Pepa Prieto’s work represents a private world of invented characters and imagined environments. For Pepa, this is the equivalent of a visual diary where she can freely explore the world of relationships and their consequences. In order to do this, she creates circumstances and fictional landscapes that take both the viewer and the inhabitants of her paintings on challenging and diverse journeys.
The formal aspects of her works are intuitive and are reflected most clearly in the areas that she paints with a playful, lose gesture. She balance’s the compositions in her work by combining these painterly areas with more abstract geometrical forms. In Pepa’s work, she seeks to create an inner, personal conversation with the hope inspiring reflection on the part of the viewer as well.
The best thing about the photographs of Jamie Trueblood is that although they appear to be staged they are in fact documentary style photos of the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, and most often weird events that take place each and every day across America. Trueblood has a natural ability to pinpoint moments of awkward beauty in the everyday and find secret narratives in the mundane occurrences that we all come across as we live our lives.
Until recently I was unfamiliar with the artist Alex Ebstein, but I am glad to have rectified my lack of awareness. There is an honesty to Ebstein’s work that I find readily engaging. The use of yarn or string in an artist’s practice can often shift the aesthetic towards a decidedly crafty end result, but Ebstein manages to use the material with such purpose that it might as well be a drawn line in an architectural blue print. The effectiveness of the work hinges on her ability to merge direct compositional tactics with a more playful approach to the selected materials. Ebstein’s use of string also elevates the intentionality of her mark marking, and then quickly reasserts itself as a method of creating illusory depth in what would otherwise be relatively flat pieces. Taught angular moments combined with purposefully relaxed textures start a visual conversation that I am more than happy to participate in.
I could have just included the ‘eye chart’ pieces because I found them extremely aesthetically pleasing, but the back-story provides a bit of insight that I think most would enjoy. Think of it as a ‘Director’s Commentary’ for the work. Courtesy of Miss Ebstein, “…then for the eye chart pieces. They are more of a weird reflection on (and obsession with) eyesight and my existing eye problems that force me to visit the doctor every month. I’ve had four eye surgeries in three years… I am always nervously checking my vision against things, one eye at a time, so these drawings were kind of my own dark humored joke about being an artist and constantly worrying about my vision.” I am of the belief that ‘going blind’ is one of (if not) the most terrifying things any artist could imagine, and I appreciate the candor with which she addresses what could be an immobilizing reality to those with a more pessimistic outlook on life. Ebstein will be starting grad school this fall, and I am eager to see how this focused environment will affect her work. I also encourage anyone interested in contemporary art to check out the consistently interesting programming at Nudashank – a gallery she co-runs with Seth Adelsberger in the Baltimore area.
Italian artist Mauro Perucchetti’s pop sculptures take jabs at everything from Barack Obama to religious ideology (see angry Jesus on the cross after the jump). Working in a large range of mediums from hand carved marble (like the above Batman & Superman sculpture) to cast resin, Perucchetti’s work has the perfect mixture of ironic wit and social critique.
Jamie Vasta’s masterfully accomplished paintings may look like traditional chiaroscuro but they are in fact covered in shiny, shimmering glitter. Vasta has taken the painterly arts to new altitudes with her paintings in glitter. Her insouciant medium is fine-tuned to accentuate narrative.
Here series After Caravaggio, a contemporary reframing of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio‘s historic paintings in homage to the great master on the 400th anniversary of his death, (1573 – 1610). Vasta gathers friends and colleagues as muse for her ambitious recasting of Caravaggio’s famous paintings. In rethinking such paintings as Giuditte e Oloferne, 1599, and Deposizione, 1602, Vasta composed her coterie with the props of today, turning gender, dress, and environment on end. The intention of the original comes forward, no heraldry of aristocracy, but an emancipation of the peasantry, under hot theater lights of course.
The Fresh Blood Hunt art competition is going strong in its second week with entries coming in from all over England. Open to all illustrators, designers, and artists residing in the UK, the Fresh Blood Hunt Art Competition is a chance to flex your design skills on the Tim Burton produced Vampire thriller Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter! Not only will the winner have their work immortalized in London by talented muralist Jim Rockwell but they will also win a brand new 17″ Macbook Pro and Adobe Creative Suite 6!
With a chance to collaborate with one of the biggest film makers of all time , have your work blown up to larger than life proportions, and win thousands of dollars worth of products there’s very little downside to this competition.
Did we mention that Beautiful/Decay gets to help pick the winner as well! If that doesn’t seal the deal I don’t know what will. The competition ends May 30th so get to it Britain and lets show the world how talented the Cult Of Decay really is!
Melissa Cooke’s accomplished powdered graphite on paper works explore themes of beauty, fantasy, violence, vulnerability and identity, with the artist casting herself as subject in a myriad of thematic scenarios.
” I take photographs as I paint and pour liquids onto myself, using my face as a canvas. The photo shoots reference the practice of drawing and painting; then the final graphite drawing references photography. The boundaries between the mediums are broken down and the processes are interwoven.
The images depart from the framing of traditional portraiture. The viewer is not given an entire bust of the subject; rather the frame zooms into up-close sections of the face. The cropping pushes the face to the surface of the paper, making the figure more ambiguous. Flesh becomes abstracted: obliterated by paint on the skin, distorted by the eye of the camera lens, or smeared by the glass of a Xerox machine.
Photographs are used as inspiration for drawing and mark making. The drawings are made by dusting thin layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush. The softness of the graphite provides a smooth surface that can be augmented by erasing in details. Gestural marks are apparent, while still creating dimension. Textures are given precedence over portraying a likeness to the figure. The act of drawing becomes the focus.”
London based artist Phil Toledano’s provocative “A New Kind Of Beauty” series examines the extreme lengths people go to alter, change, and morph their appearance through plastic surgery and other cosmetic alterations. Balancing on the verge of not looking human these individuals are pushing the limits of identity politics.
“I’m interested in what we define as beauty, when we choose to create it ourselves. Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make? Is beauty informed by contemporary culture? By history? Or is it defined by the surgeon’s hand? Can we identify physical trends that vary from decade to decade, or is beauty timeless? When we re-make ourselves, are we revealing our true character, or are we stripping away our very identity? Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture? And if so, are the results the vanguard of human induced evolution?”