Anna Ter Haar is interested in forms that drip and suggest malleability. Whether she applies this idea to furniture or fashion accessories, the effect is similar: the viewer becomes immediately aware of the impermanence of the objects that she transforms, while at the same time aware that the ultimate practicality of the objects is not entirely lost. She primarily uses paint, wax, and glass, substances that become their most malleable when heat is applied. Her work also captures moments in time; her glass and chair sculptures seem to be caught mid-movement and mid-transformation.
Londoner Petra Storrs is not just a set, prop, and costume/fashion designer– she’s an artist who collaborates with performers to transcend ideas beyond the ephemeral and into a sturdy cult of fantasy. The “reflective mirror dress” she designed for Paloma Faith, for example, not only sharpens the singer’s playful theatrical identity, but further investigates this concept of “the gaze”. In Dazed and Confused Magazine, Faith elaborates on the intention, “Obviously, as a performer, I am normally the observed, but I wanted to flip that dynamic around and make the audience the focus.” Storrs response, of course, was to whip up a garment that literally does just that.
But it’s not just creative camaraderie that gets Storrs’ juices flowing– she also finds inspiration from everyday objects and history, or everyday objects that hold history such as . . . tea. Camellia & the Rabbit, her latest design endeavor (collected here), involves performance artist Rachel Snider, who uses “tea as a central motif/metaphor” and a narrative “like sea shanties” to interweave “historical facts and stories of tea”– thus, evoking our own personal relationship to this British afternoon tradition.
Like its real-life counterpart, this coral reef is alive in a way. Organized by the LA based non-profit organization, Institute for Figuring, the reef was lovingly constructed by many hands. According to the Institute for Figuring, the institute is “an organization dedicated to the poetic and aesthetic dimensions of science, mathematics and engineering”, and certainly does this with its Crochet Coral Reef.
The public is invited to participate by crocheting different organisms that are added to the larger crochet habitat. The reef has grown to become one of the largest participatory science and art projects in the world. It does much more than organize a community to engage with visual art and craft. It brings attention to the biology of coral reefs, emphasizes their importance, and reminds us of the danger they’re currently in.
Elisabeth Lecourt is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in London. Her newest body of work is entitled Les robes geographiques in which delicate dresses are constructed out of antique maps. In her own words the series acts as “a portrait of people through their clothes, like a blue-print of their soul.” Her bio explains the importance of the female figure in her art: ”Sensitivity and vulnerability are the main subjects in the work of the artist…the feminine figure is seen like the spine of her house, like an essential component of this particular world.” (via)
Blurring the line between fabric, film and fiction, artist Kate Nartker‘s work serves as a meditation on the most easily forgotten moments of every day life. Zero-ing in on select snippets of video, Nartker translates the static and fuzz of forgotten moments into physical textile pieces. The pieces themselves break down into a moving frame-by-frame recreation of the original video piece, provoking the viewer with questions of time, intention, physical artifact and digital interpretation of real life. Her work has most recently been shown at San Francisco’s Alter Space.
For his series, Wilder Mann, photographer Charles Fréger traveled to 18 different countries to capture the costumes and masks of folk festivals and traditions. Creatures like bears, stags, mysterious hybrids and the occasional Krampus appear otherworldly—fashioned from materials like animal hides, bells, antlers, twigs and leaves. Photographed within their natural settings, the results are more film still than portrait instantly conjuring primitive stories and fairy tales. (via)
Damon Casarez is a Los Angeles based photographer raised in suburban Diamond Bar, CA. In his recent series “Sweet Lolita”, Casarez covered the Dollyhouse Runway a “Lolita” based fashion show for Southern California Lolita fashion designers. His images give us a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of this fashion subculture.
As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Serena Cole. See the full studio visit and interview with Serena and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
Serena’s studio is in her Oakland apartment, a modest space that she has efficiently rigged to accommodate her needs. She’s set it up so that her studio takes up most of the apartment’s square footage, but she keeps things flexible with furnishings that are easily moved and rearranged. I’m always impressed with resourcefulness and am appreciative of the kind of ingenuity that comes out of necessity and that manages to circumvent a set of limitations. In fact, the idea of limitations kept coming up for me in thinking about Serena’s artwork because her pieces are very much visually dictated and confined by her reference material. Her work directly appropriates the fashion imagery of advertising campaigns and editorial spreads, highlighting the patterns and tropes used to elicit desire and encourage consumerism. In taking on this imagery, her work attempts to examine what is revealed about our collective psychology, the culture of consumption and escapism, and the complexity of fantasy. In our conversations, she acknowledged that she isn’t so much trying to create something new, but instead aims to deconstruct already existent imagery in the appropriation of it. But this is a slippery slope— in being so tightly tethered to the aesthetics of the fashion world, Serena’s work runs the risk of coming off as analogous instead of questioning. Serena is aware of this risk— in creating art within a framework already heavily loaded with well-established associations, value, and perimeters, she knows the trick is to get the viewer to recognize that there is actually a lot at stake amidst the glitz and glamour.