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Hikari Shimoda’s Adorably Horrific Children Comment On Horror, Innocence, And Human Existence

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Hikari Shimoda’s most recent series of paintings blends the innocence of childhood with the fears and challenges od adulthood. By combining cute looking round eyed kids with scenes of horror or despair, she establishes a connection between the carefree days of being a child, and the harshness of the contemporary world in which these children grow up. Although her paintings depict children dressed in superhero outfits, playing together, or surrounded by cute looking objects and creatures; a closer look will allow you to notice the dark details, blank stares and distant fires which are also part of the composition.

Shimoda’s use of cheerful, bright colors and manga inspired drawing giver her pieces a mistaken air of simplicity. The beauty of her work lies in the details and, in taking the time to look closely at what she puts in her paintings. Little things like sparkly stickers, and little messages scrawled in round handwriting to piles of toy rabbits, hospitals and burning homes. Through her candy colored scenes she addresses issues of emotion, identity, existence and, our relationships sith others. The children in her pieces are both the messengers and the creators of this message. She has created a magnificent combination of the carefree aspects of childhood and the worries and challenges of adulthood in a mixture of bittersweet portraits.

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Evan Baden Takes Us Behind The Scenes Of The World Of Sexting

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Chicago-based photographer Evan Baden has captures the world of adolescent sexting in his series cleverly titled Technically Intimate. The word “sexting” was officially added to the dictionary in 2012—that is how common this word and action is. Selfies and nudes being sent back and forth to people via smart phones has become commonplace. The fact of the matter is, these explicit photos never truly disappear. Evan Baden shines light on the privacy issues at hand concerning digitally sent photos, especially ones that are meant to be intimate or private. Interestingly enough, the title of this series, Technically Intimate, refers to a level of intimacy that is perhaps supposed to be felt between the people doing the sharing of sexual photos. Although the intention of these photos may have started out as intimate between two lovers, they remain forever in the public sphere. Therefore, no intimacy can be achieved.

Evan Baden starts each photograph with an image from real life, found online. He then hires a model to pose in a similar way, in a similarly adolescent environment. The final result is a re-imagined version of the original photos that has been shared online, accessible for anyone to see. In this uncomfortably close series, we are a fly on the wall, looking into a both private and public situation. For more amazing photography with an eye on pop-culture and its digitalization, Evan Baden is in an exhibition that will be on view September 19th until January 17th at the NRW-Forum Düsseldorf Contemporary Culture Center titled Ego Update: The Future of the Digital Identity.

Baden delves deeper into his intriguing series explaining this incredibly relevant topic. (via FeatureShoot)

“The poses in my images emphasize the repetitiveness of the sexual images that pervade our society while the rooms that the scenes are staged in and the ages of the room’s occupant clash with those highly sexualized poses, causing an unease in the viewing of those pictured and reminding the viewer that with every leap we take in technology and convenience there is an equally deep crevasse into which we can fall.”

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Yuri Shwedoff Blends Fantasy With Science Fiction In Melancholic Visions Of A Post-Apocalyptic World

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Whether we imagine the world as a futuristic dystopia or a charred wasteland, post-apocalyptic images weigh heavily on our cultural imaginations. In a stunning series of illustrations, Russian artist Yuri Shwedoff has created an intensely atmospheric vision of the “end of days,” one that blends fantasy imagery with science fiction. Among his scenes are sword-wielding warriors, blasted roads, alien architecture, and falling skies; as vestiges of the lost world, animals seem to take on a symbolic significance, communing with the human figures in moments of intensity and reflection. Pulled between oscillating states of violent destruction and quiet despair, Shwedoff’s images are bound together by a powerful atmosphere that emanates from the brooding, ash-filled skies.

While many of Shwedoff’s artworks feature otherworldly phenomena — such as the telekinetic gladiator — what makes them most evocative are their ties to the world we know. The space shuttle, for example, sits dormant on its launch pad, embedded in dust and waste. Perhaps it was prepared to escape the world; now, it becomes aged scenery for the lone horseman who regards it on his journey. Similarly, the alien pods in “Cradle” suggest a landing with no escape plan; now, the structures are merely shelters for those who survive. Instilled with imagination and emotion, Shwedoff confronts us with powerful images of a lost humanity that has surpassed its technological limits and reached an inevitable end.

You can view more of Shwedoff’s work on ArtStation, Facebook, and Instagram. He also has a page on Patreon where you can make pledges in exchange for artwork, undersketches, and process videos. (Via Lost at E Minor)

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El Anatsui Turns Bottles Caps And Tin Lids Into Expansive Morphing Tapestries

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A million little pieces stitched together shapes a large moving tapestry. The waves of the installation, similar to chainmail, create a voluptuous presence. Artist El Anatsui is mesmerizing our senses and attracting our curiosity. He designs from simple materials complex compositions, using all sorts of tools to merge modest means into powerful and impressive pieces. In between sculpture (for the structure) and painting (for the way colors drop from different angles), the delicate and monumental pieces cannot be categorized.

El Anatsui’s work emphasizes the fact that art is a sixth sense, an add-on and a value that’s indescribable. From liquid bottle caps, iron nails, driftwood or cassava graters the artist creates morphing mosaics that are hung up the walls of monuments and museums in major cities. Seen from far away, the meticulously assembled little pieces become an accumulation of gems. Each installation is non fixed and can be moved from one place to another without ever having the same appearance. Just like fabric, the piece is creased, folded and adjusted to its in-situ set.

The artist’s impact on one hand is for the viewer to reflect on obvious key topics such as consumption, waste and environment. The bottle caps or the tin lids that he uses represent simultaneously garbage and manpower, thinking of that while he creates helps him give a spiritual dimension to his art.
On the other hand, the pieces help make a connection between America, Africa and Europe. The fact that the installations are hung questions the part of a wall as sequestration, protection or deprivation from freedom.
“Artists are not dictators”, El Anatsui claims loud and clear next to his pieces. He doesn’t want to impose an idea because everyone’s point of view is valid.

The artist was awarded in April 2015 at the Venice Biennale with a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement. Watch the video below of one of the greatest artistic influencer amongst two generations of artists working in West Africa.

El Anatsui’s work is currently shown at Jack Shainman Gallery  until September 2015.

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William Mortensen’s Photographs Of Witchcraft And Debauchery From The 1920’s Were Ahead Of Their Time

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Photographer William Mortensen (1897-1965) was known throughout his life as someone who took pictures of Hollywood Stars. These were during the 1920s and depicted celluloid figures in a pictorialist romantic style. In his spare time, Mortensen would create images featuring semi-nude women engaged in various acts of witchcraft and debauchery.  Mortensen’s practice of creating elaborately staged scenes and technical effects were ahead of their time. They set certain standards and became popular trends in fine art photography still valid today.

By using different elements in his pictures, Mortensen also turns these unique creations into storyboards filled with narrative. There’s movement and action in these stills which add to their beauty.

Despite the apparent influence, Mortensen would have great debates with Anselm Adams, the great naturalist who would call him a heretic and the anti-Christ. Funny be known now and probably back then too that the anti-Christ would always be much more interesting a subject to ponder in the realm of ideas.

The exhibit, curated by Stephen Romano at the Museum of Morbid Anatomy in Brooklyn, NY focuses on a series called “A Pictorial Compendium of Witchcraft.” The exhibit “Opus Hypnagogia : sacred spaces of the visionary and vernacular.” is a curated collection from The Museum of Everything, London.

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Guillaume Lachapelle’s Mirrored Dioramas Expand Miniature Rooms and Urban Landscapes Into Dark, Infinite Voids

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In a series of eerie, 3D printed dioramas, Canadian artist Guillaume Lachapelle expands miniature scenes into voids of seemingly infinite space. Entitled Visions, this series depicts ordinary spaces we see every day, such as a suburban neighborhood, parking lot, corridor, and library. However, when compressed, cast in shadows, and stretched into infinity, these rooms and urban landscapes take on a different emotional significance; the familiar becomes uncanny, instilling the imagination with both excitement and fear of the unknown. Where does the neighborhood end? And where does the hallway lead? As the exhibition description for Visions intriguingly states, “Lachapelle’s miniatures act as a threshold between what is seen and not seen” (Source).

During their exhibition, each of the tiny scenes were positioned atop solitary pillars. Seeing them from the outside almost lends the viewer a god-like perspective — we can perceive everything the mirrored spaces contain, including their hidden symbolism. The effect is somewhat alienating, as the illusory vastness intensifies an uncomfortable sense of loneliness; the parking lot, for example, becomes a dead zone of concrete and pale light that stretches on forever. However, on this existential plane, the universe is not entirely uncaring: there are signs of life and comfort, such as the lights from within the houses, and the books containing all the marks of human history. Looking past our dread of infinitude and emptiness, there is a greater, warmer, symbolic core in Lachapelle’s dioramas, and with the mirrors providing infinite space, the meaning we can pour into them is limitless.

Visit Lachapelle’s page on Art Mur to read more about Visions and his other works. (Via Colossal)

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Michael Zelehoski Challenges Our Perception Of 2D And 3D Objects To Find Deeper Meaning

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The geometry of perception is a concept Michael Zelehoski touches on. His work plays tricks with your eye challenging the part of your brain that processes three dimensional forms. What it soon discovers is that Zelehoski is presenting an idea to challenge your notion of a two dimensional object. Not so much an optical illusion as a different way of looking at things, Zelehoski uses common, mostly found structural debris to explore his ideas. Some of the objects he has painted include a twisted police barrier, a pile of wooden planks and the skeletal remains of wooden platforms. He recently created a three dimensional piece depicting a fallen electric tower. The structure was laid out flat on the gallery floor similar to how his paintings look. When shown next to his canvases, it was hard to tell which was real and which was a painting. This further challenges our notion of what is and what should be. It explores ideas which give insight into how perception affects our everyday reality and also tells us we should not take things only at face value.

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Malene Hartmann Rasmussen Explores The Darkness Of The Forest In Her New Mythical Installation

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Artist Malene Hartmann Rasmussen’s new installation “In The Dead Of Night” got her a spot amongst the 5 winners of Jerwood Makers Open, in the UK. It is her biggest work yet, featuring an artificial forest with trees 3,60m trees amongst which rabbits, mushrooms, and other elements of forest scenery can be seen. The end result of this elaborate scenery is a walk through installation where the audience can take in their surroundings in an environment full of sights and sounds.

Hartmann has taken a familiar surrounding and made it just strange enough for you to pick up an underlying mystical tone and soak in the artificial beauty of her creation. However, “In The Dead Of Night” is not a simple depiction of a forest, it reaches beyond this imagery: The forest in this piece also serves as a metaphor for the different corners of the mind and, walking through the installation prompts the audience to take a walk through their own minds.

For this piece, Hartmann has made use of various mediums and materials including ceramics, neon, photography, mixed media, light and sound. This combination of materials has made for a very thoughtful, eclectic piece with many details to spark and capture the viewer’s attention. By allowing the public to walk through the installation, Hartmann has elevated the status of the public to that of a participant, which, in turn reinforces the echos of nature present in her piece.

End with: Hartmann Rasmussen’s work has been featured previously on Beautiful Decay Photographs by Sylvain Deleu

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