Archive for the Image Discovery! Category

Foreign Youtube Performances

Posted in Drawing, Image Discovery!, performance, Video, Women with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 12, 2010 by michaelchernoff

Last week and tonight two non-American youtube videos have caught my attention. The one above is a video of America’s Got Talent via Ukraine. The performing artist is named Kseniya Simonova and her medium is drawing with sand on a light box. The illumination and fluidity of the sand creates a time flow that couples with the progression of history she illustrates about Ukraine during WWII. Everyone has tried drawing in sand and dirt but I’ve never seen such control as she does in this video. In video we are taught to practice technique even if we do not produce anything usable. I imagine she must have spent hours upon days and months practicing her timing and accuracy with sand. The whole performance is like dancing with fingers and drawing bound together. The monochrome color of sand, shadow, and line weight make the video seem like an old ink brush painting. And Ms. Kseniya Simonova is pretty to boot. Cheers to her for winning this competition and celebrating a seemingly primitive art form whose qualities may have limitless possibilities for drawing and video.

The other two videos are of a Colombian woman giving birth to a baby in a pool of water guided by her husband and midwife. At first I thought the video was some strange beginning for bondage pornography. I had previously been searching videos for Asa Akira on youtube and found the video in the side links. The video quality is poor and amateur but the event seemed almost effortless and mystifying. I believe in Comobia it is a choice for some families to perform this ritual which appears purifying and more relieving for the mother. The event was like a strange performance mix between Mike Kelly and Yoko Ono due to its shabby setting and focus upon a female body. The videos together are around fifteen to twenty minutes and they don’t look edited. If this were a straight shoot her birth was short and the baby came of her womb underwater. Makes me think about the possibilities of a Nirvana album cover differently. The entire ritual really impressed me and I am looking for more ritualistic and tribal qualities in my work.

Both are great videos and should be studied its just very hard to find this kind of great stuff other you tube servers.

Double Take

Posted in Image Discovery!, Photography with tags , , , on October 2, 2010 by michaelchernoff

At a first glance I mistook this infant for dead. Maybe his chest exploded from accidental gunshot or he combusted? Of course I saw he was just smeared with cake frosting. His look of stupor was from his young observations and sense of bloatedness and maybe some sugar rush. Then again maybe this child has a mental illness. The photo is manipulating all my questions and assumptions of the subject matter simultaneously.

Colorized Depression

Posted in Image Discovery!, Photography with tags , , , , , on August 5, 2010 by michaelchernoff

On twitter there was a post during the Great Depression commissioned by the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information. The photos feature mostly rural farm communities and factory towns or pubic works. Walker Evans and his crew have received most of a claim for their depression documentation of the Dust Bowl and its Black and White collective created a vital and desperate tone for the American public and poor. These color photos seem to more about finding a balance of fruition and poverty through FDR’s stimulus and social aid programs in the 30’s and 40’s. The pictures have a lot more black citizenry and women working than I have seen in the Dust Bowl FSA documents. The black and white photos are a call of defeat while the color is a sounding of fighting poverty.

Seeing the era in color also makes me think why the “Obamavilles” are not being covered. Maybe a new committee has to be formed like the ones in the darker days.

Miquel Barcelo, Caixa Forum, Jacques Henri Lartigue

Posted in Artist, Image Discovery!, Painting, Photography, Print, Sculpture with tags , , , , , on June 25, 2010 by michaelchernoff

Since coming to Barcelona I stumbled onto a well established mixed media Spanish artist. Along Consel de Cent I went into a gallery with an unfriendly attendant. On the gallery walls were loose monoprint and ink brush renderings of bullfights. There was a high amount of energy implanted into the bull charging and the cape swishing a red streak across the paper. Everything was black ink on white with tinges of red smearing. Blood and the illusion of the matadors veil were one. The name of creator was M. Barcelo.

I googled searched but got nothing. I couldn’t understand how respected or acknowledged Barcelo was. Incredibly in Madrid I happened for the first time to visit the Caixa Forum by accident. On display was a retrospect of MIQUEL Barcelo. His paintings took time to grow on me. The oil and watercolors were as messy as the prints. But the splotchy figures in his Dantes Divine Comedy were refreshing from an overused epic poem in image media. Small mounds of paint made slight shadows on canvases and the perception of rocky dirt ground was executed by him too. His working career has spanned before my birth.

But what immediately grabbed was the video of his sculpture in the main lobby. Along with the warped faces he made from metal casts was a huge installation he did in real time with some editing. He and accompanying sculptor had an immense wall of clay before them. They slashed and hacked at the wet clay with sticks and metal. At first their carving seemed arbitrary and unguided. At the climax however the camera shot is way back and you see a scene reminiscent of cave paintings from Neanderthals. Trees, shrubs and rock are captured by the shadows of deep lines in the clay.

Then the pair use clay pancake slabs to form masks on their faces. Blind only with their palms and fingers are grotesque noses, eyes and bone structures emulated. I immediately thought of Tim Burton’s Beetlejuice when Alec Baldwin pulled his face forward when witnessing Marcelo’s first clay facial. Numerous masks were made and accompanied a finished lair of clay sculpture.

As a craftsmen Marcelo is seemingly sloppy and uneducated. But then again most modern spanish artists are. I am now a fan his work and take his name in my head easily. It’s hard to find his distinct work in english so anyone reading just surf around. Since I am on the subject vaguely, the Caixa forum is a big interest for me. I have never heard of a bank funding free open artwork for everyone. A bank supporting art seems cold and devious in America but in SPain its like a civic duty of the company. Near Placa Espanya I have seen work by Christian Boltanski, Sophie Calle, Joseph Buys, and Jacques Herni Lartigue.

Lartique was a rich Frenchman who because he was so wealthy could spend all his time photographing as a young man. He captured the lives of wealthy French at the start of the 20th century. Early photos you could see his fingerprints, scratches, and graininess of an amateur. By the 30’s he was producing glorious action shots of car races, swimmers, skiing, and pretty mistresses. He also did a lot of stereograph work like making 3D photographs. I think I may want to invest in a stereograph camera after seeing the dynamism of his work.

Patrick Demarchelier

Posted in Artist, Image Discovery!, Photography, Women with tags , , , , , on February 15, 2010 by michaelchernoff

I was flipping through Vogue…something new for me since I think most fashion magazine photography is boring. Besides Raymond Meier, I looked at Patrick Demarchelier work online after holding an issue. Like all the vogue photographers the women are tall and lean but Patrick gives them spunk that I appreciate. He is accomplished in both magazine lay outs and fine portraiture. He lies a lot in monochromatic exposures too.He makes these lucid women very tough while still retaining a models femininity. The images I saw seem calm and not needing to exert much energy to be in your face. He has definitely made my day.

Kevin Carter’s Dead History

Posted in Artist, Image Discovery! with tags on February 12, 2010 by michaelchernoff

Found thisĀ  picture and short bio on Kevin Carter who I had no idea killed himself and was the photographer for this image. Photographing or filming extreme human tragedy must be damning for the people who do it. Usually they receive a lot of praise for their deeds from publications and humanitarian organizations…with that praise come awards and money. Sometimes people directly profit from documenting suffering and not the invisible forces and individuals who create these situations for profit. If artists could maintain this idea couldn’t they find dignity in the images they capture?

Yet they still feel guilt or responsibility because the victims they capture die and they live on and prosper. Kevin Carter apparently killed himself due to fear of money and horrors. I wonder if anyone has done a survey on suicide photographers and film makers?

Skyways and Space

Posted in Architecture, Image Discovery! with tags , , , on January 23, 2010 by michaelchernoff

I was reviewing some small ideas that got me going from reading a wiki page that started with Being John Malcovich. I had read earlier on about the Minnesota Skyway system and how segregating it was among the poor and wealthy citizens in the downtown area. Such an account was conceivable for me but I didn’t know how far-reaching the skyways was. The map above shows every major shopping and government building connected. A completely secure interior walkway eliminating outside travel.

Now it is cold in Minnesota and many cold weather cities have interior tunnels for travel. But this a way for middle class people not needing to interact with the poor and homeless citizens of the city. Public space is largely dead and reborn with shopping centers. All of communal activities from shopping, fundraising, dining, community activities is centered not in city streets but mall corridors and courtyards. DMV’s, military, and churches have implanted their activities in malls. Aside from parks there is almost no example of unsegregated housing in cities dictated by streets and transportation. If it’s bad for cities, it’s even worse for suburbs where the mall is the only town center. Suburbs like Colonie, Latham, Loudonville around the city I live in have no town squares. Small towns and farm land and been built over with thruways and strip malls. There is almost no sense of connectiveness among communities like this because every landmark is a box with a storefront and huge intersections that alienate walkers.

People are so concerned with commercial developement and security that as a society we are wasting more money on transportation and infrastructure than we need to. But developement has not stopped even in a so-called recession now. In Florida the construction of housing developments is non-stop…you can see them in progress over the states flat lands and waterways. Urban Sprawl and privatized public space is causing humans to waste our culture and resources.