November 27th, 2013
John Grade’s ‘Capacitor’ is a sculpture that almost seems to breathe. The Seattle-based artist’s installation envelops the viewer in a luminous coil that slowly opens and closes while an internal light source ebbs and flows with breathy variances in intensity. The Capacitor’s movement and light pattern is determined by sensors on the roof of the exhibition space, completely transforming how the viewer conceives of the environment.
Constant yet minute weather changes are exaggerated so that a conventionally subtle experience becomes a visceral onslaught of sensory information. The nodule forms that constitute the physical installation are meant to evoke magnified notions of the microscopic – a remarkable exposition of a physical world that remains forever hidden to the naked eye.
Grade’s Capacitor is rooted in his preoccupation with change. Is the Capacitor a macabre prophesying of the way we are bound to experience nature in a hundred years time? As a kind of mediary between nature in an unadulterated form and its detached translation in lights and artifice, the Capacitor seems to simultaneously deepen our understanding while placing the viewer at a comfortable distance from the original. For more of Grade’s work, be sure to check out his website.
- James Lavapie
November 21st, 2013
Although the standard paper crane may be the most immediate image that comes mind when thinking of origami, the work of artist Joel Cooper is often more reminiscent of a collection of ancient relics. Coopers intricate works of folded paper are manipulated in such a way that the medium is left virtually unrecognizable, more closely resembling carved stone or metal.
The foundation of many of Cooper’s works is constituted by a basket weave pattern from which he builds more complex forms. It’s in these intricacies that Cooper’s method borders on the masochistic – with what seems like an endless ritual of creasing and unfolding the paper hundreds of times before the final piece can be produced.
Cooper’s ancient masks are certainly astounding, but it’s his tessellation works that are most remarkable in their intricate precision. Fashioned from a single sheet of paper, we can’t even begin to conceive of how Cooper achieves the juxtaposition between sensuous folds and their jarring accents. The final result is something that evokes a sense of such permanence that it becomes easy to forget its inherent fragility. For more on Cooper or to purchase one of his works, head on over to his website.
- James Lavapie
November 7th, 2013
If the installations of New York-based artist Yorgo Alexopoulos are anything, they’re certainly futuristic. The artist combines his own paintings, photographs and films with digital animation and sound to create a sensory experience reminiscent of being entombed within a life-size computer. Take the artist’s latest work for instance, titled “Beguiled by Mystery.” Alexopoulos assembled twenty display monitors and synchronized their output – a simultaneous spectacle and shrine to the technological.
Probably most intriguing is the artist’s implicit preoccupation with the natural amidst all the technology. From images of rolling waves, to mountains rising out of a deep purple fog – the medium may be machine, but the message is emphatically natural. But Alexopoulos is constituted by contradiction, finding his creative beginning as a member of the West Coast Artists graffiti crew. While he seems to have moved on from spray paint as a primary medium, the work remains just as imposing. For more information on Alexopoulos or his work, head on over to his website.
- James Lavapie
October 14th, 2013
By nature, street art is inherently subversive. Contrary to other art forms, it’s not commissioned or universally celebrated by the artistic institution, but sneakily forced into the conversation by virtue of its unapologetic anarchy. While almost every work of art in a contemporary context seems to be critiquing consumerism, the work of street artist Arcadia Blank is especially poignant. The Dubai-based graffiti artist’s criticism of the recent development boom comes as the city continues to expand, an on-going condemnation of something that has yet to climax.
The main thrust of Arcadia Blank’s argument is that Dubai has been corporatized and commercialized to such an extent that the city no longer reflects the local cultures of its inhabitants. The result is a hyper-capitalist paradise, a rejection of the local in favour of the bottom line. Some may view Arcadia Blank’s condemning words as vandalism, but who’s to say inescapable advertisements and marketing ploys aren’t just as invasive and unwarranted?
The artist doesn’t seem to be promoting what he’s doing as right, but just as valid as everything else that we are exposed to on a daily basis. Mainly relying on text as a means of communicating his message, the most poignant of Arcadia Blank’s writings were the words “EVERYONE IS ONLINE” plastered across the walls of a parking lot. At least the artist realizes that he isn’t the exception to the rule. To keep up to date with each Arcadia Blank piece, follow the artist on tumblr.
October 8th, 2013
Immediately visceral, the hand cut paper works by artist Rogan Brown almost seem to have a life all their own. Meticulously cut into the most organic of forms, each piece verges on scientific in the artist’s attention to detail. Not modelled after anything in particular, Brown’s cut sculptures find their origins in the repeating motifs seen in nature. Evocative of everything from a complex maze of veins and capillaries, to the monotonous striations in a piece of bark, Brown deference to natural forms is only paralleled by the artist’s preoccupation with augmenting these forms with the particularity of his own imagination.
The result is a series of shrines to the organic, distorted through the most clinical of lenses. Brown’s exclusive use of white paper in his work sterilizes their organic origins, rendering the natural irrevocably artificial through his own meticulous processing. Although some might interpret this as a damning condemnation of the ever-increasing presence of artifice in the natural world, Brown’s work most palpably translates as an attempt to reconcile the difference between the two polarizing ideals. To check out more of Brown’s work, head on over to the artist’s website.
- James Lavapie