Tianmiao Lin‘s artwork combines household objects and human figures with a technique called “thread winding”: wrapping thread — or hair or silk — around an object until it is completely covered. The result is oddly tactile and organic, looking like something spun by a spider caught in a fevered dream. The use of string, Lin reveals in an interview with The Culture Trip, is partly for that very reason. They are organic and natural, and contain an element of mysterious strength. “The materials take on a life of their own,” Lin says.
When Chinese artists are discussed, it’s hard to ignore politics; Lin is no exception. As an artist — particularly a female artist — from a country that went through a rather recent revolution, her creations are rife with subtext whether intended or not. It’s difficult if not impossible to draw on the themes and symbols of family and femininity without also summoning the specter of their cultural context.
In a collection called “Mothers!!!,” pearls and webs of string become tangled cancerous masses on the backs of women, weighing them down. The pearls are beautiful but also destructive. In another installation called “Chatting,” several figures stand in a circle, heads bowed, seeking connection perhaps but resigned to the impossibility of it.
To be fair, Lin has rejected feminist and political readings of her work. As an artist, she most likely wants to defy labels and have her work speak for itself. Still, it’s hard not to feel a little glimmer of dissent and rebellion in her art — arising organically, woven into the very DNA of it, strand by strand.
In her ongoing series “The City,” photographer Lori Nix creates incredibly detailed scenes by hand in miniature, then photographs them. The result is an amazing collection forecasting scenes of danger and disaster. The pictures share some commonalities with Matthew Christopher’s “Abandoned America,” recently covered on b/d, but instead of finding places that have been left behind, Nix constructs them.
“In my newest body of work ‘The City’ I have imagined a city of our future, where something either natural or as the result of mankind, has emptied the city of it’s human inhabitants. Art museums, Broadway theaters, laundromats and bars no longer function. The walls are deteriorating, the ceilings are falling in, the structures barely stand, yet Mother Nature is slowly taking them over. These spaces are filled with flora, fauna and insects, reclaiming what was theirs before man’s encroachment. I am afraid of what the future holds if we do not change our ways regarding the climate, but at the same time I am fascinated by what a changing world can bring.”
The images are classically composed, with a balance of color and space. Even once the viewer is told that these are dioramas, it’s difficult to believe. The intricate details, realistic lighting, and cohesive scale make them absolutely lifelike.
“My scenes can be as small as 50×60 centimeters and as large as 182 centimeters in diameter. It takes approximately seven months to build and photograph a scene. I build it for one angle of view and never move my camera from that spot. I will change the lighting, the placement of the objects and re-shoot until I’m fully satisfied with the results.”
Nix’s apocalyptic visions are both familiar and fantastic. She presents a world on a tabletop that is beautiful and alarming.
Melissa Cooke’s accomplished powdered graphite on paper works explore themes of beauty, fantasy, violence, vulnerability and identity, with the artist casting herself as subject in a myriad of thematic scenarios.
” I take photographs as I paint and pour liquids onto myself, using my face as a canvas. The photo shoots reference the practice of drawing and painting; then the final graphite drawing references photography. The boundaries between the mediums are broken down and the processes are interwoven.
The images depart from the framing of traditional portraiture. The viewer is not given an entire bust of the subject; rather the frame zooms into up-close sections of the face. The cropping pushes the face to the surface of the paper, making the figure more ambiguous. Flesh becomes abstracted: obliterated by paint on the skin, distorted by the eye of the camera lens, or smeared by the glass of a Xerox machine.
Photographs are used as inspiration for drawing and mark making. The drawings are made by dusting thin layers of graphite onto paper with a dry brush. The softness of the graphite provides a smooth surface that can be augmented by erasing in details. Gestural marks are apparent, while still creating dimension. Textures are given precedence over portraying a likeness to the figure. The act of drawing becomes the focus.”
A lot of B/D readers are audiophiles and aesthetes, so what do you do when you want big sound that looks great? Introducing Bang & Olufsen’s Beolab 14. This is a space age sound system straight out of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Compactness is one of the keys to meet the consumer needs of tomorrow – we need more sound in smaller sizes – and that is exactly what B&O have done. The delicate speakers can be fitted into any room and with the subwoofer – or the ‘Tower of Power’ as it is referred to be its designers – which hold six independent amplifiers, the system is complete.
These videos give you a behind the scenes look at all the manpower that goes into creating something that not only looks beautiful but is powerful and built to last.
Jon Almeda creates miniature glazed ceramics which could easily be misunderstood for a pretend tea set play party, the average size of a piece being 1” scale. He designs cups, pots, tea kettles and bowls that perfectly resemble normal sized items. All the details are there: furrows, textures, handles and lids. In order to attain this meticulousness, he had to come up with the instrument that would allow him to get thorough so he built his very own pottery wheel, which is called “curio wheel”. Despite their fragile appearance, the small ceramics are nonetheless solid and able to resist the high temperature of glaze fusing.
The artist doesn’t seem to care about what’s normal. He prefers to juggle between the extremes; he goes from creating huge ceramics to sculpting macro pieces. The time he spends on doing so is more enjoyable. He compares this time to a meditation cession where he can focus on the creation and nothing else.
Jon Almeda’s inspirations are soothing and flowy. He says he likes to drift away thinking of calm dark waters and luscious flora from places where he spends most of his time. His creativity seems to be coming when his mind is somewhere else, daydreaming and meditating when his hands create beautiful little gems.
Man (possibly someone in character) traveling northwest at 60 mph on U.S. Route 101 in the vicinity of Hollywood on a late Sunday afternoon in March 1991
As you may recall from reading the blog over the past week, Saturday was the Funk Rumble block party in Downtown LA (Chinatown, to be precise) at which Beautiful/Decay was a vendor. Now this information is pretty much incidental, except to say that I live a fair distance from Chinatown, so the drive back from Funk Rumble was a lengthy one, especially due to the amount of traffic at the time we were traveling. Happily though, I wasn’t driving as I usually am (thank you, fellow intern Corinna), so I got to engage in my favorite freeway traffic activity – looking at all the other people sitting in traffic next to me.
The allure of this mode of observation isn’t lost on St. Louis-born photographer Andrew Bush. In his series 66 Drives, Bush captured candid portraits of drivers, mostly around LA. One thing I find particularly interesting about these photographs is that you can begin to see resemblances between cars and their drivers, not unlike the fabled idea of dogs resembling their owners. You can see how much the car is an extension of a driver’s personality.
Sonya Fu’s digital paintings seek to open the third eye and unlock the limbo between wakefulness and sleep. Rendered in soft vibrant colors, her characters are lit up, though from within or without we are uncertain. Shapes and bubbles of light play on their faces, like projections from an unknown dimension. Their half-closed dreaming eyes add to the eerie yet somehow peaceful quality of the paintings, as though we’re witnessing some mystical wandering of the mind.
“Art is a powerful visual language and creating art is a calming and therapeutic process,” Fu says. “I would like to share with people my dreamscape, its beauty and its oddity.” Her paintings are the product of sleep paralysis, a state where the mind is only half-awake and the body is still convinced it’s slumbering. In more superstitious times, sleep paralysis has been attributed to everything from death itself to hags who would come and sit on the sleeper’s chest. As though channeling that supernatural power, the girls in Fu’s paintings gaze off into the distance, thoroughly raptured away and unaware or perhaps undisturbed by their surreal surroundings. They are composed, high priestesses of some fantasy world that only blossoms in the twilight hours.
Fu explains: “It might be an eerie creature, a whimsical scenery or a disturbed beauty who speaks words of wisdom – they are all embodiments of my subconscious mind.” (via Hi-Fructose)
Kyle has been busy drawing over 200 covers per day. It’s mind boggling to think that he has so many images stored in his head. Kyle has been going at it nonstop but judging by the covers pictured above his brain is feeling like mush after back to back 12 hour marathons of drawing. I’m happy to announce that subscriptions will be going out tomorrow. It’s a few days later than we had planned but I think we were off on our math as to how long each book cover would take. Below are a selection of covers from the last few days.