Young-Deok Seo is a South Korean artist who creates what he calls “iron men”: nude sculptures made completely out of welded chain fragments. Demonstrating his deep fascination and concern for the human body, Seo builds standing figures, heads, busts, and torsos by carefully melting and linking chain fragments together piece by piece. The result is a series of elaborate assemblages, the links seeming to undulate like living cells. Each work entails a huge commitment of Seo’s time, patience, and concentration, making his artwork a form of spiritual practice.
What is most remarkable about these re-imaginations of the body is the way each piece tells a story—both intimate and universal—about the pangs of existence. On his website, Seo’s write-up describes his figures as embodying intense suffering, and conversely, an ascetic emptiness; they are at once “haggard like a seeker,” “infected by something unknown,” and devoid of all “earthly desires and passions” (Source). Despite their complex “skins,” each figure is ominously hollow. Some of them are incomplete, with their faces and limbs appearing to dissolve into the surrounding space. This suggests a chain reaction of the body to the outside world, a fusion of pain and hope that resembles destruction as much as it does liberation.
Los Angeles based artist Adi Putra takes you to an ethereal dreamland embedded in enigma, euphoria and that quintessential Southern California aura of bliss. It is no mystery why he frequently works with musicians such as Moby, L.A. Witch, Kimbra and The Vivian Girls — his style is fluid, loud, reverberating and ultimately undeniably cool. His work acts as the embodiment of warmth and mischievous freedom. It is images like these that save our souls from wilting during these bleak and bone chilling winter months. In moments of cold season melancholia, Putra reminds us, through an alluring controlled chaos, what true creativity and passion feels like. With titles such as Spring Fever, Valley of the Wind, and Dreamcatcher, his work pictorially creates that undeniable feeling of youthful excitement. That one you get sitting on a porch, drinking a beer as the sun starts to rise, filled with a quiet thrill for what’s to come. Almost like a vintage, punk rock Ryan McGinley, Putra is able to create striking images that demand attention through glorifying the beauty in youth and purity of nature. His work, romanticized with quiet tones of sepia matched with hints of ultraviolet hues of hippie energetic galore, hits every note aesthetically thrived for. Each piece is truly blissful, sinister and perfectly raw.
Katie Eleanor is a London-based photographic artist who creates visions of Victorianesque romance and melancholia. Complete with elaborate costumes and set designs, her works have a theatrical presence; serene-faced maidens wearing gowns—or in various states of undress—pose in dimly-lit rooms, often with esoteric props, such as a magpie, a fox, and a white crown. Mixing sensuality with darkness, the chill of death creeps in on the periphery, taking the form of dead branches, wilted leaves, and a shroud. There are signs of injury and endurance; one woman leans on crutches, while another stoically leaks blood from her eyes.
In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Eleanor talks about her work. “My style is fictional and narrative based, away from the confines of our shared earth,” she writes. “I am influenced most heavily by the past, [. . .] as I am intrigued by both its links and disconnect from the way we function in the present.” Her influences arise from several creative sources, such as books, performance, Victorian illustration, and costume collectors. As a visual storyteller, set design is integral to conveying her meaning and absorbing the viewer into her ethereal dreamscapes; narrative and emotions speak through the costumes and staging. In addition to this complex process, each image is hand-colored, which allows her to “push more of [herself] into [her] works” by incorporating more of her physical being.
Be sure to visit Eleanor’s website, Facebook page, and blog and follow her work. She also creates haunting videos, which can be viewed here.
Art director Kouhei Nakama has created a computer generated short film that explores the possibilities of a 21st century human chameleon. Within her film titled Diffusion, she portrays a female figure as a generative canvas to investigate the potentiality of human flesh. Using a system that simulates biological processes through mathematical testing, she is able to imitate texturized skin based on patterns and textures that occur in nature. The film begins with what most closely resembles, perhaps, a white and red version of the shapeshifting capabilities of Mystique from X-Men, and transitions into a soft poetic display of a humanoid light show. Through vibrant alterations of rainbow colors and body motions displayed with toned muscles, the film provokes thoughts of almost futuristic yogi sentiments of human aura and energy field displays. The film comes to it’s climax with sculptures of human bodies that seem to be either virtual or somehow physically interconnected as hands appear to have the ability to travel through bodies. The constant shift of color and pattern and eventual bloating and deformation of the figures allow the piece to end on a dramatic, yet satisfying note. Simultaneously alien, human and robotic, Nakama’s display of futuristic metamorphosis is both disturbing and undoubtedly magical. Kouhei Nakama’s short film holds its own as a mystifying and captivating piece of work; however, it’s true allure lies in it’s ability to display the vast ability (and even further potential) of what CGI programs can accomplish. (via The Creators Project)
A black and white photograph of a couple expressing nothing but tenderness and love. Donna Pinckley captures interracial couple posing naturally in front of their homes. Nothing should be perceived as wrong in these pictures, yet some people are not only condemning these individuals’ relationships but they are throwing hateful words at them. These can be read below the photographs, “as a reminder of how part of society sees them”.
After taking photographs of young children growing up through life, becoming adults and posing with their spouses, Donna Pinckley encountered a recurrent situation where women got to reveal the loathing comments they were facing because of their partner’s race. Her reaction to these women’s confidence has been artistic. She began to photograph interracial couples and depict their resilience and refusal to let others define them.
The couple are of all ages, and they represent any individuals in any country at any given time. This cold harsh reality is however counterbalanced by the message of hope these couples are giving us, via the mean of photography and the presence of Donna Pinckley behind it. A singular and effective way to spread a notion of tolerance and acceptance. Despite the words, the looks and the attitude towards those relationships, the love and trust created by these couples is bursting and undeniable.
Artist Ed Fairburn is using maps and star charts as a base to draw detailed portraits. Inlaid in the weave of the roads, signs and lines, the faces appear textured and emotional.
Ed Fairburn draws dashes or fills up a specific area on the map. Playing with the existing colors symbolizing lands, water or housings. It takes him a couple of days to a month to complete a drawing. The artist draws on vintage road maps looking forward to discovering uncommon names or places he once visited in the past. The star charts drawings confer a different atmosphere, a poetic mood to the faces trapped in the constellation. He chooses his ‘canvas’ himself. The patterns and orientations are key for him to start drawing. In terms of details, lines, names printed on the maps; the more cluttered, the better outcome.
The more contrast exists between the lines, shapes and shadows on the portraits, the more depth it creates on the overall drawing. Not two inches are ever the same, and yet the accumulation of dashes and small lines create a pattern inherent to a part of the face. For either the road or star maps; the association of a land, a space with a human face resonates with evasion and travel. The possibility for the viewer to escape from reality and dive into a foreign land, a dream destination. ( via Booooooom)
Ed Fariburn’s drawings will be displayed at the Mike Wright Gallery in Denver, Colorado until December 19th 2015.
Rik Garrett is a photographer who uses alternative and outmoded techniques to infuse his images with symbolism and dark surrealism. We featured Symbiosis in 2013, a series wherein Garrett applied paint to images of coupling nude figures in order to make them resemble a single, intimate unit. Last year he published Earth Magic, a book of images that depict nude women stalking through shadowy forests, engaged in strange and arcane ceremonies. The highly detailed yet slightly deteriorated look was created through Garrett’s use of the wet plate collodion process, a photographic method introduced in the early 1850s.
According to the project statement, Earth Magic seeks to explore “historical and personal relationships between witchcraft, femininity, and nature” (Source). Channeling the legends and embedded superstitions about the feminine occult—the woman in tune with wild, decentralized, and hidden powers—Garrett’s images are haunting and empowering. He meshes bodies and woods together in unsettling contrasts of soft skin and jagged, dead trees. The black and white tones resemble moonlight, conveying the hours of witches and ritual. With their faces blurred and eyes shadowed, the women resemble beings crossing over from the other side—part human, part goddess, part ghost.
Australia based artist Patricia Piccinini creates disturbing yet enticing human-animal-plant hybrids. Her work probes your brain in a very uncomfortable way, forcing you to come to terms with the potentiality of a sci-fi engineer’s fantasy come alive. Her work spans various media, however her silicone, fiberglass, and human hair sculptures seem to take the cake of most striking. These alien plants and what may resemble sea creatures made from human flesh are not exactly easy to digest — yet, they are unquestionably inventive and just as hard to look away from as they are to look at. She begins her process by drawing through her thoughts. Once her idea becomes developed thoroughly, she plays with material. Her ideas manifest themselves through media spanning anywhere from photography to drawing to sculpture. She is able to develop a project anyway in which she believes will best connect the viewer and the concept. Her sculptures range in process — she uses both traditional approaches such as hand sculpting using plasticine models as well as digital techniques such as CNC and 3D-printing. Through provoking thoughts of genetic mutation and the potential of biotechnology, each piece questions the boundary of possibility and perhaps aims to be the foresight to the alarming possibilities of the future.
Patricia Piccinini has been active in the art scene for more than two decades. In 2014, she won the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Melbourne Art Foundation. (via Illusion)