crystalskullmirrors

I have been noticing a lot of crystals, skulls and mirrors in art and design in the last few years.  It appears to be a “thing.”  I readily embrace this “thing” and have even busted out a skull or three in my recent work.  There’s a very The Dark Crystal / The Never Ending Story aesthetic to a lot of this work which can probably be explained by the fact that many of the artists embracing it are of the generation that likely grew up with those movies and other like films, books, programs (media in general)  ingrained into our consciousness.

While some incidents of crystalskullmirror I’m seeing are mediocre (one can apparently make abominably cliché work with mirrors, for example) I find myself gravitating toward a lot of this work.  If this post makes it seem like I am lumping artists using these motifs into the same aesthetic category, then please take a look at some of my favorite folks in this realm and judge for yourself.

I am a huge fan of the work of Will Yackulic.  He shows with two galleries I really like: Jeff Bailey in New York and Gregory Lind in San Francisco.  He uses ink and gouache (two media I like to work with) and, somehow, a typewriter to make these stunning two-dimensional otherworlds.

Bearings & Ballast, 2009, ink, gouache and typewriter on paper, 30 x 22.25

Bearings & Ballast, 2009, ink, gouache and typewriter on paper, 30" x 22.25"

Aspects & Allowances, 2008 ink, gouache, watercolor and typewriter on paper, 22 x 17.75 inches

Aspects & Allowances, 2008 ink, gouache, watercolor and typewriter on paper, 22 x 17.75 inches

Invocation 5th, 2008, gouache, watercolor and typewriter on paper, 10.625 x 8.5

Invocation 5th, 2008, gouache, watercolor and typewriter on paper, 10.625" x 8.5"

Then there’s the work of David Altmejd, whose work Mark and I first came across in the 2007 Venice Biennale, where he put together a fantastic, nay, phenomenal exhibition for the Canadian pavilion.  He uses mirrors A  LOT, but SO much better than anyone else out there using mirrors to do similar things.  They are just one aspect of the insane worlds he creates, which also include:  taxidermied birds,*  giants, genitals, both flora and fauna, fur, body parts, and YOU because there are so many mirrors in his work, that you inevitably become part of the work.  I could barely photograph it without getting myself in a shot.  Like this:

The Index, exhibition at the Canadian pavilion

The Index, exhibition at the Canadian pavilion

Note please that I am not a professional photographer and that there are way sweeter images of his work online.  See? But I thought it would be neat to post some photos I took while experiencing the exhibition.

The Index, exhibition at the Canadian pavilion

The Index, exhibition at the Canadian pavilion

a mirrored giant monster with Lee Press-On Nails (TM)

a mirrored giant monster with Lee Press-On Nails (TM)

We like him so much, in fact, that we just ordered two monographs on him.  One is the catalog for this exhibition, and the other is this lovely book:

For example of this crystal mirror phenomenon in contemporary media, someone caught indie pop lady Mirah fiddling with these mirror pyramids and put the photo in the liner notes of her latest album.

a(spera)

Skulls.  Lots of skulls.  When in Europe, whenever I saw a skull in contemporary art, I photographed it.  Here are the results of my self-assigned scavenger hunt:

skull in a gallery window in Venice (as a bonus, it even has a skull tree growing from it)

skull in a gallery window in Venice (as a bonus, it even has a skull tree growing from it)

butterfly skull in a gallery in Venice

butterfly skull in a gallery in Venice

glass skull on glass bones by Jan Fabre at the exhibition Glasstress in Venice

glass skull on glass bones by Jan Fabre at the exhibition Glasstress in Venice

ceramic vessel by Miquel Barceló, representing the Venice pavilion at the Biennale

ceramic vessel by Miquel Barceló, representing the Spanish pavilion at the Biennale

skull in a drawing by Jef Geys, representing the Belgian pavilion

skull in a drawing by Jef Geys, representing the Belgian pavilion

And now, my own contribution:

still life I composed out of a postcard and an eraser from the Pinault Collection gift shop

still life I composed out of a postcard and an eraser from the Pinault Collection gift shop

I am so enamored of people’s fascination with skulls (just go on The Selby and see how many skulls you can count in people’s homes alone), that I was making portraits of skulls in Budapest, remember? I’ll get back to those soon I think.

That reminds me, I need to get amakin’, as I am yet again a contributing artist to my friend Krista Peel‘s Calendar Project.  This time the theme is Art Museum, for which I have to create a mini model of a museum.  It can be ANYTHING I want it to be, can be made of any material, and, (blessedly) does not have to be in the least functional.  So, which will it be: Crystals, Skulls, or Mirrors?  I suppose we’ll see…

* Taxidermy is another “thing” in art right now altogether.  Perhaps I’ll tackle that stuffed, lifeless beast in a future post.

3 comments:

  1. maddog:

    Ryan says they are keeping track of how many skulls they print at work and they should hit 1 million (or some crazy high number) by the end of the year.

    If you haven’t seen it I should let you borrow this book I have — “Hover” with taxidermy photos by Gregory Crewdson.

  2. amy:

    That proves it! People heart skulls. The end.
    And yes, pretty please to the borrowing of book. Are you going to ranch…er…studio tomorrow? I will be there in the morning to wrangle with some canvas stretching. Maybe again in the night.

  3. Gulping Beauty » Blog Archive » new schtufz:

    [...] this post? Wherein I fawned over all things crystal and skull?  While I did not receive a Will Yackulic [...]

Leave a response: