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Artist Interview: Anoka Faruqee’s Optical Paintings Will Twist And Bend Your Perception

Anoka Faruqee

Anoka Faruqee, 2014P-07, Acrylic on linen on panel, 22.5 x 22.5″, 2014

Anoka Faruqee

Anoka Faruqee, 2014P-21, Acrylic on linen on panel, 22.5 x 22.5″, 2014

Anoka Faruqee

Anoka Faruqee, 2014P-06, Acrylic on linen on panel, 22.5 x 22.5″, 2014

When walking towards a painting by Anoka Faruqee your eyes refuse to settle.  Turquoise, formed into an elongated triangular band, is pinched between two golden curves.  The turquoise is misbehaving.  Instead of sitting still it appears to flex and blend into the yellow.  As you get closer the painting changes, and at arm’s length another dramatic shift occurs, the previous turquoise and gold bands of color atomizes into narrow, serpentine, overlapping lines with several more colors, no longer just turquoise and gold.  Looking across the room your eyes settle on another painting.  This square shaped canvas is a warm gray that seems to dance.  Upon closer inspection the pleasantly worked surface transforms into a swirling design of forest green and cherry red lines.  Faruqee calls this series of paintings the Moiré series, after the illusion with the same name.  The history of Modern art is often told as a race towards extremes, but will that be true of 21st century art?  Anoka Faruqee’s work seems to place less emphasis on ‘pureness’ than other abstraction.  Faruqee’s work suggests that we can be more complex, and where artists over the past sixty years searched for the strongest statement, maybe our searches will lead in different, more nuanced directions.   

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Fairy-Tale Inspired Photos Of Pit Bulls In Flower Crowns Go Against Stereotype

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In her series “Flower Power,” photographer Sophie Gamand has overcome her childhood fear of dogs by photographing Pit Bulls—wearing flower crowns.

“This project started as an excuse for me to discover more about pit bulls, and to see for myself what the debate was about. Were they really all crazy and dangerous? Or were most of them simply the victims of a generalization? … ‘Flower Power’ is about challenging myself to approach pit bulls with a fresh perspective and an open heart. I invite the viewer to do the same.”

The term Pit Bull designates an appearance, not a breed, and until fairly recently Pit Bulls were considered America’s Dog. What happened? Some states and counties have introduced breed specific legislation and outright bans to make it illegal to own a dog that even looks like a pit bull. They can be killed based on the way they look regardless of their temperament or previous history.

Though Gamand shares her concern with other Pit Bull defenders, for example Pitproject600 which also uses photography to show the gentle side of these dogs, the soft-focus, Photoshopped backgrounds of the dog pictures and the sweet flower crowns are an inventive and charming concept.

“The imagery associated with these dogs is often harsh, very contrasted, conveying the idea of them being tough. In my opinion, this feeds the myth that these dogs are dormant psychopaths. So I decided to take the other route and portray them like hippies, soft fairy-tale-inspired characters, feminine and dreamy.”

Thirty percent of the total dogs admitted to U.S. animal shelters are labeled as pit bulls, and 86.7 percent of pit bulls admitted to open admission shelters end up being killed. With her fairy-tale photos of dreamy eyed dogs, Sophie Gamand wants to give these dogs another chance. (Via Fast Company)

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Canson Wet Paint Grant Recipient: Wendell Gladstone

As long as there have been artists, there have been people who recognized that the innovation and creativity of truly unique individuals should be nurtured. Beautiful/Decay Magazine is very pleased to announce its collaboration with the CansonRoyal Talens family of art supply brands on the Wet Paint Grants project.

Canson, Royal Talens and Arches have been manufacturing the highest quality art materials that inspire artists for centuries. Likewise, artists have been playing a key role in development of products that they make at their own mills.

Most recently, Canson and Beautiful/Decay teamed up to choose eight artists in the United States, who exemplify a passion and commitment to their craft. Over each of the next eight weeks, Beautiful/Decay will announce a new recipient of the Wet Paint Grant. Each artist chosen will receive a year’s worth of art supplies from any of the Canson family of brands. We hope the generosity of these grants will help each artist to leave limitations behind and produce the work that compels them. While the outside support of artists is an integral part of Art history, above all we congratulate and thank the artists, who are the impetus to brands like Canson, Royal Talens and Arches to continue encouraging the arts. Read about our first Wet Paint Grant recipient Wendell Gladstone after the jump.

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Florentijn Hofman’s Giant Sunbathing Bunny Sculpture

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Florentijn Hofman, mostly known for her interactive, cutsey and giant sculptures of children’s toys (ie. Rubber Duck, Max), has created Sunbathing Hare, another eye-catching and adorable installation for everyone to find their inner child with, yet again. It was taken down yesterday Oct.13th, 2013 as it was part of the Netherlands Bilateral Year and the Russian public arts program and was only allowed to be on site for a few months.

With outstretched arms, the over-sized lazy creature suggests a lazy, happy pose, as it lays on the green grass of Hare Island near the St. Peter and St. Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg, Russia. It has contagious vibe; people lie and sit next to it with intentions to relax and forget about their problems for a moment.

Sunbathing Hare measured 15 meters long by 8 meters wide and 2.5 meters high. It was made out of plywood boards, a pink painted nose, eyes, and smile with a touch of charm and humorousness. (via designboom)

“My sculptures cause an uproar, astonishment and put a smile on your face. They give people a break from their daily routines. Passers-by stop in front of them, get off their bicycle and enter into conversation with other spectators. People are making contact with each other again. That is the effect of my sculptures in the public domain.”

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Ariane Irle

Ariane Irle’s portfolio is full of great experimental typography, illustration, and motion work.

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The Arms Project

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The Arms Project is the undertaking of Lisa Manfre (Flickr user frootloops). Not much information is known about her except from the Flickr testimonials she has received: she loves cereal of all sorts and is “probably the most harmonious and nice person on flickr.” That’s saying alot! The pictures sure are sweet though (in multiple senses of the word).

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Michael Anderson’s Equal Opportunity Destroyer

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Michael Anderson has been busy, since the studio visit Beautiful/Decay did with him in August he’s prepared two major solo shows.  Anderson makes large-scale collages from street posters, sometimes measuring 12 feet across.  Anderson’s newest show promises to a be visually mesmerizing cultural stew of optimistic, reverse advertising, aka subvertising.  I talked with him about “She’s Okay,” the above collage, and he compared the golden lattice structure to the complexity of the girl’s thoughts and experiences.  The exhibition, Equal Opportunity Destroyer, is opening April 8th in Copenhagen Denmark at Gallery Poulsen.

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James Nares Calligraphic Paintings Capture The Beauty Of Paint In Motion

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James Nares makes one seemingly fluid stroke full of action to create his paintings. His artwork is extremely minimalist, and full of expression. The viewer can follow the stroke like a path, witnessing his every step in the splashes, interruptions, and slight wavers. His colour palette is vibrant, mostly blues and greens, with luminous whites and sensuous reds. They’re very three dimensional, the ones running horizontally seem to move like long slithering dragons or snakes.

It’s interesting to consider the time it may take Nares to create each one. Although they appear to be quite speedy, it must take either a great deal of control or repeated attempts to produce such pointed work. The works aren’t redundant, nor are they overloaded. Although each is done with a repeated strategy, they are executed with refinement. His artwork actually reminds me of Alberto Seveso’s Disastro Ecologico series. We have featured other work of his before, here.

Nares has said of his own work:

“I try to embody the nature and combine the forms—it’s like one and one making three—to expose a metaphor of some kind. It’s searching for metaphors, for likeness, like a breeding ground. It seems to me, that’s how a language develops. Everything breeds through metaphors.”

(Quote via Wikipedia)

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