Abort Magazine

Shawn Barber, Burning Inside 

1/9/12 – The skull in Contemporary Art and Popular Culture

Yesterday I decided to search through the internet and I discovered “Abort Magazine” that had displayed a range of images or photographs from different artists. Abort Magazine also has an online website and a blog that provides information about each artist including recent exhibitions, publications, collections and artworks. According to the website, Abort magazine is a “canadian magazine” that explores different sub cultures such as pop, rock, punk and street art.

Abort Magazine is described as a “counter culture magazine” and from my own recent observations, Abort magazine features certain updates that relate to contemporary art, design and popular culture. According to the Readers Digest Great Illustrated Dictionary, Counter Culture is defined as “A culture created by or for the alienated young in opposition to traditional lifestyles, values and assumptions” (Readers Digest, 1984)

Chris Peters, Into the Blue 

Is the image of the skull apart of the counter culture? It could be argued that the skull is emerging into the mainstream market and the consumer culture. Faye Dowling argues “The skull has emerged as one of the most recognisable symbols of today’s visual landscape” (Dowling,2011) In the 21st century, the skull has become almost impossible to avoid within Melbourne’s urban environment.

I have been blogging everyday for the past six months and there hasn’t been one single day where I have managed to avoid the skull. Even the internet and social networking sites, such as Facebook have used the skull for commercial purposes.

Carrie Reichardtt, Mad in England, 2011

In the Abort Magazine there is a strong reference to the skull and the macabre in exhibitions and contemporary art spaces. The Last Rites Gallery for instance promotes artists that explore the macabre and the grotesque. There are at least two artists from the exhibition that explore the iconic image of the skull through traditional mediums such as oil paint. Shawn Barber and Chris Peters both present dark and sinister representations of the skull through the use of tone, shape and composition.

Abort Magazine also features the works of Carrie Reichardtt who has created a collection of ceramic plates that juxtapose the skull with British icons. Abort magazine explain that the artist has referenced the “Union Jack and the Royal Family” within her work that are combined with skulls and skeletons. In one of Renchardtt’s ceramic plates, the skeletal figures are dressed in elegant outfits that provide an amusing interpretation of the Royal family and Britain’s cultural identity.

Brian Berliner, Dead Che 

The Abort Magazine  has also displayed the works of Brian Berliner who has created a three dimensional skull in the form of Che Guevara. The sculpture is also distributed through a commercial toy company that is also known as Frank Kozik. One could argue that Brian Berliner may have been influenced by the pop art movement through the use of bright complimentary colours that is used for the packaging. The packaging itself is very unique and the stencil art that is used may refer to urban street culture.

Abort Magazine always provides information about emerging artists or exhibitions and the website has provided an insight into different styles and art forms. The website is definitely worth checking out if you are interested in Pop Art, Street Culture and Surrealism.

Abort Magazine, 2012, http://abortmag.com/category/visuals-artsubmissons/ (Accessed 1/9/12)

Abort Magazine, “About Page”, 2012, http://abortmag.com/about-us/ (Accessed 1/9/12)

Last Rites Gallery, http://www.lastritesgallery.com/shows_october2011.php (Accessed 1/9/12)

Dowling, Faye. The Book of Skulls. Laurence King Publishing Ltd, 2011 p. 7 – 13

Readers Digest, “Counter Culture” Readers Digest: Great Illustrated Dictionary. (Boston: Lexical Databases 1984) p. 397

Image Citations:

http://craniophiles.wordpress.com/category/skull-art/page/2/

http://rebel6.tumblr.com/post/26377047795/burning-inside

Abort Magazine, 2012, http://abortmag.com/category/visuals-artsubmissons/ (Accessed 1/9/12)


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