As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Annie Vought. See the full studio visit and interview with Annie and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
Often on our way to studio visits or coming back from them, Klea and I will get into big, questioning conversations about life. I know that sounds a little cheesy, but it’s true. In part, I think it’s because we are either warming up for or winding down from encounters that frequently take on a philosophical, ruminative tone. It’s also just how we like to talk to each other. As we drove across the bridge to Annie’s North Oakland home and studio (where she lives with her lover, performance artist Scott V.) we were having one of these conversations— specifically about secrets and how everyone has them. Our car-ride conversation wasn’t about Annie’s art, but about halfway through our visit with her it dawned on me that unintentionally it was a very apt preface to her work. Annie takes fragments of written correspondence – from handwritten letters to text messages – that she has found, received, or written, enlarges and reworks the text on large paper, and then meticulously goes about removing the negative spaces with an X-acto knife. Because of the precision involved, Annie changes her X-acto blade after every five or six cuts, so she can easily go through close to 500 blades just to finish one piece. When I asked Annie how she goes about choosing her source material, she said she’s most interested in text that reveals “those in between moments” of humanity and language in which she can identify subtext — typical and commonplace communications at first glance, but that somehow express a human frailty and an underlying element of truth. We talked about how personal many of these correspondences are, and her willingness to expose herself and others through them. So much is revealed inadvertently— in hesitant language, in the pauses and empty silences between words, in muddled expressions, and overwrought sentences, and it’s these details that Annie seems to be after in her work. As we sat out in Annie’s lovely garden talking, with her big dog Moses lazing nearby in the sun, I kept thinking about how full of secrets we all are and what rich and complex inner lives we lead. And yet we can’t help but lay ourselves bare through language, in everything we say and everything we leave unsaid.
Elisabeth Lecourt is a multidisciplinary artist who lives and works in London. Her newest body of work is entitled Les robes geographiques in which delicate dresses are constructed out of antique maps. In her own words the series acts as “a portrait of people through their clothes, like a blue-print of their soul.” Her bio explains the importance of the female figure in her art: “Sensitivity and vulnerability are the main subjects in the work of the artist…the feminine figure is seen like the spine of her house, like an essential component of this particular world.” (via)
Erica Svec’s paintings draw inspiration directly from her environment. Influenced by the detritus found in her Brooklyn neighborhood, Svec finds hidden beauty in the sidewalk trash, litter, graffiti, and spilled paint and tar that she encounters in her everyday life. Intrigued by the residual human energy retained by discarded items, Svec collects things cast off by others and reassembles them into small still lifes which she uses as the basis for larger painted compositions. The humanness of these objects is articulated both literally and metaphorically in her paintings as figurative shapes are expressed or implied by elaborate collections of items.
While Svec’s vivid, evocative paintings betray diverse influences such as the late work of Georges Braque and Audrey Flack, the result is a visual language that is uniquely hers. Drawing on abandoned objects and indexical marks of human occupation, the resulting works depict vibrant and invitingly dream-like alien environments.
Zach Hyman’s photographs are concerned with the idea of bodies and boundaries and the spaces they occupy. Often, the bodies he captures are nude and placed in an environment that illuminates the boundaries of nature and culture. Something wonderfully vulnerable is evoked by the placement of these bodies. His subjects, though placed in settings seemingly incongruent with the exposition of their bodies, appear naturally comfortable. The way he captures light and contextualizes these bodies lend his work a universal quality that is at once identifiable and particular.
Artist Federico Pietrella was born in Rome and now lives and works in Berlin. His work gives new meaning to the term… “time-based media,” using time and date stamps (you know, the kind from libraries) to compose his artwork. Check out a good sampling after the jump.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Dailyserving, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Seth Curcio’s interview with Photographer Edward Burtynsky.
It’s often impossible to fully understand the big picture of industrialized development from the limited perspective of the consumer. Each day most of us in the western world go about our business, driving to and from work, using plastics made from petroleum, enjoying foods shipped in from thousands of miles away, without a thought of the very resource that makes this all possible — oil. The impact of oil has consistently reappeared in the work of Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky for well over a decade. Burtynsky’s photographs often soar into the air, freeing us from our limited perspective, offering us the ability to better understand the scale and impact that this material has on contemporary life. It is only through this expansive perspective that we begin to understand the magnitude and consequence of our complicit actions. Recently, DailyServing founder Seth Curcio was able to speak to Burtynsky by phone about his current exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno, titled Oil. During this conversation, we learn how Burtynsky’s research has altered his own relationship to oil, how he uses scale and perspective to shape our understanding of the industrialized world, and what lies ahead of us with the future of oil.
Lady Gaga may be all the rage right now, but fashion designers have been creating insane masterpieces, (and often sheer madness), for years, probably since the conception of the fashion industry. Despite what many think, fashion is not – and never has been – centered around functionality, (if that were the case, then I’d say no clothes for hot days and snuggies for cold ones), but instead serves as an outlet for creative expression, just as the paintbrush does the painter and the stage the dancer. The only difference between these art pieces and more traditional ones is you can wear them… sometimes.
Here are some B/D picks for amazing apparel design.
French photographer Benjamin Bechet’s series “Je suis Winnie l’Ourson” explores the marginal side of life where illegal workers, the homeless, the poor, and the transient are replaced by pop culture icons such as Batman and Disney characters. (via gaks)