Art Photography

Mystery and Disquieting Stillness Pervade the Surreal, Conceptual Photos by Oleg Oprisco

July 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Oleg Oprisco, shared with permission

Throughout Russia’s war, photographer Oleg Oprisco (previously) has remained in his native Ukraine creating works that reflect the unjust aggression and its devastating effects. Oprisco is known for his conceptual shots that involve elaborately constructed props and scenes that capture his distinct sense of surreality. Relying on neutrals and subdued tones rather than a bold color palette, the mysterious, dreamlike images tend to center on a single figure within a quiet and unoccupied landscape.

In one recent photo directly addressing the war, a woman stands in the center of a deserted cobblestone street, her architectural backpack glowing with light. The poignant shot references the millions of people who have been forced to flee their homes in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, and a similar image of a figure sheltering a dog from the rain speaks to the countless animals now struggling to survive without their human companions.

All of Oprisco’s works are available as prints. For a behind-the-scenes glimpse of his process and sets, check out his Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

Cosmic Cliffs Infinite Galaxy Puzzle Features New Imagery from the James Webb Space Telescope

July 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

All photos courtesy Nervous System, shared with permission

This week, the first images from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope amazed and daunted us with their inordinately deep looks at the cosmos, particularly the shot of the glimmering star-forming region known as the “Cosmic Cliffs” of the Carina Nebula. The team over at the Catskills-based studio Nervous System translated this galactic masterpiece into a new, similarly expansive infinity puzzle intended to be tiled continuously, with no predetermined shape, start, or end. Similar to its other designs, this iteration includes four whimsy cuts in the shape of an astronaut, a shooting star, a satellite, and the gold mirrors of the groundbreaking telescope itself. Try your hand at puzzling together distant galaxies by picking up the 264-piece jigsaw from the Nervous System shop.

 

 

 



Art Dance History Music Photography

30,000 Photographs of Black History and Culture Are Available From Getty’s Archive

July 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

August 7, 1962, a student at the Jamaican School Of Arts And Crafts models a bust of a woman in clay. Photo by Central Press/Getty Images

From a black-and-white portrait of a reclined James Baldwin to a candid shot of a father and daughter on a Harlem park bench, a new archive from Getty grants open access to thousands of images devoted to Black history and culture. The massive collection—which was developed with historians and educators Dr. Deborah Willis, Jina DuVernay, Dr. Tukufu Zuberi, Dr. Mark Sealy MBE,  and Renée Mussai—comprises 30,000 photographs taken in the U.S. and U.K. that are available for free non-commercial, educational use. Applications for access are open now.

Organized by decade from the 1800s to the 2020s, the Black History & Culture Collection offers a broad, varied look at the people, events, and undeniably influential movements that continue to shape life today. The collection is further searchable by type and subject matter, which encompasses everything from art and entertainment to politics and sports. You can find a curated selection of images from the multimedia platform Black Archives, which partnered with Getty to shine light on specific moments from the collection. (via Peta Pixel)

 

A father and daughter sitting on a bench by Harlem Meer, Central Park, New York City, New York, 1948. Photo by Slim Aarons/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A group of girls in dresses and ballet slippers watch a girl perform dance movements as a woman accompanies her on an upright piano, 1920s or 1930s. Photo by FPG/Getty Images

Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates testifies during a hearing on slavery reparations held by the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties on June 19, 2019, in Washington, D.C. The subcommittee debated the H.R. 40 bill, which proposes a commission be formed to study and develop reparation proposals for African-Americans. Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images

1919 in New York. A parade in silent protest (anti-lynching) in Harlem. Photo by Bettmann/Getty Images

American singer and actress Eartha Kitt (1927  to 2008, right) as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company, circa 1945. With her are other members of the dance troupe, Lawaune Ingram, Lucille Ellis, and Richardena Jackson. Photo by FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images

A photograph of author James Baldwin smoking a cigarette. Photo by Bettmann/UPI/Getty Images

A mural of two hands holding up a dove symbolizing peace, possibly in the United States, circa 1960. The mural is signed by various artists and the words ‘Para Todas’ ‘For All’ are visible in Spanish and English. Photo by Frederic Lewis/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Botanist George Washington Carver donated $33,000 in cash to the Tuskegee Institute to establish a fund to carry on the agricultural and chemical work he began. Photo by Bettmann/UPI/Getty Images

 

 



Art History

Cincinnati Art Museum Discovers That a Rare 16th Century Mirror Reveals a Hidden Image When Illuminated

July 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

Buddhist bronze mirror, 15–16th century, China or Japan, bronze, Source Unknown, Cincinnati Art Museum, x 1961.2. All photos by Rob Deslongchamps, courtesy of Cincinnati Art Museum, shared with permission

Prior to the ubiquity of the glass mirrors we use today, people often peered into polished bronze for a low-fi glimpse of their reflection. These objects often featured cast three-dimensional symbols or renderings on the side opposite the convex reflective surface, but another particularly artful subset also contained an added dimension of mystery.

While plumbing the archives at the Cincinnati Art Museum, curator Hou-mei Sung uncovered what appeared to be an ordinary patinaed mirror printed with the name of Amitābha Buddha. After closer inspection, though, she realized that the small bronze piece would reveal a hidden image of the spiritual figure enshrined in rays when illuminated.

Dubbed a “Magic Mirror,” the extremely rare work is part of a small collection of light-penetrating objects that date back to the Han dynasty (202 BCE to 220 CE)—only a few similar Buddhist pieces from China and Japan are thought to exist and are currently housed at the Shanghai Museum, Tokyo National Museum, and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Sung’s discovery is presumed to be the oldest uncovered, and although it’s still unclear exactly how ancient artisans created the pieces, it was likely a religious decoration hung in a temple or the home of a wealthy family.

If you’re in Cincinnati, you can see the mirror and its secret image starting July 23.

 

 

 



Art Food

Vivid Oil Paintings by Kristof Santy Present Humble Meals as Bold Gastronomic Decadence

July 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Bloemen en kaas” (2022), oil on canvas, 160 x 140 centimeters. All images © Kristof Santy, courtesy of Unit London, shared with permission

Referencing Marco Ferreri’s mordant 1970s satire by the same name, La Grande Bouffe, or The Big Feast, saturates the simple foods found in pantries and fridges with unexpected grandeur. The solo exhibition on view at Unit London showcases vivid paintings by Belgian artist Kristof Santy that transform humble fare like a cheddar wedge or slice of watermelon into bright, gastronomic celebrations.

Often positioned against textured tile backdrops or striped wallpaper, the oil-based works tend to be either devoid of human life or portray figures in rigid stasis: a butcher stiffly lifts a broom in the shop doorway, a finger peels back a tin of fish with precision, and pans filled with sausages and other meats fry on a stovetop unsupervised. Rendered with Santy’s signature flatness, the tableaus highlight the sometimes unnoticed and yet sumptuous qualities of everyday food.

La Grande Bouffe is on view through August 6, and you can find an archive of the artist’s decadent works on his site and Instagram.

 

“Fornuis,” oil on canvas, 140 x 160 centimeters

“Fruitmand,” oil on canvas, 140 x 160 centimeters

“Frietpot” (2022), oil on canvas, 170 x 180 centimeters

“Vismarkt,” oil on canvas, 240 x 200 centimeters

“Beenhouwerij” (2022), oil on canvas, 200 x 240 centimeters

“Sardienen met kerstomaten,” oil on canvas, 180 x 180 centimeters

 

 



Photography

Playful Portraits by Elke Vogelsang Catch Cats’ Cranky and Silly Emotions

July 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Elke Vogelsang, shared with permission

Unlike the affectionate canine companions that grace many of Elke Vogelsang’s portraits, the cats she finds in front of her camera exhibit more irritable, even stereotypical emotions. She captures her feline subjects with a range of reactions, whether snarling and baring their teeth or showing off their more playful sides with leaps into the air or a quick flick of their tongues.

A professional pet portraitist, Vogelsang mostly visits her subjects at their homes rather than bringing them to her Hildesheim studio. This tends to make the animals more comfortable, she shares, at least enough for her to coax out more genuine emotions with the help of string, feathers, treats, and sometimes catnip for mood-boosting. “Let’s face it, cats can be so much harder to photograph than dogs. If they can’t be bothered, they won’t do it for our sake,” she says. “In general, sessions with cats are shorter than sessions with dogs. They are the ones to determine the schedule.”

Vogelsang maintains an Instagram account devoted to her feline collaborators, and you can find much more of her portraiture on her site.

 

 

 

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