Monday, 30 November 2009

Tauba Auerbach part 2

Initially commissioned as one of a series of artists' games for Wallpaper* magazine, Field Of Vision favourite Tauba Auerbach's idiosyncratic playing cards have now been refined and produced in a deluxe limited edition by DZEK, a New York-based publisher of art and design editions.
Further exploring her fascination with language and mathematics, Auerbach has produced two different decks: the Functions Deck and the Shapes Deck. The Functions Deck replaces the standard suits with the mathematical symbols +, -, x, and ÷, and half the deck is black, half white. For the Shapes Deck the suits are represented by geometric shapes, and the picture cards show platonic solids instead of the usual 'royal family'.
There is a long history of artists designing playing cards - Norman Rockwell, Maxfield Parrish, Dali and Alberto Vargas to name a few - but Auerbach has put such thought into her deck, she has almost invented her own playing system with all the added mathematical elements.
The two decks are beautifully produced and come in hand-numbered debossed linen boxes, each limited to a run of 250.

Available through

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Txema Yeste

With his technical prowess and flair for experimentation, Barcelona-based photographer Txema Yeste's star is on the rise at the moment, and he's currently one of the most interesting and adventurous fashion photographers working. You never know which direction his next editorial is going to go in, which is great.
After studying photography in Birmingham and Barcelona (how's that for a contrast) Yeste initially entered the editorial world as a reporter and writer for Spanish magazines. He began taking photographs to accompany his articles, and was soon given the chance to shoot larger pieces and, eventually, fashion stories. Now he regularly shoots the main fashion for magazines like Vogue EspaƱa, V Spain, Hercules and Tush.
Like many photographers Yeste shoots commercial advertising jobs to pay his bills, but its his editorial work which is really exciting and bold. His images often pay homage to the allure and glamour of greats like Penn and Newton, but his willingness to experiment with multiple or blurred exposures and complicated lighting set-ups, alongside his working partnerships with forward-looking stylists such as Sebastien Kaufman, make his work feel really modern and innovative.
Below is a selection of his editorial work from various titles, so all photographs are untitled.

All images  © Txema Yeste

Friday, 20 November 2009

Ricky Swallow

It’s rare these days to see the level of craftsmanship that Australian artist Ricky Swallow exercises with his sculptural works with wood. Paper bags, rucksacks, car tyres and even a sleeping bag are painstakingly carved from woods such as tulip, jelutong, black walnut and English lime to beautiful, tactile effect.  The level of detail is fantastic, and making complicated folds of ‘fabric’ fall realistically or representing a snake intertwined with the strap of a cycle helmet are real feats of skill. He also tackles more traditional subject matter exploring death and mortality, and  skulls and skeletal figures are recurring themes, referencing the classic subjects portrayed in Vanitas paintings. The impressive level of detail in his magnum opus, 2004’s Killing Time - a large kitchen table with a rumpled tablecloth and various dishes seemingly abandoned during preparation, complete with fish and seafood scattered across it - would perhaps give the great Grinling Gibbons a run for his money. 

Swallow has also created a series of bronzes of different panels scattered with gunshot which are really interesting. Reflecting the idle, mindless diversions of bored youth whiling away endless days, they hint at the slow passage of time which his more representative explores more obviously.  

Now based in Los Angeles, Swallow also paints watercolours – portraits, or studies of skeletons in muted tones – which are similar in feel to the work of Karen Kilimnik or Elizabeth Peyton, but these don’t feel as special or immediate as his sculptural work.

Apple, 2000

Fig.1, 2008

Younger Than Yesterday, 2006

Rehearsal For Retirement, 2008

The Days Aren't Different Enough #1, 2009

Together Is The New Alone, 2004

Killing Time, 2004

Killing Time, 2004 (Detail)

The Days Aren't Different Enough #2, 2009

Salad Days, 2005

Fig.2, 2008

History Of Holding, 2007

History Of Holding, 2007 (Detail)

The Days Aren't Different Enough #3, 2009

Minor Threat, 2003

Private Dancer, 2002

Everything Is Nothing, 2003

Sleeping Range, 2002

All images © Ricky Swallow

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Colter Jacobsen

Memories – lost, found, rediscovered – are the subject of much of San Francisco-based artist Colter Jacobsen’s work. His deft, subtle way with pen or pencil belies the more intriguing themes his work explores. Jacobsen first began his Proustian exploration by copying found postcards and old photographs (to which he had no personal connection) in pencil, often using antique or distressed paper, or even the back of old album sleeves to work on. He then explored this further by making a second copy from this drawn image, then showing both images side-by-side. In this way, the subtle variations between the two allude to the way memories change and alter over time, and also how our memories are inextricably linked with imagery – invariably old photographs. More recently Jacobsen has taken this idea even further and drawn the ‘second’ image from memory entirely, without referencing the original. What the viewer then sees is Jacobsen’s memory of someone else’s memory.

There is also an interesting series of painted-over newspaper pages, where he leaves only a few disparate images and words visible, creating an entirely new narrative from randomly connected events. Not a million miles away from Tom Phillips’ ongoing A Humament project, but Jacobsen’s take is far more droll and irreverent.

He has also recently collaborated with poet Bill Berkson on a series of images juxtaposing quotes from Berkson’s work with his own imagery, creating a strange series of pencil pictures which have no real narrative, and yet make a strange kind of sense as a body of work when seen together.

Bowl and Pitcher, 2008

Claire de Lune, 2008

Waterfalls, 2007

Cascade Falls, 2008

Love Rosie, 2008

Twin Clowns, 2007

Brick Wall, 2008 (With Bill Berkson)

Sea and Sun, 2007

Double Victory, 2007

Free (Found Signs), 2008

Sun Ray Asking If People At Home...., 2007

Liberty, 2008 (With Bill Berkson)

All images © Colter Jacobsen