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Sex, symbolism and myth in the sensuous art of Gabriel Grun
07.05.2017
04:06 pm
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‘The Fates.’
 
When Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg, Germany in 1517, the Pope knew the Catholic Church was in big trouble. Il Papa knew the Catholic Church was going to lose business and business was money.

Business was one of the many things Luther complained about in his Theses. Mainly the notion of indulgences or paying off the Church to wipe clean any sins that meant damnation or purgatory in the hereafter.

Now, all this hoo-hah led to three different Popes (including naughty Pope Julius III) presiding over the Council of Trent—which is only important to our little story because among many other things it got the Pope hip to the idea of spreading Catholicism through art.

This wasn’t a new idea by any stretch but it was something the Church really finessed after Luther and used to its full extent to enforce its will. The Church signed-up all the best artists to create large, powerful, iconic paintings to spread the faith to the illiterate mass market. These paintings were displayed in churches. They told the story of Jesus Christ blah-blah-blah and made pretty damn clear to everyone watching that hellfire, damnation, and sin were very, very real things and only the good old Catholic Church could save you from them.

So, in a way, Martin Luther’s Ninety-five Theses inadvertently led to the first major global advertising campaign. Yeah, yeah, there’d been plenty of paintings and iconography and invading armies with their very own trademarks before, but nothing quite as organized or as universal as the Church. It wasn’t all bad. This eventually led to artists questioning their subject matter and a progression towards more humanist symbolism in painting and an age of Enlightenment.

What the Church encouraged on the grand scale is what we all do today with memes—embed narrative into imagery. Why is this important? Well, it’s a bit of a back story to the baroque world of painting which has in may ways been brought bang up-to-date in the work of an exceptionally talented Argentinian artist and sculptor named Gabriel Grun.

Grun paints bold, classical, figurative canvases that relate to earlier times. He is not copying the past and he is certainly not selling us religion but rather using myth, legend, and iconography to examine this world. The obvious ones are paintings like the The Three Fates where our life is spun, measured, and then cut. Or the body of the invasive many-eyed Argus who reflects our world of constant supervision. Or Leda seduced by Zeus disguised as a swan which has its parallel today in nature altered by science from test tube babies to sperm donation. Or the archer who will shoot down the gods to commit suicide.

His paintings are sometimes humorous but most times heavily charged with sex and sexuality—humanity under the thrall of its shared sexual impulse.

Grun is magpie-like in his use of ideas. The painting “Nari Asva” was inspired by an old Hindu legend of shepherdesses devoted to Krishna who take the form of a horse upon which Krishna rode. In Grun’s painting, the form of the horse is Archimboldoesque and surreal. Other obvious influences include the Tarot Arcana, Albrecht Dürer, and Flemish portraiture.

If, like me, you find Grun’s paintings beautiful and utterly engaging, then you may be interested to know they are for sale and he has a blog where you can find more of his work.
 
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‘Sun and Moon.’
 
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‘Nari Asva.’
 
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‘Hermaphrodite.’
 
See more of Gabriel Grun’s work, after the jump…

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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07.05.2017
04:06 pm
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They live? Vampires, werewolves & more mythological creatures from the Cryptid Museum
02.14.2017
01:51 pm
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‘Werewolf’ specimens or Homo Lupus/Lycanthrope by artist Alex CF.

The fascinating photos you see here of the all-too-realistic looking remains of vampires, werewolves, and everyone’s favorite mythological creature Cthulhu, are actually the creations of London-based artist, illustrator, and sculptor Alex CF. Alex’s bizarre cabinets of curiosity are chock full of authentic-looking artifacts that would even make the most skeptical among us question their legitimacy.

At the website for the fictional Merrylin Cryptid Museum Alex tells the story of Thomas Merrilyn—who the artist cleverly refers to as a “Crypto-naturalist, Fringe Zoologist and Xeno -Archeologist.” According to Alex, he has been entrusted with the care and curation of the oddities that were found in the basement of a home in London in 2006. Here’s more on that:

In 2006, a trust was set up to analyze and collate a huge number of wooden crates found sealed in the basement of a London townhouse that was due for demolition. Seemingly untouched since the 1940′s, the crates contained over 5000 specimens of flora and fauna, collected, dissected, and preserved by many forgotten scientists, professors, and explorers of obscure cultures and species. The collection also housed many artifacts of curious origin, fragments of civilizations that once ruled the earth, of ideas and belief systems perhaps better left in the past.

The various mythological “specimens” that were found were attributed to Merrilyn who had traveled the “four corners of the earth” in search of evidence that would help support the existence of dragons, and other types of oddities such as goblins and a preserved baby werewolf. The backstory on each discovery is so detailed it seems a shame to debunk it. The same goes for the “specimens” and “artifacts” that Alex has created which are so impeccable that they almost seem to demand you believe in them. There are over 50 categories of specimens on virtual display over at the Cryptid Museum that will leave you scratching your head and perhaps reconsidering the idea that werewolves aren’t real. I’ve included a stellar array of Alex CF’s incredibly imaginative work for you to check out below. Though they are pieces of art, much of what follows is NSFW. 
 

Cthulhu specimens and artifacts.
 

The remains and artifacts attributed to Rasputin, the mystical advisor to Czar Nicholas II of Russia.
 

The mummified remains of Maria Rosenthal who conceived a child via immaculate conception in 1942 by Sister Josephine Rosenthal.
 
More mythical monsters and creatures after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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02.14.2017
01:51 pm
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White Riot: Classical sculpture with a modern twist
12.16.2016
02:46 pm
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Artist Jam Sutton produces big bold beautiful sculptures that relocate characters from Greek mythology into the modern world. King Theseus is no longer a hero but a brutal riot cop bludgeoning the Minotaur—arms raised, body slumped, defenseless against the oncoming rain of blows. David, a street kid, sits with his foot on the head of Goliath. The Kiss is no longer a portrait of lovers but presents a young woman tenderly kissing the cold and indifferent mask of a police officer—we know this is going to end badly. Each one of these sculptures is first designed by Jam then produced by 3D printer.

Jam Sutton is best known for his brand This Is Not Clothing—“a juxtaposition of contemporary culture and fine art”—via which he sells limited edition of his original artwork.

Through ‘This Is Not Clothing’ Jam creates original pieces and shares his unique vision of our society by paying homage to the great artists that have shaped and influenced the history of art.

Through his work he has collaborated with Pharrell Williams & N.E.R.D, Steve Aoki, Kid Cudi and Travis Barker. His set of classical “riot” sculptures—which were exhibited earlier this year at the Opera Gallery—are available to buy—as both sculptures and clothes—at his site.
 
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More after the jump….

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.16.2016
02:46 pm
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