Beauty In The Eye of The Beholder – The Embroidery Work of Hannalie Taute

South-African artist, Hannalie Taute’s contemporary take on embroidery happens on rubber stitched together from discarded inner tubes. Her work is dark and edgy. I can only think of words I would not use to describe it, like: sedate, subtle, or delicate.  The faces stitched into the abandoned materials scream at you from their tough leather looking exteriors – this is not your grandmother’s embroidery.

I’m a fan of Taute’s work.  She masters the askew – doming it under bell jars, framing it in silver serving plates, leaving threads to dangle out of her stitching, letting the danger seep into our realm.  I find it difficult to look away from her strangely beautiful things.

As time drew closer for me to call Hannalie for our interview, I imagined a husky sounding woman picking up, morosely explaining her work to me.  All of that dreaming, fell completely out of context when this sweet-sounding mother, who admits she sometimes patterns her work after pop culture offerings, greeted me with a cheerful ‘Hello’.

What we assume is not always so.  Hannalie owns many expressions of her personality which allow her to evolve creatively.  Just like embroidery is composed of more than feminine linens stitched with sweet sayings for butts to sit on.

Before we get started, Hannalie apologetically warns me that Afrikaans is her first language, so the interview might get a bit rocky.  She mentions this after we have gushed on about The Little Prince, Minecraft and an Andy Warhol penis.

I think she did just fine…

This is the first time I have seen embroidery on rubber. To your knowledge, are there any other artists that work with this material?

Hannalie: I know that there is another South African artist, Nicholas Hlobo – part of my inspiration. He works with rubber as well, but he uses it differently.  He takes ribbon and rubber, and makes sculpture & abstract works – but he doesn’t embroider per say. He works with the medium, but I said to myself, ‘I can get a lot of artists that use oil paint, and each one would employ it differently.  I can use rubber as well, but make it my own.’

It is a lovely medium to work with. Even though I’m inspired by his use of rubber, our process and concept is very different.

That is what’s lovely about inspiration; that spark you can spin into something else.

On average, how long does it take you to complete a piece? I want people to get a sense of how labor intensive your work is.

My huge wall hangings can take up to six months. A smaller work, like the one I sent for the STITCHED show at Paradigm Gallery took about 2 months – that includes sourcing the rubber, cutting the rubber, cleaning the rubber, stitching and framing the piece.

 

What a process … How do you prime the rubber to then begin working with it?

I get it in a tube from the company. Some companies just throw them away, so I go and collect them.  I wash, dry, and polish them before I draw on them.  I don’t have an assistant at the moment, so I do everything myself.

 

Woah.

Yeah.

 

Creep(er) embroidery on rubber, 2017  – now on display at Paradigm Gallery for the STITCHED group show. | Taute explains how Creep(er) self-portrait came to be: “Minecraft is a computer game and my children play it a lot. Apart from Zombies and Skeletons, one can also encounter a ‘Creeper’, and they normally explode. A Creeper can be recognized by its tall vertical structure, and green pixellated skin. I can relate to their need to explode, so I decided to embroider a self-portrait wearing a ‘creeper’ jacket, but instead of holding dynamite or some sort of explosive, I decided to embroider an Andy Warhol inspired-penis.”

 

I’m curious, are you constantly bending your needles trying to pull your thread through the rubber?

I’ve broken a couple of needles…the rubber is not that tough, its’ softer than leather actually. So I don’t need to make my holes beforehand, the needle goes straight through.  I’m struggling to work with fabric at the moment because I’m used to the thickness of the rubber.

How long have you been working with this medium?

I started in 2012 – so a short while ago.  My first Solo Show was called Rubber Ever AfterI’ve got so much to learn still.

There is something macabre about the aurora of your work, which I find quite interesting.  But then, I suppose it might be a bit difficult to go sweet with rubber.

Yeah, all the connotations to bondage and stuff. (laughing)

Maybe ‘sweet and leather is the perfect juxtaposition.

You also draw inspiration from books and your children’s interest. Does each piece start with a particular memory?

I love reading and listening to other people’s stories about their relationships, and such. Even if I don’t find my inspiration directly at that moment, I’ll collect those moments, write out my thoughts and revisit them later.  Mostly, its driven by how I feel at a certain stage.

‘What is essential is invisible to the eyes’ is on display at Paradigm Gallery for the STITCHED group show. | Taute on this piece: ‘What is Essential’ was inspired by The Little Prince – I read it every year at least once. The quote goes, “What is essential is invisible to the eye. It is only with the heart that one sees rightly.”

How has your work been received in South Africa?

Very good… I won my first art award working with rubber. I like it when people come up to me after a show to chat – I’ve had a few great discussions with them about ancient embroidery.

Ancient embroidery? Is this art form much order than most realize?

Oh yes.  There’s a pretty good book called Subversive Stitch… you know, men used to do this too and not just women.  The book has a detailed history of how women used needlework in the 18th and 19th centuries. Stitching has such a rich history throughout the world. The origin of it is fascinating.

My mother-in-law does needle work as well. When she sees my work, she gets so frustrated because she believes it must be perfect. If she makes a mistake in her work, she will pull everything out and start again. I don’t allow myself that luxury, I keep on going and working.  Its’ ok to make a mistake and carry on.

Well then, your imperfections make for unique pieces. I really enjoy your sculptural work; they are fascinating and a bit scary. There’s one from your series Implanted Memories that I love – the pig face on the body of a young child.

That’s She Wants to Build a House with Thread.

It is interesting what people find scary.  My children watch monster movies; I remember scary monster stories from my youth. Compared to theirs, my monsters are cute and cuddly.  I’m wondering what is scary out there still?

She Wants to Build a House with Thread, 50 x 30 x 30 cm Medium: Fabric, found object, cotton thread and rubber

 

I don’t know.  Maybe we’re afraid of the ‘imagined threat’. I still get chills when I read older stories from The Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Andersen.  That’s what I meant when I said I love the scare factor in your work, because they remind me of darker fairy tales – the ones without the cute moral endings. 

I had an exhibition called, The Grimm Needle. I asked people, ‘What did they fear? Could they name a fear for me based on the unknown?’ Their responses were quite interesting. I suppose there is a lot of fear around that – the unknown.

Because you don’t know what to expect. If you can’t prepare for something, then comes the onset of anxiety.

I guess that is why people fear death because it is the unknown.

So many questions swirling around that.

Wonder if I could stitch it…

“Heks/Witch” Altered photograph, cotton thread, rubber and wood. 61 x 42 cm

 

The More You Know:

Stitching Less to Convey More – Tsurubride’s Charming Embroidery Confession

 

meghan-willis-tsurubride-embroidery

It’s a lazy Saturday afternoon and Brooklyn based artist, Meghan Willis (aka Tsurubride), and I are chatting about the calming effect embroidery has on us. One of us ‘might’ have mentioned that embroidering keeps us from murdering people at work. And while mine might actually look like it was stitched by a shaky hand after an actual stabbing, Meghan’s hand embroidered work delicately captures women in various stages of undress, laced in bits of boldly colored textiles.  She gives her women strength within the stitch, dressing them in a celebration of their sexuality, creating an illusion of movement with clean lines — my favorite are her double and triple takes stitched like a series of rapid blinks.

Three of her newer pieces will be exhibited in Paradigm Gallery’s upcoming group show, ‘Stitched’.  The show focuses on the shift in opinion toward embroidery, stitching, and other fibers techniques historically associated with women and “domestic tasks”.  Sadly, this type of work doesn’t get shown in museums a lot.  Is that due, in large part to an ongoing contested artistic legacy of the work? Or is it lack of knowledge of the skill and creativity required to create these artworks? Do you think shifting the focus toward the creativity required to produce these pieces pushes the conversation into the art realm?

Meghan and I jump right into our explorations on the evolution of stitching:

 

I want to steer the conversation away from craft, by refraining from overuse of technical terminology. I think it’s a real concern, that if we continue to talk about the medium in terms of crafting, that’s the way people will continue to view it.

Tsurubride: I see the point. It’s just another way; another medium.  Instead of a pen or a paintbrush – even with digital art and collage – a combination of all these skills come together to bring whatever is in your head, onto the fabric.

It has excited me to see opinions shift drastically about fiber techniques—I stitch during my commute on the train. Sometimes people sit down next to me and either recount watching their grandmothers stitching or express a surprise that anyone still does it.  I’ve noticed that most people don’t recognize what an embroidery hoop is.

I sometimes take my work with me when I travel, but I rarely get a chance to touch it.

How do people react to you embroidering while you’re traveling?

I have stitched while riding Amtrak a couple of times.  Once I was in business class sitting around people in suits.  There I was, in my jeans and t-shirt, stitching a nipple.  It was actually the perfect thing to be stitching in that environment. It was like, ‘yes dude, I’ve got my boobs over here, it’s all fine folks.’

What a juxtaposition (laughing). 

Tsuru Bride-double-exposure

For a while, embroidery seemed to be viewed as a lost art form and an antiquated one at that. We generally tend to think of older women embroidering.  So I think people are shocked to see younger women – even men, now taking up this art form.  Even the way they choose to express themselves with it seems to raise eyebrows, and a lot of curiosity.

I’ve been stitching forever and I know a large part of the embroidery community have stitched for a long time as well. When you hear words like “a resurgence,” its’ like, ‘No we’ve always been doing it.

I do think there’s more awareness being brought to it. Hopefully its less in the shadows – hopefully receiving less craft credit and more art credit.

With a rise in popularity, how soon do you think it will be before embroidery kits are being stocked in the novelty section of Urban Outfitters?

I think that would be fun.

I certainly like to create my own work, but if you’re just getting started and see that kit at Urban Outfitters, perhaps you’ll pick up that hoop and have some fun with it… Maybe they start with that kit, have their own take on the product and build into some really innovative ideas.

meghan-willis-tsurubride-embroidery

I learned my basics from aunts and my grandmothers, but I still take to resources like YouTube to learn more from other people in the stitching community.  At the end of the day, I’m still thinking about how to transform that information into my thing.

I think places like YouTube are great for learning new techniques, but you have to find your own take on it – your own approach to it.  At least those sort of resources are there to start with the fundamentals…

The question is, ‘how do you now incorporate that into your work?’

People on Instagram will comment and ask what stitch I’m using.  I only use backstitch, but it’s the way that I’m using it – people are surprised that that’s the way it ends up looking. Taking something as simple as that stitch and being able to translate it into my work ends up creating this visual that’s my trademark.

Were these skills passed down to you?

As a little kid, I was very crafty.  Both my grandmothers were very much into sewing – they encouraged the habit.  I started making terrible clothes for my Barbie doll. The fabric would be sewn wrong sides together  You’d turn it out and the seam allowance would be all wrong.  Everything would be done with these really long stitches cause I was impatient, I just wanted to do it.  I never thought about how the Barbie doll would then get into the clothes.

It seemed like a natural progression to be in fashion.  During the day I do that, and then at night I don’t want to make clothes anymore – partly because that is part of my day job.  This is a lot more relaxing, to be able to sit and create something.

I still have that same impatience though – I love the beauty of fill stitches but that’s part of the reason I never really incorporate it into my work.  I have an idea and I need to get it out of my head and create it.  fill stitches seem like they’re going to slow me down.  I’ve got too much art to make!

I love that confession. Impatience is such an oxymoron when you think about embroidering.

When I look at your work I’ve always thought , ‘it’s so purposeful in what side of the story you choose to tell by what was meaningfully left out’.  Knowing this now doesn’t make your work any less lovely, it enhances for me. You’ve really made the point that less is sometimes more.

Even when I started with the leather appliques… that happened because I used to make handbags in my spare time, and I had a lot of leather lying around .  I thought, ‘well this could be neat as a mixed medium, so I started playing around with it.’.

Even now, I’ll try to go back and work with some fill stitches, but it’s too slow… I’m so jealous, there are many other artists out there who do incredibly beautiful work with fill stitches.  It’s like, dammit. How do you do that so well?  I know it’s just practice, but I can’t… I got to get the ideas out of my head now.

I think it’s more than just ‘practice’.  Especially after talking to the other artists participating in Stitched.  It has a lot to do with the way the artists sees things and how they translate that.  A perfect stitch is pretty to look at, but perfection can be wearying.

That’s true.  I saw your post on Michelle Kingdom. There’s a great example of someone using fill stitches, but not in this clean, overly perfect way.  It’s got a movement and a romanticism to it.  Her stitching is more painterly.

I always feel like my work is more illustrative versus that painter technique.  Its’ more about clean lines and movement in that sense of after the thread versus following brush strokes.

It’s just another way of expression.

meghan-willis-tsurubride-embroidery

Fun Facts:

The Stitch Acquiesces To The Dream – The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom

“Drawing with thread,” is one way LA-based artist Michelle Kingdom describes her intricately embroidered small-scale worlds – threaded dreams and inner voices that cause her needle to meander away from technical techniques in favor of following her vision.

“There is truth to these compressed moments; there’s fear, hope, and gut instincts. It’s more about those moments when you are lying in bed, looking up at the ceiling, thinking – not subconsciously – not moments you can’t remember or access. It’s the chatter that you can’t shut off or shut out… My work is about snagging these vignettes. What I’m not stitching is just as important as what I am.”

Her commitment to capture the imagery makes conventional stitches acquiesce to a more expressive turn. Each thread has a different intention than the colored stitch you see at first glance. Even the names of her pieces are well thought out, “It takes a couple of days sometimes.  I compile/collect quotes and passages from books, and verses for inspiration.  It has to feel right.”

The art-craft aesthetics of the traditional vs. modern values being assigned to embroidery is sometimes still debated with a look into the artists’ process.

Traditional embroiderers’ tend to flip the embroidery over and check out its bones – so to speak.  Michelle and I talked about that inclination to read a piece by checking the backside to see if the stitches are tidy. “Mine are often a war zone of stitches and knots. When it’s too tidy back there it often means I’ve lost something.”

Spontaneity in embroidery is an irregularity –if a ‘read’ is betrayed by the threads in the back of her pieces, then Kingdom’s organic arrival to the end of her journey is a fantastic maelstrom of threads exposing the depth and the complexity of their layered emotions.

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom_Tending Mislaid Burdens

Tending Mislaid Burdens

You can see Michelle’s work during the upcoming show “Stitched”, an exhibition focusing on artwork that makes use of embroidery and stitching techniques. The group show will be in two parts, the first opening Friday, March 24th and the second opening Friday, June 23rd at Paradigm Gallery + Studio.

Enjoy these great links to more information on Kingdom:

  • Two of her favorite inspirations? Henry Darger  & Darrel Morris – “Both made great works based on snippets of their childhood. Very dark imagery.”
  • bG Gallery published a book on works compiled from Kingdom’s latest show.

 [Website] [Instagram]

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom_Duties of Gossamer

Duties of Gossamer

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom_Roots became Skeletons

Roots became Skeletons

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom_Headlong over Precipices

Headlong over Precipices

The Embroidery of Michelle Kingdom_The depths of the sea are the only water after all

The depths of the sea are the only water after all

 

Michelle Kingdom: Facebook, Instagram

All images via Michelle Kingdom.

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher

 

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher_Crystallized Cicada

I stumbled onto a website full of fragile creatures dusted with crystals the color of jeweled dewdrops. These bespoke creatures are the creation of Tyler Thrasher, a Tulsa, Oklahoma native with a penchant for combining nature and science – with enchanting results.

“For as long as I can recall, my work has revolved around these things, because I revolve around these things. I am driven by these elements, and in turn they are driving me. Most of my time is spent exploring, reacting to, and prodding nature.”

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher_cicacda crystallized

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher

Though not a taxidermist himself, Tyler crafts’ unique pieces of arts from the specimens’, they are treated with various compounds to yield crystal growth – each reacting differently to the solution.

The curiosity and love of nature is clear in the gentle reworking of beauty, shifting these complex bodies into a collection of things that seem imagined from the pages of an otherworldly tale. They lay on the border of the enchantingly macabre if you consider a dead thing capable of birthing a new existence through bewitchment.

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher _beetle

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher _skull

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher _ crystallized bat

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher_ Moth

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher

Insect Alchemy: Tyler Thrasher _ butterflies perserved

Tyler Thrasher [ Instagram | Facebook ]
Photo by Tyler Thrasher

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

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.

The Kids’ Eye: An Interview with Kid Hazo

The Kids’ Eye is where creative kids interview artists whose work they admire.

We prep — give them tips on proper interviewing etiquette, arm them with a camera, a recorder and then we let them loose.

We’re only there to observe.  The questions are theirs, the interviews haven’t been rewritten to sound like anything other than the probing journalism of a tween.

Tatianna is 14 years old – the kid behind the ‘Kids Eye’.  You might recall her inaugural interview for the series was with Philadelphia artist, Drew Leshko. This time up the hot seat belongs to Kid Hazo (pronounced has•ohh).

This go around is a tad different – Kid Hazo is a pretty mysterious figure.  The Philly based street artists’ work punctuates our daily interactions with his light-hearted – one step ahead of you – clever pieces that parody the heart of Philly culture. We contacted Kid and he arranged a Google Chat. There wasn’t going to be any identity unveiling, not even for a eager youngin’.  What you’re going to read is a cut & paste from their chat session.

Ready? Because here’s what happens when you let a tween off the leash… the creative leash that is.

Kid Hazo

photo courtesy of Kid Hazo

 

Day before the Interview

Kid Hazo: Let’s chat on Hangouts!

Tatianna: Video chat?

Kid Hazo: txt only!

Tatianna: Aww.

 

Day of Interview

T: Helloooo Kid Hazo, it is Tatianna.

KH: Why hello Tati. How are you?

T: I’m good how are you?

KH: Very good, thanks for asking!

T: Ok, are you ready for some questions?

KH: Ready when you are!

 

T: How long have you been an artist?

KH: I have been Kid Hazo since 2013, so 3 years?

 

T: Did you always know that you wanted to be a artist?

KH: I did not. I am just a big fan of street art. When I saw less being put up in Philly I decided I would step in and try to help out with new installations under this new identity.

 

Kid Hazo Insecurity Cameras

photo courtesy of Kid Hazo

 

T: Why did you pick street signs?

KH: Because I was a big fan of TrustoCorp’s work. I wanted to put my own twist on it.

T: Cool. How do you do all of your big pieces? Like the underwear

KH: Depends…sometimes I make things by hand, sometimes I buy things and alter them… Sometimes I use magic.

Kid Hazo takes out the Laundry

photo courtesy of Conrad Benner/Streets Dept

Kid Hazo White Undies

photo courtesy of Conrad Benner/Streets Dept

T: What type of magic do you use?

KH: Usually the same magic spells as Harry Potter does…that’s how I stay invisible!!

 

T: So you work alone?

KH: For the most part yes. Unless I do a collaboration with someone.

 

T: Why do you wear a mask?

KH: Because I would rather people focus on the artwork than deal with identity politics.

 

T: Where does a girl like me go to get a mask like yours?

KH: At the street art mask store…..?

 

T: Are you playing with me?

KH: Hahaha. Yes.

I have all of my secret spots. I can’t just reveal all the magic to you Tati!

T: why not :(

KH: Well I certainly can’t have Kid Hazo look alike characters running around the city ya know!!

 

T: Is being a artist your only job?

KH: No the artist job is just part time!

 

T: So what is your other job?

KH: My other job is working with computers…

 

T: So you’re smart.

KH: Hahaha, perhaps..

 

T: It is time for the fun questions!

KH: Yay!

 

T: What is your favorite TV show?

KH: Hmmm….right now Silicon Valley

T: I’ve never seen it before.

 

KH: What’s your favorite show?

T: I watch a lot of TV, so it is hard to pick just one.

KH: Haha gotcha.

 

T: What is the craziest thing you ever did?

KH: The craziest thing I ever did? HMMM….

One time I dressed up as a city street worker to install my “With Love XOXO” spoof ads and got away with it!

T: LOL. I remember those.

Kid Hazo XOXO Sign

 

T: If you had to pick a song that played every time you walked into a room what would it be?

KH: Boyz II Men – Motownphilly

 

T: Wow, now i’m listening to this and dancing right now. Thanks for that information.

KH: Hahaha no problem!

 

T: If you were a super hero who would you be?

KH: Hahaha awesome.  I like Spiderman, he seems like he has a lot of fun swinging around the city

T: Spiderman is ok.

KH: SPIDERMAN IS THE COOLEST.

T: I like Batman, he is so much cooler.

KH: Ugh….FINE.

But yea Batman is pretty cool

T: I’m always right.

Now it is time for the last question.

KH: I am actually like Bruce Wayne at art gallery shows anyway.

T: K, last question!

What would you do if some told you that you could never do art?

 

KH: I would do it anyway!!!

T: And if they stopped you?

…….?

…………..?

………………..?

KH: I would start all over under a new name!

Can’t stop, won’t stop!

 

T: This was very fun, sadly I have to go.  I hope to see you next year and good-bye.

KH: Sounds good! Thanks for interviewing me! Bye Tati!

T: You’re Welcome!

 

Biancoshock Hides Miniature Rooms inside Abandoned Manholes

Artist Biancoshock considers himself a classic activist and a performative artist. He refers to his art as “Ephemeralism” – the purpose of producing works of art that have to exist briefly in space but limitlessly in time through the photography, the video and the media.

His 2016 art installation “Borderlife” was his call to a bigger awareness.  He transformed 3 vacant subterranean maintenance vaults into miniature underground rooms in the Lodi district of Milan.  The spaces included a tiny kitchen, with hanging utensils and a wall clock; a bathroom, with an attached showerhead and towel rack; and a small, wallpapered hallway featuring a painting and hat.

It’s pointing a finger toward a social injustice – a hidden reality that most remain unaware of.  The living conditions of those forced to occupy confined spaces – with a focus on those who live underground, behind manholes.

This is where street art becomes more than a IG photo opportunity lying in wait. It becomes a chance to educate, to tell the story of the those who have no voice and no platform on which to be heard.

 

“If some problems can not be avoided, make them comfortable.
Intervention that, parodically, speaks about people forced to live in extreme conditions, even coming to live in manholes.
An example of inspiration is  Bucharest, where more than 600 people live underground, in the sewers.” – Biancoshock

 

Read more on the inspiration behind the art:  Kids of the ‘ Republic of the Sewers’.

Ben Cuevas ‘Transcending the Material’

Los Angeles-based artist Ben Cuevas’ current obsession is yarn.  Knitting worked itself into his art after he learned from a close friend and now creating conversations via fiber sculptures is a central feature of his work.

Our favorite so far is his installation entitled “Transcending the Material” where a knit sculpture of a human skeleton sits in lotus position atop a pyramid of Borden’s condensed milk cans.

“…It’s such a tactile medium and I’m really drawn to that quality of the material. The way it feels in your hands, the way it helps you mark the passing of time…all of these qualities seem very meditative to me.  I enjoy the rich cultural and social history that surrounds fiber arts, as well as blending the distinctions between art and craft. The time intensive and repetitive nature of knitting allows me to meditate on a piece as it comes into being, further revealing the nature of the work as part of the process.

While I explore a wide range of subject matter (such as gender and sexual identity, human rights, and ecological impact), my work is rooted by my desire to explore the condition of embodiment through comparative philosophical perspectives, reflecting on what it means to have a body, to inhabit a body, to be a body incarnated in, and interacting with, this world.”

Zoe Buckman: Mostly It’s Just Uncomfortable

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Mostly It’s Just Uncomfortable is part of Buckman’s response to the attack on Planned Parenthood in the United States, the consequent deprivation of access to free sexual health care for underserved women, as well as the attempted curtailing of a woman’s right to make choices concerning her own body.

Examining the cold and harsh material quality of gynecological instruments, Buckman finds a way of reversing her negative perception of these objects turning them into playful more tactile sculptural entities through the process of Powder Coating. This in-progress series of sculptures examines the physical discomfort women have to endure via these necessary and sometimes life-saving instruments. Also working with boxing iconography, Buckman has cast her own boxing gloves, hand wraps, and mouth guard in glass and metal, further marrying the stereotypically masculine to the feminine, and the fragile to the resilient. This dialogue between polarized materials is typical of Buckman’s work, yet the combat pieces speak to a new and more confrontational discourse in the artist’s process.*

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What’s Going On: Buckman is fresh off the latest group exhibitions “Off the Wall – For Freedoms”, at the Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago, IL.

Next Up: Harlem Postcards Fall/Winter 2016-2017, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY
•SoundScape Park Evening Film Program 2016, Art Basel Miami Beach, Miami, FL
•PULSE will also present the following works as part of the PROJECTS program: Zoe Buckman’s Champ, 2016, a neon work created in response to the attack on Planned Parenthood in the United States, the consequent deprivation of access to free sexual health care for underserved women, and the attempted curtailing of a woman’s right to make choices concerning her own body.

*statement from artist website

 

Shifting Consciousness with Chiharu Shiota

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"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”.