Finding its forms in a combination of drawing, object-making and installation, the work of artist Maggie Haas investigates the lives of unfinished and discarded objects, with a particular interest in construction materials. She was recently awarded a residency at The Lab, in San Francisco, CA—where she has been working primarily with materials she has found at the space. Working with what she is given, Haas uses her transformational powers to great effect: expanding upon everyday materials with her acute sense of color and composition.
Since beginning her residency, Haas has been creating work both from and in the gallery, she has created a series of ever-shifting structures. Using the gallery as both a medium and a platform to create, Haas has used her most recent body of work to explore flux, transition and our relationship to the idea of impermanence. Hovering between blueprint-style drawing and abstraction, her drawings of imagined structures and patterns explore the materiality of paper and ink—while her propped-up structures and object-based art elegantly underline the thesis that everything is in flux, everything can be moved, shifted, collapsed and/or carried away.
Miranda Donovan explores the invasion of graffiti from the exterior world of landscapes and buildings to the interior one– of bathrooms, bedrooms, and yes, even galleries, where street artists are finding more and more of a home these days. However, Donovan’s work is not just about street politics or the art of tagging here– each piece also examines the quality, textures, associations, and contexts of walls themselves.
Of her work, in Cool Hunting, Donovan states, “The point of departure is a wall, which so often people just overlook . . . It’s something in our daily space constantly, internally and externally, and there’s a romanticism in that, which draws me in. The different combination of languages, the grid, the broken plaster breaking up that grid, the colors, the erosion, is something that really excites me. It’s about combining those languages to tell a story about the passage of time and the analogy of the human psyche, peeling back the onion layers to find the core.”
Tom Bendtsen’s first book sculptures appeared in 1997. After initially creating basic structures, his work evolved with the idea of using the books’ colors to create a pixelated image effect. Bendtsen even fills the gaps in his structures with objects or scenes that ask the viewer to consider ideas of history, narrative, and creativity. The laterality of the structures and how this mirrors our absorption of contrasts and oppositions inherent in written narrative are also at play. His largest structure is composed of 16,000 books. String is used to create the forms of the sculptures, and then those forms are filled with books.
Nathan Kaso‘s series Miniature Melbourne takes a tilt shift look at the Australian city. Tilt shift is a photographic technique that essentially “corrects” the distortion created by perspective. The technique has the effect of making an scene resemble a miniature version of itself. Tilt shift photography has been featured on Beautiful/Decay in the past. However, Kaso transformed 10 months worth of his tilt-shift Melbourne photographs into a time-lapse video. Miniature Melbourne captures the work and play, the large life of the city. Watch the video after the jump. [via]
These photographs are images of a unique museum collection. The Museum of Broken Relationships originally began as a project in Croatia by Zagreb based artists Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić now tours internationally. While many may destroy the painful mementos of a failed relationship, the museum seeks to transform the impulse into a creative one. The museum points out other rituals such as funerals, marriages, and even graduation farewells while break-up do not have a formal ceremony. In a way the museum offers one to assist with the emotional impact of an ended reltionship. For this reason, the museum encourages people to donate personal belongings to be exhibited as “their love legacy as a sort of a ritual, a solemn ceremony.”
SF based Alex Ziv and Mario Ayala recently opened a two man exhibition entitled Going Nowhere at Fecal Face Dot Gallery (FFDG) in SF. From the press release: “Alex Ziv’s works, composed of pen and ink on paper, explore and help to define Ziv’s definition of “Americana” through the visual iconography and language of motorcycle subculture. Through exploring topics of contemporary and historical Americana through a background knowledge of mainstream and subversive symbology found in subcultures, Ziv’s work attempts to enhance and highlight topics of turbulence. Mario Ayala’s work is a further exploration of his lived experiences intertwined with the ideals of the West Coast ethos containing its ritualistic chachkies, cultural luxuries, and the anxieties due to taking mind altering substances while faced with the prioritized decision of guns or butta. Ayala creates pictorial hyperboles from friend/ family experiences to explore the trudges of economic class, multi cultural sacrosanct, and the day to day hustle for egalitarianism.” The show in on view through May 4th, 2013.
Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe’s Black Acid Co-op is a large scale installation of contrasting rooms and objects. The space is accessed through a large hole in the wall in the gallery space, requiring viewers of the work to physically climb through the entrance in order to experience it. While some space is sparse and empty, with evidence of abandonment and decay, others resemble a meth lab, a foreign shop, and a space of retreat. All spaces recontextualize the idea of installation space as a place of continual decay and renewal, calling upon viewers to directly engage with the various spaces. Deitch Projects commissioned this particular piece that was available for viewing in 2009.
Bay Area-based printmaker Amber Fawn Keig‘s works on paper are a collection of colored pencil, gouache and lithographic prints—pulled together under the cohesive investigation of memory. The likenesses scratched out in her careful, stylistic black-and-white prints have the visually-loaded tinge of early 1990′s Americana. Keig usually works with imagery of her friends and family to create these works, although the narratives expressed are somewhat vague and seemingly fictional.
If anything, the litho prints pull the viewer in for a moment of intense technical examination, to look closely at Keig’s tiny, expert strokes, and to take in her careful thematic twists and turns, often embedded in the layered images she pulls together. While the black-and-white works stand well on their own, they’re complimented perfectly by the fluid, intuitive colorwork of her painted and pencil-drawn works. THe moments where the two mediums intersect are the most interesting, but each part of Keig’s current series seems to feed well into the same conceptual vein. While the scale is small, the subject matter is quite curious, and these works carry a kind of welcome, yet weary hominess in their portrayal of contemporary American experience.