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Art

Flipped Perspectives Explored in New Intimate Paintings by Cinta Vidal

September 12, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

"On Chairs," Acrylic on wood, 32 x 32 cm

“On Chairs,” Acrylic on wood, 32 x 32 cm

Barcelona-based artist Cinta Vidal has previously produced fictionalized architectural paintings that study how individuals with differing perspectives can view and inhabit the same world. Vidal crafts her visual metaphors by placing subjects onto floating islands, presenting each with a different vantage point depending on their chosen location. In her newer series of works, Vidal focuses more intently on intimate relationships, populating her suspended clusters of furniture, animals, and household objects with only two or three individuals rather than a larger population.

Her Couples series places pairs of characters in opposition to each other, exaggerating her previous explorations of human understanding. In these works two male figures sit back-to-back as they type on their own laptops, a woman peers longingly from an armchair as a man stands facing the opposite direction below her chair, and a boy photographer and woman stare at the same scene, but from flipped perspectives. These works show how two people might hold differing ideals, despite occupying the same community or household.

The included paintings will be presented alongside a mural in Vidal’s upcoming solo exhibition Viewpoints at Thinkspace Projects in Los Angeles from September 15 through October 6, 2018. You can view more of the artist’s gravity-defying works on her website and Instagram.

"Outing," Oil on wood panel, 55 x 55 cm

“Outing,” Oil on wood panel, 55 x 55 cm

"Working," Acrylic on wood, 20 x 32 cm

“Working,” Acrylic on wood, 20 x 32 cm

"Couple 4," Acrylic on wood, 13.4 x 32 cm (L) and "Couple 3," Acrylic on wood, 13.6 x 32 cm (R)

“Couple 4,” Acrylic on wood, 13.4 x 32 cm (L) and “Couple 3,” Acrylic on wood, 13.6 x 32 cm (R)

"Four Cats Three Kids," Acrylic on wood, 35 x 50 cm

“Four Cats Three Kids,” Acrylic on wood, 35 x 50 cm

"Living Together," Acrylic on wood, 63.5 x 50 cm

“Living Together,” Acrylic on wood, 63.5 x 50 cm

"Couple 2," Acrylic on wood, 11.2 x 32 cm

“Couple 2,” Acrylic on wood, 11.2 x 32 cm

"Coworking," Oil on wood panel, 80 x 80 cm

“Coworking,” Oil on wood panel, 80 x 80 cm

"Caravan," Oil on wood, 36 x 36 cm

“Caravan,” Oil on wood, 36 x 36 cm

 

 



History Photography

A New Book by Alison Nastasi Looks at the Affectionate Relationships Between Writers and Their Cats

August 20, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

In a follow-up to her best-selling book Artists and their Cats (previously), Alison Nastasi has penned Writers and Their Cats. The new book features photographs of writers past and present with their feline companions. Ranging from Elizabeth Bishop to Haruki Murakami, Nastasi’s book looks into the domestic lives of forty-five renowned novelists, poets, and journalists from around the world. Each short and sweet profile includes reminiscences on the roles writers’ cats have played in fueling creativity, providing comfort, and even getting interview subjects to open up. Writers and Their Cats will be published by Chronicle on August 21, 2018, and is available for presale in The Colossal Shop.

Gillian Flynn, photography credit: Peter Hoffman/Redux

Left: Jirō Osaragi, photography credit: Akira Ishii/Courtesy Osaragi Jirō Memorial Museum. Right: Helen Gurley Brown, photography credit: Bettmann/Getty Images

Ray Bradbury, photography credit: Topfoto

Alice Walker, photography credit: Peter Hoffman/Redux

Left: Jorge Luis Borges, photography credit: Ferdinando Scianna/Magnum Photos. Right: Judy Blume, photography credit: Bettman/Getty Images

Mark Twain, photography credit: Underwood & Underwood/New York Times/Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

 

 



Art Photography

Betta Fish Imitate Elegantly Posed Dancers in New Portraits by Visarute Angkatavanich

August 10, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Thai photographer Visarute Angkatavanich (previously) creates richly hued portraits that appear more like staged dance images than animal photography. It is only when staring directly at the bug-eyed expressions of his subjects that one understands they are staring at a fish and not a costumed ballerina. Angkatavanich photographs domesticated betta fish against white and black backgrounds to isolate their natural shades and present the illusion that they are moving through space. Late last year he released a book of Siamese fighting fish portraits titled Betta Paradiso. You can view more of his recent fish photography on 500px.

 

 



Photography

Nigerian Hair Culture Documented in Rainbow-Hued Portraits by Medina Dugger

August 9, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Purple Kinky Calabar. All photographs © Medina Dugger

Lagos-based photographer Medina Dugger documents colorful hair culture in the coastal Nigerian city with her ongoing series Chroma. The collection of portraits pays homage to J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere, a renowned African photographer who documented women’s hairstyles in Nigeria for over 50 years, starting in the mid-20th century.

Prior to decolinization, Dugger explains, wigs and straightening had replaced much of the indigenous hair culture, and ‘Okhai Ojeikere’s documentations sought to celebrate traditional hairdos. She continues, “African hair braiding methods date back thousands of years and Nigerian hair culture is a rich and often extensive process which begins in childhood. The methods and variations have been influenced by social/cultural patterns, historical events and globalization. Hairdos range from being purely decorative to conveying deeper, more symbolic understandings, revealing social status, age and tribal/family traditions.”

While ‘Okhai Ojeikere’ images were in black and white, Dugger updates the documentary style with brightly colored backgrounds, a diverse array of vibrant contemporary fashion, and rainbow hues integrated into the hairstyles with thread, beads, and dyed extensions. You can see more of Dugger’s colorful editorial photography on her website and Instagram.

Blue Coiling Penny Penny

Blue Beri Beri

Golden Eggs

Left: Purple Irun Kiko / Right: Pink Buns

Yellow Tip Twist

Emerald Abebe

Aqua Suku

Left: Violet Irun Kiko / Right: Yellow Monocle

Pink Didi with Cowry Shell

Blue Star Koroba

Calabar Bun Trio

 

 



Art

Colorfully Eroded Busts Explore Abstract Perceptions of Interiority by Christina West

July 26, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Artist Christina West sculpts eroded portraits of anonymous faces which reveal colorful patches existing just below the surface. Segments of the subject’s face are worn away or chopped off, focusing the viewer’s attention on the layered interior of the busts, rather than their exterior features. The work is an investigation into the complexity of one’s own interiority, and suggests that what lies within is more important than surface-level aesthetics.

“I use the portrait bust format because I’m interested in the expectation we place on portraiture to reveal something about an individual’s interiority,” explains West in an artist statement. “I have always felt that making inferences about a person’s psychology or personality from physical likeness is a highly flawed practice, though we make such inferences instinctively. In the Unmet series, I create portrait busts that disrupt the impulse to read into facial features or expression by removing much of the figure’s likeness.”

The busts are each solid casts, with multiple colors layered in the interior. The removal of specific facial elements happens after the objects are cast, when West excavates swatches of color in unpredictable patterns. The Atlanta-based sculptor has an upcoming exhibition at the Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh from September 21, 2018 to April 8, 2019 as a part of her residency at the institution. You can see more of her sculptural portraits on her website and Instagram.

 

 



History Photography

Hole Punched Voids Transform Rejected Photographs From the Great Depression

July 23, 2018

Anna Marks

Russell Lee, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Mr Tronson, a farmer near Wheelock, North Dakota, August 1937, Photograph: Library of Congress

Russell Lee, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Mr Tronson, a farmer near Wheelock, North Dakota, August 1937, Photograph: Library of Congress

In an untitled photograph from 1937, a black disc surreally floats upon the subject’s face, obscuring the features hidden beneath the circular void. In another, a black circle hovers next to a tilted house, creating an eerie scene pulled straight from science fiction. At first glance, you might think a contemporary artist had altered the images, drawing jet-black voids as an intervention with photographs from rural Depression-era America. In reality, these images are discarded photographs from a bygone project that produced a pictorial record of American life between 1935-1944. The photographs, which are currently exhibited in The Killed Negatives: Unseen Images of 1930s America at Whitechapel Gallery in London, produce a snapshot of the crippling poverty and backbreaking jobs lower class Americans faced during the Great Depression

Paul Carter, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Tobacco fields devastated by the Connecticut River near Northampton, Massachusetts, March 1936, Photograph: Library of Congress

Ben Shahn, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Family of rehabilitation client, Boone County, Arkansas, October 1935, Photograph: Library of Congress

The story of these photographs begins in 1935, when Roy E Stryker, the head of the Information Division of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), undertook a photographic project that commissioned famous American photographers such as Russell Lee, Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans to photograph farmers and farmland during the Great Depression. The FSA aimed to encourage poverty-stricken Americans to partake in self-sustaining programs where they could gain farm loans to buy seeds, equipment, livestock, and partake in homestead schemes which provided both education and healthcare. The project was to demonstrate the results of financial assistance that the FSA offered, in addition to outsourcing images of America life during this time.

Each photographer was given specific directives, for example, “farmer dumping milk at home,” “worried farmer,” or “federal government shot.” Over 270,000 photographs were produced during the project, yet only a few were picked to be part of the final collection. This included imagery featuring transient families, the unemployed, and drought-stricken fields. One of the most famous images was Lange’s 1936 Migrant Mother, which became a popular portrait long after the project’s conclusion.

Carl Mydans, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Mud bath, Prince George’s County, Maryland, August 1935, Photograph: Library of Congress

Theodor Jung, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Rehabilitation client worrying over his accounts, Jackson County, Ohio, April 1936, Photograph: Library of Congress

Arthur Rothstein, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Sharecropper’s wife and children, Arkansas, August 1935, Photograph: Library of Congress

Stryker deployed a specific editing process where himself and his assistants would choose photographs they believed were true to the brief; the other images were rendered unsuitable and punctuated with a hole puncher. These ruthlessly “killed” photographs were left unpublishable. Today the found works appear to have black discs floating upon them, a visual mark of rejection which accidentally focus the viewer’s attention.

Killed Negatives at the Whitechapel Gallery runs up until August 26, 2018 and exhibits some of the photographs, photographers’ personal records, and FSA administration documents associated with the project. You can learn more about the exhibition, including information about associated events, on the gallery’s website

Russell Lee, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Surrealistic, window display, Bergdorf Goodman, New York City, January 1938, Photograph: Library of Congress

Walker Evans, Untitled photo, possibly related to: Lily Rogers Fields and children. Hale County, Alabama, Summer 1936, Photograph: Library of Congress

 

 



Art

Swaths of Old-Fashioned Fabric Obscure Faces and Bodies in Unsettling Portraits by Markus Åkesson

July 13, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

“Now You See Me” (2018), oil on canvas, 180 x 140cm

In his paintings, Swedish artist Markus Åkesson depicts ornately patterned fabrics like toile, chintz, and silks wrapped around female subjects. Instead of using the old-fashioned textiles simply as signifiers of wealth and tradition, he uses the materials to take on a more sinister tone. In some of the paintings you can see expressions of sadness in the subject’s faces, while in others, the textiles completely overtake the figures beneath, obscuring their identity and emotions.

“As a child, I often sat and looked at the different patterns in textiles and tapestries,” Åkesson shares with Colossal. “I would find my own images in them, my own world, and I would dream away. For me, the pattern as a concept has a built in feeling of safety and stability, because it repeats itself over and over again. I think the use of patterns in images that depicts more melancholic or even disturbing scenes makes a interesting feeling of duality.”

The artist is represented by Galerie Da-End in Paris and VIDA Museum in Öland, Sweden, where he recently had a solo show. You can see more of Åkesson’s work on Instagram. (via I Need A Guide)

“Now You See Me (Opium)” (2018), oil on canvas, 180 x 140cm

“No One Can See You (Dysmorphia)” (2017), oil on canvas, 50 x 60cm

“No One Can See You (Dysmorphia II)” (2017), oil on canvas, 50 x 60cm

“Palmistry” (2016), oil on canvas, 100 x 120cm

“I Never Wanted You To Leave” (2016), oil on canvas, 210 x 180cm

“The Unicorn Hunt ll” (2017), oil on canvas, 200 x 170cm