Wednesday, February 16, 2011

This Island Earth

Colonel Douglas H. Wheelock, a NASA astronaut with a sense of poetry, took these gorgeous, velvety images while orbiting our planet. In the top one you can see some of the Aurora Borealis. He has a feed where he posts regularly.

Emil Alzamora

The work of Emil Alzamora, whose platform is always the distorted human figure, reminds me of Antony Gormley - One of the all time greats.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Xela Trilogy

J. Twells (aka XELA) , a brit by way of Malden, Mass as I understand, has been putting out some pretty stellar ambient/drone/noise/metal material for a while now. He has conjured up cultish, esoteric musings before but this very ecclesiastical religious cassette trilogy is really formidable! In order from top to bottom we have The Illuminated, The Divine, The Sublime. In turn, these installments evoke death, transition & rebirth. Drone addicts like me will get a thorough fix but don't dismiss this if you are afraid of noise. It's quite varied and much of this material is really gorgeous, moody atmosphere laden with field recordings of church bells, chants & prayers. While it's also true that the second side of The Illuminated (the fittingly death-related volume) is really some of the scariest music I've ever heard.
The tapes were super limited as always and sold out right away, I believe. At any rate, Dekorder is re-issuing all of it in vinyl format with alternate artwork. Also, you can visit S4D for a digital download. Included there also is Heirs Of The Fire, very excellent as well. Either way, if, after evaluating it, you decide you love it then support this man! This stuff is highly recommended!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chiharu Shiota

Chiharu Shiota creates installations and performance work. She is also an eerie spider woman who spins miles of black wool around things, enveloping them in a foggy labyrinth. I would love to see this stuff in person. I bet it gives you the creeps.

Jvstin Bartlett

Justin Bartlett is a vile illustrator who has been busy as a bee lately doing album covers, tee shirts & web design. If you're hip or evil then you should know about him. As you can see, he's kvlt as shit. Check out his cool blog here where you can do light reading and also spend some hard earned dough on his beautiful items.

Kate MccGwire

Her Site.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein

Hans Holbein the younger painted this in 1533. Among other things, it is a double portrait of two real people, one of them a wealthy landowner and the other a bishop. Putting two men from such weighty occupations into a frame together automatically begs interpretive questions. The plot is also thickened considerably when one peruses the shelves behind the gentlemen and the various objects they contain. It is a beautiful little still life all it's own, comprised mostly of instruments for astronomical calculation, and then on the lower shelf, books and a lute with a broken string. There is much debate over whether the relationship between the two men and the various objects symbolizes any kind of mutuality, or perhaps religious strife instead. At any rate, the most notable element of the painting by far is the famous anamorphic skull that sits, jarringly I might add, at the feet of the two men. Two of the many popular motifs during the Renaissance were Anamorphic perspective imagery and Vanitas. Vanitas is essentially any symbology that contemplates on the transient nature of earthly life and vanity. Skulls have always been and will always be the apex of death-contemplation imagery. So to have a skull in a painting like this isn't so startling on it's own. But this is a seriously anamorphic skull! To viewers unfamiliar with the concept, it comes across as an ugly smear only until viewed at an extreme angle from the side. Some people contend that Holbein intended for this work to be hung on the side wall in a stairwell, so that people ascending the stairs would see the skull before any of the other imagery became plain. Either way it's quite a beautiful and mysterious piece of work. But here is the really cool part: John Coulthart's blog recently informed me that this painting can now be viewed in the new Google Art Project gallery. This is quite a project, they are taking huge scans of famous paintings from everywhere so that you can check them out in a digital gallery. Why this is cool: Clearly, seeing The Ambassadors in person is a treat because you get to wait in the long line to take turns looking at the image from the side. However, with all the people and security hounding over you, you can barely spend any time at all closely scrutinizing the astonishing, hyper-real detail in the work itself. The guards won't even let you get all that close. Not all of the art in the Google project is as SUPER SUPER high res as The Ambassadors, but if you would like to look at the details of the skull and the still life close up- and I mean really, really, really close up- then CHECK IT OUT: