Category: Art

Quirky Interpretations of Everyday Objects by Vanessa McKeown 

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For the last few weeks, photographer and art director Vanessa McKeown has been sharing colorful, quirky interpretations of everyday objects on Instagram. McKeown imagines balloons as various fruits and vegetables and oranges are peeled to reveal unexpected objects. Clever visuals all around. You can also follow her on Tumblr.

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Constrained by the Limitations of Soviet-Era Architecture, Brodsky & Utkin Imagined Fantastical Structures on Paper 

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Hill with a Hole, 1987/90
. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

To be an architect with vision in the Soviet Union during the 1970s and 80s, was to witness a near complete loss of Moscow’s historical architectural heritage. Restrictions on aesthetics, quality building materials, and access to skilled labor resulted in poorly designed structures void of inspiration that were practically destined to crumble. Architects with any shred of ambition were severely limited by communist bureaucracy and were often outright penalized for their ideas. Desperately seeking a creative outlet, these constrained artists and designers turned instead to paper.

Perhaps the most vivid example of this is the work of renowned Soviet “paper architects” Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin who from 1978 to 1993, retreated into their imaginations to create fantastical etchings as a revolt against communist architecture. Paper architecture (or visionary architecture), is the name given to architecture that exists only on paper that possesses visionary, often impossible ideas interlaced with whimsey, humor, satire, and science fiction.

Building on ideas borrowed from Claude Nicolas Ledoux, the design of Egyptian tombs, and urban master plans envisioned by Le Corbusier, the duo conceived of obsessivly detailed renderings that seeme to fill every inch of the canvas with buildings, bridges, arches, domes, and schematics. Through these artworks, Brodsky & Utkin criticized the aesthetic norms of the day until their partnership ended shortly after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Princeton Architectural Press just released the third edition of Brodsky & Utkin, a large volume containing 30 duotones from the artists, but also includes “an updated preface by the artists’ gallery representative, Ron Feldman, a new introductory essay by architect Aleksandr Mergold, visual documentation of the duo’s installation work, and rare personal photographs.” Several Brodsky & Utkin prints are also currently on view at Tate Modern. (via Hyperallergic)

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Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Contemporary Architectural Art Museum, 1988/90
. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Diomede, 1989/90
. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Doll’s House, 1990
. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Dwelling House of Winnie-the-Pooh, 1990. 
Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Glass Tower II, 1984/90. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Ship of Fools or a Wooden Skyscraper for the Jolly Company, 1988/90. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Villa Nautilus, 1990. Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Courtesy of Ronald Feldman Fine Arts Inc.

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Highlights from Artist Tatsuya Tanaka’s Daily Miniature Photo Project 

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Photographer and art director Tatsuya Tanaka has a fascination with all things tiny and has an uncanny ability to repurpose everyday objects as set pieces or tools for the inhabitants of his miniature world. For his project Miniature Calendar, Tanaka has been stretching his imagination to its limits nearly every day for the last four years. A tape dispenser becomes the bar for a restaurant, a circuit board is suddenly a rice paddy field, and the notes of a musical score become the hurdles for a track race. Individually, the photos might invoke a smile or chuckle as you get the joke, but when viewed collectively they morph into a fascinating study on Tanaka’s breadth of creativity.

New photos from Miniature Calendar are published every day on Instagram and Facebook. Tanaka also published a book of earlier miniature photos in a book titled Miniature Life. (via Spoon & Tamago)

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Books and Stones Embedded with Sleek Layers of Laminate Glass by Ramon Todo 

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Splitting his time between Kanagawa, Japan and Dusseldorf, Germany, artist Ramon Todo (previously) is known for his small sculptures of rocks and books embedded with polished layers of glass. Todo’s decision to seamlessly introduce disparate materials into a single object creates an unusual intention, as if these objects have always existed this way. The random pieces of obsidian, fossils, volcanic basalt, and old books are suddenly redefined, or as Beautiful/Decay’s Genista Jurgens puts it: “By inserting something alien into these pieces, Todo is effectively rewriting their history, and the place that these objects hold in the world.”

Todo will have a number of new pieces on view with MA2 Gallery at EXPO CHICAGO starting next week. He also has a number of atworks available through Artsy and you can flip through additional glass books clicking the small arrows on MA2 Gallery’s website.

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Artist Nelson Makamo’s Dynamic Portraits of Johannesburg Children 

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With a dizzying flurry of oil paints, watercolors, silkscreen & monotype printing techniques, charcoal, and ink, artist Nelson Makamo captures the daily life of South African children as reflected in their charismatic faces. Based in Johannesburg, Makamo prefers to refer to himself as a storyteller or narrator of what he encounters everyday. “I document each day visually because for me each day is a blessing, being able to capture movements and feelings of people who live around me.” His portraits depict hopeful faces filled with laughter and confidence, awash in spirited dashes of color. Via Salon Ninety One:

Key themes informing Makamo’s practice include the city of Johannesburg with its dizzying dynamism, portraiture, the narrative of the artist’s personal history – an unpolitical archive of personal experience, as well as themes of migration, urbanization, identity, masquerade and the transition from childhood to adulthood. Makamo ultimately strives to communicate a universal experience, which viewers can relate to and access through his artwork.

Makamo has exhibited in numerous group and solo shows in South Africa, France, Italy, the U.S., The Netherlands and Scotland over the last few years. You can see more of his artwork at Candice Berman Fine Art or follow him on Instagram. And just in case you were wondering, his shoes. (via Lustik)

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Neon Sunsets and Technicolor Landscapes Painted by Grant Haffner 

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Deeply influenced by a childhood spent growing up on Long Beach in Sag Harbor, N.Y., artist Grant Haffner tries to capture the color and feeling of sunsets burnt into his memories. Haffner works primarily with a mixture of acrylic, marker, pencil and paint pen on wood panels to create vibrant neon depictions of Long Island landscapes from the viewpoint of roadways punctuated with power lines. He shares about his paintings:

The East End of Long Island has been my home for most of my life. I spent many years exploring the trails through the woods, cruising the quiet country roads, and hanging out on the beaches. My childhood here, surrounded by nature and water, was an experience that I cherish. Now that I am older, I can see how the landscape is changing and am reminded that it will never be the same. Hopefully, my paintings will capture the memory of that landscape before it fades.

Haffner is represented by Damien A. Roman Fine Art where you can see more of his recent work. (via My Modern Met)

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