Friday, May 27, 2011

art crush- Greg Bagin

Greg Bagin, 'Our Happy Little Planet', 2008.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

ARTICLE: get cultured & stress less

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have found a strong link between cultural pursuits, happiness and health, that is independent of socio-economic status, after analysing data from 50,797 adults regarding their leisure activities, perception of their own health, and levels of stress and anxiety. There was a difference between the sexes however: men gained more and felt as ease being spectators and more passive, whilst women liked to get involved and preferred doing.

The study concluded by claiming "the results indicate the use of cultural activities in health care may be justified".

"Cultured people happier, less stressed: study" AFP:

Monday, May 23, 2011

REVIEW: Mantle- Alanna Lorenzon and Lucy Berglund

Mantle sits upon, is the holder and supporter, the upper that is propped and the propped uppera.

Alanna Lorenzon and Lucy Berglund’s exhibition ‘Mantle’ is a selection of completely differing objects and images on display: small, palm-sized, peaceful drawings on paper pinned straight to the wall, a handmade, hooded jacket prototype, a video work, and an installation which engages floor and wall space. This varied itinerary may give the impression of a disjointed and unorganised presentation of separate exploratory artistic material-based experiments, but, in truth, the wide spread of approaches point conceptually inwards to one thoroughly considered idea: the stoic nature of the earth.

The unified collection collectively emphasises the earth as: stone, granite, strata’s of thick, densely packed rock, that are still, that are immobile, worn, heavy. Mantle is the earths cloak and covering but also the planets exoskeleton and innards.

This idea of appearances is directly referenced by one of the works within the exhibition: a small, handheld, plastic, make-up mirror (above) has been converted into an artworks frame. The mirror, a tool to feed vanity and superficiality, has been made redundant and removed, in favour of an image representative of eternal strength, which in comparison is no match for the fleeting, passing of youthful beauty.

Visual cues to stone are repeated throughout the exhibition, from the gentle soft slopes of the grey slate coloured jacket, to the faux-marble finish of a table supporting a television showing a video work comprised of noir-documentary footage on caves.

Lorenzon and Berglund show how stone is both macro and micro: stone is on the inside as it is on the outside, regardless of scale. This idea presents rock, at least in concept, as an equal to both the greatest and smallest examples of matter, a partner to atomic particles and celestial planets alike. It is matter which has been and will be.

‘Mantle’ rocks like geology.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

art crush- Ryan Schneider

Ryan Schneider, Send Me Through, 2010

REVIEW:Overkill- Sam Songailo

Visual Art is a mostly tamed beast, its passive and inert physical characteristics, mean that it is easily imprisoned within frames and locked behind a glass barrier so that the viewing public stare upon it whilst it is held against the wall. Sam Songailo’s painted work that in part comprises ‘Overkill’ is anything but tame, it is passive and inert, as is most 2D work that utilises inanimate objects such as paper or canvas stretched on timber frames as a platform, but these paintings have outgrown restrictive frames in order to both tower above and engulf the viewer.

Songailo’s untitled panels fill the gallery walls from floor to ceiling, taking over the very structure that houses it, comparatively, Songailo’s work is to the gallery, as a parasite is to the host. The work easily surpasses the walls existence and now appears to support the ceiling; it is a patterned visual virus of growth via self replication and repetition.

The same panels are displayed flat on the floor in another section of the gallery, as though the area has become infected, converting the ground to Songailos block pattern contagion. This simple visual pattern, like a virus, is a relatively simple form, a composition of brick like patterns that is a clear nod to the constructive particles ‘tetris’ and other 8bit games from a now dead decade, but the aesthetic lives on.

Overkill is not just dominance via the enveloping two dimensional visual virus, in the centre of the gallery sits a large white dome, its allegiance is uncertain: it’s either a bastion of escape or a destructive tumour akin to the infection occupying the most of the walls and floor. Its interior is a sci-fi igloo: metallic floor coverings reflect ultraviolet lights.

The structures motives, as to whether it is a protector or predator, seem ominously vague. Once within the belly of the dome, an individual is protected but simultaneously cut off from the rest of reality, sensorially deprived, a noticeably and dramatic shift from the visually onslaught in the rest of the space.

Songailo even manages to transfer his patented visual virus to visitors as every exhibition invite is a self adhering sticker and replica of his work, meaning the work has the opportunity to bleed out of the gallery and onto street walls, skateboards or bus stops, to name a couple of likely locations out of the infinite number of places that they could end up.

Thankfully the world is inhabited by many visual beasts of different aesthetic qualities, shapes, colours and forms, so the likelihood of Songailo's unique strain achieving cultural pandemic proportions is slim. Variety of will, as always, continue to flourish.

Monday, May 16, 2011

art crush- Vuk Vidor

Vuk Vidor’s Art History (part 1) poster.

REVIEW: Awaiting the Night to Fall at Until Never

Why do fairy tales exist? Why do we tell stories now? To lie, to intrigue, to impress and amaze or to simply to entertain with a well exercised imagination. Pascale Mira Tschäni and Michael Husmann Tschäni are story tellers, on the whole their works present a world not so dissimilar to our own in appearance, so that the viewer has a way in to their fabrication, but as familiarity within the story builds it becomes clear that the details are otherworldly visions.

This neuvo- visual fairytale habitat that their protagonists is spread out across multiple mediums: painting, comics, illustration, installation, film, performance and even garments, all of which act as portals for the viewer. These multiple modes of storytelling that are represented in a number of different mediums give each other strength by unifying with a similar aesthetic and colour schemes.

The duo’s paintings are a tribute to the success of their collaborative efforts as a team and to ability to seamlessly mix differing icon and imagery during construction to arrive at a highly finished and balanced work.

Their Individual mastery of the medium is equally impressive as they combine the use of enamel, oil paint, water colour, crayon, glitter and aerosol in each work to arrive at a holistic finish which could have at any stage of the works practical development quite easily have become an ugly stew of contrasting and opposing mixed media. This is especially noteworthy as the pair work by painting backwards on sheets of clear acrylic.

The Husmann/Tschäni mythos is the conceptual bloodline that runs under the surface of all of their work, whether it’s a short comic or a structural installation dominating a galleries’ floor space. The world that is created within any of their works is emulated and expanded upon within every other work. It’s an imagined word of forests in which nature is an equal, children dig up treasure chests in the snow and psychic auras are visible as bright glowing fields. A world in which dreams are realised with stories.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

ARTICLE: Art Crushes are real.

Turns out that Art Crushes are real, or more correctly, the enjoyment from looking at art that you like can raise the blood flow to the brain by 10%, the same amount as if you were to adoringly behold a loved one.

The study comes from University College London with the chair of neuroaesthetics at the helm. Full details here:

It would be interesting to find out the the results of other stimuli, such as well photographed food (which has come to be known as 'food porn' thanks to our gastrocentric society), or actual porn, or even photgraphs of famly members and perhaps celebrities.

Makes the term 'art boner' seem that much more justified. Speaking of art boners, heres an Art Crush: Tauba Auerbach.

Monday, May 9, 2011

ARTICLE: Graffiti still has political bite, and it wants freedom for Ai Weiwei

Graffiti has been riding (and graffing) the glamorous coat-tails of commercial street culture with artists being commissioned to design and provide graphics for must have sneakers, tees, MP3 players, collectible toys and prints for rock star sums of money and world wide distribution.

Graffiti deserves the kudos, its come a long way: out from the unanimous shunned disapproval for its illegality and into the limelight by way of the interviews and book deals of fame, not to mention the fortune provided by rich enthusiastic collectors and aforementioned corporations looking for new designs to shlap on their shlocky everyman products for the grand continuation of maintaining consumerist states.

Its seems as though that grafitti has been domesticated, and is more of a house pet than the predator it once was, a viewpoint I've mentioned before (, but recently in China there has been a spate of political graffiti calling for the release of Ai Weiwei. It seems it must be annoying the right people in power because activists are being arrested for stenciling.

Ai Weiwei was arrested on April 3 for unexplained 'economic crimes'. The world not only noticed because of Ai Weiwei's status on the international arts platform, but also because at the time he had a major work on display, 'Sunflower Seeds', at the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern in the UK as a part of the The Unilever Series.

His arrest has sparked a petition headed by the directors of the Guggenheim, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Tate. I personally urge everyone to sign it:

WORK: Infinity Falls

This work titled Infinity Falls was a simple idea: create a infinite fountain that operated both in form and concept. The materials were those that were the cheapest and most accessible; you cannot dress up the infinite.

Infinity Falls was made by Sam George and Ace Wagstaff for the exhibition Above The Fog at Urban Plot Gallery, curated by Anusha Kenny.