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Tim Roda’s MacGuyver-ed Mysticism

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Tim Roda’s photographs seem to create ancient and historical scenes of magic and myth through slightly improvised, found materials. The above image, “Centaur” is striking for its oscillation between a certain kind of epic grandeur and a bizarre, seedy perversion. Many of his images superficially appear to be from some near-distant canon of royalty, though quickly dissolve into household snapshots. There’s something youthful as well in their innocent attempts at grandeur with just a little imagination, always infused with some kind of borderline hint at violence or conflict.

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Future Fatigue: Bryn DC Explores War And Gender In Cinematic Images Of Apocalyptic Girl Gangs

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In a series titled Future Fatigue, photographer Bryn DC explores feminine power and the battle against gender inequality. Collaborating with a group of female filmmakers, writers, artists, and activists, he portrays “girl gangs” in post-apocalyptic, war-torn environments. Each one is garbed in ways that challenge conventional notions of femininity; wearing ragged clothes, armed with deadly weapons, and their faces streaked with dirt, they manifest and critique a world polarized by violence and identity binaries.

Bryn’s images are color-drenched and cinematic. Blending composition and costume together in story-filled images, he elucidates his themes in ways that are visceral and metaphorical. A lot of his work derives from personal anxieties about the destructive power of hyper-masculinity, in the way it is portrayed in contemporary culture; as he explains in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, he fears a world “where violence and blind progress are seen as necessary, and are often celebrated.” In the fictional apocalypse of Future Fatigue, gender binaries are opened to public discourse while the feminine is empowered as its own mode of influence.

Visit Bryn’s website to view more of his works, which often breach on his fascination with the pulls between mythology and reality, life and death. His Instagram profile is also a good resource to learn more about his projects.

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Art Legend Mike Kelley Dies

 

One of the most iconic artists of our time Mike Kelley passed away today at the age of 58. With over four decades of activity within the international art world spanning dozens dozens of museum shows, several art noise bands, and multiple Whitney Biennial inclusions,  Kelley will be sorely missed by the art community. Watch an interview with Kelley about his work after the jump.

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JOHN COLLINS MCCORMICK’S LINE DRAWINGS

John Collins McCormick is a 28-year-old artist and experimental noise musician living in Garrett, Indiana. McCormick performs with Megan Mirro in the band Sky Thing, which has releases on Eggy records and Friends and Relatives records. Friends and  Relatives records recently published a zine collecting McCormick’s line drawings – some of which you can see after the jump. If interested, feel free to email McCormick at [email protected] to inquire about his zines and records.

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Strange Beauty: Jen Mann Celebrates Faults And Flaws In Her Latest Hypnotizing Paintings

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Jen Mann‘s oil paintings are sublime, dreamy, quiet and hypnotizing. They are awkward, special moments of men and women turned into striking portraits. Her luscious brushstrokes and amplified colors are able to turn a mundane moment into something ethereal and magical. Mann also celebrates the flaws and imperfections of her models. Instead of smoothing them over, she embraces them, even exaggerating them – whether it is the freckle under an eye, or the wrinkles in someone’s lips. And that is the thing that elevates the moment into something timeless. Mann says about her paintings and the moment frozen within them:

[They represent] something that is kind of ….lost. [Something] we don’t really look at in our society – we only look at perfect moments, like a manicured facade. (Source)

She explores the idea of identity, how we present ourselves, and who we are. Her paintings represent a ‘lost reality’ rather than the actual reality. They are more about the moment we share together in the world outside of ourselves, and less about the actual person. In a way she is trying to capture the existential image of her subjects – perhaps they are more like a spiritual portrait. She continues:

I’m trying to imagine how I would see an image or a moment as a child. And how hyper saturated and amazingly fun everything was when I was little. The days were longer, the summer was better. Everything was just fantastic… as we grow older, we are less naive. (Source)

Her portraits do feel like recalling a happy memory – like watching an old friend or sibling playing in slow motion in the orange light of a sunset. They are sensational images – emotionally charged, hyper-real and almost surreal. Make sure you continue to get lost in the dreamworld of Jen Mann in the images after the jump.

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The Intimate Moments Between People And Their Sex Dolls

Marcussen, Photo

Early morning at the hotel in Wales. ‘Shadowman’ wakes up with his doll Carly. He has 2 adult daughters with another woman. Besides Carly he has 4 other dolls. Bianca is one of them. His dolls are not part of a daily life with his family, but everybody knows of their presence. Shadowman recently got divorced from his second wife.

Phil stopped smoking for a year to be able to afford his doll Jessica. He is aware that she's a doll, but simply doesn't care what anyone thinks about his choice of lifestyle. Phils friends all know of her existence.

Phil stopped smoking for a year to be able to afford his doll Jessica. He is aware that she’s a doll, but simply doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his choice of lifestyle. Phil’s friends all know of her existence.

Rebekka and June in the backyard of Everard. He has 12 dolls and often takes them to the garden for a photoshoot. His neighbours goes inside when he enters with his dolls. Everard has only had one relationship with a living women and has difficulties understanding women. He is lonesome but his dolls gives him kind of a comfort by their presence. The men are in general vain towards the dolls, they use a lot of time to make the hair and make up right before they picture them. That is also the reason why Rebekka and June are wearing summerhats – not to have the sharp sun in their face.

Rebekka and June in the backyard of Everard. He has 12 dolls and often takes them to the garden for a photoshoot. His neighbours go inside when he enters with his dolls. Everard has only had one relationship with a living woman and has difficulties understanding women. He is lonesome but his dolls give him kind of a comfort by their presence. The men are in general vain towards the dolls; they use a lot of time to make the hair and make up right before they picture them. That is also the reason why Rebekka and June are wearing summerhats – not to have the sharp sun in their face.

In 1986 after having their first child Chris Zachos wife filed for divorce. He was refused contact with his daughter for years. Every now and then he would try to search his daughters name on different social medias to get back in touch and a few years ago he managed to find her, now married and a mum of 2. It has been very painfull for Chris not to have been a part of his daughters life, so it was big when they finally reunited.

In 1986, after having their first child, Chris Zacho’s wife filed for divorce. He was refused contact with his daughter for years. Every now and then he would try to search his daughter’s name on different social medias to get back in touch and a few years ago he managed to find her, now married and a mum of 2. It has been very painful for Chris not to have been a part of his daughter’s life, so it was big when they finally reunited.

While, since its popularization in the 1990s, the phenomenon of sex dolls—life-sized and lifelike synthetic figures intended both as erotic objects and as stand-in companions—has been riddled with condemnation, Danish photojournalist Benita Marcussen seeks to shed these judgments through her series, Men & Dolls.

Following a group of six male doll-owners, Men & Dolls documents the individuals’ relationships with the anatomically-correct mannequins and provides an intimate glimpse into this controversial lifestyle. While the identities and situations of the subjects greatly vary—two men are married with children, two have been through a divorce, one was once betrothed in a dead-end engagement, and one has never had a girlfriend—they have one very apparent thing in common: they each consciously turn to dolls as a means to alleviate their loneliness.

This is why, in the photoseries, Marcussen does not solely focus on the sexual aspect of neither the dolls nor the relationships that they facilitate. She presents, rather, images that convey the ways in which the men incorporate the dolls into their daily lives and treat them as sentient—albeit intimate—companions.

Ultimately, whether clad in a sun hat and seated outdoors, dolled up in formal attire, carried around on a romantic pseudo-stroll, or wrapped in an embrace on a bed, it is clear that each doll featured in Men & Dolls is so much more than a sex toy. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Studio Visit: Noah Becker

Noah Becker graciously allowed Beautiful/Decay into his Canadian studio to view his new body of work.   Becker is about to open a second studio in New York this September for the fall 2012-13 art season.  This is a correspondence studio visit, Beautiful/Decay requested the photos and they were provided by another photographer.  Although the paintings are clearly portraits, Noah describes his newest work as figurative instead of portraiture.   I recognize a few of the faces but generally the paintings aren’t obviously people we should know, and because they aren’t it follows that they can’t be portraits in the traditional meaning of a portrait of a specific person.  Noah presents us with a romantic vision of elegant people, people who are good at living!  Wish I was one of those, ha.  Some of the folks feel like 70s’ rock stars or maybe authors from the 30s’, and I think I recognize some of Velasquez’s Spanish Renaissance princes.  When asked Becker mentions “stillness and time frozen in a moment,” which is a way to talk about the strange nowness of consciousness, or possibly he’s saying the point of modern life is to be elegant in the absence of direction.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might as well do nothing with style.

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Thomas Struth

There is something very interesting going on in Thomas Struth’s approach to photography. It is incredibly clinical. So crisp and clean that the environment captured within his camera almost appears staged, and yet at the same time more realistic than in reality.

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