Month: March 2014

Hyper-realism…because babies are only cute because they’re small

posted by – 03/28/14 @ 12:00pm

Have you ever looked at artwork that so accurately reflected the subject that you had a hard time telling whether or not it was a photograph?  Or maybe you’ve seen those street performers that cover themselves in paint and stand super still, but scare you when you stand too close or try to take a picture with it.  Ron Mueck is a hyper-realist sculptor who creates sculptures that bear an uncanny resemblance to their muses.  But it’s not too challenging to tell the sculpture apart from the real person– usually because the sculpture is either scaled up or scaled down to a ridiculous size.  The change in perspective it provokes is very powerful.

Take babies for example.  I was telling my friend the other day that there is no such thing as an ugly baby.  Why else would every new mother post so many pictures and videos of her child on Facebook, and why else would those pictures and videos get so many likes.  But after looking at this specific piece by Mueck, I realized that ugly babies might actually exist.  We just don’t notice because they are small and anything that small is automatically categorized as “cute.”

Oh man!  When a baby is that big, it looks frightening!  She’s no longer that cute little person who depends on you for love and nurturing.  Then again, if you stand really, really far away, she starts to look cute again.  Some things are just all about perspective.

Simplification

posted by – 03/26/14 @ 12:21pm

In the real world, things can get a bit complicated.  Think of that time when you opened this huge can of worms by asking your friend about his or her love life.  Sometimes, all these complexities can be hard to comprehend and we don’t really know what to do with all the different variables.  There are a couple different strategies to simplify such a crazy, chaotic world.

1.  Ignoring complexities:  as an engineering student, I accept the fact that I will never have an exact answer to my problems and always have to settle for “good enough.”  I’m happy with it.  I don’t mind assuming the earth is a perfect sphere, materials are perfectly rigid, and air resistance is negligible.  It makes my homework a whole lot easier.

2.  Systematic reconstruction of the universe in a more organized way:  Meet Ursus Wehrli.  He authored a book called The Art of Clean Up that details his attempts to create order within his surroundings.  The concept is kind of crazy, yet beautiful at the same time.  Looking at the “tidied up” scenes is like listening to an extremely loud silence– even the smallest disturbance will propagate and amplify to disrupt the tranquility of the environment.  His art preserves that fraction of a second where everything is sorted based on similar characteristics and there is no conflict or competition in the universe.  See for yourself.

Before

After

It’s interesting because both images have their own beauty to it, yet they are complete opposites.  We find one type of beauty in what is natural, and another type of beauty in patterns and predictability.  Here’s an interesting blurb by Wehrli himself about his perspective about the world and motivations behind his art.

Dans La Rue

posted by – 03/21/14 @ 3:37pm

The Street Museum of Art (SMoA) is a museum unlike most others. Established in 2012, this young museum employs “guerilla curating.” Instead of bringing street art indoors, the works in each exhibition are left on the street, where they can be observed in the contexts they were created for. The works are labeled with informative placards like those found in traditional museums, but they are integrated into the city rather than removed from it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based in Brooklyn, the museum travels to various cities to curate street art in its natural habitat. Their most recent show, “Dans La Rue,” is currently on view throughout the streets of Montreal. The museum encourages its visitors to explore the city as they view the art, deepening their experience and understanding of the works. “Dans La Rue” showcases 12 prominent local artists – Bfour, Gawd, Labrona, Listen Bird, Omen, Produkt, Rage5, Scaner, Stikki Peaches, Waxhead, WIA (aka whatisadam) and Wzrds Gang. These artists use a variety of mediums, from spray paint and wheat pastes to installations and wax drawings.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Guerilla curating” stays true to the sentiment of street art – the shows are public, ephemeral, and constantly interacting with their environments.

Click here learn more about “Dans La Rue” and the Street Museum of Art (SMoA).

 

Permission to be Global

posted by – 03/19/14 @ 12:15pm

is the name of Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts first Latin American contemporary art exhibit.  It features artists from Argentina, Peru, Guatemala, Cuba, and other Latin American countries.  I think the name of the exhibit says so much about Latin America’s role in the rest of the world.  When I was in elementary school, we had a couple lessons on the Mayans, Aztecs, Incas, and not much else because European countries conquered and colonized the continent.  When you look at how much the United States has meddled in Latin American affairs, you would think that those countries would have at least some presence in our morning coffee discussions.  Nashville’s own William Walker even led several private military expeditions in Latin America and established himself as president of Nicaragua for a brief period of time.  And a more recent example is Plan Colombia, a controversial program between the United States and Colombia to nominally eliminate drug cartels while protecting American oil interests.

It’s no wonder that most Latin American countries feel sequestered from the rest of the world, which is why this art exhibit is so huge for them.   Camilo Alvarez, one of the featured artists, says, “The fact that white America is now learning to absorb another culture is great.  Mind you, that other culture was always here.”  I think this art exhibit does an excellent job in assimilating Latin American art with the rest of the art world and it is an important stride in bringing Latin American issues to the attention of the rest of the world.  You can find more information about the exhibit here.

Danmalas in Springtime

posted by – 03/06/14 @ 3:11pm

Spring is approaching here in Nashville! We’ve had a cold winter, but this weekend is expected to be sunny and warm. As the weather heats up, I look forward to spending more time outdoors, strolling through Centennial Park or hiking around Percy Priest Lake. Spring is my favorite season because it’s a time when we can enjoy nature to the fullest.

Artist Kathy Klein celebrates the beauty of nature by creating “danmalas” – mandala-inspired patterns made from flowers and other plants. Exuberant and bright, Klein’s works take full advantage of the shapes and colors found in our natural world.


Spirituality is a key part of Klein’s creative process. First, she meditates to draw inspiration from the environment around her. While in a meditative state of mind, she collects flowers and other natural materials and uses them to form the intricate danmalas. Once the danmalas are completed, Klein photographs her work. Then, she leaves the danmalas on the ground to be discovered by passersby.

Most of Klein’s works can be found in Arizona, where she lives. However, Klein often travels around America in order to use a greater variety of natural materials. Perhaps one day I’ll be lucky enough to stumble upon one of her danmalas myself.

For more information about Kathy Klein and her danmalas, visit her website here.

Stardust

posted by – 03/04/14 @ 2:58pm

The National Portrait Gallery in London is best known for its stunning collections of Tudor, Elizabethan, Georgian, and Victorian-era art. But now, the most talked about exhibit at the museum is totally contemporary. The show “Stardust” features the works of the king of contemporary portraiture, photographer David Bailey. In this retrospective show, we see David Bailey’s photographs from the 1950s to 2013. The subjects of his photographs range from fashion models and icons of pop culture to close family members and people encountered in his travels. In an homage to his roots, the exhibit also includes photographs taken in London’s East End over the years. Impressively, Bailey is not only the artist of the exhibit – he’s also the curator.

Often playful and sometimes serious, Bailey’s portraits create an aura of glamour. His vision captured and helped define the style of the swinging sixties, and his works continue to influence style today. But Bailey’s photographs also strive to uncover the person in each photograph – they have a depth and beauty that transcends the fleetingness of pop trends. If you’re lucky enough to be in London between March and June 2014, this is a show worth visiting.

Read more about “Stardust” here.