Okay guys if you’ve never heard of Pipilotti Rist you need to check her out. Not only is she a really good video artist but she has quite possibly created the most magnificent chandelier ever! She created it using pieces of underwear that she collected from her family and friends. Not only is it an underwear chandelier, but it’s glowing too. Chandeliers don’t get much cooler than that my friends.
As part of our ongoing partnership with Dailyserving, Beautiful/Decay is sharing Marilyn Goh’s article on Rob McLeod.
Even fanatic football fans would be hard-pressed to remember a Glaswegian football team called Partick Thistle, a perpetual underdog in First Division Scottish Football League that’s oft-joked about because of their non-winning ways. Getting behind a team that tries every week but gets nowhere requires no small measure of faith, an action probably synonymous with holding out hope in the long term for that which may never materialise. Supporting Partick Thistle is a show that utilizes the metaphor of supporting a losing football team that is akin to the nature and process of painting, a medium which Glasgow-born artist Robert McLeod believes most people think should be dead and buried.
McLeod’s hardly naive about this realm – he recognizes all too well the usefulness of painting in what he does – yet he remains a steadfast bearer of its gilded history and value, practicing it, then teaching it. He came to New Zealand 40 years ago wanting to continue where abstract artists such as Willem de Kooning and Alan Davie left off, looking to break away from the rigid formality of his art training in Glasgow. But after 30 years of studying minimalism and abstract expressionism, McLeod noticed a part of Micky Mouse’s ears in an abstract work and turned his practice to exploring the figurative. Most of the work in this show comes from the past decade, comprising mostly three-dimensional paintings on plywood, where layered forms and colour combine to create a motley crew of cartoonish figures that are loud, grotesque and irreverent.
Graphic designer Peter Saville has designed a white cardboard, flatpack plinth, for sale in a limited edition of 200, the idea being that in today’s age of ‘culture for the masses’ we’re all entitled to choose what merits artistic status.
The exhibition showcases the plinths with ‘work’ by a selection of Saville’s peers and friends including Hans Ulrich Obrist, Thomas Demand, Gavin Turk and Jarvis Cocker, each allowed to place whatever they wish on their plinth. The results vary from the sublime (Douglas Gordon’s pile of ash atop a charred plinth) to the inflated (Cerith Wyn Evans’ helium balloon).
Kathryn Mayo and Doug Winter, a husband and wife photography team based in Sacramento, collaborate with their models to create vintage portraits, seemingly of the past, using the traditional wet plate collodion process. This type of photography was born in the 1850s, but soon faded from the foreground, due to the proliferation of more practical, less time consuming processes involving dry gelatin emulsion.
However, in today’s fast-paced iPhone app culture, where formatting is clean, easy, and instantaneous, ironically, the slow painstaking process is exactly what this artistic pair prefer about collodion. Mayo elaborates, “Each image takes about 15-20 minutes to complete from focusing the camera, coating and sensitizing the plate, exposing, and processing. So, models need to have patience as not each image comes out perfect, and it takes a few to get one we like–sometimes, there are times when the chemistry isn’t working up to par and we don’t get anything at all.” Regardless of outcome, their passion is not just about product, but discovery and investigation. Mayo continues, “I love the idea of using a process steeped in history and with the ghosts of photographers who have come before me. It is a process that is wholly addicting.”
There is something especially frightening about Lara Mezzapelle and Giacomo Deriu‘s sculpture, Dirittura d’Arrivo. The sculpture freezes the moment a plane rips in half, about to plunge from the sky. All of the ensuing chaos – panicking passengers, flying luggage, mangled metal – is caught completely and eerily in white. A fear of flying has been a common modern phobia. However, as critic Olivia Spatola points out, a plane crash in a post 9/11 world reflects the more modern fear of a new kind of violence. In a way Mezzapelle and Deriu capture this modern fear in their medium and process. The sculpture is planned using 3D modeling software, and cut from nylon using prototyping lasers.
LA based photographer Ryan Schude knows how to tell a full story with just his lens. His elaborately structured photographs form a world all their own. Sometimes crass, sometimes out of control, his work hearkens to that complex visual zone inhabited by artists like fellow photographer Gregory Crewdson, director Wes Anderson, and we should probably mention David Lynch as well, just to cover the bases. Dense with intricate details, diverse characters, and everything somehow happening all at once, Schude’s photographs never look the same twice.
There is a story being told, and the image comes off as that of a film still; yet we are seeing a flash of an in between, we are neither here nor there but just in the middle enough to not be able to articulate what is going or why. Schude exhibits a playfulness within his settings that keep the scenes fun and adventurous, but many have that same alienated, nearly possessed, quality that Crewdson was so good at nailing. And that defiant divorce of logic within narrative that Lynch also adores employing in his films. Although everything looks the same as it would in the real world, the laws of the universe are clearly different within the realm of the photographed subjects, and that is what makes them so intriguing.
See Ryan’s work next month at bG Gallery in Los Angeles, CA.
Michael Dotson’s paintings look like tripped out buildings in another dimension of Second Life. Or in First Life, coated with thick layers of pastel and neon paint. I really like this fanciful approach to architecture.