quasi-objects: lorenzo oggiano.

I’ve always loved the intersection of the digital and the organic, and how the hyper-depiction of seemingly natural subjects can be rendered so realistic that they border on seeming fake. Working in both video and 3D-generated visuals, Lorenzo Oggiano works inside a high-def macro world where his images play with polarity. Beginning his study in 2003 and still on-going, his “Quasi-Objects” series is obviously beautiful, but glistening grotesque; informed by the laws and evolutions of nature but not actually formed by them. Up-close, I can see flower stamens that resemble insect eggs and, with a blink of the eye, smooth skin that becomes scales and water drops mirror light like multi-faceted eyes. There’s a line where attraction and disgust run almost parallel, and he’s walking along it a spine-tingling way.

From Oggiano’s site: “Quasi-Objects” is an art project consisting of 3d generated videos and prints, a practice of “organic re-design” – started in 2003 and still in progress – that aims to stimulate thought and dialogue on the progressive relativisation of natural forms of life as a result of techno-biological evolution. “Quasi-Objects” regards data actualization, the production of biologically non-functional organisms and ecosystems as transient output of an operative practice: aesthetics of process.

Life is a real and autonomous process independent from any specific material manifestation.”

Via But Does It Float

nacho ormaechea / le carnet noir.

I’m a major fan of collage. Ever since I first discovered and fell in love with the work of Canadian artist Paul Butler years ago, I’ve been particularly fascinated by the way artists appropriate and juxtapose existing images (and our assumptions of their meanings) into brand new works. Lately I’ve noticed floods of new digital collage styles on Tumblr. As with anything, some are a bit more well done than others. All are art, but particular ones excel, and I’ve been especially excited by the work of Matt Wisniewski, Beth Hoeckel, and Dessi Terzieva.

Now I’m happy to add the gorgeous digital collages of Nacho Ormaechea’s Le Carnet Noir to the list.

A Spanish-born freelance Art Director and Graphic Designer working in Paris, Ormaechea’s work remove the urban dwellers from his obviously European backdrops and replaces them with colourful, incongruous images ranging from the organic – fruit and flowers – to the urban mundane – industrial hallways and electric signs. While his visual collisions might not have as much of a literal play on meaning or political subtext as others I’ve seen, they’re incredibly eye-catching in a straight forward, high def, casually bombastic way. And I can’t get enough of them. If you can’t either, then they’re all up for grabs over at Big Cartel.

erin hanson: reminders.

I’ll admit it; I’m a huge sucker for projects utilizing photograph and text. The possibility for creating a double-meaning between the supposed emotion of the image and the ostensible meaning of the words is like a big ol’ playground. Plus any image that involves cut outs that look like real life old skool refrigerator alphabet magnets is good by me.

Some of my other fave projects in the same vein focus more on emotional depth or existentialist questioning:  Kotama Bouabane’s “Melting Words” is a lonely play on sentiments of love and loss at the end of a relationship, while the large outdoor works of Nathan Coley offer more questions that answers about us, our meaning, and our place in the world.

Taking a totally different route, Erin Hanson’s “Reminders” series is filled with  flashes of our most unremarkable thoughts. Banal, boring, and inconsequential, like little snapshots of the things that run through our minds during a normal day and, more often than not, are dismissed and discarded before we’ve even had a chance to realize we thought them.

To me, though, our hopes and fears can be revealed by piecing together the inconsequential things. Often we push aside everything we don’t feel strong enough to confront into the mundane, and these small thoughts are like after-shocks from much larger quakes. What does our vanity say about our true sense of self-worth, what does our sense of obligation or disconnection to our family say about our sense of home, and what does the need to remind ourselves to wake up or go outside say about our lethargy and our over-willingness to connect and live digitally instead of physically?

Via Share Some Candy

post to facebook : add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank

daniele napolitano: notte sento.

It’s way easier to fall in love in Europe. Don’t ask why… it just is.

Created by splicing together over 4500 separate photographs from a Canon EOS 30D, film-maker, photographer, and web designer Daniele Napolitano tells the lovely (and dialogue-free) story of two people who meet and find “an extraordinary chemistry made of knowing glances and small gestures fills the few instants that separate them both from the sunrise.”

mystery photo.

I found this incredible snap on Design You Trust™. Unfortunately, the post there doesn’t give any info about the pic. It’s from a site called Zamin Online, which is mostly in Arabic. Does anybody have any ideas on where the pic might be from? I would love to know if it’s some kind of colour-based cultural event, or what the purpose/history (if any…) is behind the amazing vibrancy everyone is sporting.

Click on the pic below to enlarge and see it in its original context at Zamin Online.

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alison brady.

New York-based photographer Alison Brady creates images that are mysterious and sometimes overtly violent. Her mostly female subjects look like victims of the  beauty ideal, but whether they’ve sacrificed themselves at the altar of pop culture’s idolization of feminine perfection or if they’ve been been attacked through the result of their own vanity is unclear.

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In one shot a plain white hood, pulled on medieval execution style, wraps around a woman, with only smeared red lipstick to denote her face. Others are strangled, alien tentacle-like, by their own manes of silky hair. Her beauty having turned on her, like a parasite. This theme, of the body’s rebellion, is a constant she talked about in an interview at Nymphoto:

“What I find most disturbing is the subtle distortion of something I can relate to, or something that is closest to me. Often just simple daily routines can bring about a variety of ideas. One day while riding the subway, there was this large ad for the removal of varicose veins. That unnerved feeling that one gets when the familiar (something as familiar as your own body –your legs) turns alien and frightening.”

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In other shots women stand unmoving, pillowcases tied around their heads, and do nothing. Her photographs all have a totally unnerving context of stillness: there was violence, there is about to be violence, but each time we are in the eye of the storm. The effects and impact are obvious, but help isn’t yet on the way… or perhaps never will be.

Like Hitchcock, Brady understands that the greatest fear lies in the subtle unseen. That the human imagination, given a hint, will conjure storylines far more disturbing than any picture can capture. In many of her images we only see the legs, dangling, prostrate, filthy. The upper half, the face, the expression, is hidden: in sand, in the ceiling, in the refrigerator. What has happened or how they’ve come to lie there is unknown to us. That visual curiosity, that we’re seeing the conclusion but never the beginning, is the most disturbingly eerie half-knowledge of all.

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If you like these shots, then you should check out the body mutation work of Lucyandbart and the many teenage girls of Julia Fullerton-Batten.

Via Life Lounge

kristopher grunert: year of light calendar.

For design snobs like me, the beginning of the year usually involves an arduous search to find the right calendar. Not too ugly, not too scheme-y, not too kitschy, but something just right. The Goldilocks of calendars. Which was why I was really happy when one of my fave photographers, Canadian Kristopher Grunert, solved the problem for me with his “Year Of Light” 2009 screensaver calendar series.

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His work, as always, is stunning: graphic, glowing, geometric, effusive. Like the title suggests, each month is imbued with light and, yet, is dark enough that you can still see icons on your screen. Perfect.

Even more perfect, Grunert is offering it up for free. You can get your hands on it here.

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daniel + geo fuchs: toygiants.

Toys are much more than play things. Indelibly woven into our experiences and imagination, the images of our pop culture and lunchbox covers are carried with us forever. German team Daniel and Geo Fuchs study the forms and faces of iconic action heros and other figurines, approaching them not as toys but as people. Their portraits are shot in extreme close-up and then hugely enlarged in gallery, emulating a plain, realistic style usually reserved for more fleshy subjects. Magnified to such extremes, the curves and nuances in their faces, the weight of their bodies and experiences, become startlingly human.

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An emotional air not always connected with the idea of “playing” shines through; they look forlorn, anguished, contemplative, vapid. They’re  surprisingly relatable. In fact, they look adult. Then the question becomes not just why are we able to see such a reflection of ourselves in these little plastic icons, but why, since they were created by our hands and moulded into our images of heroism and perfection, did we not see ourselves in them all along?

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There are way more photos, including group shots, at the Toygiant site, and if you just can’t get enough then the entire series is also included in a slick-looking  Toygiants book.

Via Everyone Forever

tierney gearon: explosure.

One person’s photographic gaffe is another person’s treasure. In acclaimed photographer Tierney Gearon’s latest exhibition, “Explosure”, she takes the the classic “mistake” of a double exposure to merge two fairly benign images into something much more provocative. Revealing how the emotion of any image can be altered by removing it from its original context, she blends and morphs her photos, often with a vintage feel, into complex but completely visual statements on body image, voyeurism, sexuality, and more. Melanges teeming with glimpses of nudity, maternity, infancy, nature, and youth, these recent images are a fearless continuation of some of Gearon’s key elements of her photographic style.

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The eptiome of an outcome being greater than the sum of its parts, the images are borderline metaphysical; the subject seem both haloed and haunted as the secondary image, the ghost image, subtly pervades their world and unequivocably alters their existence. Hazy and reminiscent, it’s like a collision of two memories – displaced by time and space yet still showcasing the struggle of one human mind. Often one half seems to be alive and active, and one half seems to be suspended by the action of the others. Like a phantom, bound to the focus of its silent watching forever though the unmoving image. Unclear whether the mix is a person remembering the past or fantasizing the future, each shot collides image and expectation into a sort of lucid photographic dream.

If you’re into Gearon’s work, then you should also check out the collage work of Greg Shegler and the amazing photography of one of my favourite artists, Ryan McGinley.

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If you’re lucky enough to be in London, then “Explosure” is running until January 27 at Phillips de Pury & Company.

Gearon was also the subject of a 2006 documentary, “The Mother Project”, looking into the fallout after her 2001 exhibition “I Am A Camera” at London’s Satchi Gallery was deemed as “child pornography” by authorities and she was threatened with legal charges. Frequently using her own children as subject in her photographs and having also dealt with her mother’s psychological problems, the doc looks into the circle of mother and daughter, artist and subject, and how each have impacted the other and her ability to create.

Via Designboom.

sam bassett.

New York artist Sam Bassett takes portraits to the next level. Blending the feel of installation art with plan ol’ ethereal awesomeness, he shoots his subjects in a way that manages to be about them while also immersing them into something that transcends them as well. The results are completely kick-ass images that encompass more than who a person is and what they do, but creates an energy and atmosphere of how what they’ve done has shaped their life. The environment of the portrait becomes a reflection of them as a whole – their history and accomplishments – rather than just a documentation of their physical appearance.

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This is one of my favourites, of celebrity author, Vanity Fair journalist, and all around bon vivant Dominick Dunne. I’m not sure what he’s trying to do to that concrete sphere, but whatever it is, I’m sure it’s witty.

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Bassett is also a prolific film-maker, creating eight films in 2008 alone, focusing on the eclectic, idiosyncratic, and fascinating minds of individuals, like himself, who don’t fit inside the box; some of whom are also subjects of his photographs. Unabashed and unafraid, his films and their subjects feel like a study of abnormalcy; a glorious refusal to follow societal norms and a determined passion to follow their own beat. Bassett is like that too, and so a camaraderie and connection is formed. A sort of freakshow fraternity, where art and irreverence and the pursuit of one’s own mould-breaking ideal are paramount, and ostensibly mandatory for membership. Whatever the rules, I want in this club. I want to pledge.

For proof of just how fucking rad abandoning yourself to your own idea of creation can really be, check out “Let Me Introduce Myself.” It’s not necessarily about making sense, it’s about making art. And if Bassett makes it, I will watch.

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