As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing an article about photographer Deborah Bay.
I began thinking about The Big Bang after seeing a sales display of bullet-proof plexiglas with projectiles embedded in it. The plexiglas captured the fragmentation of the bullets and provided a visual record of the energy released on impact. In deciding to explore this concept further, I also was intrigued by the psychological tension created between the jewel-like beauty and the inherent destructiveness of the fragmented projectiles. Many of the images resemble exploding galaxies, and visions of intergalactic bling sublimate the horror of bullets meeting muscle and bone.—Deborah Bay
Houston-based photographer Deborah Bay gives us that interesting mix of creating a beautiful visual to comment on a darker issue. The Big Bang addresses the steadfast affection America has for its firearms. The topic is especially relevant for the native Texan, who lives in a state that has an estimated 51 million firearms. The images were made in Bay’s studio after law enforcement professionals from the Public Safety Institute of Houston Community College shot at sheets of plexiglass.
Adela Andea’s light installations and sculptures seem otherworldly. They almost feel organic, reminiscent of vivid underwater scenes, but the lights, wires and other tech that make them seem more like alien landscapes. The Romanian-born, Texas-based artist seeks to explore the line between actuality and virtual reality. Weaving LED and CCL lights with pulsing electrical components Andea creates installations that transport a viewer to a place where art becomes experience, and that experience is all encompassing.
Andea likes to think of her work as incorporating many layers of truth. She embraces the possibility that there isn’t one reality, and her work strives to capture that notion visually. With the fast and overwhelming advancement of technology, Andea’s installations represent the dialogue between people and new technologies. The desire for a viewer to have a personal experience with her work, but to also think about the way that information can be manipulated to form one’s notion of reality is the driving force behind her complex installations.
In her artist statement Andea writes: “The numerous transitions in my life made me think about the enormous capability of people to adapt to situations and even more, search for the new possibilities of personal development through inquisitive experiences.” A witness to the Romanian Revolution in 1989, and eventually forced to immigrate to the United States in 1999, Andea is certainly qualified to make work that comments on the experience of experiences.
Her work is currently on view at the Texas Biennale, now through November 9th at the Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas.
With a serious understanding of classic carpet-making techniques, Azerbaijani sculptor Faig Ahmed is able to stretch, distort and reinvent an iconic symbol steeped in tradition and cultural significance. “The carpet is a symbol of invincible tradition of the East, it’s a visualization of an undestroyable icon,” Ahmed states, noting that the manipulation of the woven medium gives visual form to ideas he has relating to “destroying the stereotypes of tradition to create new modern boundaries.” The rug, as a medium, works well for Ahmed, helping to deploy a deeper message about the stretching, bending and restructuring of physical and political boundaries in the Middle East. His technical mastery is evident in the movements of each thread, and his generous use of color gives the work an overall vibrancy—perhaps hinting at the artist’s sense of optimism in a time of great uncertainty and turmoil.
Left: “Lucifer” fullbody harness and “Starlight” bloomers. Right: “Cult” bloomers, “Coven” bralette, and “Demonic Possessions” shoulder harness. Photo: Sean Higgins
Teale Coco is a Melbourne-based designer, photographer, and international model who has crafted her own dark and fascinating brand of handmade accessories. Inspired by occultism, fetish, and human anatomy, Teale’s designs are characterized by powerful statement pieces influenced by occult symbols — such as the pentagram and sign of the triple goddess — in addition to harnesses that mold to the body in provocative ways. As a synthesis of dark themes and alternative culture, Teale’s work is a holistic approach to fashion, one that melds personal identity with empowering aesthetics.
“Fashion is art,” Teale wrote in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay. “I don’t have boundaries with what I create, and I set no limitations. […] Human anatomy is one of my biggest influences. The shapes, sizes, lumps, bumps, bone, flesh: everything is derived from a natural source — even our technology today was first inspired by the mystery that is nature.” And, referring to how her “Medusa” full leg harness is an evolution of the garter (a time-honored fashion item), she goes on: “I am expanding these traditions and creating something unearthly.”
At the core of most subcultural fashion is a dissenting spirit that seeks expression beyond societal norms and limitations. The same energy drives Teale’s work as she endeavors to create pieces that foster individual empowerment. Following designer Yohji Yamamoto’s perspective on the seemingly paradoxical beauty of black — a “modest and arrogant” “color” that says “‘I don’t bother you, don’t bother me’” — Teale’s versatile pieces are both assertive and romantic, and can be hidden under clothes or displayed over top (Source). Furthermore, the harnesses are gender neutral and made to adapt to all body types, placing no restrictions on who can wear them. “I want people to love themselves, feel good, wear what they want to wear, and not judge themselves,” Teale wrote, explaining how body positivity was important to her project. “It’s not about what other people think about you, it’s how you feel about yourself — and my designs are here to help liberate you.”
Teale Coco the Brand is a passionate project that is destined to go far. In just over a year, after transforming her Etsy store into its own company, Teale’s work has gained an impressive, international following. All of the styling, designing, editing, creative direction, makeup, and social media are currently done by Teale herself, with a team of artisans sewing the designs. Check out the brand’s website, Facebook page, Tumblr, and Instagram to learn more.
Musician Jun Seba, also known as Nujabes passed away late last month after a fatal car crash at age 36. Why it took almost a month later for everyone to catch wind of it, I’m not sure but, pest in peace. You were so young and so amazingly talented. This video above was circulating the web for a bit- “Luv (sic) pt. 2″ Nujabes featuring Shing02 and directed by Sou Ootsuki. Doesn’t watching it makes you feel alive? In a really breathtakingly normal way?
Artist Steve Spazuk creates drawings with a medium usually reserved for destroying things: fire. Using a candle or torch Spazuk works the flame much like a pencil drawing with the soot left behind on the canvas. In a way akin to automatic drawing, he doesn’t direct his hand but accepts the chance images that appear on the surface. Spazuk then “sculpts” the soot left on each canvas into its final image. Speaking about his unique flame drawn process he says:
” This in-the-moment creative practice coupled with the fluidity of the soot, creates a torrent of images, shadows and light. Fueled by the quest of a perfect shape that has yet to materialize, I concentrate in a meditative act and surrender to capture the immediacy of the moment on canvas.”
Cuban-American artist Cesar Santos thoughtfully blends disparate styles and elements in a series he calls “Syncretism.” Santos’ amalgamations present representations from Renaissance, Modern, Classic, and Contemporary work, all blended together to create a pastiche of imagery. While combining genres, forms, and time periods is not a necessarily unique approach, it is Santos’ execution that is most impressive. Skilled technically in multiple painting styles, Santos is able to render images that appear uncannily similar to their references. Recontextualizing these images demonstrates the evolution of painting techniques while maintaining the universality and persistence of particular themes.
“I develop a painting by first working on an idea in a sketchbook, a simple drawing. Then I go to Photoshop and start composing the painting. In a way it’s [how] a classical artist would do it: constructing a color study. Once I have everything composed, tweaking the colors, it will almost look like the final piece. Using oils on linen, I go about painting that image. During the process things change. When I start applying the colors, I start with a raw umber underpainting, and block it in with local color. Even though I’m using modern tools, the process is very classical.” (via juxtapoz)