Tuesday, January 30, 2018

BEAUTY: Installation--Adela Andea

Light sculptor/artist Adela Andea's Artist Statement:

"I like to think about my art as incorporating as many layers of reality. My ideas for the spaces I plan to generate are structured as a dialogue about the interaction between people and new technologies, socio-political issues raised through the dynamic and rapid industrialization and globalization. This socio-political and economical constructed reality is part of a consensus reality about the current stage of the ecology of electronics.

In my vision there is not one unilateral truth or message about reality. The subjective encounter through personal individual experience with the artwork is one dimension that creates many other layers of reality. Confronting the discrepancy between ideas, understanding of the concept in the context of socio-cultural present preoccupation, and the actual experience, events, the reality can be manipulated by the way is presented, argued.

Through art, the transformation of information has been mitigating the two extremes, between the valuable resources of information and the end product responsibilities for recycling, giving a different meaning to the phrase “residual value.” In addition the fast scientific developments almost enable us to distinguish between present and future technologies; a question I always ask myself when encountering new information: it has been done and succeed it, is experimental or it is envisioned to happen in some laboratories?

I like to transform the indoor spaces into installations that involve full sensory experiences for the viewers. I use all the space is available to expand for the purposes of the installation. I consider all physical aspects of the building and the level of audience involvement. Where films and video games convey a futuristic approach generating virtual realities, my art is trying to deconstruct the clear delimitation line between reality and virtual reality.

The numerous transitions in my life made me think about the enormous capability of people to adapt to situations and even more, search for the new possibilities of personal development through inquisitive experiences. I strive for my art to vindicate the malign consequences of technology on the environment and inspire new exciting ways to infuse technology."


Monday, January 29, 2018

"The Art Of Flying" by Jan van IJken

Filmmaker and photographer Jan van IJken filmed starlings murmurating (flying and swooping in a dense flock).

His website describes the film:
"Short film about 'murmurations': the mysterious flights of the Common Starling. It is still unknown how the thousands of birds are able to fly in such dense swarms without colliding. Every night the starlings gather at dusk to perform their stunning air show. Because of the relatively warm winter of 2014/2015, the starlings stayed in the Netherlands instead of migrating southwards. This gave filmmaker Jan van IJken the opportunity to film one of the most spectacular and amazing natural phenomena on earth. The film has been screened at more than 50 international film festivals, galleries, etc."

Watching this enormous flock is hypnotizing. There has been much debate and recent scientific breakthroughs about how they do it. But I am left wondering why they do it. It must be thrilling to be part of the flock and let go to a larger system, a larger body, moving simply to feel movement, to feel alive. My heart is beating faster just thinking of it: the transcendent feeling, the sense of being out of your body but in control at the same time, a peak experience, like a dream. Of course I am reminded of Kate Bush's musical masterpiece "Aerial," a song cycle about birds, the sun, the moon, and the sky,...and in particular the final song of that cycle called "Aerial" where Kate joins birds on a roof at sunrise in a cacophonous, thundering, heart-stopping event. Just like this video trailer. Watch...but listen, too. I bet if we could map out the patterns of their movements, we would see they are flying in fractals.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

BEAUTY: Painting--Harley Manifold

Harley Manifold developed a unique recurring character in the narrative of his paintings which he explains on his website under a section titled, appropriately enough, "What's With The Guy In The Carboard Box?"

"Boxie originated in Bali. I had been surfing a wild reef and on my third day there I was hit by a wave and then hit the reef. Fracturing bones in my hand and also lacerating my arm, shoulder and back as well – I got my ‘Bali Tattoo’. For the remainder of the trip I was unable to go surfing. The only thing I could do was sit by the pool and go and do touristy things.

It was during these tourist excursions that I noticed nearly every tourist was walking into the shrines, temples and anywhere in between – with their camera already in-front of their face – only to take an image and turn around and walk away without ever lowering the camera to view the scene.

I stewed on this for days and remembered similar scenes at the 12 apostles, near home. When I returned to Melbourne I had the idea in my head of people running around with cardboard boxes on their torso and a small glow emanating from the bottom, effectively cutting them off from the outside world.

I painted these figures angrily into the landscapes of Bali, until a designer friend came to visit the studio and said how much she loved the figures- which made me happy – and how happy they made her. This stopped me dead in my tracks, happiness was definitely not the outcome I had seeked from Mrboxie. Yet later that night I realised what a gift it was, it turns out that nearly everyone is polarised by this little figure ambling through the landscape. A Rorschach blot Boxie has almost become. For my friend boxie reminded her of her childhood playing in cardboard box – as most will remember if someone were lucky enough to get something that came in a large box, the box would then become the centre of all play.

It was not until I ran out of friends willing to pose in the box trundling around the streets that I had to enter the box myself. Inside I found it warm and comforting – cocoon like – the sounds outside were muffled and my own body heat reflected off the cardboard and warmed me. I was self-contained in more ways than one. It reminded me of my sanctuary that I found when in the bathroom at home – the only room with a lock on the door – from there it became my armour and camouflage. What better shape to blend into a city than a vertical rectangle?"

Top to bottom: Fixed Fourth Wall; Found A Friend; Giving Up The Ghost; Go; Night Wander; Ping Ping Ping Ping Ping; Summertime Last Hyland Tea; The Seeker; Under Stars; You Can't Always get What You Want


Saturday, January 27, 2018

"Transient" by Dustin Farrell

Filmed by Dustin Farrell, "Transient" is an arresting, slow motion study of lightning.

"'Transient' is a compilation of the best shots from my storm chasing adventures of summer 2017. Most of the lightning footage was captured in uncompressed raw at 1000 frames per second with our Phantom Flex4K. This summer I chased for over 30 days and traveled 20K miles. My respect and admiration for storm chasers became even stronger this year. This is one of the most difficult projects I have ever attempted in my career. On several occasions I found myself uncomfortable either mentally or physically. Chasing storms with a Phantom Flex4K is stressful even when things are going well. There were at least 10 days where I returned home with my tail between my legs and nothing to show after a ten hour chase and 500 miles. There were also a couple of days that I drove home with an ear to ear smile that lasted for hours. Most of the lightning was captured in my home state of Arizona. I also spent a week in the Great Plains chasing with Chad Cowan. It was during this time that I captured a time-lapse of the massive super-cell shown twice in Transient. For some reason that damn super-cell refused to spit out a proper bolt.

Lightning is like a snowflake. Every bolt is different. I learned that lightning varies greatly in speed. There are some incredible looking bolts that I captured that didn't make the cut because even at 1000fps they only lasted for one frame during playback. I also captured some lightning that appear computer generated it lasted so long on the screen."


Friday, January 26, 2018


Kintsugi is the ancient Japanese practice of repairing cracked or broken pottery and ceramics with lacquer mixed with powdered metals, most often gold. This method of repair most likely started in the mid 1400s and has become associated with the Japanese concepts of wabi-sabi (a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection) and mono no aware. Instead of destroying or decreasing the value of an item, the art of kintsugi highlights the unpredictable nature of existence and prompts us to find beauty in that which has stood the test of time. The fact that something is cracked makes it more valuable, more beautiful, more desirable.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

BEAUTY: Painting--Lisa Madigan

Scrumptious. I am smitten with paintings that use paint like cake frosting and the work of Australian artist Lisa Madigan fits the bill. Her abstract work concerns itself with not only color but with the properties of the paint itself and how it spreads and sits on the canvas. These images are from her lovely Kaleidoscope series. I think my favorite is Morning Glory, fifth one down...

Top to bottom: Light The Sky; After Glow; Impossible Beauty; Iridescent Violet; Morning Glory; Scotch and Soda; Stiletto and Blush


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

BEAUTY: Sculpture and Installation--Ron Mueck

Known for his extremely realistic sculptures of human figures, scaled either unusually small or unusually large, artist Ron Mueck has created his largest and possibly most engrossing piece yet. Called Mass, the collection of 100 gigantic human skulls takes up a large room at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. Mass is on display through April 18, 2018.


The proximity of the skulls to the classical paintings reminds me of Holbein's painting The Ambassadors, on view at the National Gallery in London. This Tudor-era painting shows a skull, rendered in anamorphic perspective on top of a double portrait and allegorical still life; one must approach the painting closely from high on the right side, or low on the left side, to see the form as an accurate rendering of a human skull.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

BEAUTY: Clothing--Misc. Paris Fashion Week

The Fall-Winter '18-'19 fashion season is over, and it was mildly engaging...but frankly, it felt like something was missing: a flair, an elan, a spark. Whatever is was (or wasn't), here are some highlights from the final leg of the season, Paris Fashion Week.

It has been brewing for many seasons now, but there was a new silhouette being promoted by several houses. McQueen showed a fascinating jacket that features generous shoulders and flared hips but true to McQueen's interest in classic men's tailoring, the waist nips in, creating an appealing hourglass shape. And in the hands of Sarah Burton, this does not feel feminine at all. Wonderful!

Wooyoungmi also showed garments that exemplify this new larger, looser, more casual cut of clothing. The idea behind this new silhouette is basically the destruction of the suit as a sign of masculinity or power. With the world changing so fast--a more casual business environment full of millenials, people conducting more of their business as well as personal lives on-line, and changing gender roles--the suit seems to be evolving (additionally, the suit as a business-power signifier is now being equated with unstable power hungry monsters and straight male sexual abusers). I think, as Alexander McQueen's Sarah Burton shows above, classic tailoring will always be around in some form, but Katie Chung (who just this season took over the house from her mother Woo Youngmi) shows that there is something in the air that is morphing not only how we live but how we look and express ourselves.

Now, on to the political. Vogue fashion journalist Sarah Mower was at the Sacai show in Paris and reported on the inspiration and subtext for this saturated collection:
"Why would a Japanese designer in Tokyo wish to collaborate with a Hawaiian shirt brand in Honolulu? Think about it a moment, and you realize that the citizens of both places are enduring the nuclear tension between North Korea and the United States. Chitose Abe is not a political or statement-making designer by any stretch of the imagination. Her quite terrific collection—men’s for Fall ’18 and women’s Pre-Fall shown together—was colorful and gutsy, seemingly less caught up in demonstrating the tricks of her trade than in making whole looks. Ultimately, though, she used her moment with the press to speak up for cross-cultural harmony, and you sensed why she was making a point of it now. Abe also put a T-shirt and fleece hoodie on the runway printed with the New York Times’s 'Truth . . .' slogan."
Amen to that.

We can always count on Walter Van Beirendonck to provoke. I like his collections not because they are lyrically pleasing to the eye or even wearable (for the most part) but because they are pleasing to the intellect and emotions. I love his technicolor, abstract art sensibility. So I share this collection not only on that level, but for the inspiration and execution of the collection. It was an unashamed exploration of gay fetish culture, featuring rubber outfits with lined holes for nipples, penises, and at the mouth to accept whatever might be put in there. The words TOP, BOTTOM, and PIG were scattered on knit tops. Gas masks and references to puppy play (if you don't know what that is kids, Google it 'cuz I'm not going to explain it to you) showed up as well. But despite all this fetish and sex talk, the collection is surprisingly UN-erotic, even with tee shirts and lycra bodysuits collaged with images of muscle men from gay porn. What I love about this particular statement is not that it is shocking to display such matters culturally, but that we are at a point now where to be shocked by such matters would be shocking. Curiously, there was also a motif that looked like cartoon doodles rendered in the style of 18th century engravings along with the phrase--which is the name of the collection--STATES EMPIRES AND WORLDS OF SUN AND MOON. A nice spiritual allusion to an otherwise visceral collection.

Over in the shoe department, Glenn Martens of Y/Project teamed with Australian footwear manufacturer Ugg to create an exaggerated version of their classic suede and sheepskin boot. Martens employed a technique to make the Ugg boot seem to be three boots worn at once, and created a thigh-high version that pools and gathers. He paired these with pants that seemed to be just as layered and pooling as the boots for a mirrored effect. Martens described this layered effect as "melting," saying "You’re not really sure where one finishes and the other begins." Frankly, I love them. I own a pair of Uggs and I always want them to be higher so I can wear them slouched or rolled down, like this. Thanks Y/Project!

Some more shoes worth mentioning: Maison (Martin) Margiela, now helmed by once-disgraced super-designer John Galliano (who seems to be doing quite well these days), showed a fantastic cloven-toed leather boot (love!)...and an odd pillow-y slipper sneaker with a drawstring.

Dior Homme, a label that has shown clothing on emaciated, seemingly barely pubescent boys sent some looks down the runway on models that have a bit of mileage on them. Thank you Kris Van Assche for celebrating the sexy, mature man!