Unless you want a distraught child, double-check the packaging of your next purchase in case you accidentally snag a one-off toy by Jeff Wysaski, aka Obvious Plant. For years, he’s been littering supermarket and drugstore shelves with his action figures and small games that cleverly comment on capitalism and the harsh realities we all experience, from a birthday for one—it “includes one party blower because that is all you will need”—to a “childless couple” riding matching jet skis. Sometimes parodying pop culture, the elaborate designs are paired with witty copy and a slew of intentional spelling errors, including warnings that “everybody dies, even bird.”
Many of the subversive products, shirts, and other goods are available in the Obvious Plant shop, although they sell out quickly. To stay up-to-date on the latest designs, follow Wysaski on Instagram.
Share this story
Based in Oshawa, a suburb of Toronto, artist Toni Hamel (previously) is concerned with human morality—or lack thereof. In her subtly hued artworks, Hamel portrays subjects in the midst of futile and trivial pursuits: children pluck stars from the night sky, a couple attempts to reconstruct a flower after its petals have fallen, and a young family literally watches wet paint dry. Many of the satirical pieces consider socially accepted anthropocentrism and the relationship people have with the surrounding environemnt.
Since 2017, Hamel has been adding to High Tides and Misdemeanors, an ongoing series that is intentionally political. “It confronts us with the repercussions of our actions and denounces the current thinking models. In this age of alternative realities, ‘fake news’ and a culture that is increasingly more self-absorbed and superficial, I feel that it’s even more important for me to carry on reporting what I must,” she writes.
Explore more of Hamel’s visual commentaries on culture and politics on Instagram.
Share this story
Domestic Perfectionism Overwhelms Faceless Women in a Satirical Series by Photographer Patty Carroll
Patty Carroll’s homebound snapshots are the epitome of domestic pressure: A high-heeled working woman tries to cook and chat on the phone but ends up amid scattered kitchen supplies with her head stuck in the oven. Mops and rags knock another figure down into a sea of neon sponges and cleaning sprays. Two seated women are obscured by constricting drapes and an inordinate amount of fresh produce.
The photographer’s four-part Anonymous Women series is comprised of highly stylized scenes featuring a faceless mannequin attempting—and failing to complete—a range of duties. They’re humorous commentary on the pressure modern women continually face to achieve domestic perfection while excelling professionally and caring for others.
The interior of the home is comforting, but can also camouflage individual identity, especially when the idealized decor becomes an obsession, or indication of position or status…. The “constructed” images in the ongoing series are of home turned inside out, where things are topsy-turvy and scale is variable. Decoration is out of control, and the woman of the house is lost in her own madness.
Carroll began the satirical project after moving to Britain and finding her professional accomplishments disregarded. “Being known as Mrs. Jones rather than the independent, teacher, photographer Patty Carroll sent me into a small identity crisis. I made photographs of vulnerable, stark heads hiding behind various domestic objects as my initial response to this predicament,” she said in a recent interview with Aint-Bad.
One installment of the series, “Domestic Demise,” touches on contemporary issues of consumption, as well, and “is when the woman becomes a victim of her own obsessions and activities. She is no longer in control and life is a series of mishaps and mayhem,” the photographer said. Having too many books, too many items lining the pantry shelves, and too many alcoholic drinks overwhelm the women.
Carroll previously employed models for her drapery series, but as her scenarios got more complex and took longer to shoot, she switched to mannequins. She constructs each chaotic scene within an 8 x 8 frame. Her influences include “colorful vintage movies, traditional still-life paintings, decorating magazines, my suburban upbringing, the game of clue, and even Victorian writing,” she wrote in a statement.
Since being confined to her home due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic and because of a recent appendectomy, Carroll says the mundane and oppressive requirements of domestic life are inescapable. “It is hard to ponder larger issues when we are confined to our homes and are concerned with the everyday, seemingly meaningless issues of cooking, cleaning, eating, sleeping, and what is on Netflix for entertainment,” she said. “Nevertheless, all of my photographs are about those simple, ordinary, yet overwhelming tasks that we carry out every day.”
For more of Carroll’s identity-questioning work, pick up her recently released monograph that’s available from Aint-Bad and or a photograph from Catherine Couturier Gallery. Watch videos of the draped women as they attempt their domestic duties on Vimeo, and follow Carroll’s upcoming projects on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
Share this story
For the last 13 years, guerrilla miniaturist Slinkachu (previously) has been creating barely noticeable scenes to be discovered by unsuspecting passersby. The London-based artist uses tiny model people whose minuscule size creates humorous and thought-provoking scenarios. Slinkachu often comments on current events and social dynamics in his work. An installation at the Museum of Fine Arts in Ghent features a purse placed nonchalantly on a gallery bench, which turns out to be a meta-gallery. Inside the purse, small figures admire glorified tokens of consumer consumer culture like framed credit cards and lipstick sculptures.
Slinkachu’s work is on view through June 22, 2019 in a two-person show with Jaune at Thinkspace in Culver City, California. You can see more from Slinkachu on Instagram, where the artist often shares videos that help contextualize the scale of his installations.
View this post on Instagram
Share this story
Paco Pomet (previously) combines chilling social commentary with humorous juxtapositions of past, present, and future in his satirical paintings. All-new works from 2018 and 2019 include meditations on melting glaciers, differences of opinion in frontier settings, and the symbolism of setting suns. The Spanish artist often combines greyscale and full color within a single painting to draw the viewer’s attention to specific details, like a car driving toward a bubblegum pink slime-slide, and two settlers in neighboring buildings enveloped by different-hued auras.
Pomet’s latest solo show, “No Places”, opens April 4 at Galleri Benoni in Copenhagen, Denmark, and runs through May 10, 2019. You can see more from Pomet on Instagram, and if you enjoy his work, also check out Toni Hamel.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.