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Mark Harless’ Haunting Photographs Explore Death, Magic, And Transformation

Mark Harless - Photography Mark Harless - Photography Mark Harless - Photography Mark Harless - Photography

Mark Harless (also known as “Bleeblu”) is a conceptual photographer who creates worlds of magic and astounding beauty. Death, mystery, and ritual seem to be recurring motifs in his work; from bodies in bags deserted in the forest, to flowers sprouting from a young woman’s shadowy skin, to hands placed ceremoniously on a bare, narrow chest, each image is an emotional event. Like the calm before and after a storm, there is a sense that something powerful has happened, or is about to happen.

What intrigues me most about his work is the brave and neutral portrayal of death, loss, and transformation. In his Fertilizer series, for example — the images depicting the bagged, naked bodies — Harless explores the erratic cycle of life and death, and how we, and our material forms, are an inevitable part of it. As Harless explained in an interview with Phlearn:

“[D]eath isn’t just the end. It’s not the beginning either. It’s just part of the life cycle. Show me the beginning and end of a circle. After we die our bodies will decompose and the plants and animals will feed off of us in the same fashion a bag of fertilizer would.” (Source)

While the above statement refers specifically to Fertilizer, this theme of death, decomposition, and renewal reverberates throughout Harless’ other works. In La Faune et la Flore, for example — a collaboration between Harless and the French illustrator Moon — a woman (Molly Strohl) wanders naked around the dark shoreline of a secluded lake. Like a wayward revenant, there is something sad, powerful, and lonely about her, but the illustrated flowers sprouting from her face, arms, and torso offer a glimmer of life and rebirth. The image of the dead bird also connects with this theme, for while lying on its flowery funeral bed, the small creature seems on the verge of resurrection as it returns to the earth. In short, Harless’ photographs have an uncanny ability to confront us with the beauty, sadness, and magic that permeates our earthly lives.

Visit Harless’ website, Tumblr, and Instagram and explore his haunting and magical visions.

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Cult Of Decay 50% Off Sale!

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Don’t forget about our massive 50% off sale. We extended the length of the sale to bring the loyal Cult Of Decay more savings. So support your favorite indie brand and save some of your hard earned cash! Shop Now!

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Glenn Brown

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We received href=”http://www.artnet.com/artist/3162/glenn-brown.html”>Glenn Brown’s exhibition book in the mail today. This book is filled with Glenn’s portfolio of sculptures and paintings from three separate shows. Completely filled with thick, goopy paint. If you’re a fan of Glenn Brown, make sure to check this book out.

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Get Three Limited Edition Beautiful/Decay Books For The Price Of Two!

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There’s not much that’s better than adding three of our limited edition, hand numbered books to your personal art library. That is unless you get all three books for the price of two! That’s right, for a limited time we’re spreading the wealth and giving our readers our Class Clowns, Strange Daze, and The Seven Deadly Sins book for the price of two. That’s over 500 full color pages of incredible painting, sculpture, illustration and design by some of the leading artists of our time bound in beautifully designed full color books. So get to it and head over to the B/D shop to take advantage of this special deal that will surely inspire you for years to come.

 

 

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Trash awareness project in Japan

Garbage Art Work Project
Does making trash bags cuter motivate litter-bugs to responsibly chuck their burger wrappers and soda cans into the patiently waiting heads of bags donning the faces of cute little rabbits and Sesame’s Oscar the Grouch? Japanese designers at MAQ Studio have started a whole “movement” around “playing with trash” in order to address and bring attention to the waste problem and how it effects the environment. To really reduce waste though, wouldn’t it have been better to just use recyclable materials to substitute for the dilemma of accumulating all these bags and not being able to do anything with them? I dunno…what do you guys think? Could this be more effective in Japan than it would be here? This sort of reminds me of those Novelty Bras I had posted about before…

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New Paintings by Adam Friedman Challenge Perspective, Glorifying the Mystery in Nature

Adam Friedman - Acrylic and Acrylic Aerosol on Canvas on Panel Adam Friedman - Acrylic and Acrylic Aerosol on Canvas on Panel Adam Friedman - Acrylic and Acrylic Aerosol on Canvas on Panel

Adam Friedman celebrates the unchanging mystery of nature in his surreal, hybrid paintings that dissect landscapes from the real world. His newest body of work is bold in color and line, as he portrays scenes of glorious mountains and unwavering glaciers. His unique style depicts scenes of tremendous natural beauty, transformed them into something even more stunning. Plates of the earth seem to shift and glaciers are mirrored in a reversed world that Friedman so skillfully creates. The artist experiments and warps perspective in his paintings, like an M.C. Escher drawing toying with our mind. Sections of mountains are divided and manipulated into geometric patterns and shape that make you question exactly what it is you are looking at. Friedman describes his artwork’s intent.

“Millions of years are compacted into a single instant and rocks become fluid. I strive to present a moment that defies human intervention in the landscape, and pays homage to the potential in the inexplicable.”

Friedman explains that his work celebrates the unknown that the natural world possesses. Society attempts to explain, examine, and make sense of our environment, but there are some things we cannot understand. The beauty in the unknown can be felt in Friedman’s powerful series that radiates with intensity. Mirus Gallery in San Francisco, California currently has a solo exhibition of Friedman’s work on view until July 11th. If you have the chance to see this exhibition, titled Into the Aether, make sure to check out his compelling paintings in person.

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Scar Boy

scar-boyscar-boy-2scar-boy-1Beautifully rendered drawings of women, clusters of wartime machinery, and mushroom clouds of weapons by Chris Scarborough.

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Meghan Smythe Sculpts The Fleshly Contortions Of Passion And Death

Young Unbecoming (2015). Ceramic, glaze, glass, resin, epoxy, and plasticine.

Young Unbecoming (2015). Ceramic, glaze, glass, resin, epoxy, and plasticine.

Young Unbecoming (detail view) (2015).

Young Unbecoming (detail view) (2015).

Lunacy (2015). Ceramic, glaze, glass, resin, epoxy, and plasticine.

Lunacy (2015). Ceramic, glaze, glass, resin, epoxy, and plasticine.

Coupling (2015). Ceramic and glaze.

Coupling (2015). Ceramic and glaze.

Meghan Smythe is a California-based (Canadian-born) artist who creates expressively disturbing sculptures of crushed flesh and glistening viscera. The muted, peaches-and-cream colors are initially deceiving in their innocence; emerging from the twisted monuments are dismembered and defleshed body parts, shaved down and mashed together. Like a theater of the grotesque, faces gasp from beneath piles of entrails and moldering skulls, and limbs reach and splay in dynamic expressions of violence, love, lust, and tenderness. Much like the contortions of passion and death, the energy rolls throughout the compositions, oscillating between states of vigor and exhaustion. Leah Ollman, having reviewed Smythe’s recent solo show at the Mark Moore Gallery, provided this spot-on description of “Young Becoming” for The Los Angeles Times:

“Limbs are entwined, tongues extended. Clay is rarely, if ever, this carnal. Some of the skin is mannequin-smooth but veined with cracks. Some seep a pink foam or a pale fecal flood. Erotic pleasure plays a part here, but is only one of many competing charges” (Source).

By displaying representations of body parts in surprising (and unsettling) reconfigurations, Smythe brings the charges of pleasure and agony, beauty and squalor to the operating table. Displayed for us are simultaneous births and deaths, made almost indecipherable by the material realities of the body: the fluids, the waste, the mess of living, and the will to survive. In “A Light Culture”, for example, a man with a severed arm and scarred flesh sits quietly, wounded but pensive, while a disembodied hand gropes at his erection. Elsewhere, in “Lunacy”, a decapitated subject grimaces in despair while reaching for his heart. More tenderly still, in “Coupling”, two hands lie adjacent to each other and touch lightly. In moments of both intimacy and horror, Smythe turns the possibilities and limitations of the flesh into sculptures and makes them strangely beautiful.

Visit Smythe’s website and the Mark Moore Gallery to learn about her work and see additional images. Check out Ollman’s article for a captivating description of the solo show.

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