Louise Bourgeois’ Guarantee of Sanity, ‘An Unfolding Portrait’ at MoMA

Celebrated sculptor, Louise Bourgeois (1911-2010) had her first real retrospective, at the Museum of Modern Art at the age of seventy-one. Bourgeois worked well into her nineties, leaving behind a body of work spanning over 70 years of her past and present self.

You might best, be familiar with her colossal bronze and steel Spider sculptures (odes to her mother) that loom high above your head on delicate, spindly legs.  Or her Cell enclosures, those emotional retreats situated within various structures, housing collections of objects, tapestries and sculptural forms to evoke safe spaces for one’s anxieties and fears.

louise-bourgeois-unfiltered-at-moma

Bourgeois used art as a release for her feelings, once stating that “art is the guarantee of sanity.” Her creativity and her life merged evocatively, creatively cataloged within a substantive range of artistic mediums, thus propelling her into a rightful place as one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century.

Fittingly, a celebration of her life’s work, comes back to New York City, back to MoMA in the new exhibit, Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait. 

Here you will see the little-known aspects of Bourgeois’ artistic practices­ before she turned definitively to sculpture.

Curator Deborah Wye digs deeper into Bourgeois’ earlier years, juxtaposing rarely seen prints and illustrated books with thematic groupings of sculptures, drawings, and paintings, “exploring motifs of architecture, the body, and nature, as well as investigations of abstraction.”

The prize of the show sit’s in the museum’s Marron Atrium – Spider, one of the series of Cells that Bourgeois created over the last two decades of her career, and the only one of Bourgeois’ sixty-two Cells that brings together the spider and cell structure.

louise-bourgeois-unfiltered-at-moma

Louise Bourgeois, “Spider,” 1997, steel, tapestry, wood, glass, fabric, rubber, silver, gold, and bone. 14′ 9″ × 21′ 10″× 17′, collection The Easton Foundation

Nearly 15ft tall, the steel spider sculpture crouches over a Cell, the door of its caged barrier between the interior world of Bourgeois and viewer, left slightly ajar. A chair adorned with unraveling tapestry sits inside; worn, somewhat less vivid tapestry drapes sections of the cage lending to connotations of restoring, and repairing oneself through art.

Another gallery showcases paintings that unabashedly layout Bourgeois’ affinity for the opposite sex, as her depictions eroticize the body well into a time where youth imagines age does not follow.

You explore Bourgeois’ time as a printmaker, finding the Spider motif beginnings sketched out on paper before becoming featured heavily in her sculpture work.  Even her frequent use of the spiral as a symbol for a twisting and strangling of emotion flows in and out of her early repertoire.

louise-bourgeois-unfiltered-at-moma

A romanticized version exists at Dia: Beacon. The Couple is an unfiltered, inherently, freer manner of speech.

 In, An Unfolding Portrait, MoMA examines an earlier example of that imagery controlling the relationship of this talk in Spiral Woman.

louise-bourgeois-unfiltered-at-moma

Louise Bourgeois’ Spiral Woman, 1984, at MoMA

This study is genuinely Louie’s last act, her vocabulary of imagery – A lifetime of abstracted emotion in context.

 Louise Bourgeois: An Unfolding Portrait runs at MoMA September 24, 2017–January 28, 2018

Both Dia: Beacon & MASS MoCA house substantial sculpture work from Louise Bourgeois in their permanent collections.

*Article previously written for and featured in Azure Azure Magazine.

 

 

The Official Miami Art Basel Roundup of 2017

For veteran fair attendees Art Basel can feel like the same old story year after year; leading galleries flock from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa (this year’s Miami edition boasts 20 new galleries) to show significant work from the masters of Modern and contemporary art, as well the new generation of emerging stars. The thrill lay in the search for the standouts hiding amongst the 500,000 square feet of exhibition space.

This was the 16th Edition of the Miami Fair, featuring 268 premier galleries from 32 countries, a new curator for the Public sector, and a new exhibition layout – longer aisles, wider aisles, more lounge space (much needed for rest, relax and recharging).  Poignant works engaging with politics, race, gender and social issues had a strong presence in the Galleries sector.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see galleries like Victoria Miro, bring work from their well-attended summer exhibitions.

Here are the standout pieces we found before our feet gave out and our brains crashed from art overload, your official Miami Art Basel Roundup of 2017.

 

 

Chloe Wise | “My sad heart and your stiff nipples at the Biennale” | Oil on Canvas

Chloe Wise | “My sad heart and your stiff nipples at the Biennale” | Almine Rech Gallery

Wise paints breathtaking creatures who ooze complicated pretty girl stories you’d actually want to hear. “My Sad Heart…” kills with that subtle mirror image of a young woman exhausted into grace.

 

Artist: @chloewise_

Gallery @alminerechgallery

Kehinde Wiley | Portrait of Nick Cave, Nadezhda Polovtseva, 2017 | Oil on Canvas

Kehinde Wiley | Portrait of Nick Cave, Nadezhda Polovtseva, 2017 | SeanKelly

Nick Cave has been more vocal in the past few years about his identity beyond his iconic Soundsuits. It was a treat to see Wiley posing Cave in the style of the Nadezhda Polovtseva portrait, that classic Charles Francois Jalabert three-quarter pose, with frontal depictions of the subjects’ face and hands giving us a more relaxed version of the man we know but rarely see.

*Kudos to SeanKelly for putting all the social media tags you need for each artist on their gallery tags.

 

Artist: @KehindeWiley

Gallery: @SeanKellyNY

 

Tala Madani | Three Guests, 2017 | Oil on Linen

Tala Madani | Three Guests, 2017 | Pilar Corrias

I remember the first time I heard of Mandani’s work — from a New Yorker article entitled, “The Charming Disgusting Paintings of Tala Madani”, a quiet bomb of words to amass a commentary on her provocative and sometimes undressed discourse on cultural and sexual identity  The Iranian-American artists’ recurrent motifs usually include men in submissive, vulnerable, satirical stereotypical predicaments.  Three Guests seemed a slight deviation, it stopped me in my tracks, as I tried to figure out how the conversation might have changed.

 

Artist: @talamadani

Gallery: @Pilarcorrias

 

Pedro Cabrita Reis | Still Life with Anchor and Rope, 2017 | enamel on Plexiglas, found door frame, found anchor and rope

Pedro Cabrita Reis | Still Life with Anchor and Rope, 2017 | Peter Freeman, Inc.

Reis’s Who’s Afraid of the Red #2 (Lisboa) was my first official swoon over the artists’ continued opus with found objects.  The transformative nature of the objects into works of contemplation and curiosity draw you in and make solid testimonials of the necessity of having a bare all-white wall on which to hang them.

 

Artist: Pedro Cabrita Reis happily has no social media outlets

Gallery: @Peterfreemaninc

 

Do Ho Suh | Hub, Wielandstr. 18, 12159 Berlin | Polyester fabric, stainless steel

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This past summer, I missed the Do Ho Suh Passages exhibition at Victoria Miro. I resolved myself to accepting that seeing it in photographs was enough.  I was wrong.  These translucent fabric passages are built from polyester fabric sculpted around thin stainless steel piping. The different colored passages represent various spaces around either world, creating a journey of migration representing the connection of living spaces shared across global cultural groups.

Artist: Do Ho Suh

Gallery: @VictoriaMirogallery

 

Lisa Yuskavage | Ludlow Street, 2017 | Oil on Linen

Lisa Yuskavage | Ludlow Street, 2017 | David Zwirner Gallery

I love the fresh feeling I get from Yuskavage’s paintings, her use of classical techniques to depict taboo subjects are done without blushing.  Her touches of color to enhance normal intimacy feel like an onrushing of rebellious and revolutionary coupling.

 

Artist: @Lisayuskavage

Gallery: @Davidzwirner

 

Toyin Ojih Odutola | Through Line, 2017 | charcoal, pastel and pencil on paper

Toyin Ojih Odutola | Through Line, 2017 | Jack Shainman Gallery

Toyin Ojih Odutola is this year’s shining star and art media darling. Her focus is on the sociopolitical construct of skin color through her multimedia drawings, explore her personal journey of having been born in Nigeria then moving and assimilating into American culture in conservative Alabama.

 

Artist: @toyinojihodutola

Gallery: @JackShainman

 

 

THIRD SPACE, SHIFTING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART @ BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM OF ART : 10 ART PIECES THAT SPOKE TO US

THIRD SPACE, SHIFTING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART @ BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM OF ART

I travel to Alabama about once a year, one of my favorite places to visit while in town is the Birmingham Museum of Art.  A few weeks ago, I got a chance to experience their latest exhibition, Third Space: Shifting Conversations.  Third Space includes their visitors in the examination on the cultural crossing of Alabama and the American South’s relation to the Global South – the concept that the state of our cultural climate is not chained to a geographical location; that were are united by a connected past that defines our present. “It is an imagined place that ties cultures together by their common experiences and considers the voices of people who are often unheard.”

The exhibition opens up that dialogue with over 100 contemporary art pieces – most culled from the museums’ own collection.  A few of the pieces are on display for the first time, having been in storage, due to the museums’ lack of space. The works of art and the ideas that inspired them are meant to resonate regionally, as well as reach out on a global level. Photographs, sculptures, and paintings are just a few of the mediums represented here along with a rich multitude of artistic representation from Alabama, Brazil, Cuba and South Africa – to name a few.

“This important moment for the Birmingham Museum of Art and our collection of contemporary art extends an exciting opportunity to recognize and explore a shared human experience,” Gail Andrews, R. Hugh Daniel Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art, said. “Works of art offer ways to see the world from a new perspective, serve as points of discussion and can create empathy and respect, at a time when our country seems to need it the most.”

Your journey is tied to reference points that guide you in finding personal meaning within the art. The sections are: representation/agency/gaze, tradition/memory/history, landscape/nature/spirit, and migration/diaspora/exile.  Third Space will run for 2 years, during that time the works of art will change every 6 months, shifting your travels.  You can also use your iPhone or iPad provided at the museum to access the Smart Guide, an interactive feature that allows you to listen to different perspectives on selected works of art from voices of children, musicians, activists and a host of others from the Birmingham community.

And as we are invited to share our perspectives and interact with the art, in no particular order, here are 10 art piece gems in the exhibition that spoke to us:

  1. Dennis Oppenheim’s Slow Clap for Satie, 1989 (Acrylic, wood, steel, motors. ficus trees, pots, turntables, vacuum formed masks, loop recording of Erik Satie piano music)THIRD SPACE, SHIFTING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART @ BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM OF ART
  2.  Jose Bedia Mpangui jimagua (Twin Brothers), 2000 (Acrylic and conte on canvas with objects) – Jose Bedia’s years studying and experiencing Afro-Cuban and Native American spirituality are reflected in the two representing men drifting together in the boat communing with and pulling their collective spiritual forces.  Is it a representation of Bedia continuing to pull the spirit and traditions of his heritage along in life?  As your eye pulls away from the boat and notices the figures on the large canvas, you have to wonder…are you staring at two figures or do they represent a blending of one?THIRD SPACE, SHIFTING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART @ BHAM_Glenn Kaino, Bridge
  3. Skylar Fein See You at the UpStairs Lounge, from “Remember the UpStairs Lounge”, 2009 (latex on wood) – This is a recreation of original sign from The UpStairs Lounge,  a gay bar in the French Quarter of New Orleans.  In 1973 a fire broke out, claiming the lives of 32 men.  The fire was set intentionally, and the 15 survivors were persecuted afterwards for being at the bar. A more in depth history of the event can be heard here.  THIRD SPACE, SHIFTING CONVERSATIONS ABOUT CONTEMPORARY ART @ BHAM_Ebony G Patterson
  4. Ebony G. Patterson Among the weeds, plants and peacock feathers, 2014  (Mixed Media) – It wasn’t until we looked through the lens of the camera did we see the body scattered among beaded tapestry.  Patterson’s work explores themes of identity and class, race and gender in the media. Among the weeds draws the viewers in, revealing a heartbreaking discovery.  Too often we bypass the crushing and Patterson calls our attention to a prevailing attitude.  Third Space at BHAM_Nick Cave
  5. Nick Cave Soundsuit, 2009 (Fabric with appliqued crochet and buttons , knitted yarn, and mannequin)Third Space at BHAM_Glenn Kaino
  6. Glenn Kaino Bridge, 2014 (Fiberglass, steel wire, and gold paint) – Made from a cast of Olympic athlete Tommie Smith’s arms and fist, the sculpture harkens back to that iconic moment when, along with John Carlos, Smith raised his black gloved fist in the Black Power Salute during the metal ceremony in the 1968 Olympics.  Do yourself a favor and listen to Chenoia Bryant, Social Justice Advocate and Feminist speak on the audio companion about the larger meaning behind this piece.Third Space at BHAM_
  7. Whitfield Lovell Rise of the Delta, 2013 (Conte on wood, silver plated platters, penny, wrought iron scone ) – Lovell was commissioned by Birmingham art collectors Norm and Carnetta Davis to create this piece from of photograph of Carnetta Davis’ mother. I love the halo of silver and pewter serving plates placed around Davis’ mother.  They symbolize her mothers’ love of hosting guests in her home, while the pewter piece at her feet is reference to ‘Birth of Venus’.
  8. Kerry James Marshall As Seen on TV, 2002 (Enamel on plastic vase, plastic flowers, framed video still, wood and glass shelf with steel bracket and chain)
  9. Glenn Ligon Runaways, 1993 (Lithographs) – This series of prints are inspired by advertisements for runaways slaves from the early 1800s.  Ligon makes use of the advertisements bearing physical descriptions and personal details, wording that humanized people perceived as property, standing in opposition to the advertisements obvious lack of humanity 10-must-see-pieces-at-third-space-birmingham-museum-of-art
  10. Esterio Segura La historia se muedre la cola (History Bites its Tall), 2013 (Painted fiberglass) – Using a bound Pinocchio as a metaphor for the history of lies told us by our governments was brilliant.  Even more stinging when you think how apropos it is when applied to the lies we tell ourselves.

Another Year, Another Armory Week In The Books

Another year, another Armory Week in the books. I missed last year and was heartbroken, so I was really looking forward to all the greatness I was going to see. And then it happened, The Armory Show disappointed me. How was that possible? So maybe disappointment is the wrong emotion to convey, perhaps underwhelmed is better. I had been looking forward to this for months, weeks and days and with its one less row and sparsity of art I was underwhelmed. Thankfully, Art on Paper, Volta and Scope all pulled up the rear and made my overall experience great!

Here are my Top 10 pieces in no particular order:

I had the pleasure of attending Art on Paper its first night as a VIP, because I roll with some awesome people (Hi, Paradigm Gallery+Studio) and Tatyana Fazlalizadeh’s artistry was the first capture by my trusty iPhone. She is called Olympia and was painted with Oil on canvas just last year.

My next selection found at the Armory Show focused on a common political theme I saw throughout the galleries. Mel Bochner’s “Eradicate” carried a thought I’m sure most considered in these past weeks and months.

I found a great deal of irony in my next piece, “Alternative Titles for Recent Exhibitions I’ve Seen”. Scott Reeder seemed to be picking at my brain in particular.

“Alternative Titles for Recent Exhibitions I’ve Seen”

I love it when I go to a show and the art reminds me of my childhood or just makes me giggle. Perfect example of this is Douglas Coupland’s “Towers”. A huge display of Legos, building structures and towers alike. Instantly I’m back in my younger brother’s room building some structure that architecturally will never work, but will take us hours to create.

The second display that made me giggle was an entire park of sorts by Yayoi Kusama named “Guidepost to the New World”. Who doesn’t like polka dots? You can’t help but smile and laugh when you discover this park in the middle of the Armory Show floor.

Nick Cave, Hustle Coat. Having recently moved to Atlanta makes me long for the strange variety of life displayed constantly in the streets of New York. Nick’s Hustle Coats, one in black the other in tan made me crave that variety of life even more.

Nick Cave Hustle Coat_Black Nick Cave Hustle Coat_Beige

I always find that I look, search even for my favorite artist and when I find them I’m so very excited. With that being said…Kehinde Kehinde Kehinde!! I cannot shout this man’s name enough. Ladies and Gentlemen, the greatness known as Kehinde Wiley. If by chance I get the opportunity to own one of his pieces of work, I would be jealous of myself. They are real, vibrant, elegant and simply magnificent.

And now I find myself at Scope. Honestly I had never been a fan of Scope, but this year before I could fully get within the many gallery walls I was snapping pics and genuinely skipping to the next wall of fine art. On this brutally cold Saturday afternoon, I am warmed by the eyes from this painting by Roberta Coni. The boldness of her stare and the softness of colors welcomed me.

Roberta Coni

And just like that I was not only smiling but dancing a bit too from reciting lyrical genius in my head. Mark Drew’s series of four paintings with Peanut characters and hip hop lyrics made me reminisce of simpler times.

Mark Drew_Peanuts

So I know I said that these were my Top 10 picks, but this series of painting genuinely blow my mind. No major complexity, no variety of color, just big black bold strokes of paint swirled around the canvas. I would put one in every room of my home and walk through it like my own personal gallery. James Austin Murray captivated me and believe me for a woman with several zillions of things running through my mind that is quite the feat.

James Austin Murray_Another Year, Another Amory Week In The Books James Austin Murray

Lastly on this International Woman’s Day I wanted to choose something that displayed not only our strength but also or vulnerability. No matter how hard you knock us down, women will always rise again. Kim Byung Kwan’s Ghost Backup #002 depicts Wonder Woman down at her very lowest, but she will always rise.

Kim Byung Kwan’s Ghost Backup #002 _Another Year, Another Amory Week In The Books

I can truly say that I enjoyed this weekend filled with art. Next year, let’s do it again!

Our Favorite Rooms at the 2017 Spring Break Art Show

Spring/Break is one of the Armory Week attractions I try not to miss, it unapologetically has fun with art – blocking out the cynical in favor of its dialogue driven exhibits.  This year it moved out of the Moynihan Station Post Office and into swankier digs in Times Square.  What didn’t change – is the integrity of the show, the feeling of being sent off to the races into the all encompassing line of rooms. The rooms can be a showdown of hit-or-miss aesthetics, but it affords the artist space to create a story, and that discovery is always worth the price of admission.

This year, the annual curator-driven art show, Spring/Break chose Black Mirror as its theme.   Here’s a list of the rooms we loved walking thru.

 

Hometown Hero (Chink) /Thinly Worn | Valery Jung Estabrook

I shudder to think that I almost walked past this room without meeting Valery Jung Estabrook 

Hometown Hero (Chink) featured an installation of three parts: a single channel video, a custom upholstered recliner, and a fabric-covered room furnished with other upholstered items that immediately transport you to a version of the American South. The items reveal hidden personal histories that cling to Jung’s experiences growing up a mixed-race Korean American who was taught to revere a past to which she felt no connection.

The recliner – with its looming imagery of the Confederate flag, dominates the space. It sits facing the television, acting as a physical stand-in for the [cheap] desire to return to an idealized fictional version of America – the wish to “Make America Great Again.”  Everything in that room is in direct opposition of Jung Estabrook’s honest conversations regarding race, alienation, and assimilation playing on the television with a repeating video clip featuring segments called Twinkie, Wasp and assimilation that features Jung Estabrook lip syncing while dressed as Tammi Wynette.

 

“Thinking about everything, but then again, I was thinking about nothing” | Tamara Santibanez

Tamara Santibanez recreates her adolescent bedroom in shades of white symbolizing the purity of memories we wish to retain. Her pen drawings of rock band posters and t-shirts hang among the other trappings of a certain youth – cassettes, AM/FM radio, vinyl’s, studded leather wrist bands and jeans tossed casually on the carpet make for a trip I didn’t want to end.

Sophiya Khwaja | Cade Tompkins Projects

Sophiya Khawaja‘s hoops sans the cloth and thread that traditionally sit between the two wooden circles, showcase images of herself, a solitary female figure trapped – possessing – raging and navigating the landscapes she inhabits. Each become a symbol of the female encased in the intricate bindings of the world around her.

“Melissa Godoy-Nieto: Dream Journal,” curated by Ambre and Andrew Gori

Visitors were invited to share their dreams with Godoy-Nieto so she could translate them into drawings.  If you took part in the project, I hear you might be able to find your dreams roaming wild & free on Melissa’s website.

Sisyphus | Light Sculpture | Valerie Sullivan Fuchs

Sisyphus, 2009, is a palm sized video projection where the viewers capture the video onto their open hands. The video is of a woman who appears to climb up the viewer’s hand but slides back down repeatedly. Each time she slides back down, she draws a line of chalk which appears to mix with the lines of the view’s palm.

Screen Shot 2016-08-28 at 4.25.21 PM.png

Further Explanations into Contemporary Blackness : New Work From Azikiwe Mohammed 
Azikwe Mohammad travels from last year’s Jimmy Thrift Store, a project based around New Davonhaime, a fictional town whose name is a make up of the five cities with the highest African-American populations (Detroit, Savannah,  Jackson, Birmingham, and New Orleans).  Mohammad filled the room with thrift shops finds (elaborate chintzy lamps, old albums, neon signs and ceramic figurines) cast offs ready to breathe new life into old lives.  Assuming the personality of Jimmy, Mohammad told us colorful stories of the non-existent town until it felt relevant, until we felt like we’d benefit from visiting.
This year Mohammad was back in a less structured space with more stories to tell, a memorial to those we lost this past year in violence, a closer look into the lives of those from Davonhaime. Names and faces were memorialized on airbrushed t-shirts and iconic jewelry found in nearly every African-American home. Photographs from his visit to the cities were rolled up and placed in containers for those who felt like delving a bit deeper.
It was as if last years’ search for stories was a mere beginning into the insight into the crux of the stories he evokes through memory and representation. I remember when Mohammed had a seat out in the hallway of the first Spring Break Fair, patiently explaining his hip-hop tapestries to us.  Each year his exploration into African American iconography gets deeper and more creatively explorative.

Erin M. Riley Opens Solo Show “Simple” at Hashimoto Contemporary

Erin M. Riley Opens at Hashimoto Contemporary

Artist, Erin M. Riley’s meticulous hand-woven tapestries are intimate portraits into past experience, of both personal and communal memory. The large-scale work confronts viewers to contemplate subjects often considered socially taboo.  Frequently autobiographical, her work addresses the innate trauma of womanhood and the objectification of the sexualized body.  This Saturday, March 4th, Riley will show a solo exhibition of brand new, hand sewn tapestries entitled “Simple” at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco, California.

Simple” is a culmination of her previous bodies of work and serves as an investigation into the complexity of the feminine identity. The artist explains that because of the Internet’s infiltration into our personal lives, “Intimacy is blurred, bodies exist in this surreal way, sexuality is abstract. A few specific pieces in the show are of experiences I have had throughout my life… These are the moments we prepare ourselves for with self-defense mechanisms and paranoia. I am trying to evolve from these moments but also want to acknowledge them so as not to live in denial or make people feel like they are alone.” The work physically memorializes moments of our fleeting digital life by depicting selfies, text messages, and screenshots of pornography.

The exhibition also features weavings of car wrecks and images of abuse, often accompanied with lines of text. One piece entitled “Portrait of a Father” portrays a crashed semi-truck, with the interwoven caption “you don’t deserve my forgiveness.” Riley utilizes the truck as a metaphor for “how sexual violence knocks us off our axis” and challenges the viewer to consider the inherent aggression women face in our contemporary society.

*information via Erin Riley press release

Discover: Aganetha Dyck Bee Comb Sculptures

Aganetha Dyck Bee Comb Sculptures

Aganetha Dyck Bee Comb Sculptures

Aganetha Dyck Bee Comb Sculptures don’t seem intentional, more like ornamental sculptures used to wistfully decorate English gardens that nature had other plans for.  Aganetha’s work considers environmental issues, specifically the power of the small and its impact globally.  Over the past twenty-two years, she’s collaborated with bees to further her studies on interspecies communication, her research asks questions about the ramifications all living beings would experience should honeybees disappear from earth.

The porcelain figures are placed the bees in enclosures serving as a canvas, the bees are in effect her partners in the creations of the beautiful honeycomb sculptures. The figurines covered in the bee’s honeycombs are meant to show how intertwined our two species existences are, and start a conversation begin about our behaviors towards bees.  Leading to questioning the ramifications all living beings would experience should honeybees disappear from earth.

View “Guest Workers,” a short film on her sculptures after the pictures.

Aganetha Dyck Bee Comb Sculptures

Aganetha Dyck Bee Comb Sculptures

Aganetha Dyck Bee Comb Sculptures

Chess • Tableau, beeswax, honeycomb, found figurine, 2008. Photo credit: Peter Dyck.

Aganetha Dyck Bee Comb Sculptures

Aganetha Dyck Bee Comb Sculptures

Veiled Lady • Figurine, beeswax, bees, circa 2007-08. Photo: Peter Dyck

Aganetha Dyck Bee Comb Sculptures

 

Catch it: Aganetha Dyck [Website]

Photos courtesy of the Aganetha Dyck website

F is for Frieke Janssens

Frieke Janssens_Smoking Kids

 

Do you remember this photo series by Frieke Janssens?

Photographer Frieke Janssens controversial series, Smoking Kids, saw children ages 4-9 dressed in outfits that evoked particular periods of cigarette culture.  While the costuming and posing of the children evokes perhaps a certain glamour that some still find in the begone ‘Mad Menesque’ era, visually you are forced to see the ugliness of smoking when juxtaposed with the youth of her subjects. These photo narratives question whether or not the fascination for cigarettes is as enticing when viewed on children. Now, the cigarettes used in the photos were actually fashioned out of cheese, candles and incense – though I doubt that will make most comfortable with the subject matter.

A lot of Janssens’ work tackles addiction and social change. The uneasiness the viewer experiences while looking at her photography parallels that of our society’s approach to tackling these long standing obstacles. We’ve allowed ourselves to view many of these as acceptable modern societal norms – and she challenges that.

Her latest series Animalcoholics goes surrealist as it imagines alcoholics down to their base selves, after loss of self control and self consciousness has reduced them to their primal selves.

Frieke Janssens_Smoking Kids Frieke Janssens_Smoking Kids Frieke Janssens_Smoking Kids Frieke Janssens_Smoking Kids

Frieke Janssens_Smoking Kids Frieke Janssens_Smoking Kids

Link up: Frieke Janssens Website / Instagram @friekejanssens_photography

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Genre: Photography

Discover: Tsurubride the art of Meghan Willis

Tsuru Bride-tart

Brooklyn based artist, Tsuru Bride (Japanese word for crane), aka Meghan Willis, celebrates women’s strength and sexuality through her work; and I love her semi-super hero dossier. “By day I work in the apparel industry, and by night I explore the art of undressing, movement, and sensuality through embroidery,” she writes. “I aim to tempt the viewer to follow the delicate stitching that caresses the bodies I reveal through thread.”

Her work is hand embroidered on linen, leather appliques are stitched often creating colorful illusions, then hand painted with acrylics. Check it out these conversation starters…

 

Tsuru Bride-tart

Tart, Stretched Canvas, 8″ x 10″

Tsuru Bride-open closed

Open Closed, 10″ x 11″

Tsuru Bride-tug

TUG, silk organza, Liberty print, and leather appliques 10″ x 12″

Tsuru Bride-double-exposure

Double Exposure No. 5 (Tita), 8″ x10″

Tsuru Bride-double-exposure

Double Exposure No. 3 (Nina), 8″ x 10″

Tsuru Bride-rift

Rift, 9″ x 17″

Tsuru Bride-coy

Coy, 10″ x 15″

 

Discover More:

Tsurubride Instagram

Tsurubride Website

photos courtesy of Meghan Willis website.

Steffen Dam’s Cabinets of Curiosities

Steffen Dam

Danish artist, Steffen Dam’s grandfather, born in 1893, was a passionate amateur in the field of natural history.  As a child, Dam enjoyed pouring over his grandfather’s library of scientific books full of illustrations of specimens.

Today Dam, a highly skilled glass blower, uses his affinity for natural history to create his imaginatively wonderful backlit “Cabinets of Curiosities”.

Steffen Dam_HM_Art Miami

Mimicked oceanic specimens in glass cylinders seemingly containing liquid and air bubbles become optical illusions; the translucent character of the glass object in the cylinder imitates sea life. His specimens aren’t actually objects found in nature, rather a quirky re-writing of the biological world.

“I have been working with glass for 25 years. Initially I was blowing glass, but over the years casting, grinding and techniques from other crafts emerged. My aim is to describe the world as I see it. One could also say to describe what’s not tangible and understandable with our everyday senses. My cylinders contain nothing that exists in the ocean, my specimens are plausible but not from this world, my plants are only to be found in my compost heap, and my flowers are still unnamed.”

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*photos taken by HAHA MAG

Shifting Consciousness with Chiharu Shiota

01_the_locked_room

"The Locked Room" 2016, KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theater, Yokohama, Japan, photo by Masanobu Nishino “The Locked Room” 2016, KAAT Kanagawa Arts Theater, Yokohama, Japan, photo by Masanobu Nishino

‘A sleepy mystery intertwined with beauty’, is how I like to think of Chiharu Shiota’s intricate large-scale installation pieces exploring the relationship between body and mind. Her work feels like being let into remnants of someone else’s dreams.

She tethers her memories to objects with lengths of tangled, crisscrossing black threads, securing them in a physical realm. Here we are offered the questions, the quandaries of an woman who dreams herself in and out of reality without ever really leaving the suspension of time.

It’s rare to see Shiota’s installations come towards the U.S., although (claps) her 2017 exhibition calendar has a solo show booked for Feb 21 2017 – Aug 6 at the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA / U.S.A.

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Conscious Sleep, Venue: Cockatoo Island, 22th Biennale of Sydney, photo by Paul Green

Conscious Sleep, Venue: Cockatoo Island, 22th Biennale of Sydney, photo by Paul Green

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“When I dream, I feel the dream as reality. I can’t distinguish between dream and reality. When I wake up, I have the feeling I’m still dreaming.” -Chiharu Shiota

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I found a pretty amazing time lapse of “After the Dream” being installed at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery during the ‘Lost in Lace’ exhibition in London back in 2011.

DISCOVER: THE COMING UNDONE OF ANA TERESA BARBOZA

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Textile Artist, Ana Teresa Barboza is onto new things – embroidered landscapes and plants. But I’ll be forever attached to her series, BORDADOS, where she explores the art of embroidering the body and skin.

It’s visually intoxicating to imagine the grabbing, the pulling of oneself apart into threads to rearrange your fabric; stitch yourself back together in a way more suitable to breathe.

She makes it seem a natural course of thought, that one could exist in a space that allows nature to emulate canvas, where we can weave ourselves anew with needle and thread. These works are primal representations of structures torn from within or adorned throughout.

 

“Working with my hands, it’s something I’ve always done since childhood… and the incredible images that textiles can produce. I feel the fabric gives familiarity to the image, it pulls you in to stop and admire the details.”* – Ana Teresa Barboza

 

Artist Links: Ana Teresa Barboza Website

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*quote taken from interview with Barboza at Textile Artist.

Explore another artist who takes needle to skin, in our interview with  Eliza Bennet’s “A Women’s Work is Never Done”.