Jeff Soto is a younger artist who has an amazing range of illustrations– science fiction, Star Wars, Album Art and Concert posters and toys.
His work is influenced by Robot images, Star Wars droids, and Mr. Potato Head. It has the elements of Robert Williams’ lowbrow art and a sci-fi feel to it, machines come to life. Very interesting work, outside of the page we had assigned, here are to works, one is a map of America covered in fur, and the other is a Star Wars utility droid put out to pasture.
What we notice at first in this series is the color and the serene image. The pink dominates and small cartoon figurines float around the woman. The landscape seems unreal and tranquil. The image reminds us of scenery as it appears in Japanese manga and anime. Along with its strong reference to Japanese visual culture, Pureland references Western popular culture such as Hollywood films, as well as landscape painting traditions. draws from both Japanese and Western visual culture.
The sky and water in Pureland have a flatness like that of a computer screen. The widened perspective of Pureland evokes the Japanese concept of sunyata, which can be translated as emptiness. Mori’s lack of depth perspective is disorientating. Even though the image appears tranquil and sweet there is not a lot to keep the viewer engaged. The “flatness” relates to the Japanese ukiyo-e prints from the Edo period. Ukiyo-e originates from a Buddhist concept meaning the “floating world”. In the Edo period the word was associated with woodblock prints. Manga (Japanese graphic novels) and anime (Japanese animated films or television series) can be related back to Hokusai’s range of woodblock prints entitled Manga. Woodblock prints from the Edo period are very close in style to contemporary manga and anime in the use of visual elements such as dark outlines and flatness of representation.
In the unifying glow of Pureland all differences are airbrushed into an uneasy whole. In this way this work mirrors the easily made, disposable Japanese culture–Japan has become both what the West imagines it to be and what it “remembers” to be its national identity.
Martina Lopez manipulates photographs by combining those of her family with others, by recreating family scenes that may have never existed, and by changing the time place or combination of people to create an alternative reality.
The death of her father and brother gave her the thought of reconstructing memories and exploring feelings of loss. She created works dedicated to her father, mother, and her brother who was killed in Vietnam when she was four years old. Most of her memories of her brother were in part constructed from his presence in family photographs. Lopez writes, “By extracting people from their original context and then placing them into fabricated landscapes, I hope to retell a story of their being, one which allows the images to acquire a life of their own. While the pieces from photographs verify an actual lived experience, the landscape stands as my metaphor for life, demarcating its quality, where the horizon suggests an endless time.”
The work of these artists begins with the human body, changed and mutated. Identities are erased, the organic parts of the human seem to be disappearing into the void of technology–very uncomfortable to look at but a fascinating combination of organic and synthetic.