Access Your Animal Instincts

Beth Cavener Stichter

ceramic sculptures

“There are primitive animal instincts lurking in our own depths, waiting for the chance to slide past a conscious moment. The sculptures I create focus on human psychology, stripped of context and rationalization, and articulated through animal and human forms. On the surface, these figures are simply feral and domestic individuals suspended in a moment of tension. Beneath the surface they embody the impacts of aggression, territorial desires, isolation, and pack mentality.

Both human and animal interactions show patterns of intricate, subliminal gestures that betray intent and motivation. The things we leave unsaid are far more important than the words we speak out-loud to one another. I have learned to read meaning in the subtler signs; a look, the way one holds one’s hands, the tightening of muscles in the shoulders, the incline of the head, the rhythm of a walk, and the slightest unconscious gestures. I rely on animal body language in my work as a metaphor for these underlying patterns, transforming the animal subjects into human psychological portraits.

I want to pry at those uncomfortable, awkward edges between animal and human. The figures are feral and uneasy, expressing frustration for the human tendency towards cruelty and lack of understanding. Entangled in their own internal and external struggles, the figures are engaged with the subjects of fear, apathy, violence and powerlessness.

Something conscious and knowing is captured in their gestures and expressions. An invitation and a rebuke.”

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Blog Spotlight: twisted lamb

Twisted Lamb is a blog that exhibits Fashion Photography {especially that of the Avant-Garde category}. Her collection of images is by far one of the most intriguing that I’ve found on this here World Wide Web, so of course I had to obsessively save all of my favorite photos and turn them into animated GIFs.

She has a great eye for selecting exceptionally striking designs and concepts. As I am becoming increasingly shoulder-shruggy toward blogs that seem to mainly post about damn PRODUCTS and ITEMS to $purchase$, this is a refreshing alternative for goosebump-giving visuals.

Thanks for stopping by, and do visit Twisted Lamb!

APAK: (dream)home tour

Aaron and Ayumi Kajikawa Piland are a husband and wife collaborative art group known as APAK.

They live in a little cottage on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon.

They are known in particular for creating rich and colorful gouache/acrylic paintings on wood featuring the utopian lives and adventures of curious little beings living in lush fantastic environments surrounded by friendly little animals, the landscapes are familiar yet surreal, hinting at a fantastic narrative while suggesting truths about the real world at the same time.

And here is some of their inspiring art!

Czech Marionettes

While many of you may be concentrating on potential Christmas presents to purchase, I seem to find myself curious about… Czech Marionettes. Okay, so fine: I’m Jewish. Santa doesn’t visit me and I eat chocolate coins. Alas, I blog about my random fixation of the moment. {For the record, can I just state that I am so over practically every blog I read posting about what everybody should BUY?} OK-CAPITALISM.

Anywho, here’s a history lesson that’s both visually enchanting as well as substantial.

Or you could go look at photos of gifts to buy from Urban Outfitters. Either/Or.

Czech puppeteering has achieved this significant status for a number of reasons. First and foremost there is still a widespread, although by no means completely historically accurate, conception of the role played by Czech puppeteers in the period of the national revival, that exceptional process, at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th centuries, whereby the modern Czech nation was formed, and the leading forces of the nation combined to fight against the gradual decline of the Czech language and to give rise to a new national self-confidence within Czech society.

The amateur puppet movement, widespread in the first half of the 20th century, also evokes feelings of considerable respect and, after the period of the folk puppeteers in the 19th century, forms the second critical phase in the history of the development of Czech puppetry. At that time there wasn’t a city, town or even village in the Czech lands where amateur puppet players didn’t play puppet theatre for fun, and the entertainment and aesthetic education of their children. With their enthusiasm and self-sacrifice they only constituted a unique phenomenon in the puppet world of the time, the range of their activities having no match in Europe, but they also created a fertile enviroment for the creative development of such eminent artistic personalities as Josef Skupa and Jiří Trnka.

To these historical associations in the general consciousness we can also add the fact that, after a complicated development in the 20th century, contemporary Czech puppet theatre has now reached a momentous stage in its development. The dream and the goal which generations of Czech puppeteers fought for has at last become a reality: On the basis of its artistic achievements, puppet theatre has fought its way up to take an equal standing alongside the other theatrical arts. Not only is its relevance to society completely accepted, but so are the unique possibilities of achieving artistic affects which arise from the expressive qualities of the marionettes themselves.

We can say without fear of exaggeration that contemporary Czech puppet theatre plays a significant role in Czech theatre culture as well as in the context of world puppeteering, and that the work of its leading protagonists is playing a leading role in determining how puppet theatre will progress and develop. At the same time it is contributing to the development of modern theatre culture as a whole.

knud merrild

Knud Merrild (1894-1954) is known as the father of the flux painting technique, as well as an individualist in synthetic cubism and abstract surrealism. A true progressive in art and politics, Merrild was the first artist in California to create assemblages and co-founded the Los Angeles branch of the American Artists Congress in 1936. A Danish émigré to the United States, Merrild contributed greatly to the trajectory of United States Modernism prior to 1950, particularly in Los Angeles.

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Though Merrild was not purely a Surrealist or a Post-Surrealist, his work was easy to claim by such groups for it contained biomorphic and sexual images, as well as images of space, clouds, water, stones and nature. In addition, like the Surrealists, he employed non-traditional techniques and used unusual materials. His constructions incorporated housebuilding materials like wire, roofing paper, glass and scrap wood; his collages were made of magazine cutouts, wallpaper and fabric, and his watercolors were unusual with their undercoat of unevenly applied gesso, incised imagery, and top coat of wax. Merrild’s 1930s output consists primarily of paintings, some of which are highly built up with gesso or other material; gesso-wax watercolors; about a dozen constructions and three collages.

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In 1942, Merrild developed his technique of painting which he called “flux”, a process by which he alternatively poured, dripped or expelled paint from a dispenser onto a fluid surface. According to Merrild, “A natural consequence of the process is that orthodox tools are of little use, being replaced by gravitation. The paint is expelled at various distances, from zero to several feet above the surface–painting by remote control. The pattern created differs according to the velocity or gravitational force, and to the density or fluidity of the paint. The impact of the expelled paint with the fluid surface creates fissions or explosive eruptions, more or less violent, and the painting is set in motion in four dimensions. Mutations follow, lasting from seconds to several hours. When in motion, incessant mutations of color and form ensue, until arrested in a metaphor of its own Flux. Left alone, it becomes an automatic creation by natural law, a kinetic painting of the abstract.”

melissa diaz

You are cordially invited to enter the world of:

M E L I S S A   D I A Z

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Melissa Diaz received her BFA in painting from the University of Central Florida: It was there that she learned to incorporate painting into 3-dimensional work, leading to Installation Art and alternative showing spaces in Orlando. During her stay, she co-founded an artist collective {Thread Orlando inc.} Melissa went on to continue installation while finishing her final thesis requirement for her MPS in Art Therapy from Pratt Institute in New York.

“I create all of my pieces on site, having no clear idea of what the outcome will be before I arrive: I trust in the process and work in a purely intuitive manner. My work is all about the viewer experience, sharing, playing and fun!”

She currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. {Did I mention she’s an awesome lady and a dear friend?}

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art across the globe

Hello, lovely readers!

It’s been a bit too long since I’ve posted on visual artists and their interesting universes.

With that, here’s some inspiration to lead you into a strange and beautiful weekend.

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nathan spoor

this long road

This Long Road at The Compound Gallery

crystal morey, derek weisberg and ben belknap/this long road @ the compound gallery, oakland CA

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herzensart viking plates

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robin f. williams

team macho 2

team macho 1

team macho

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team macho

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dan-ah kim/daughters of the blue sky, metropolis gallery

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know hope with foma <3, klone and zero cents/kindred times and future goodbyes, tel aviv

XO