In what could easily have been snapshots of a normal day at the beach or a hike through the woods, these photos by Nicolas Bouvier (previously) portray figures exploring the Pacific Northwest in stark, mysterious contrast. The French art director and concept designer is a master of teasing unusual scenes from breathtaking landscapes around the coast of Washington. By placing himself in foggy atmospheres and shooting against the sun, his photography turns passersby (and often images of his own children) into anonymous silhouettes. Instead of lugging around lots of equipment, Bouvier carries only a smaller and relatively inexpensive point-and-shoot Panasonic ZS40 or a Leica XVario, preferring ergonomy, simplicity, and design over more elaborate setups. You can explore more of his recent work on Flickr.
Yield, 54″ x 72″, oil and varnish on canvas, 2014.
When encountering paintings by artist Samantha Keely Smith (previously) it’s nearly impossible to escape the mystery and gravity depicted by a violent clash of abstract brush strokes. Ocean waves crash atop foreboding bodies of water, plumes of fire seem to battle clouds in the sky, and swirling storms shield distant secrets just over the horizon. Smith refers to her paintings as ‘internal landscapes,’ part of an ongoing examination of an externalized inner conflict. “My newer works try to boldly portray the struggle I’ve always tried to address in my work between order and chaos, dark and light, and positive and negative impulses,” Smith shares, “along with addressing what feels like a shifting and unpredictable landscape due to global warming.”
You can see a gallery of her most recent paintings on her website and follow progress in her studio via Instagram.
Headlong, 56″ x 72″, oil and varnish on canvas, 2015.
Crux, 50″ x 60″, oil and varnish on canvas, 2015.
Interference, 56″ x 60″, oil and varnish on canvas, 2015.
Manifold, 60″ x 72″, oil and varnish on canvas, 2015.
Clearing, 56″ x 72″, oil and varnish on canvas, 2015.
Issue, 60″ x 72″, oil and varnish on canvas, 2015.
Pulse, 60″ x 72″, oil and varnish on canvas, 2016.
Samantha in the studio working on Kindred, 2011. Photo by Thomas Feiner.
Photographer Alex Ugalnikov ventures out into frozen early winter mornings to photograph fields and rivers covered in ice, snow, fuzzy layers of frost in his native Belarus. The clouds of white fog and trees covered in thick ice give the impression of infrared photography, but Ugalnikov tells us that what you see here is extremely close to reality with only minor color enhancements. Some of his best shots are wide panoramas of rivers near his home in Minsk. You can see more photography from the last few years on 35PHOTO and follow him on Instagram. (via Bored Panda)
Turkish photographer and digital artist Aydın Büyüktaş turns the streets of Istanbul upside down in these warped cityscapes that appear to curve infinitely upward and outward toward the skies. While it’s tempting to draw parallels with stunning visuals from the 2010 movie Inception, the artist says his true inspiration is taken from the 1884 satirical novella Flatland that depicts a two-dimensional world occupied by geometric figures. In this series, also titled Flatland, Büyüktaş photographed canals, bazaars, skate parks, and bridges with the aid of a drone and then digitally stitched them together as dramatically inverted spaces without a visible horizon. You can see more of his gravity-defying work on Instagram. All images courtesy the artist. (via Designboom)
Artist j.frede composes flea market photographs into custom built frames, creating visual and narrative landscapes from the previously unassociated materials. The works spread across the wall, building on each other through similar landscapes or horizon lines. The project, titled Fiction Landscapes, builds on the artist’s interest in memory, tapping into others’ momentos of the past to create fictionalized scenes of ambiguous origin.
Although each image has once been a placeholder in time for the photographer, once it gets collected into a mixed up bin at a flea market these associations are erased. “Arranging these into new landscapes that have never existed speaks to the stitching together of human behavior and how we relate to time and the past,” says Frede. “How many people have pulled over at that rest stop and taken nearly the same photo of the plain hillside? All locking their own associations into the view, first road trip with a new love; last road trip to see grandma; one of many road trips alone.”
The Los Angeles-based artist strictly uses anonymous photographs from the past for his works, never incorporating photographs of his own or individuals he knows. The memories he personally imbues into each composition in the series are instead ones he creates while making each arrangement, placing his own marker within the newly composed environment.
Currently j.frede has a piece from Fiction Landscapes in “Three Day Weekend: Party in the Back” at Blum & Poe on view through December 19, 2015. (via Visual News)
When European settlers arrived throughout the 18th and 19th centuries and rapidly expanded their territory across North America, the prevalent belief was that of Manifest Destiny. Specifically, that American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent by any means necessary regardless of cost, environmental impact, or the devastating harm to Native American populations. The artwork of the period, primarily sweeping landscapes influenced by the European pastoral tradition, did well to capture the pristine beauty of the previously undocumented continent, but completely glossed over the reality of what was really happening.
In her log paintings, artist Alison Moritsugu faces that strange juxtaposition head-on by choosing a literal meataphor—the remains of downed trees—as a canvas for her bucolic oil paintings of the countryside where that very tree may have once originated. A fantastic collision of art history and environmental awareness. The rough edges of the cut branches and trunks appear like windows into the past, telling a story that the tree’s rings alone cannot. She shares via her artist statement:
Painters throughout art history from the Northern Song, Baroque, Rococo and Hudson River School tailored their depictions of nature to serve an artistic narrative. Today, photoshopped images of verdant forests and unspoiled beaches invite us to vacation and sightsee, providing a false sense of assurance that the wilderness will always exist. By exploring idealized views of nature, my work acknowledges our more complex and precarious relationship with the environment.
It should be noted that Moritsugu uses salvaged log segments from naturally fallen trees, or trees that would otherwise be turned into mulch. You can see a collection of new work starting November 12th at Littlejohn Contemporary in New York. (via My Modern Met)
While on a trip to visit the Ijen and Bromo Tengger Semeru volcanoes in East Java last month, Chicago-based photographer Reuben Wu captured the unusual sight of molten sulphur that flows from fumaroles at the base of the Blue Fire Crater at Ijen. The area is usually swarming with tourists, but Wu stayed after sunset until the moon rose to capture these otherworldly images.
The journey into the Ijen Caldera is not for the faint hearted. A two-hour trek up the side of the rocky volcano is followed by another 45-minute hike down to the bank of the crater. The blue fire found at the base is the result of ignited sulphuric gas that burns up to 600 degrees Celsius (1,112 degrees Fahrenheit) and can flare up to 5 meters (16 feet) into the air. It is the largest “blue flame” area on Earth.
Additional photos from Wu’s trek through Indonesia can be seen here. (via Colossal Submissions)