Flickr is a great home for internet rascals of the creative type. Cody Brant’s wonky but eye-catching collage art definitely fit the bill. The magic randomness of cutting and pasting then committing the arrangement to permanence with a glue stick!