Vik Muniz And Marcelo Coelho’s Microscopic Etchings On A Single Grain Of Sand

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In a rather intense bit of wordplay, artist Vik Muniz (whose fantastic illusory work has previously featured several times here) has teamed up with Marcelo Coelho to create intricate and near-impossibly detailed sandcastles. Taking a single grain of scan, the duo has spent four years perfecting a process of microscopically etching fortress-like castles into single grains of sand. Each piece of sand measures less than one half of a single millimeter are created using an incredibly focused ion beam (FIB – typically used to create microchips) and documented with a scanning electron microscope, later enlarged to show the incredibly fine detail of the the project.

Muniz explains why the duo uses sand, as opposed to post-photographic editing (such as photoshop), “When someone tells you it’s a grain of sand, there’s a moment where your reality falls apart and you have to reconstruct it. You have to step back and ask what the image is and what it means.’” Adds Coelho, “I think photography is just re-starting. There’s a whole new kind of photography emerging now. A lot of it is happening because of this combination between computers and cameras, and story telling and narratives can emerge as a result.” 

These pieces are part of retrospective of Muniz’s work at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, now through August 2nd, 2014. (via designboom)

Artist Interview: Facebook Censored Photographer Gracie Hagen’s New Book

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If you were following us back in December, you may remember a post we did about Gracie Hagen‘s project, “Illusions of the Body.” This proved our most popular post to date, and was even flagged and banned by Facebook as inappropriate, something I covered in a separate post. Since the December post, Hagen has finished putting a book together of full color images of the project, including 17 never before released images. The book is available for pre-order on sale for $50 (regularly $60) to be shipped on May 1st, and each advance purchase will be numbered and signed by Hagen. What better way to show your support of work like Hagen’s, work that shouldn’t be censored by social media just because it features nude bodies, than to own your very own collection of these powerful images?  Hagen was able to answer a few questions about the ban and her work via email.

Advertise here !!!

Alicia Martin Lopez’s Nightmarish Paintings Imagine Our Inner Demons, Secret Fears

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The artist Alicia Martin Lopez gives form to her emotional demons through her darkly seen paintings; imagining the shapes and tones of oft-repressed memories and desires, her work dares to plunge into the depths of human fear. With their infinitely cavernous black eyes, Lopez’s disquietingly amorphous characters invite viewers into the nightmarish dreamscape of our own psychological narratives.

Lopez’s frightful beings inhabit a space outside the confines of time; day and night blur together as light pours in and leaks out of the scene without cause. The monsters are wildly unbound, floating in midair, drifting on water, or holding desperately to rock formations, toes clinched with uncertainty. Like thoughts that flood the darkest corners of the human psyche, the beasts may appear at any time in any place, haunting the mind’s eye without warning.

As soon as they rear their heads, however, the creatures are woefully repressed; one octopus-like animal sits confined in a cell, his crooked neck craning to accommodate a sickly grey face. Like our own private demons, Lopez’s creatures are starved of attention and psychic nourishment, kept bottled in the murky depths of subconscious memory. They each stare downward as if collapsed by the space above them, their bodies bracing against the weight of repression. A flying squid’s wings appear as if crushed by exhaustion; sea creatures’ bearded faces droop into impossibly still water, their sorrowful expressions reflected back at them.

These animals are a tangible reminder of memories and sufferings that refuse to stay buried; collapsing in upon themselves, they beg for our recognition. In granting form to formless worries, the artist suggests that our psychological demons are perhaps less fearful than they are beautifully, mournfully sympathetic. Take a look. (via Hi Fructose and Juxtapoz)

Marcel Christ’s energetic photographs feature colorful powder explosions

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Marcel Christ creates a series of photographs in which he tries to deviate from his usual commercial photographs. With clients like Sony, Nokia, Samsung, Evian and L’Oréal-Chirst is used to photographing still lives, essentially objects arranged in interesting and appealing but static ways. In his latest artistic series, Christ extends his modern, clean lighting and sense of composition (characteristics that resonate with his commercial photography), but takes it to the next level. Christ aims to transform what would be a static representations of colorful powders to something that is undeniably energetic- everything moves, jumps, and flies.

Christ succeeds at photographing unpredictable action. The powder’s movement and expansion are the main characters; they sporadically spread throughout the composition.

I think my work has some heritage from Dutch tradition, in its choice of props for instance – the vase. But different in its own way at the same time. Because it is not ‘still’ at all. It’s frozen in time, but very energetic in its appearance.

(via TreadHunter)

Grotesque Paintings Of Toddlers And Tiaras Are Both Alluring And Revolting

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In “Honey Boo Boo’’s Amurrican Starquest” and “Beautimous,” the painter Ingrid V. Wells creates saturated candy-colored portraits of the young stars of TLC’s reality television series Toddlers And Tiaras and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. The hit show follows the world of child beauty pageants, filming in homes and hotel ballrooms across the country; Wells’s paintings remove these made-up living dolls from this context, hurling them into an unsettling space where dreams and nightmares collide.

In many ways, the work is fantastical and wondrous; painted in watercolors and “girly-girl” tones, the figures are as fanciful as pages of a picture book. In the world of pageantry, the toddlers are shown as princesses, gifted with an endless supply of jewels, unicorns, sunny days, and balloon animal pinkness. The sit enthroned and proud, hoisted to the highest heights by fame and fortune.

Upon closer inspection, though, the pageant girls are seen through a lens of despair and disgust. Their saccharine smiles melt under the sweaty pressure of thick paint, mascara and lipstick desperately oozing from their pores. Wells transforms the medium of watercolor, using the normally delicate, ethereal paint in heavy, unappealing globs. The unicorn is revealed to be a pig, an animal symbolic of excess; her gleaming, swollen utters hang, and she, like the girls who awkwardly bear their midsections, is suddenly cast in a profoundly uncomfortable sexual light.

Here, prettinesss becomes both revolting and dangerous; beneath their bedazzled cupcake dresses, the girls are defeated, their eyes cast down in sorrow, still tragically yearning for a judge’s approval. (via BUST and Huff Post)

Collaborative Team’s Chandelier Shadows Room With Trees

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Forms in Nature from Yeray Lopez Portillo on Vimeo.

Artists/design team Thyra Hilden and Pio Diaz collaborated to create, Forms in Nature, a chandelier which, when alight, creates shadows in any (reasonably sized) room that appear to be intertwined tree branches or entire root system. Describing their collaborative process as combining “existing cultural icons and basic elements, which they transform and modify to tamper with the common perception”, the duo essentially reconnects modern technology to more primitive, natural elements.

The creators say of the piece, “The shadows engulf the room and transforms the walls into unruly shadows of branches, bushes, and gnarled trees. Mirrorings are thrown out upon the walls and ceilings and provide weak Rorschach-like hints of faces, life and flow of consciousness.” (via mymodernmet) 

Early Stick-and-Poke Prison Tattoos Preserved In Formaldehyde

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Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see people with copious amounts of tattoos on their arms, legs, and head. But, it wasn’t that long ago that these permanent adornments were only found on a very specific group of people – prisoners. Tattoos back then were markedly different than their modern counterparts, and some were preserved for posterity in formaldehyde. The tiny pieces of history are an eerie but a fascinating look at the past.

The designs of early tattooing were much simpler than they are today. Instead of the needles we’re familiar with, prisoners would use crude tools like razor blades, broken glass, paper clips, or wires. Ink was substituted for pencil refills, charcoal, watercolor paints, or crayons and mixed with water, fat, or urine.

At the beginning of the 20th century, a study of the prisoners’ tattoos began in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagiellonian University, and researchers wanted a way to document their findings. While photography might have been the simpler (and more obvious) solution, prisoners’ tattooed skin was removed and preserved.

The extractions, encased in glass, are small curiosities that don’t really look like tattoos at all. Removed from the context of the body, they are symbols for crimes like burglary, rape, and prostitution. (Via Scribol)

Camila Valdez’s Sculptures Are Leggy Desserts

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Decadent desserts are paired with sexy legs in Argentinian-based artist Camila Valdez’s series of life and table-sized sculptures.  The faceless beings are placed in public and are posed on benches, seen exiting restaurants, and enjoying a picnic in the park. Despite the fact they can’t convey emotion through eyes or a mouth, Valdez has made their legs expressive. They are straight and together if trying to look pensive, or partially open as if trying to suggest something else.

This series literally objectifies women and compares them to a sugary treat that will rot your treat and should be enjoyed only every-so-often. At the same time, they reference outdated objects from the middle of the 20th century, where legs were attached to things like lamps (as seen in the film A Christmas Story). Valdez pokes fun at this absurd and fantastical objectification of the population. (Via HiFructose)