Conceptual art—well, maybe all art—should sock you in the gut and then hypnotize you. In that order. Eric Yahnker’s work is a one-two emotional/intellectual punch that combines immaculate craftsmanship with a brain of intimidating powers.
Witness <0 - 101 (above), a work that combines various media with numerical titles into a sequential order from “Less Than Zero” to “101 Dalmatians”. Or the artist’s colored-pencil commentaries on dianetics and Lance Armstrong. Or the beheaded John Wayne in tennis gear.
Yahnker’s work deals with death, neuropathology and the mucky vicissitudes of life in a manner that combines high-concept trickery with immediate visual appeal. Go forth, wanderer, and click heedlessly.
Oh, what we’d give to visit the studio of Bianca Hester! Hester is an artist/handywoman/creator across all platforms living output is so varied and so unexpected that we can’t quite wrap our heads around the whole of it.
For starters, Hester makes and modifies instruments, orchestrates fruitful installations and collaborations, produces lovely art books, writes with great insight, creates video, turns leftover installation materials into light fixtures for her friends, and, need we say it…MUCH MORE.
The world is Joshua Petherick’s oyster. The world is also Joshua Petherick’s range of working materials. The Melbourne-based artist incorporates everything from pine shelving systems to cork rolls to squashed coins to polypropylene hessian (what is that?) to marble to bubble wrap into his unclassifiable pieces.
Needless to say, the results fascinate us. So do the titles. Petherick has a gift for language, giving his works the most enigmatic/appealing monikers imaginably. A few examples: BOOTLEG AT THE MANOR, JOINT HASSLES, WISH YOU WERE HERE (SLOWLY) and MUNDUS VULT DECIPI, ERGO DECIPIATUR (That’s Latin for, “The world wants to be deceived, so let it be deceived.”)
When given the opportunity to gaze upon Henry McCausland’s work, it’s hard not to let the adjectives pile up willy-nilly. One’s eyes glaze over in delight and a series of words come to mind: enchanting! vivid! smart! detail-oriented!
Maybe this isn’t such a bad response to have. Maybe this is what good illustration should do: provoke the imagination, please the eyeballs, stymie the brain. In any case, there’s so much to see.
Recognize the name? Hisham Akira Bharoocha is known for his legendary status as founding member of Lightning Bolt and Black Dice. But oh, he’s so much more: a photographer, an image-melter, a collaborator with Doug Aitken and Boredoms and Gang Gang Dance on sound pieces, and a creator of works “that show the absurdity and logic of how each mind works, what kind of relationships it creates between experiences and images that we absorb through our senses moment by moment.” (That’s from his artist’s statement.)
At the moment we’re particularly enthralled by Bharoocha’s photography. As the old cliché goes: every picture tells a story.
Jim Stoten’s illustrations manage to have a distinctly wonky, vintage OZ Magazine vibe while also conveying their modern messages with precision and subtlety. Some things the artist is especially good at drawing include: pirates, bugles, ruddy monarchs, everyday activities such as hanging the laundry or reading a book, and balloons. And that’s just a sample!
Check out Stoten’s website for examples, as well as a blog chock full o’ sketches, updates, tip-offs and works-in-progress.
Luke Ramsey’s zines, prints, drawings and collaborations (like the above collection of monster mug shots executed with Finlay Pogue) could keep an attentive viewer absorbed for days on end.
But there’s more! Along with his wife Angela Conley, Ramsey runs Islands Fold, an independent publisher and artist residency on Pender Island, B.C., Canada, founded in 2006. Available for purchase at the website are a multitude of prints, drawings, shirts and zines, the proceeds of which go directly toward funding the residency. Good work, guys!
One of Emma Balkind’s many notable efforts is her appearance onInternet Archaeology, an archive of “graphic artifacts found within earlier Internet Culture” established in 2009 and with a purpose of preserving these artifacts to “acknowledge their importance in understanding the beginnings and birth of an Internet Culture.”
Among the standard bits of information embedded within artist/filmmaker/writer Luca Dipierro’s biography is the sentence, “His life is based on a true story.” Cool! We love ontological riddles as much as the next guy/girl, and Dipierro’s work is studded with them in the darndest places.
There’s a lot to explore on Dipierro’s website. We recommend starting with the ART section, moseying on over to the FILM segment, and ending up with a tour of the WRITING archive. Neat stuff abounds—and it’s always refreshing to stumble upon a genuine polymath.