Using a custom light table, photographer Aaron Ansarov has captured the ethereal and frightening beauty of Portuguese Man o’ Wars in his series “Zooids.” Each one of these floating, compound marine animals are actually a colony of four different kinds of organism, each adapted to perform a specific function for the benefit of the whole, unable to survive on their own.
“As if looking through a special lens into a different dimension, Aaron has given them personalities that seems to shift with every viewer. Through Aaron’s masterful use of light, technique, and ability to go beyond the obvious, we are able to see patterns come together to create a fine-art collection of images entitled, Zooids: Faces of Tiny Warriors-beautiful creatures seeking their place in the world.”
Like gorgeous Rorschach tests, the images are symmetrical and abstract, familiar and indecipherable. The photographs are fine art, ready for display, yet scientists use them for research as well, since the creatures can only be kept alive in a lab for a limited time.
Why are these creatures so beautiful? From an ecological perspective, they don’t need to lure their prey with their multi-colored translucent displays. They look like blown glass, colorful and tactile, yet touching one would result in painful stings and welts from its long, stringy tentacles. It’s certainly a metaphor, that something so lovely can cause so much pain.
Ansarov finds the Portuguese Man o’ Wars on the beaches in Florida, having been blown ashore by the wind. He takes them to his studio, shoots them, and then returns them to the place on the beach where he found them, allowing nature to decide their fate.
“I have two rules with this project. The first is that captured creatures must be released unharmed. The second rule is that I keep shoots to 15 minutes or less, even if I don’t get the picture I hoped for. I don’t want to frighten my subjects. Besides, there’s always another time-they live right here.” (Source)
Brooklyn-based artist Matt Reilly of Japanther skateboards on a canvas-covered mini ramp in order to create loosely colored paintings. With just a handful of simple tools: a skateboard, some paint-dipped sponges and a plain canvas, Reilly was able to create his abstract-looking artworks by skating back-and-forth over the sheet.
The setting for the “Wall Ride” was installed at the Mana Contemporary in Jersey City. A white canvas was tacked to the surface of a half-pipe. Using saturated sponges attached to the wheels, Reilly colored the white sheet in vibrant shades of blue, red and brown. After finishing one artwork, the canvas would be replaced and the process would start all over again.
Distinct in texture and color, Reilly’s works have been titled to resemble Jackson Pollock’s and Aaron Young’s abstract art. Apart from the end result, artist’s live performance is titled to be a big part of the whole experience. Watching the mesmerizing process of an artwork unfolding puts the viewer into a creative catharsis. Reilly’s “skate-paintings” can be purchased on Artsy platform. (via designboom)
The work of the street artist known as 108 is much like his pseudonym: simple and mysterious. Often large black masses of abstract street art inhabit walls. Devoid of most or any detail, these masses are frequently punctuated by bursts of color. In a way the colorful abstractions feel like offshoots or biological growths on the larger black masses. There is a larger flow to his murals that are somehow familiar. The shapes, the way interact with their surfaces, and the way in interacts with itself feels organic. 108 explains this idea in a 2006 interview saying:
“Usually I work in public spaces, you know, and the background is the most important thing. I must find a good shapes for that place, usually I prefer old walls and abandoned places, and my “thing” grow by it self, as a tree or moss did, but I know nature do that really better than me! It’s very hard for me to work on a blank white surface… in that situations I must find a good inspiration elsewhere, maybe in another work I did before or working with a good friend with good ideas.”
Other times his abstract murals almost hint at an iconography, symbols, or recognizable shapes. Like much abstraction there is a lot of room for interpretation. Still, he goes on to say:
“Most of my works come from my unconscious and are totally irrational. You can see the abstract, soft and gloomy shapes… My works are also very symbolic. The same old example of the wheel, I found it in my unconscious, it was a big fixation for me… usually I have drawn it with 8 rays inside… In fact it was the sun wheel, one of the most important symbol in ancient Indoeuropean cultures (you can find it in a lot of Indian and Celtic stuff). This is just one example.”
There is something fantastically unworldly yet alluringly familiar about Amy Joy Watson’s bright sculptures. Whether it’s a drooping bow or a glitter-filled orb, this Australian’s artful structures feel like a 1986 birthday party, translated or abstracted by a video game of that same era: there are no soft edges, only the disjointed illusion of it.
To make each piece, Watson stitches or glues together watercolor-stained balsa wood, occasionally adding a tasteful Gobstopper here, or helium balloon there, to garnish her own primal sense of whimsy and sacred geometry, resulting in a somewhat spiritual monument to another imaginative age and time.
The slick site specific installations of Megan Geckler beam and bounce of walls like lasers. Her installations’ ultra clean geometric forms and bright colors nearly hide the personal quality to the work. The plastic rays are actually made of flagging tape – the kind you find just off the sidewalk typically used by surveyors. Her installations intentionally bounce between art and design, industrial and hand made, cold and personal. Also, just as her work shifts conceptually, it also shifts in shape from angle to angle. Strands at one angle interact with strands at other angles as a viewer moves through the space. [via]
Australian based artist Rebecca Baumann often uses what appear to be party supplies to build sculptures and installations. Her art interacts with the surrounding air – the space it occupies and even the breeze that makes it dance. From a bus station teeming inside with colorful streamers to vibrant books flapping in the wind, Baumann’s work is unexpectedly playful. However, the temporary nature of her materials and the relatively short-lived ‘performances’ of her installations hint at something much more weighty behind each piece.
These bright, candied installation pieces are the work of Australian artist Tanya Schultz. Working under the name Pip & Pop, Schultz employs sugar, glitter, fake flowers, and a myriad of other materials to produce the colorful mounds of awesomeness. It’s not a far stretch to picture the works as actual landscapes- to fantasize about walking around in Pip & Pop’s unique world. Diabetes was never so easy on the eyes ’til now. More after the jump. (via)
I like these digital collage works from British artist Hayley Warnham. Solid, bright color meets vintage 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s personal photography in the pictures, which capture a nostalgic, innocent vibe. The use of flat color with found photography evokes the work of legendary American artist John Baldesarri. We wonder if he was a direct influence on Warnham. A lot of these are composed in such away that suggests the vantage point of a youngster, which reminds you of a time when things were much simpler. When skylines and relatives may as well have been flat blocks of color with very little texture as far as you were concerned. You didn’t yet grasp the complexities of every person and setting in your life, and everything was a mysterious wall of impenetrable brightness. (via)