“Now You See Me, Now You Don’t”: Action Dolls by Victor and Rolf

These Action Dolls made by Victor and Rolf are a wonderful statement about freeing impossible identities into the real world. The fashion runway is a safe road to release our fantasies from the human psyche, and these dolls toy with our imagination. Dolls reference the human. We humans are a diverse people which V & R reflect beautifully. Sometimes dolls reflect cultural stereotypes like Barbie, sometimes they function to heal as mediators of conflict in tribal societies and sometimes they symbolize specific traditions like the wooden Russian Matryoshka dolls  and much more.

To me these dolls heighten the perfection of youth, loss of innocence, the opening to adulthood and the insecurities that come from the dawn of growing up. Fabrics here act like blankets to cushion and hide human form, lest we reveal the awkward occupation of puberty and the daunting cultural expectations around coming of age. Their wide bold eyes gazing for more of the world, wrapped safe from the bumps and knocks of hard cold reality.

Action Dolls

Victor and Rolf have manipulated teen chic to haute wear with Japanese fabrics, quilted collage, re- bombing the war jacket and mascot-ing with punk Doc Marten’s. The mix of low-fi with high is brilliant.

Now there are two concerns I just thought of.

First, the cultural movement towards pervasive ‘youth’ gets me reeling. Can’t culture accept the beauty of all ages? Each age has courage and insecurity, so why does the selling point have to be on the tail of ‘youth’? Let’s not forget the elderly are perfectly innocent. They are innocent to the new ways of doing things, but unfortunately they have to try and keep up all the time, instead of being seen as full in their potential and generously wise.

Secondly, injecting the youth into adult fashion might bring about an irony we really don’t want to see more of and that is more plastic surgery. Plastic re-construction for the sake of preserving youthfulness is about the fear of death, work on that people.

See more Images of Victor and Rolf couture here:

http://www.viktor-rolf.com/haute-couture/action-dolls/


Identity avant ou après -we stir it up

 

CASTEL DIAZ                         Castel Diaz

Patterns, simulated textures and odd juxtapositions are revealed here in quirky perspectives. Castle Diaz presents female beauty as a kind of half hollow statue where Rauschenberg meets Duchamp meets Vogue’s Erte with Art Deco flair. We certainly construct our identities with a relationship to our inherited past.

abstract fashion

abstract fashion

Whether the flora and fauna of the environment take over in ambiguous disguise

DAWN BLACK

DAWN BLACK

or if provocative hidden agendas trap our identity with pseudo disregard,

wouldn’t it be fun to just throw away all our knowing baggage and pretend we were something else, utterly?

What do you imagine this to be?

 


ABSTRACTION- by Ellsworth Kelly

ellsworth-kelly-art-400

 

People often get stumped by nonfigurative art. Ellsworth Kelly convinces us of the value of staying in the present, and abstract painting is his vehicle for attending to that larger mystery. Abstract art really does take time like he says in this interview with SFMOMA https://www.sfmoma.org . There is no story when looking at his work, our body and instincts respond. We can get lost in colors, shapes, feelings and memories when looking at abstractions. That is a beautiful thing.

 

Ellsworth Kelly Explains His Relationship to Abstraction


RADICAL DEATH- The Mushroom Burial Suit

Many of you have probably heard of the Mushroom Burial Suit conceived and invented by artist Jae Rhim Lee. It is brilliant and something to seriously think about. In fact I think I might have to re-write my will. If I believe humans as a species are intrinsically connected to the planet then I should eat my words around being responsible on how I leave this earth plane. Cremation is pretty toxic. But Can I forgo cremation? I love having the ashes of my parents, and I want my kids to have them of me. To decline on cremation the option of The Mushroom Burial Suit makes sense from an environmental perspective listen here…

 

Below is her experimentations of mushrooms that could decompose her nails, skin and hair which I believe are already outgrowths of biological waste we naturally eliminate.

MUSHROOMS live on and on and on and on

MUSHROOMS have this capacity to live on and on and on and on decomposing the world around us in a profound system of communication with co-habitors on this planet.

Mycelium Learning at the Edge says

The mycelium organism is the root system of mushrooms; an underground network that connects to the roots of plants and trees and distributes nutrients and information to support the health of the whole ecosystem. This adaptive, pro-health organism is a teacher for us as we ask, “How can humans more successfully interact with each other in ways that nourish ourselves, each other and the world.”  http://mycelium.is/about-us/

img_2_1366228209_73fa958ed31536b4babd8c39836bebbd

Mushroom suit

 

Well something to contemplate and imagine, right? Could you take this radical step? Perhaps in the meantime if we eat more mushrooms to boost our immune system an illumination will arrive.

mushroom-death-suit-sm1-300x336

suit at death

 

 


Conceptual Textiles: ‘FREE FLOATING ANXIETY’ where eco-systems collide

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 1-4

Free Floating Anxiety 1 thru 4 is one of a series of drawings soon to be silkscreened onto textiles for my upcoming robotic interactive installation. This continuous field is an amalgamation of various eco-systems colliding, overlapping and interrupting one another in open space. It reveals a shared world beneath the surface of life where biological, fungal, granular, mineral, and industrial shapes forge, float, bump and transform with one another.

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 1

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 1

I marvel at the complexities of human and non-human eco-systems where the organic and industrial/artificial meet.

Free Floating Anxiety 2

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 2

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 3

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 3

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 4

FREE FLOATING ANXIETY 4

This is my imaginary world of these probing interactions. Miraculously there seems to be space for all.

Below are a few designs for some upcoming garment installations…I am inspired by eco-systems in nature specifically here -fungal life…

 

Fungal design 1

Fungal design 1

 

fungal design 2

fungal design 2

 

IMG_2310

garment construction

garment construction

fungal designs

fungal designs

 

More updates to come, always in process, baby steps make life happen…


VIKTOR & ROLF

VIKTOR AND ROLF

I don’t need to explain these incredible collections nor interpret them,  you might see glimpses of the Cubists, a few riddles, ironies and the nonsensical, regardless marvel in the human genius of our creative spirits….pretty darn kool.

 

 

and then turn this one up really loud, lay back and enjoy the purity of the entire collection, you might even weep it is amazing…it just gets better and better…

 

and notice how the artist is present in the first and last…what do you make of that?

IN this last fashion performance there is something about the ‘ordering’ of human and space in our daily life. The day is a contemplation as much as it is an interaction of forces, how we land and inhabit our human form and feeling in space, the memories a space contains whether they are of shared or isolated experiences. Space has lightness as much as gravity. I am engrossed less with the fashion here than I am with the construction of mood and invisible space.

Do you think about your relationship to space? How do you feel in open spaces vs tight spaces vs cluttered spaces vs highly ordered minimal spaces? Perhaps in heavy spaces we feel the lightness of being and in airy spaces we feel incredibly grounded…

Proximity to one another and isolation from one another takes on a whole other set of psychological implications and I am not sure DRESS has anything to do with that other than it can externalize inner pressures and expressions of the self in the variety of environments we move thru daily.

 

 

 

 


Baudrillard’s Blue

BLUE, BLUE, BLUE-BLUE BLUE

Blue chip

Blue Chip

Jean Baudrillard photo of a tree

Blue Tree

Blue bed-ness

Blue Bed-ness

Blue behind it all

Blue behind it all

Jean Baudrillard and blue magic

Jean Baudrillard’s blue surface

Blue wall

A Blue wall

There is a sense of the infinite with the color blue. It isn’t earthly. Within Nature it can strike as artificial, in a bedroom with our dreams, on peeling walls like the gems of lapis lazuli, like the filtering transparency of liquid, and into and thru openings of construction. These are the works of Jean Baudrillard. Jean Baudrillard is famous for deconstructing reality as we think we know it – “REALITY IS DEAD”, he played with simulacra, the hyperreal, the effects of technology on society, the absence of a subject, and the trickiness of language to name a few.  HE said once “I like photography as something completely empty, ‘irreal’, as something that preserves the idea of a silent apparition.” 

Do you equate truth with the visible reality of things?


GLAMOURIE

GLAMOURIE

I  came to the conclusion the other day that I often try to bridge Western and Eastern thinking and here is an occasion of that.

Bauhaus mask

Schlemmer Masks from Bauhaus stage workshop http://library.calvin.edu/hda/node/1445

Trickery is an ancient art of survival whether you are a god or a mere mortal. Rhea fooled Cronos in order to save their infant son Zeus to become an Olympian hero, Hephaestus exposed the adulterous love between his wife Aphrodite with lover Ares, Hermes stole objects from the gods for fun, so too women have had to become cunning in order to not get overpowered by male forces.

Hermes Greek Trickster God

Hermes Greek Trickster God http://www.theoi.com/Olympios/Hermes.html

 

Greek Comedy and Tragedy masks

Greek Comedy and Tragedy masks http://world4.eu/roman-theatre-masks/

‘Glamourie’ is a Scottish Faery term for illusion. ‘Cast a ‘glamour’ over the senses so that things aren’t what they seem’ has become part of my inquiry into costumery, textiles, and the roles of human play in daily life. As a practitioner in the way of the arts I have become conscious of how this ancient art of ‘deceit’ is a necessary invention that keeps us in the realm of possibility. The theater of Glamourie to which I allude to is a stage that mediates between emotion and perception. Below is some visual research for the artist residency I will be attending at the Oxygen Art Center http://www.oxygenartcentre.org this December with exhibition from January 9 thru to 6th of February 2016 in Nelson, BC.

The following images show costumery from different points of view. The choices are endless so I selected a few such as an illustration of the body masking with geometry

Fashion Illustration by Danielle Meder

Fashion Illustration by Danielle Meder http://finalfashion.ca/category/illustration/

masking with anatomy

 

masking with shadow and light

masking with architecture

Architecture and costume
Architecture and costume https://secretknowledgeofspaces.wordpress.com
                      We are never complete as human individuals, this is our beauty in constant play and our path towards self-realization. In Zen Buddhism the Enso circle can be painted open or closed. If it is open then we are in progress, if the circle is painted closed, it represents perfection and perhaps full self-realization. We can recall Plato’s perfect theory of forms and his distrust in the world of appearances and constant change. To a Plato thinker a circle doesn’t exist in the physical reality of space and time only as an approximation of the real thing and which can only be known through reason. 

Greek Myths include the fairies who may have been inspired by Greek gods and goddesses. Fairies actually developed from the concept of the Fates, dance, and ritual. I wonder which ‘glamour’ will bless the artist residency in Nelson? Which of the 3 Fates or Moerae?- Clotho the spinner? Lachesis the measurer? Atropos the cutter of Life’s thread? Yikes! I have to be prepared and accept the challenge regardless of what may come to pass.

The Three Fates

The Three Fates

‘Glamourie’ is the agent that lets loose our characters that block inner freedom; an awareness that illuminates a small sword of truth in all that we are.

 

 

 

 


RINA BANERJEE – A Red Taj, a hag, a tortoise and the devouring human

RINA BANERJEE

Our hunger for the light; the colorful, the sacred and the inexplicable comes with the tethered inescapable agent of a dark absence; where we weather with loss, the profane and a greedy curiosity. A curiosity that nails a kind of truth to the human mirror; of countless illusions tormenting us with constant frequency upon our psyche daily. While we like to think we can navigate our ‘desires’ that come from an unconscious greedy curiosity, we more often migrate between one deceptive appearance or impression to the next. Humans aren’t that complicated. We devour at rapid rates which ironically begets ‘more’ into the world and our box of pleasures never empty.  To sacrifice any of our sensorial world would surely send us to a symbolic grave.

When I study the work of Rina Banerjee I admire her display of this human predicament. We are rich and textured, specific and peculiar and really good at making life up. The work of our imaginations is elemental and necessary, after all humans wouldn’t survive without sharing a story or two. For this and to the artist I am forever grateful.

The world of Banerjee is both personal and cosmic. She offers a fluctuating, dynamic universe that makes disgust look enticing, beauty to look ugly, the intricate look impossible. There is a kind of hypnosis that overwhelms me. This is true of our culture; the superfluous is intoxicating to the point  where we become dulled, stuck and fruitless. However, when I study how she relates and combines with materials I know that if any part of her work came undone, Shiva would burn me to ashes! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shiva The coordinating and arranging, the aligning and the assembling of materials is like she is uniting all the differences of the world together. Very refreshing.

 

 

Assemblage by Rina Banerjee

‘Can you believe the beast in her beauty was born out of a vilified attack on her mother’s moment when she and she a shared sexuality,’ 2009 http://www.aaa-a.org/programs/presentation-by-rina-banerjee/

“Yes, and I think it is really important for me to share the storm of the world – when you can’t really ‘know’ any place, all the while being bombarded by everything that is out there. There is a sucking, pushing, throwing and falling in the process. It is both dangerous and exciting that I definitely like to bring to my work.”http://www.aaa-a.org/programs/presentation-by-rina-banerjee/

Three dimensional compositions come with harmonizing around the diagonal axis of contrasting colors and materials. Ropes, feathers, lightbulbs, tusks, synthetics, dolls, toys convene and stare at us and not for no apparent reason. This is the material world humans have created to satisfy our never-ending needs of pleasure and survival. And, this is ART. The artificial and the natural. We aren’t looking at these materials from the context they come from, our minds have already understood those implied associations. She offers another ‘whole’ fairytale world, a kind of myth-making about our current predicament of living on this planet.

“Difference must leave its cave and cease to be monster, not a level thorny and pointed pierce to emasculate the persistence of powerful middle -fat and feathery finds fault with it neck, arm and ankle” 2013, 2 x 3 x 1.3' Media: feather fans ,light bulbs, glass tiger’s eye, feather trim, steel, plastic basket, glass beads, thread, ruffle trim, acrylic horm, ceramic horn http://rinabanerjee.com/artwork/3572277_Difference_must_leave_its_cave_and.html

“Difference must leave its cave and cease to be monster, not a level thorny and pointed pierce to emasculate the persistence of powerful middle -fat and feathery finds fault with it neck, arm and ankle” 2013, 2 x 3 x 1.3′ Media: feather fans ,light bulbs, glass tiger’s eye, feather trim, steel, plastic basket, glass beads, thread, ruffle trim, acrylic horm, ceramic horn http://rinabanerjee.com/artwork/3572277_Difference_must_leave_its_cave_and.html

 I love knowing the Taj Mahal is white marble and pure in India and must remain so forever, but for some reason sensing it in cherry red hits the inferno of desire, temptation and abandonment.
Take me, take me, take me to the Palace of Love, 2003, http://www.hosfeltgallery.com/index.php?p=artists&a=Rina%20Banerje

Take me, take me, take me to the Palace of Love, 2003, http://www.hosfeltgallery.com/index.php?p=artists&a=Rina%20Banerje

Often her figures and assemblage sculptures have eyes and perhaps a face and I think this is important. To a Minimalist in the history of art https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=minimalism&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8 it is overkill but its effect reminds us that perhaps there is an inseparable animating force both terrifying and nurturing that migrates in materials, nature and human life. A force that reflects our inner world, a force to be sensed and perceived along with a larger all encompassing impersonal perspective. The eyes are nuanced with character, a friendly reminder of ourselves.

Lotions and potions like rivers where in quick motion, as well as essential oils and culture’s notions, where  these cultures would once be locked in harbor or empires court now took ride on the global, opened themselves up to mysterious and foreign incantations (2010), mixed media. Courtesy Galerie Nathalie Obadia Paris/Brussels.

With the work of Rina Banerjee there are no exceptions, nothing is excluded between the awkward and hip, mad and gay, strange and status quo, low-fi and luxurious, etc discerning a place for ourselves is perhaps the journey.

Rina Banerjee. She was now in western style dress covered in part of Empires’ ruffle and red dress, had a foreign and peculiar race, a Ganesha who had lost her head, was thrown across sea until herself shipwrecked. A native of Bangladesh lost foot to root in Videsh, followed her mother full stop on forehead, trapped tongue of horn and grew ram-like under stress, 2011; cowrie shells, rooster feather, gourds, acrylic horns, ceramic balls, plastic netting, amber glass vials, violet glass bulbs, false glass doe eyeballs, silk and synthetic Lanvin ruffled red dress; 73 x 65 in. dia. (185.4 x 165.1 cm). Copyright Rina Banerjee. Image courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA.

I like to think that the purpose of art is no different than an invitation to an exquisite ball, rise to the occasion and mingle in the fantasy. You never know who you will run into. Dark or light that is super-natural.


CINDY SHERMAN MASTERS EMPATHY

CindySherman-Beauty-1-300

CINDY SHERMAN

ARTIST CINDY SHERMAN MASTERS EMPATHY

Actress? Impersonator? Multiple Personality? Story-Teller?  Cindy Sherman grew up in the 70’s and is one of my favorites from The Pictures Generation.  She is an artist whose subject is herself portrayed as a variety of people from fairy tales, to clowns, to high society women, to historical figures, to feminine stereotypes, to men and more. While these images are photographs of herself, she is the photographer who takes them. She builds the characters through dress and becomes them in a single photograph. She takes thousands of photos before she finds the right one that says it all.

G11A03Untitled-463.2007-08_large-498x475

CINDY SHERMAN

Empathy refers to the capacity of understanding, perceiving and/or feeling another from their frame of reference. Cindy Sherman isn’t living these characters she personifies in these portraits, but she is imagining a relationship of herself and them in what it must be like. This is an act of empathy that comes with story-telling. The viewer too empathizes with these characters. Is it like  ‘dress up’ at home while alone with the TV? Yes and deeper. She gives these characters a chance in their ‘moment’ to live on, to be seen as human, to see ourselves in them and our differences from them. She has admitted to feeling  compassion for these characters and when you see them here you begin to understand why. It is like watching a tragedy and a comedy at the same time.

Let’s step out of this universe for a sec…don’t humans try and try after endless defeat after defeat? Living is a constant heroic act, is it not?. How we carry our trials and tribulations comes through in the way we dress and prep ourselves for the next new day. The breasts drop, the face gets tucked and mulled by make-up, the hair gets bleached young and perfected according to cultural norms of ‘beauty’. We work hard on ourselves despite the enemy of time. Living a long life of careful grooming or a fast, robust and furious one is still a tremendous achievement.

CS11_0031_Sherman_OH_GCR

CINDY SHERMAN

Back to reality.

Her work is mostly untitled because she wants the viewer to create their own narratives of these individuals. This feels like a Baroque oil portrait of a woman distraught by something that has just happened. We don’t know what happened but we can invent a story from the exposed clues of her body, her beautiful lace on the shoulders, the secrecy of the closed off curtain, she is half naked, was she desired or not treated right?… She is broken, vulnerable and appears to not know what to do next. I feel sorry for her. As a feminist artist Sherman hits the nail on the head with this one. She probes tragic realities that some women face all the time.

G08A04Untitled-355.2000_large-318x475

CINDY SHERMAN

Rock on, love it, this woman is powerful, she rules. I know those shorts, the hair, make-up, the tattoo, the nails and rings, the perked lips, the way she sits, right? I bet she doesn’t have much to call her own, but her pride is there, she knows how to survive.

Despite the criticism around her work as ‘mockery’ of typing people, to place herself as these subjects isn’t a form of mockery at all.  It is as much about Cindy Sherman as those she portrays. She is a master of transformation, of sharing the world of people through trickery and artifice. The number of wigs, noses nails and eyes not to mention clothes and accessories stored in her studio is intriguing in itself. If you get a chance watch the video below and see more.

What makes her work profound for me is the fact that I feel I have seen or know these people somehow before, even though I obviously haven’t met them in real life. Do you? a little surreal, a deja vu perhaps… This makes sense to have seen these characters before because many of us grew up inundated with media and saw all walks of life through TV, film, the news… We travel and see this variety, we live in neighborhoods with other people who are different from and similar to us, we read about human cultures in books, we see them at the beach, strip bars, dance clubs, we walk our city streets and live next to the wild and crazy person up the road, or we know someone who knows someone who introduced us to someone who looks like this etc. It is easy to recognize ourselves but it is hard to empathize with those who are different from us. Our inner judge is a strong magistrate.

 

G10A06Untitled-468.2008_large-365x475

CINDY SHERMAN

These characters are utterances of human culture regardless of era. They are iconic. We grow up with each other and ‘know’ people who could be close to a century older than us. For Cindy Sherman how the history of human life has been presented is of equal value to current mass-media representations of human culture, she researches her sources from everywhere.

Behind the furs, and silks isn’t a cool critic that manufactures identity, she sees and feels the human in everyone.

CINDY SHERMAN ON ART 21 roughly 25 mins

Would you like to read more about art, fashion and technology?

I would love to share an exchange with you. Feel free to subscribe for connections in the future.