Ed Atkins at Serpentine Sackler Gallery

Category: 3D Animation, Film / Multimedia, Fine Arts

High definition CGI is not a common presence in the fine art world, and I was surprised to see images of a digitally rendered human figure so prominently displayed at one of the the most important contemporary art galleries in Britain. The troublesome looking young man is an avatar modeled on Ed Atkins, the artist himself. Ed Atkins had somehow slipped my radar, but the more I’ve learned about him the more intrigued I’ve become with his work. His multi-channel installation Ribbons (2014) occupies several spaces and screens in the Serpentine Sackler Gallery until 25 August. The video follows the protagonist as he drinks, smokes, swears, mutters, gets naked, tries his luck with a glory hole. It is accompanied by large boards bearing blocks of texts with scribbled-in margins, and disturbingly realistic human skins, or UV maps of the avatar, on display like scientific specimens or conquests.

Atkins is skilled in coding, and creating 3D animation, though he did solicit the help of an expert to produce elements like the astoundingly hyper-real render of a whiskey glass that appears in the video. He pushes CGI far enough to remind the viewer that its’ most prized achievement, hyper-realism, undoes itself as, no matter how close the image gets to looking real, it will forever fall short of life. The avatar is so meticulously rendered, and yet so vapid, vacant—he is but a shell of code, stretched over an artificial structure.We see ourselves reflected in him, and but that which becomes apparent is our comparative physicality, flesh and mortality.

Ed Atkins is heavily influenced by literature and poetry and the written word play an important part in his creative process. Here is a beautiful performance of a piece called Depression from last year. If you happen to be in London definitely check out the exhibition, and I’d recommend reading some interviews with him, he is a fascinating artist. Here is a good audio interview recorded at Chisenhale Gallery in 2012.

Anna Tokareva

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Moving Image Arts (Film/ Video)

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Media Design School

Premium Design Academy in Auckland, New Zealand
http://www.mediadesignschool.com/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art and Design (3D Animation and Visual Effects)

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art in Painting and Visual Arts
Bachelor of Art in Media Design and Multimedia Arts
Masters of Art in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies
Masters of Art in Film and New Media

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NewSchool of Architecture + Design

San Diego, California
http://www.newschoolarch.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Science in Digital Media Arts
Bachelor of Arts in Animation

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IRÉEL by Flóra Borsi

Category: Fine Arts, Photography

Exceptionally talented Hungarian photographer Flóra Borsi is exploring the physically impossible through clever photo manipulation. Doing mostly self portraits, concept art and fashion editorials, Borsi edits her images with impeccable taste and restraint. Her aim is to create images that first of all look ‘real’.

Her latest fine art photography series IRÉEL features beautiful and intimate self portraits behind a transparent screen that is smudged with paint strokes. Her shape interacts with the abstract strokes obscure, hide and reveal her body at the same time. The colours — faded blue, clay like red and the colour of her skin — work incredibly well together giving a sense of depth and contrast, a pale, eerie atmosphere to the images.

As she describes: ‘A hyperrealist painter aims to achieve a result which looks like a real photographic picture. A pictorialist photographer’s desired result is visually equivalent to a painting.’

These are all real life shots, Borsi only adjusted the tones and contrast, with a bit of skin retouching here and there. Have a look at some other beautiful projects from Flóra Borsi on her website, or on Behance.

Kyle Glass

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Photography
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Photography

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NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Masters in Photography and Visual Design

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James Surls @ SFUAD

Category: Fine Arts, sculpture

It may be summer break in the U.S at the moment, but that hasn’t stop Santa Fe University of Art and Design hosting a range of exciting creative events. Along with ARTFEST, which Frontier always looks forward to, SFAUD have opened up their campus as a free range exhibition space for American modernist James Surls.

Surls is known for his large scale monotone sculptures, drawings and prints. Originally focusing on natural and human images and forms, of recent years his wooden and metal works have adopted a more abstract presence with the recognizable elements being paired back in favour for spiky dangerous forms. His use of natural, twisted wood is what interests me. The last shot from one of his annual studio exhibitions looks like dangerous viewing, large heavy wooden structures are hung precariously above, with the thorny spikes heightening the sculptures menacing aesthetic.

At SFUAD, Surls’ sculptures have been placed around campus like aliens landed in the dry desert landscape. It’s an fantastic juxtaposition. From what I can tell, James Surls’ sculptures are up all summer long, if you’re in the neighbourhood then make sure you stop in for this intriguing free show.

Logan Bradley

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts

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Ai Wei Wei at Lisson Gallery

Category: Fine Arts, Installation, sculpture

We’ve seen a lot of marble used over the past year in furniture, product and graphic design, and even in fashion as digital prints. Here it is used by artist Ai Wei Wei in what is perhaps the most apt manner—for the purpose of social critique. Ai Wei Wei has risen to international prominence despite (and also due to) his widely-criticized 81 day detainment by the Chinese authorities in 2011, and has since continued producing work—even though he is barred from traveling overseas to be present at his own shows, with his passport still being withheld by authorities. His commitment to social activism and the protection of free speech is laudable, especially since politics and art are seldom a successful mix.

His current show at Lisson Gallery in London is largely made up of meticulously sculpted objects, sparsely arranged, some encased in glass display cases. His photographic series Study of Perspective, depicting him giving the middle finger to various structures of power around the world, dilute what may appear to be a serious museum display with a touch of cheeky humour. A good sense of humour is surely needed for someone in his situation, and the rest of the aesthetically beautiful objects point to some of the problems he encounters in the homeland he is bound to. A conglomeration of bicycles harks back to the days when Beijing was famed for this mode transport, now overtaken by cars and pollution. The gas mask, immortalized in marble, serves as a sinister warning. Highly personal items intermingle with those of wider cultural and political significance. There are handcuffs and coat-hangers, re-created from crystal, jade and huali wood, that refer to his detainment. Traditional lanterns and replicas of his father’s armchairs carved from heavy marble. Glass replicas of taxi window cranks are a puzzling sight, until we find out that these have been banned from Beijing taxis, in order to prevent passengers from distributing protest leaflets.

Every object in this exhibition is charged with cultural and personal references it is up to us to research further and decode. It’s an unapologetic display of dissent towards the authorities, but also a narrative of Ai Wei Wei’s experiences and struggles as an individual. The exhibit will be on until 19 July, but Ai Wei Wei is also the subject of a major retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum until 10 August.

Anna Tokareva

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Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts

Get in touch now:

 

NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art in Painting and Visual Arts
Masters of Art in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies

Get in touch now:

 

Art Basel: Unlimited

Category: Fine Arts, Installation

Sam Falls @ Galerie Eva Presenhuber. Images: Art Basel.

Rosemarie Trockel @ Gladstone Gallery, Sprueth Magers Berlin London. Images: Art Basel and Conceptual Fine Arts

Sabine Hornig @ Cristina Guerra Contemporary Art. Images: Art Basel.

Xu Zhen @ Long March Space. Images: Art Basel and We Find WildnessAlice Channer @ The Approach. Images: Art Basel.

Art Basel has been dubbed the Olympics of the art world, being one of the most anticipated art fairs. Held at three separate locations over the year: Basel, Miami and Hong Kong, the 2014 season has began with Basel, Switzerland. With over 300 galleries showcasing artwork over four days, it can all get a bit overwhelming. So, I am focusing on Art Basel Unlimited—the section dedicated to presenting artwork that fails to fit into the standard art fair cubicle format. Unlimited is curated by Gianni Jetzer and includes installation work, sculpture, video projection and performance.

A few artworks have caught my eye, for different reasons. Alice Channer’s long crisp drop of fabric, printed with a snakeskin texture looks like a giant stocking, or deflated python, ready to pull you in and eat you up. Sam Falls’ huge orange canvas sheet carves up the grey gallery space like a smily beam of the sunshine that was used to create the artwork. An irregular pattern has been created on the fabric by placing dozens of wooden pallets along its length, letting the spaces between fade in the sun. Falls’ abstract art is earthy and process-based, a welcome departure form the norm in this category.

Frontier favourite Rosemarie Trockel disrupted the space on a smaller scale, but with no less impact. Her 2012 installation, “As far as possible” includes an upside-down plastic palm tree, hanging from the ceiling, along with a monochrome copy of Courbet’s “Origin of the World,” adorned with a hairy tarantula. It’s brilliant and humorous, but also delightfully creepy. The sterile white-tiled walls and a cage of mechanical singing birds add to the unease. Xu Zhen has also turned things on their head, literally in his case. In an effortlessly clever move, Zhen has married replicas of classical Hellinistic and Buddhist sculptures by physically placing the figures of the East upon the headless bodies of the West. The result is both ridiculous and thought provoking.

More of an immersive work, Sabine Hornig’s installation creates a superficial but dislocating environment. Wooden frames, resembling architectural substructures are stretched with sheer polyester fabric that’s printed with overlapping photographs of interior and exterior elements of buildings. The appearance is that of a reflective surface, but soon the gaze travels beyond the thin material, adding further layers to image, in the form of the physical surroundings of the exhibition space.

Art Basel may run over a brief period of time, but it’s a great way to find new exciting artists, and be reminded of the masters of the 20th century. You can see the full list of participating galleries and artists here.

Anna Tokareva

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Study options

Santa Fe University of Art and Design

Santa Fe, New Mexico
http://www.santafeuniversity.edu/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Studio Arts
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Studio Arts
Creative Writing and Literature Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Get in touch now:

 

NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti

Milan, Italy
http://www.naba.it/

Relevant Courses:

Bachelor of Art in Painting and Visual Arts
Masters of Art in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies

Get in touch now: