As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing an article about photographer Deborah Bay.
I began thinking about The Big Bang after seeing a sales display of bullet-proof plexiglas with projectiles embedded in it. The plexiglas captured the fragmentation of the bullets and provided a visual record of the energy released on impact. In deciding to explore this concept further, I also was intrigued by the psychological tension created between the jewel-like beauty and the inherent destructiveness of the fragmented projectiles. Many of the images resemble exploding galaxies, and visions of intergalactic bling sublimate the horror of bullets meeting muscle and bone.—Deborah Bay
Houston-based photographer Deborah Bay gives us that interesting mix of creating a beautiful visual to comment on a darker issue. The Big Bang addresses the steadfast affection America has for its firearms. The topic is especially relevant for the native Texan, who lives in a state that has an estimated 51 million firearms. The images were made in Bay’s studio after law enforcement professionals from the Public Safety Institute of Houston Community College shot at sheets of plexiglass.
David Thomas Smith’s Anthropocene series examines global landscapes that have been transformed by the actions and activities humanity. Smith has created these images using a unique and groundbreaking technique. Each image is composited from thousands and thousands of thumbnails extracted as screen grabs from Google Maps, which are then reconstructed piece by piece using Photoshop to produce such incredibly detailed images, a level of detail one can only really experience in person.
Anthropocene itself reflects upon the complex structures that make up the centres of global capitalism, transforming the aerial landscapes of sites associated with industries such as oil, precious metals, consumer culture information and excess. Thousands of seemingly insignificant coded pieces of information are sown together like knots in a rug to reveal a grander spectacle.Questions of photographic and economic realities are further complicated through the formal use of patterns that have their origins in the ancient civilizations of Persia. This work draws upon the patterns and motifs used by Persian rug makers, especially the way Afghani weavers use the rug to record their experiences more literally with vivid images of the war torn land that surrounds them.This collision between the old and the new, fact and fiction, surveillance and invisibility, is part of a strategy to reflect on the global order of things. (via)
Tristram Lansdowne’s watercolors are investigations of landscape and architecture in relation to ideas of permanence and function. Geological and botanical frames of reference add temporal concerns to Lansdowne’s exploration of the metaphorical power of ruins.
The watercolours present richly described scenes in which various tropes of landscape and architecture have been assembled to create conflicted systems, developed according to a logic dominated more by historical glitch than any autonomous idea of form and function. Both enchanting natural phenomenon and deluding vision, the mirage serves, here, as false refuge but also as an opportunity for divination, for time travel. Vestiges of architectural modernism appear, but only as specimens in a larger natural history that includes 17th century geological theories and Romantic totems. This is a world comprised of art historical flotsam, predicated on faulty idealism and mistaken identity, where everything is an invasive species.
Dutch artist Ronald van der Meijs’ “Play it one more time for me La Ville Fumée” is a sound-art installation that works on hand made cigars and refers to the history of Eindhoven city, when it was one of the largest cigar-producing cities of Europe. At that time the city was also called ‘La Ville Fumée’. The installation is in many ways about nature versus culture. The technique used here has an almost machine like character, that is controlled and monitored by a natural and traditional item: the hand made cigar. Because each cigar has its own strength by the natural and traditional way of making, they all have their own fire rate. It is precisely this fact that the installation is not working in a predictable way but rather relates to a more or less natural rhythm. The installation has 4 tuners each control a recorder by means of pistons containing the hand-rolled cigars. There are 4 different recorders: a bass flute, alto, tenor, and a soprano. The pistons with the cigars and the recorders are both controlled by 2 abstract lungs. This sound-art burning cigar installation can be seen as a tribute to the former tobacco industry of Eindhoven city and its thousands of workers and craftsmen. The sound composition is a requiem for the former cigar production industry of Eindhoven. (via)
In reviewing Hilary Brace’s drawings, the New York Times said, “once in a while you come across an art of such refined technique that it seems the product of sorcery more than human craft…” Starting with the smooth surface of polyester film darkened with charcoal, Brace works in a reductive manner by removing charcoal with erasers and other hand made tools. Despite the photographic veracity of her technique, Brace composes her images without premeditation, through an explorative process that allows them to unfold in unanticipated directions. Her subjects are based upon clouds, water, mist and mountains, but she takes these forms to sublime and unimaginable new heights. As Christopher Knight remarked in the Los Angeles Times, her work is “like a Vija Celmins drawing made Baroque, [it] conjures ephemeral poetics of light and space.” For all their vastness and grandeur, Brace’s drawings are relatively small and intimate. As Leah Ollman observed in Art in America, these drawings “put those two realms – the private and the cosmic – within reach of each other.” (via)
We’re absolutely loving these clever and graphic billboard alterations by Parisian street artist OX. Not only do they cover up the ugly advertising that we are bombarded with on a daily basis but they also interact with their surroundings in witty visual plays that construct and deconstruct space, depth and optical illusion. (via)
Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere website building platform Made With Color to bring you some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today. Made With Color allows you to create a website that is professional and easy to use with just a few clicks and no coding. This week we bring you the beautifully grotesque paintings of Christian Rex van Minnen whose clean and sleek website was built using the Madewithcolor.com platform. See Minnen’s solo show entitled “Welsh Rats” at Robischon Gallery in Denver Colorado running through May 4th 2013.
“Welsh Rats” is a complexly layered presentation of new and recent paintings by emerging, New York-based artist Christian Rex van Minnen.Extolling his lavishly ornamented personal vocabulary of subtle and outrageous grotesqueries, van Minnen’s unsettling and disfigured, yet comical portraits hang alongside still life paintings of twisted tulips and hyper-real glistening entrails. Equally tangential, the exhibition title of “Welsh Rats,” is the Anglicization of the German word ‘Weltschmerz’ a reference by John Steinbeck in “East of Eden” meaning “world pain.” This sincere yet somewhat naive American (mis)interpretation of weighty European concepts of the past, reflects the confusion of language and history which is crucial to van Minnen’s artistic stance. This extends not just to the artist’s perception of European culture and painting but, also to how Native American and other ancient histories are also assimilated through art. Likened to a modern Archimboldo, van Minnen states, “I find myself either suppressing or indulging of my own desire to associate personal narrative to the raw visual information inherent in the material and process. Construction, destruction and reconstruction are symbiotic elements in the creative process allowing the image to fluctuate between abstraction and representation, truth and illusion, personal and archetypal.”
Russian physician turned turned artist Leonid Tishkov’s latest project consists of a portable crescent moon photographed in nostalgic and sentimental scenes all over the world. Creating images in china, new zealand, taiwan, the arctic, France and beyond, Tishkov’s global ongoing project tells the story of ” a man who met the moon and stayed with her forever.” (via)