Jiang Pengyi‘s latest series, Everything Illuminates, sees the artist mixing fluorescent powders with liquid wax, and applying it to various, commonly-found objects. Pengyi then documents these applications, capturing in a time a brief moments where the objects were not just illuminated, but focused on for consideration through art. According to the Hunan-Province-born artist’s statement, these images “suggest the artist’s changing focus back to original form and shape, at the same time reflect his current state of mind.”
Pengyi was recently selected to participate in Artshare.com’s group showing of note-worthy Chinese artists born between 1977 and 1987, called Another Light. The show’s catalogue references the artist’s past works, which focused on the rapidly-evolving city and industrial spaces in China, and a slowing down in focus for his newer works, where each object becomes precious and unique. “In Jiang’s Everything Illuminates series, the mystique of autonomous objects is revealed in delicate depiction…Through the passage of time, these objects slowly take on their new forms on film and emit individual signals from their uncommon glow, as they emerge in a bewitching existence.” (via skumar and mymodernmet)
Rachael Weitzman’s work would brighten up anyone’s home and add life to any art gallery. Her paintings are more like narratives, there is a story line behind it all. For example, in her “Helter Skelter” group of paintings, (not pictured), each piece holds in stasis an unfolding event. Often, the different speeds of the brush–slow, careful pointillism, or sweeping gestural marks– vie with each other and echo the struggle for containment within the painting.
The work of Mathew Zefeldt(previously featured here) successfully balances improbable combinations – modern with historical, digital with classical, painterly foregrounds with computer-like backgrounds – all by densely rendering them in traditional painting techniques with oils and acrylics. Having created an advanced personal lexicon of art historical references to classical sculpture, as well as to abstract and figurative painting, these figures cohesively exist alongside more modern glitch aesthetics, shifting colors, garish patterns, and computer-like repetition. Through the combination of these disparate elements, Zefeldt recalls the history of the painting medium, while referencing the potential to represent our new, hybrid reality. Explaining his work, the artist says, “My paintings are still-life arrangements that take place in my head; they are windows onto a fictional world, governed by rules based in the real world, but bent and broken…”.
These still-lifes exist in another improbably capacity, that of using both illusionistic depth and perspective, but on two-dimensional plane. This use of the flat-plane is more often found in collage, as is Zefeldt’s tendency to repeat (almost) identical imagery. When asked by Beautiful/Decay why he chooses painting to construct his explorations of a variegated contemporary visual culture, Zefeldt replies, “It would be a million times easier to collage or photoshop rather than paint. But paint forces you to slow down. Painting the same thing over and over again is almost meditative. Painting can be subversive too. Everything is getting more digital, movies etc. I think its important to keep making things manually, by hand.” This attention to craft highlights a uniquely human quality, where each sculptural bust appears exactly the same, but holds its own standard of flawed beauty upon closer inspection.
The Minneapolis-based painter will be featured in the group exhibition Figure Ground(curated by Gideon Chase – previously featured here) at Eleanor Harwood Gallery in San Francisco, CA. The exhibition (which opens January 10th and runs through February 8th, 2014) features work which explores the relationship between the figure and the foreground, testing different styles of background, illusionistic dimensions and a flat plane’s ability to contain both subject and context in a search for meaning.
Colombian photographer Daniel González captures the simple, joyful and freeing experience of being one with each other and with our natural surroundings. Through juxtaposing scenic, untouched landscapes and nude bodies, the artist tries to create parallels between the natural state of our bodies and the natural behavior of wild and beautiful forests and gardens. It is evident that the given the setting, a nude body transcends any bad connotation and relates, rather, to a truer conception of reality and of the human body.
The message becomes a bit more clear once we’ve caught up on the patterns throughout the series. For instance, we notice that the women featured are not only naked, to manny a symbol of freedom in itself, but they also showcase their bodies in freeing, vulnerable, relaxed poses- all indicative of becoming who they truly are, in the most natural way possible.
Stefanos created a Euro Banknote Bombing project by incorporating minimal ink bled illustrations of a callous nature and torpid situations. The human figures he incorporates into the Euros embody the social and economic instability in Greece has been facing for the past few years. On a 100 euro, the Grimm Reaper “reaps” in the shadows. A “bomb” effect to showcase social decay and violence. This is just one of the many heartless illustrations that grace the paper.
Stefanos hijacks the European document, exemplifies artwork through a lack of reality, then returns it by spending it-sending it flight for circulation. By defacing the euro, he expresses his dissatisfaction for the economy to share in the hands of others. The graffiti euros have successfully branched all over, showcasing his depiction of this noise that Greece faces.
French artist Didier Massard creates eye-deceiving miniature dioramas depicting surreal, mystical landscapes. From a first glance, these sets remind of extremely detailed, hyper-realistic paintings or digitally rendered images. The striking effect unfolds after closer examination, when the viewer is exposed to careful layering and thoughtful light arrangements.
Massard explains his inspiration comes from real and imagined places. The limits of real life infuses his imagination to create mythological and romantic scenarios, which he then calls “the completion of an inner imaginary journey”. China, India, the cliffs of Normandy and many other locations have been depicted in Didier’s works.
“There were many places in the world where I’d never gone that I wished to photograph. I realized that they would not at all look like the images I had of them. Reality was different from my imagination. So I started building and photographing in a studio what I had in mind.”
Artist spends months constructing his miniature worlds, thus the collection is only slowly growing in size. Massard started his career as a commercial photographer for fashion and cosmetic companies like Chanel, Hermes and others. After his first series of dioramas, titled “Imaginary Journeys”, his work was acknowledged and now Didier works exclusively on his personal projects. His work is currently on display at Kopeikin Gallery in Los Angeles until August 23.
Jordan Sullivan’s series The Burial Cloud examines and reflects on the rape of his mother in 1973, Petacalco, Mexico. Each photograph is just a glimpse into a memory, a fleeting moment that we cannot hold onto or make sense of. Sullivan has created this series from found photos and letters from his mother, as well as his own staged photography. The tone in the photographs quickly changes from adventurous and carefree to somber and destructive, all the while embodying the same distant vagueness. This leaves us with curiosity and wonder of the events that took place. Sullivan explains:
“[My mother] had traveled with her friends to Petacalco in search of an epic wave that a pair of surfers had recently discovered.”
This series lays out the event just as it would appear as a memory; in fragmented images that shift throughout time. There is no implication of a time or place in much of the imagery, just a window inward reflecting on the human psyche. The emotion of the woman shown, the photographer’s mother, changes from bright and excited to isolated and alone. The Burial Cloud is a journey in which we must piece together a story we cannot fully understand. A story told through disjointed, stunning images that include roaring oceans, burning flora, and scenes of discontent. These ethereal photographs radiate feelings of discovery, doubt, youth, and fear. Sullivan shines light on a delicate subject while beautifully capturing his mother and a tragic past. The Burial Cloud will be released as an illustrated biography in 2016, and will include photographs, text, and collages.