Paul Yore’s Dazzling Tapestry Cheerfully Welcome Us To Hell

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Australian artist Paul Yore uses colorful applique, sequins, weaving, and more to depict a world that seems cheerful, but is the opposite of sunshine and rainbows. Instead, Yore’s materials tell us that things are much worse. In one work, he welcomes us to hell. Vibrant hearts and yellow smiley faces still opposite to skulls and erect penises in these tapestry wall hangings.

Upon initial glance, your eyes are drawn to all the colors under the rainbows. It feels jubilant and even innocent. But, as soon as you start to study Yore’s work, you see that these choices are his form of biting commentary on political and social issues. Often, leaders will try and sugarcoat serious issues, to be dismissive of victims or even blame them. The artist exposes this type of hypocrisy (and more) by putting it all out in the open so that you can’t look away.

The dazzling satire is at times overwhelming, as if the artist has so much to say that he wants to fit it within one dizzying piece. Here, it’s akin to the epic paintings Hieronymous Bosch in terms of of a compositional frenzy. Where you look for a long time, finding new small moments every time that you look. (Via Collection Department)

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Ines Kozic Weaves Modern Fairy Tales In Her Macabre Photographs

Ines Kozic - Photography

Ines Kozic - Photography

Macabre Photography

Macabre Photography

Photographer Ines Kozic captures modern fairy tales decorated with bone and hair. The mood is contemplative, with a subtler flavor of body horror as her fair-haired women spin their hair into thick braids and pose with ruby-red lips and a court of insects. There’s also a sense of playfulness: a woman painting with her hair in an Escheresque exercise of physics; a man’s beard woven into a basket.

According to her artist’s statement, Kozic’s work is “a reflection on the body’s ornamentation, post-mortem photography and fairy tales’s world.” Her inspiration from photography of the recently deceased in repose is especially clear in the photos where her subjects wear garlands of delicate bone.

The ever-present sense of solitude in her photography make it seem as though everyone is frozen in time. The result is an unsettling mix of beauty and the kind of disquieting daydreams that one might find in a languishing surburbia. Her subjects perform everyday chores — sewing, weaving — but with surreal objects, bedecking themselves with beetles instead of jewels.

If, as Kozic says, she’s searching for “macabre poetry,” then she’s certainly found it. (via Yatzer)

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Photographer and Sculptor Amanda Charchian’s Bewitching Female-centric Art

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Enchanting and provocative, the dreamy work of Los Angeles-based sculptor and photographer Amanda Charchian leads a life of duplicity. Simultaneously spiritual and political, her art finds a balance between a transcendent admiration of nature and an intrinsic fascination with the female body.

Ranging from hypnotic crystal installations that give window planes life to sensual and beautiful photographs of female nudes interacting with wild nature, Charchian’s work hosts a wide variety of inspiration: Louise Bourgeois’ feminist sculptures, ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, spiritual meditation, and the mysterious occult all play a part in the artist’s oeuvre, comprised of tremendously unique and stunningly cohesive works.

While, with her cast of all-female photography subjects and her emulation of Ms. Bourgeois, feminist undertones are highly evident in her projects, it is her interest in alchemy and enchantment that most aptly summarizes her body of work. She explains:

“Employing 2D and 3D mediums to transmit mystical experience into matter, my art practice is a means of communicating the subconscious sphere into objects; creating possible portals to ascend beyond known reality.” (Facebook)

Whether photographic or sculptural, her captivating pieces evoke a sense of otherworldliness, uniting the natural with the supernatural and, ultimately, bringing the transcendent down to earth. (Via Ssense)

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Fantasy Meets Photography In The Striking Images of Zhang Jingna

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Sometimes it seems that the more successful one is as a professional artist, the more important personal projects become. Such is the case for photographer Zhang Jingna who has partnered with video concept artist Tobias Kwan and several guest artists for the project “Motherland Chronicles.” A weekly project, the series of 52 images has recently been completed.

“It’s an exploration of sort. An attempt at putting together elements and themes I’ve loved since I was a child. It has a bit of a don’t-want-to-forget-my-childhood-dreams sort of thing going on; since I’ve been working for almost 7 years now, I don’t want to lose track of who I am, but it’s easy to as you grow and do too much commercial stuff, you know? So it goes back a lot more to my creative roots, more illustrative and painterly, like artworks that inspired me to create. Loosely linked together with hints of dark fantasy.” (Source)

The themes for the series developed organically. As the weeks progressed, the fantasy element became pronounced, colored with Jingna’s affinity for manga, Japanese rock, and fashion. The artists’ whose work she was inspired by includes Antoon van Welie, Suemi Jun, George Frederic Watts, and Yoshitaka Amano, and their illustrative influence can be seen in the work, particularly in the even light. Each image takes between 5–7 hours and a team of 5–6 people to complete. In her fascinating blog she writes about the process of beginning a personal project, using “Motherland Chronicles” as an example, and gives excellent, step-by-step instructions on what to consider and which pitfalls to avoid.

“Pictures always start from a single point; it could be an item, a piece of jewellery or even just a vague idea for a concept. Say I want to do a shoot with firs, I’ll ask myself questions such as: what kind of environment am I creating? What types of fire can I make? How does my character interact with it? What type of character does that? At the same time I do research on art, costumes, culture and sometimes also myths and legends.” (Source)

Jingna and Kwan hope to have a book for “Motherland Chronicles” completed and ready for sale in early 2015. (Via Juxtapoz)

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The Astonishing Process Of Gender Reassignment Through Before-And-After Shots

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While the professional portfolio of photographer Claudia Gonzalez is comprised of portraiture spanning classic high-fashion shots and intimate boudoir photos, her personal work presents a much more touching focus. In her series, Reassign, Gonzalez teamed up with CENESEX, Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, to offer a glimpse into the country’s transgender community through before-and-after portraits of individuals undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

Comprised of two photos—one depicting the individual as they appear pre-procedure, and the other presenting the “after”—each piece in Reassign speaks to the complexities and astonishing results of this life-changing resolution. Since the differences between the photos that comprise the pairs are remarkable, it may surprise you that each was taken on the same day; most of the before-and-after sets are merely representative of these individuals’ journeys, and do not document the literal, typically years-long process.

Clearly, the changes in clothing, addition of make up, and styling of hair indicate an obvious change in gender identity. However, it is the individuals’ expressions—often somber and aloof in the “before” shots and self-assured and radiant in those that follow—that truly demonstrate an undeniable shift in confidence, elevated happiness, and, poignantly, an uplifted sense of self. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Maria Jose Garcia Piaggio Investigates The World Of Cybersex Webcams

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In Maria Jose Garcia Piaggio’s “Through the Window,” she appropriates found images as part of her investigation about cybersex. A project in two parts, the images of men capture them watching though free portals; the women’s photos are taken from live shows where the viewer has to pay to participate.

“I want to be able to show these scenarios that we all know are there but we keep hidden, deconstructing it from the virtual context and taking it to other scenarios to show these two groups to the viewer.”

There’s no mention in the project description of consent, so it’s unclear whether these voyeurs and provocateurs are willing participants in this project. Likewise, there are no descriptive texts or photographer/videographer credits available. Since these are found images, Piaggio serves less as an artist and more as a curator of these experiences. The images she’s chosen are interesting in their variety: the men’s and women’s faces are both alternately fully exposed and hidden. Rooms are revealed in the background, or left darkened and unspecific. Some subjects smile into the camera, others seem unaware that they’re being photographed.

It’s a broad subject and a provocative one, and Piaggio’s notes indicate that this is just the start of the project. She says, “I reflect about the body, the pose and the clichés.” In continuing to compile these images, Piaggio has the opportunity to push past the expected and reveal more about the proclivities of the watchers and the watched.

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Polly Penrose’s Seven Years Of Powerful Nude Self Portraits

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Photographer Polly Penrose’s series A Body of Work was produced over the course of seven years. Her intention was to take pictures of strong, powerful, and interesting nude portraits. So, how did she achieve that? By using herself as a model. Penrose explains in an email to Beautiful/Decay:

…I was always available, and then because I realised something interesting was happening. I could push myself further than I could other models, and by shooting myself the pictures became a visual autobiography. The pictures are very spontaneous within the space, I never plan them I just work with what’s there, it’s like a secret conversation between myself and the space, a bit of silent theatrics which I document. Looking back I can see that my state of mind at the time of shooting definitely feeds into the imagery, my choice of pose and the general mood of the picture.

Penrose sees A Body of Work as ongoing, and that this simply marks its first seven years. “…I want to keep taking them until I can no longer move to do it – it will be interesting to see my body age and how the poses and locations will change with it.” Her photographs showcase a long time, but still relatively short in terms of an entire life span. We see just some of the changes a body goes through in that time and are intrigued with what the next seven will bring.

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Millicent Hailes’ Provacative Photos Mirror Relationships In A Strip Club

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Photographer Millicent Hailes recently completed a two-month stay in Los Angeles where she traversed some of the city’s finest strip clubs. “You can find the erotic anywhere, you just have to look for it,” Hailes told Dazed, and her journey included spots where Courtney Love danced pre-grunge era.

Hailes was on the hunt for a club that breaks away from the chauvinistic, clichéd joints that we’re used to seeing. She found a string of clubs where women hold the power, prostitution is low, and the women actually enjoyed themselves. In a place called Cheetahs, Hailes explains, “The girls each had a different style of dance and look, and each danced to a song of their choice,” she says. “It felt a lot more personal, and it was a lot of fun.”

To pay tribute to Cheetahs, Hailes began a project that mirrors the separation between dancer and customer. She placed a sheet of plastic between herself and model Nadia Lee. “The plastic sheeting is a metaphorical barrier between the model and the audience. She is pressed up against it, but you can’t fully see her or touch her,” Hailes explains to Dazed Digital. “I wanted the shoot to seem very ‘bodily’, and by having the body pressed against the plastic and capturing the breath creating a fog over the images, it feels a bit intrusive, but also has a distance because of the sheeting.” (Via Dazed)

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