Obscured male and female forms face off in these alternating works from Patty Carroll, obscuring the female form draped with patterns, and Matthew Stone, abstracting the male form with contortion. Regardless of its content, a sense of royalty and fluttering grace is pervasive in Stone's Optimism As Cultural Rebellion, which flows like angel robes in religiously significant Renaissance-era classics. Draped Women, Carroll's series of draped, anonymous women, is more self-contained -- exploring spaces shared not with partners, but singular individuals and their relationships to domesticity. Domesticity is displayed like a prison, in contrast to the balance between freedom and constriction in Stone's pieces, with ornate though purely suffocating aesthetics. Nonetheless, Carroll's vision bears some similarity to Stone's, as she reveals in the following statement: "This series has references to draped statues from the Renaissance, nuns in habits, women wearing the burka, the Virgin Mary, priests robes, and ancient Greek and Roman dress, among others. Hopefully, I am bringing humor to pathos."
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Matthew Stone

UK photographer Matthew Stone is self-described on his website as an artist and a shaman, who utilizes numerous artistic disciplines to recreate the role of an artist in the 21st century.

Patty Carroll

Patty Carroll is a Chicago-based photographer and teacher with an interest in documenting human interests and pecularities.

 

I'm not sure what it is about our nature that makes us constantly want to mutilate faces -- and maybe that is just the simplest explanation for all of our recent zombie activity -- but sometimes there's just nothing more carnally fulfilling than running paper faces under an acid bath of collage, painting, mixed media, whatever. Brazilian artist Lucas Simões burns photographic portraits, to give them such personality that their remains sometimes come across as grotesque three-headed beasts (ausência series) and sometimes remind us of sparking memories of the past (quem brinca com fogo series). It takes skills to draw such diversity from such a simple and carnal concept, and for it to evoke such a suprising range of emotions, including sadness, fear, and compassion.

 

ausencia Series

 

Before Seattle artists Shaun Kardinal and Erin Frost met one another, art and creation were relatively solitary activities. Now, as romantic partners, they find in one another both artistic confidante and critic, and another with whom to share space and explore overlapping interests in geometry, collage, embroidery, and reuse. In this joint interview, both artists discuss their personal works as well as the collaborations which tie them together, both figuratively and literally.

 

Erin Frost

Alteration No 12 "Alteration No 12 was my very first piece of this nature. It was intimidating and exhilarating to "destroy" something i had made. It's a strong signifier of recent change, play, and exploration. Its balance and pattern are one of my favorites, visually. It wasn't mapped, but sewn free hand, each point leading to the next, and because of that it, it maintains a loose and taught path. It flows yet is contained." - Erin Frost Alterotations "Alterotations was made for a mobile gallery project curated by Sierra Stinson in New York in 2011. For this piece, I started with a more defined pattern (the circle) and plotted growing triangles within. I wanted to play with the radiating visual, to complement the original idea of the piece. At the time, I shot the original photograph (Black Lace), I was really trying to capture the sensation of love/lust/elation where it seems you can feel your heart expand, like it exists outside of you." - Erin Frost

Shaun Kardinal

Connotation no. 8 "This was one of the earlier pieces made for Connotations. It has a few cut-up postcards and features the shaped-collage-behind-thread I had envisioned when first starting the series. While very satisfying when it worked, the technique proved very tricky, since each piece of imagery was first cut and then spray-mounted into place for embroidering. The outwardly radiating points that touch the white paper were placed there in attempt to make the thing look like it was held together solely with thread. It worked here, but I found it distracting in other pieces and eventually left that element behind..." - Shaun Kardinal

 

Connotation no. 15 "This was my favorite of the series which incorporated a single, full-frame image. The design of the three orbs came to me while riding the bus one afternoon, and I was fortunate to have my Moleskine and some pens with me at the time. like most of the work in this series, the image came from a LIFE magazine published in the mid-'50s." - Shaun Kardinal

 

Stacey Page takes found photographs and adorns their subjects with elaborate thread headdresses and masks. Delving into notions of ego and avatar, Page creates a seamless melding of antiquated strangers and vague, archetypical monsters that stare out at the viewer with some understated promise of wisdom and secrecy. Page recently took the time to answer some questions for us about her work.

 

Coinciding with bright spring threads come a fascination with brightly-colored, geometrically-minded embroidered works! In this post, we examine works from artists who painstakingly thread through paper to vastly different ends.

 

Shaun Kardinal

This year, Seattle's Shaun Kardinal has taken a bold leap from minimally embroidered postcards to more involved pieces set upon multi-layered collages. By reconstituting rare pages from 1950s LIFE magazines, Kardinal explains what he calls "a long-time fascination with radial compositions and mandalas" in his Connotations. Expect a joint interview between him and Erin Frost within the month.

 

The dream-like figure paintings of Norwegian artist Henrik Aarrestad Uldalen have been so striking to me that the above image has been my Facebook profile picture for the past half year, at least. Uldalen's blue-tinged characters may be shaded like ghostly apparitions or bloodlet cadavers, but the weightlessness and lightness of spirit they possess seem to define serenity, even as they are being whisked off of buildings and freefalling in impossible positions. As Uldalen was born only in 1986, it seems fair to say that these oil paintings are only the beginnings of a whimsical artistic career.

 

Often by way of the unrefined medium of ballpoint pen, UK artist Mark Powell turns vintage envelopes into portraits of the elderly. His high-contrast black-and-white images find their strength in wrinkles, as though making some sort of meta-commentary about aging faces upon aging trees. Creases separate mouths from noses and stamps and seals make fanciful bindis, stressing that there is a story to be found in every one of these century-old envelopes, whether infused with Powell's artistic intentions of not.

 

Seattle artist Joey Bates has spent the last handful of years adhering to a breakneck schedule of shows, and he's ready to slow down.I caught up with Joey during a self-imposed hiatus; he has decided to take a break from showing and spend more time exploring new directions in his work. "I'm actually feeling really lost with what I'm doing art wise," he happily admits, "and there's something invigorating about that." For all his professed uncertainty, Bates does not come across as someone who is feeling creatively lost, and the works in progress that adorn the walls of his workspace in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood are testaments to his steady productivity.
Seeing Bates' home studio is like opening a brand new pack of colored pencils: everything is satisfyingly uniform and perfectly laid out by color, and his drafting table seems too meticulously organized to be in actual use. But Bates in person is as precise as his paintings, and he keeps his studio organized to an extent that, like the photo shoot of a sparsely furnished modernist home, elicits a twinge of envy for a level of immaculate attention to detail that most of us will never be able to sustain. Bates works in graphite and gouache to segment the planes of the face and figure into a series of nestled curves, creating portraits that read almost as topographic maps. He reduces the arcs of the human form into shapes that draw the eye into a constant sense of movement, and the meticulous detail of his linework is so thoroughly exacted that it gives the deceptive impression of being effortless. His first pieces concentrated almost entirely on faces, and by honing his focus in on the minutia of his models' features, he shifted the emphasis away from his subjects as individuals and instead created psychological studies of specific expressions. Bates originally began observing the human face because of an interest in capturing variations in non-verbal communication, and his compositions are meditations on the myriad small parts that comprise the whole. His interest in expression arose from observing the ways that people communicate. "There's something universal in expressions," Bates tells me, "but there's something very much not universal in how we read them, in the way we empathize and connect with each other."
There's something universal in expressions, but there's something very much not universal in how we read them, in the way we empathize and connect with each other." -- Joey Bates
(L) Jillian, in collaboration with Shaun Kardinal; Helga, in collaboration with Amanda Fiebing

 

 

Netherlands-based photographer Jan Reurink can't get enough of Tibet, and captures Tibetan landscape and everyday life with a dedicated selfless passion. In our brief Q&A with Reurink below, he tells us about the rainbow plethora of reasons he keeps returning to the sacred land.
Tibet - Jan Reurink The prayer flags in this image are wind horses; they are called རླུང་རྟ་ -- or lungta. They serve as an allegory for the human soul, and now ritually used as a symbol of well-being and good fortune in Tibet. Tibet - Jan Reurink The mountain range of Mount Ti Se (གངས་ཏེ་སེའི་རི་རྒྱུད or gangs te se'i ri rgyud/ gangté serigyü). Also called the Kailash Mountain Range.