Jesse McManus is pure speed. His skills are frightening. His beautiful line work captures demented children, gremlins, goblins, cats, and very often knives, or just pointy tools in general, with an incredibly demented precision. Listen to his interview on Inkstuds, read some comics, tumble alongside him, and/or tweet at him.
As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Marci Washington. See the full studio visit and interview with Marci and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
We visited Marci in her backyard studio in Berkeley. It sits just behind her home, a kind of garage/storage space that got converted into a cottage. It’s comfortable and functional, with an open feel to it. Marci is full of gusto— she talks with her hands, takes on all kinds of facial expressions, and she’s funny as hell. She enthusiastically moved through our conversations, at turns awkward and eloquent, but always unguarded and real. We talked about a lot of things, but her affinity for the landscape of the English moorlands, particularly within the context of Romantic Literature, really struck me. Those rolling, uncultivated hills covered in low-growing grass, shrouded under heavy fog and moody skies have wholly captured Marci’s imagination. And it makes sense that they have— much of what interests Marci is mirrored in that rugged, desolate scenery. In various Romantic and Gothic works of literature, the moorlands often represent mystery, mysticism, liberation, turmoil, and passion; they frequently echo the psychological state of the characters, and reveal their greatest desires and fears. Marci’s current work references not just the physical landscape of the moors, but also speaks to themes found in a lot of this kind of literature, and the universal emotions that are evoked—all those feelings and ideas that run wild with mystery, awe, darkness, terror and beauty. I think Marci is after a particular kind of mood that toes the line between terrifying and thrilling, creating a response that’s simultaneously overwhelming and invigorating. All of this plays into her sensibilities as an artist, but also as a person: her love of Edward Gorey and his eerie illustrated books, her unflinching need to feel everything very deeply, her leanings towards the bizarre and unique, and her fondness for the not-entirely-explained. It’s pretty damn amazing that come November Marci will be showing work in England, not far from the wild and lonely moors that have taken up so much of her imagination.
A major thread in my work is the use of exotic materials or shrouds to mask and encapsulate nostalgic objects from a typical suburban childhood.
Sweet! Canvas works from Los Angeles artist John Monn. Using epoxy to group and re-contextualize toy soldiers, BB pellets, and other miscellaneous objects, Monn’s work makes you re-think the mundane and familiar. I love the unique textures he’s able to conjure by throwing a bunch of random things together. But his works definitely don’t come off as “random”. There’s clearly a strong intent behind each piece that comes through really nicely. By using objects that are associated with childhood and nostalgia within very contemporary compositions, Monn controls the context in which we think back to simpler times. More from the artist after the jump.
Touching on themes of the politically backwards, the environmentally compromised and the socially divided, Séguin’s “Illustrated Guide for Aliens” reveals deeper truths about the nature of humanity through images that are not only thought provoking but beautifully elegiac.
Brooklyn/Montreal artist Marc Séguin has a show with Mike Weiss Gallery in NYC through October 13th. In case you can’t make it out in person, we’ve got some snaps for you. The show is titled My Century (An Illustrated Guide for Aliens), and features fairly large works (most are 6 x 9 ft.) done in oil and charcoal on raw canvas. The paintings also contain unorthodox materials like taxidermy, locks of hair, and tar. This is Séguin’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, and it seems he’s taken things up a notch since his last show with Mike Weiss in the spring of 2011. The humorous works do a great job of illuminating the major imbalance of wealth and power in contemporary times, and don’t pull any punches. See more from My Century (An Illustrated Guide for Aliens) after the jump.
Although each artwork has a unique look, the group relates through the consistent use of found and vintage papers. By using materials from the past in a contemporary moment, ordinary notions of linear time are subverted. Lamarche’s works exist in a cultural context all their own.
Greg Lamarche opens Timeless, a solo show with Joshua Liner Gallery, on October 4th. The show will present a mixture of collages, assemblage, and paintings from the New York-based artist. There’s a natural reference to graffiti here, but we’re talking about so much more than that now. Most of these are a product of the artist’s personal archive of found material, and Lamarche’s buttery flow is almost unparalleled. Timeless will be up through the 27th. Get excited.
Reva Castillenti is a Brooklyn-based artist who creates gruesome textile sculptures that focus on the gritty, physical side life. “Visceral” is a word that’s often over-used within the lexicon of art-speak, but I think Castillenti’s work merits the description. We’ve all experimented with stuffed stocking figures before, but I’m not sure we’re all as wonderfully twisted as she seems to be. Castillenti is currently showing a small number of works at Illuminated Metropolis Gallery in New York. That show, entitled Mercy, is up until the 29th, and features minimalist drawings and gouache works in addition to the artist’s singular sculpture.
Cool series from Los Angeles photographer Andrew Hall. Dubbed “Liquids in Motion”, these pictures take a whole lot of motion and capture it forever in one fluxed-out moment in time. He experiments with all kinds of colors and types of liquid in the photos, from thick, viscous greens, to inky, watery blacks. I want to see a large print of quite a few of these. More “Liquids in Motion” after the jump. (via)
Bob Staake, the author and illustrator of more than 50 children’s books, has reimagined the covers of kid-friendly classics from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s, giving each one a twist that is often more PG-13 than G and always darkly comical. With a simple off-beat quip and a slightly adjusted illustration, those once comforting, sweet tales of little trains that could and hungry little catepillars morph into something a little more sinister and a bit disconcerting. You know what? You can take a look at more of Staake’s “Bad Little Children’s Books” after the jump, while I go find a stuffed animal to hug.