As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Amanda Gorence’s article on Chi Lei.
Red Star Motel is the clever, action-packed series by Beijing photographer Chi Lei, “Chili”, that reads like an unraveling drama brimming with sex, drugs, murder and chaos. Each scene is set in an identical divey Beijing motel room where Chili supplies us with plenty of voyeuristic moments to witness. The images are linked together through subtle visual clues that have been woven throughout, encouraging the viewer to take part and piece together the story.
Martin Feijoo’s drawings are inspired by what he imagines the clouds in the sky to look like. His blog offers an image of his own artwork alone, as well as a comparison between the original photograph of the clouds. It’s fun, if you can manage not to peak, to look at the clouds first and see what you see before looking at Faijoo’s images. His style is illustrative and bold, which helps to see his images quite clearly in the clouds on their own. He might pursue more play between the cloud and his image as he continues with this series, to blur the lines more between reality and his imagination.
Feijoo speaks about his inspiration to start the series on his website:
When I was a child I was told that clouds’ shapes were created by expert balloon twister clowns who live in the sky, so that they can keep entertaining children. On my last trip to Mexico I remembered this and I started to photograph clouds on the road. The result is Shaping Clouds, a series of illustrations where I drew the first thing that came into my mind when I saw these clouds that I imagine someone made for me.
Brooklyn electronic media artist Phillip Stearns is exhibiting a new series of some pretty wild photography, and all produced without the use of a camera. Applying different household materials (bleach, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, salt, rubbing alcohol) before and after exposure to electrical currents, Stearns was able to produce some electrifying images. Applying 15,000 volts of alternating current directly to the surface of instant film, the electricity arced, ignited, and sparked, leaving beautiful patterns in the emulsion.
Stearns has been exploring his understanding of what a digital or photographic image is, through many different approaches. He sees images, sound and video not only as signals, or a way or producing something, but as raw materials to use and to exploit. In the Evident Material exhibition, he puts this theory into practice and explores the relationship between the human eye and the camera.
The sentiment that the camera is an extension of the eye is taken to an extreme. When looking through the Fujifilm FP-100c instant color film datasheets, the similarities between the layering of materials in the film and the layering of cells in the retinal is striking. Perhaps it is because the development of such film technologies parallels an evolving understanding of how the eye sees. (Source)
The similarities don’t end there. Stearns commented that the sparks he was experimenting with on the film stock, function in a similar way as the electric impulses in our eyes when processing images.
I find it curious and exhilarating that the impressions left behind after developing these extreme exposures so perfectly resemble networks of blood vessels in the retina. (Source)
Kitty Valentine’s work is inspired by the anonymity of the discarded photographs that she finds in flea markets in East London. Creating images that are darkly humorous yet poignant, Valentine’s images are memento mori paintings that raise questions about identity, sexuality, memory and mortality. The stiffly posed, nameless people in the Victorian Mischief series have animal and bird skulls delicately painted onto them and are given new life, and yet are protected by a mask. There are references to the Victorian obsessions with seances, carnival freaks and sideshow attractions and our slightly shamed morbid curiosity in such things.
Chris Sisarich’s photo series Somewhere In The Middle of Nowhere hits home here in Los Angeles, a city built in a desert. The series looks like it could have been anywhere around the world–saudi arabia, egypt, arizona, china, california– and speaks to our constant search for new places for sprawl development and the global warming it’s causing, to our persistance and the futileness of it all. Sisarich’s images, like the desert, are some of the driest, palest images i’ve seen in a while, and with humanity only peripherally represented, the might seem like predictions for our uncertain future. But they don’t feel pessimistic, just as if humanity was this interesting thing that out grew its planet and left behind some neat objects when it left. Whether or not you think the images are prophetic, optimistic, pessimistic, or anything else, they are at the lest very handsome images.
Japenese artist Ishibashi Yui’s sculptures are both unsettling and serene. Using a variety of materials, such as wood, resin, cloth, clay, steel wire, and stone powder, she often depicts figures whose roots extend and project outward in many directions. These figures appear passive and complacent to these protruding branches, aware of the lack of control they have over this organic process. Some of these protrusions seem painful or unexpected, but ultimately inevitable. Often her figures are off-white, while their protrusions are green or red-hued. These figures are human-like, but their soft, round and white bodies give the viewer a sense they are also of the earth, resembling a plant’s bulb. Yui’s work makes us deeply aware of how we are intertwined with the natural world, and the balance and cycle of nourish and depletion that living and dying requires. (via hound eye)
Some artists may use oil paint, acrylic, or watercolor as their medium of choice but Matthew Cusick chooses to create his ultra detailed imagery using the medium of maps. Cusick slices and dices maps of all sizes, colors, and regions to create fantastical images that take you down undiscovered routes and send you on an epic visual voyage. Lets hope you don’t need to stop and ask for directions?