Monday, May 30, 2011

►Levi van Veluw - The self-landscape portraits

►Levi van Veluw is a multidisciplinary artist, born in 1985 Hoevelaken, the Netherlands where he lives and works.

Levi van Veluw showcase his series 'Landscapes'. This 4-piece series reinterprets the traditional landscape painting, removing plots of grass, clusters of trees, babbling brooks from their intimate 2 dimensional formats and transposing them onto the 3 dimensional contours of his own face. Thus a fresh twist is given to the obsession inherent in the romantic landscape of recreating the world and simultaneously being part of it. The romantic landscape and self-portrait genres are combined as a means of re-examination.

Besides the four landscapes, Levi van Veluw will also present a new video piece, landscape installation and works from two other series of photographs.

Van Veluw's works seemed to function within this conversation; his experiments in obscuring and fundamentally altering his own visage seemed like the logical, humorous, conclusion to prior explorations within examining, and shifting, self-image. Surprisingly, Van Veluw dismisses the heavy conceptual framework of the mask, citing it as merely functioning for "religious" purposes or as "decoration/tradition." In a way, his refusal to acknowledge his relationship to other similar artists is interesting; they become instead private, more ego-driven explorations of himself, like a young child painting his face for the first time and marveling at his own transformation. Perhaps this is fundamentally what introduces humor into the works—we voyeuristically watch Van Veluw make a fool of his face in new and surprising ways, time and time again. 

Levi van Veluw: "The work is created through several combinations of ideas. I started experimenting with portraits a few years ago. After every photo, I analyze the work and discuss with myself what is good and what is not. Therefore it is not really a portrait, but more a series of experiments. Creating the work is a one-man process. It is very important that I make every decision while I am creating the work itself because the process is part of the work. The objects really exist on my head and not through the use of a computer. 

The technical aspect is not as interesting as it looks. It is just what you see. I put the materials on my face with glue and tape, or draw patterns with ballpoints. It takes about 11 hours to create one photo. It has to be done within a time frame of 24 hours, as I can’t go to sleep before removing everything.
It is important for me that everything happened for real. The end result is not only an "end-result", but contains a short creative history. The image contains the process of creating the work itself. In that way the image will be credible. By putting everything in another context, the elements’ values have to be reinterpreted. The image is about the conflicts between the objects associations and their new values. "

"My idea was to create a conflict between the real and the drawn hair. Looking the same but having another function, a conflict between real and unreal, but still being a product of Levi van Veluw."

"The work is a result of this understanding. I noticed that every material around me has a purpose, and the values of a material are connected to its function. The "material transfers" are part of this concept. For example the carpet is part of the idea of reinterpreting and introducing the material and all the associations it has, and so changing all its values."

►Maggie Taylor - Vision of reality

►Maggie Taylor (born 1961 in Cleveland, Ohio) is an artist who works with digital images. She won the Santa Fe Center for Photography's Project Competition in 2004. Her work has been widely exhibited in the United States and Europe and is represented within the permanent collections of several galleries and museums. She is the third wife of American photographer, Jerry Uelsmann.
She produces prints by scanning objects into a computer using a flatbed scanner, then layering and manipulating these images using Adobe Photoshop surrealistic montage. 

Using 19th century photographs and images, Maggie Taylor (1961) scanned them on a flatbed scanner, she is able to create a unique type of digital image which has some photographic qualities.Her work evolved from black-and-white suburban landscapes to more personal and narrative color still-life imagery. Using an old camera and natural light, she photographed bits and pieces of the everyday:old toys, broken bottles...

Maggie Taylor began her career as a photographer by making still lifes with a 4x5" view camera. In 1995 she began using the computer as a retouching tool for her images, scanning her 4x5 negatives. When she realized she could place objects right on the scanner and not deal with film, camera, or darkroom chemistry, she fell in love with the idea. Except for an occasional digital capture of elements that prove difficult to scan, Maggie has almost completely stopped using a camera.
One thing that makes her work different from many other computer artists, is that most others are interested in creating images that have a layered quality, where there are a lot of transparent layers. There might be text over a black and white image or over a colored background. Maggie tends to avoid making this kind of image. She creates what she would want to paint a believable scene that doesn't have a lot of visible layers. Although she uses multiple layers to construct the images, she strives not to have a the layers apparent. 
She feels it is best to leave as many options open as possible when working on an image. She makes great use of masks, preferring not to use an eraser around the edge of an object. "I'd rather make a layer mask and work on trimming something or getting rid of the edges using the layer mask, then I haven't destroyed anything or thrown anything away. Definitely, if you are using a scanner it is good to become adept at using a layer mask." 
An integral part of her technique is to place one object on top of another, taking two layers and playing with the blend mode, seeing what kind of subtle, or not so subtle, changes she can achieve with two images interacting with different blend modes.
She is often asked, what is this new media? Is it a photograph or is it a painting? According to Maggie it's something in between. It's not photography and it's not painting. She prints her images on matt surface paper with a slight texture so they look more like a printmaker's work, or like a painted image, rather than a photograph. She intentionally stays away from glossy paper and luster surface so her prints exhibit a tactile quality.
"Making images for me is a way of life. I can't imagine not doing it...I guess in terms of what motivates me, the best answer would be, if I don't make images I'm unhappy."- M.Taylor

Friday, May 20, 2011

►Adam Salwanowicz - Dramatic landscape photography

►Adam Salwanowicz, a photographer from Amsterdam, Netherlands. His portfolio is full of unique and dramatic landscape photography.

►Alessandro Battara - Illustrations of life

Alessandro Battara is born in a cold November day in the small and misty town of Ferrara, where he still live and work as a free-lance graphic designer and layout illustrator.

Artist's Statement...
"I believe what we saw and lived first hand in our lives is very helpful, the more things touched us, the more we have to say and express, even violently. I’m always trying to turn my illustrations into a sort of cinematographic manifesto; the situation or the fact that I’m illustrating becomes my own film, that I must summarize in a poster. "

Alessandro graduated from the Dosso Dossi School of Art in Ferrara, Italy, and then went for a two year qualification in anatomical design.
"Unfortunately there weren’t many job opportunities available at the time so I had to take every sort of humble job. I wanted to make money in order to start my own life. A few years later I got the opportunity to go back in the graphic design business. I took out my colors and dusty brushes and started drawing and working on my computer for hours because I felt a bit rusty and…you know what? I discovered I had so much to say! I met every sort of person. In a work environment like a factory, for example, you can meet nice people, desperate people and even the outcast. I haven’t spent my life inside a graphic studio and this helped me a lot, despite what I myself used to think, because having seen life as it really is and having experienced hard work that I profoundly hated I have now something to say."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

►Samuel Beckett - Black comedy and gallows humor

►"We are all born mad. Some remain so."- Samuel Beckett

Samuel Barclay Beckett (13 April 1906 – 22 December 1989) was an Irish avant-garde writer, dramatist and poet, writing in English and French. Beckett's work offers a bleak outlook on human culture and both formally and philosophically became increasingly minimalist in his later career.
He wrote both in English and French. His work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human culture, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humor.

Beckett is widely regarded as among the most influential writers of the 20th century. Strongly influenced by James Joyce, he is considered one of the last modernists. As an inspiration to many later writers, he is also sometimes considered one of the first postmodernists. He is one of the key writers in what Martin Esslin called the "Theatre of the Absurd". His work became increasingly minimalist in his later career.
Beckett was awarded the 1969 Nobel Prize in Literature "for his writing, which—in new forms for the novel and drama—in the destitution of modern man acquires its elevation". He was elected Saoi of Aosdána in 1984.

►Oleg Dou - Staggeringly unique vision

►Oleg Dou born in Moscow on the 19th of August in 1983.
With staggeringly unique vision, Oleg Dou's work develops and pushes to the limit the idea of a body, evoked by the surrealists, as an object of subversions, distortions and other mutations that undermine its integrity.
His photography has been celebrated in Paris and Moscow exhibitions, as well as such French and Russian publications as Le Monde2, PHOTO magazine and Fotomasterskaya magazine.

Often strange and disturbing, Dou's artistic search pushes to extreme limits, his subjects destroyed and massacred before the lens seemingly without pity...but take a look at their eyes and see if your interpretation is shaken.

Artist's Statement:
"I was born in the artistic family and faced the art when I was a little child. My mother was a painter, and I grew up spending a lot of time among artists — although I was not particularly interested in their activities.
I felt an urge toward the arts and creation some time ago when I was working as a designer, and I began seriously studying design. That's how I 'bumped into' photography.
I worked hard to create my own style and technique. The main tool is computer photo-manipulation and a mix of several photos. I’ve already created several art projects and showed them in a few countries, including France, Belgium and the USA. Creation brings me enormous pleasure. I am stubborn, ambitious and optimistic by nature; I like being different — and my work, I hope, reflects these features of my character.

Once I was looking at the book with Proto-renaissance artists which became my favorite for many years. I found a lot of awesome portraits with strange weird emotions in that book. Some people was ill, some angry, some crazy and some had empty indifferent eyes. It was not used to show the people that 'perversion' way nowadays and that was real discovery for me.
Since that time I had a passion for a human face and tried to find that kind of pictures everywhere. I spent a lot of time looking at the family photo albums or newspapers or magazines. I tried to find something that I liked and something that disturbed me at the same time.
Later I recognized my willing to create something myself. And the photography was my choice.
My favorite thing is to show something in other not stereotypical way. It can be scary nuns, people pretending to cry or unhappy children - everything that is not expected to see.

I use artificial nature of a digital photography as a tool to reach the point between opposites such as alive and dead, attractive and disturbing, beautiful and ugly. Thus I'm searching to transcribe the feeling of presence that you get while passing the plastic mannequin.
Meanwhile I believe that the surface of the photography is very important. And I try to do photos in a beautiful way, inspired with a classical paintings. Not for the beauty itself, but to create more powerfull images."

►Bogdan Prystrom - Beautiful digital photo-montage

►Artist's Statemet...
"I'm a member of the Union of Polish Art Photographers. I used to be a chairman of Warmia and Masuria Photographic Association. I live in the north of Poland, in a pretty town of Olsztyn. At present, I use computer methods to take photos with digital techniques only.Pictures that I create, are the extension of what I was doing earlier tradition using photographic methods. The theme of my work is usually a man and his portrait. The method I use is a digital photo-montage. I treat my photos totally different from those created by techniques of photographic materials producers.I try to do every work with my own 'particular method'. " - Bogdan Prystrom

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