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Arian Behzadi

Arian Behzadi BoyWednesday morning presents an anomaly… one who utilizes the left and right side of the brain: Biologist and Artist Arian Behzadi.  Currently a Biology student, Arian squeezes in design time in between classes.  You can see more after the jump, and on Arian’s Flickr photostream.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Dragonfly Love

This is probably the best short film I have ever seen using only a camera phone. Director Thomas Hilland was asked to make the most out of Nokia N8’s smartphone camera. If the quality of the film doesn’t do it for you, I know I especially enjoyed the rotund men running around in costumes, battling each other with remote controlled dragonflies. Music was by the British band, Kap Bambino.

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Artist Interview: Erik Beehn

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Loyal B/D reader, let me introduce you to Erik Beehn, a supremely talented painter, photographer, printmaker, and all around excellent artist. Erik’s work tends to focus on spaces, and the details that define those spaces. Says Erik, “It is the small details within a space, such as the lighting, textures, shadows, and even the balance of negative space between objects that grasps my attention. My work investigates the use of emptiness within a space, and its relationship to either its viewer, or its occupant.” Erik recently moved his studio to Las Vegas, and has been working like mad on several different projects, while always keeping his eyes open to the subtleties of the american landscape. I caught up with Erik the other day, and asked him some questions about his former life as a master printer, his unusual painting techniques, and his new life in Sin City.

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Parastou Forouhar Covers Gallery Walls With Persian Calligraphy

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Persian Calligraphy

After her parents were murdered in Tehran, Parastou Forouhar was exiled to Germany. Just like her parents, Forouhar is critical of the Iranian government, and it is with this adherence to and separation from her Iranian identity that her work is based. Forourhar says, “The production of identity, and the repressive mechanisms by which it is reified, comprise the focus of my work. My homeland, Iran, is a constant theme in my artistic practice, but the conception is complex and continuously in flux. Beyond Iran, there is also the collective memory of Germany, where I have lived since 1991. When I arrived there, I was Parastou Forouhar, but I have since become ‘Iranian.’ Every space I inhabit is accompanied by a feeling of displacement.”

For her “Written Room” project, Forouhar covers the blank surfaces of gallery and museum spaces with Persian calligraphy. This creates an elegant aesthetic that is fragmented and fluid. “Whereas the white walls of the gallery room are raised to a universal norm and an unmarked instance, the Oriental ornament stands for difference or the deviating.The writing is also strange, if not alien, because it is illegible for Western visitors – as an ‘incomprehensible’ text it becomes a pure ornament. In defying attempts by Western visitors to assign it meaning, the script remains locked into its irreducible pictorial graphicness and indissoluble representation.” Even if one had a grasp of the Persian language, they would only be able to decipher fragments and syllables of the language that are not part of any linear order. Forouhar’s work ultimately seeks to bridge the gaps in her identity as an Iranian and German. (via fubiz)

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Pavlove’s Eyes Wide Shut

Images from a project called “Inneres Auge” of creative people by photographer Pavlove.

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Susannah Martin’s Contemporary Interpretation Of The Classical Nude

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Susannah Martin is a German-based artist whose subject matter is timeless. Her realistically-rendered pastel drawings and oil paintings feature nude subjects who are exploring an idyllic landscape. As they wade through streams and pass by mountains, men, women, and children encounter different wild life. The poses and scenarios aren’t sexually motivated, and instead we see Martin’s figures presented in a much more classical, art historical way. She explains:

The history of the painted nude in landscape documents exactly this eternal longing. Setting aside for a moment, any erotic motivations, the nude has always also been a symbol for man in his purist form, his original form, his primordial form. Stripped of all social indicators; clothing, possessions , etc., he exists independent of identity in a time of pure being ( ein Zeit des Seins). Being is our eternal home. Nature does not possess an identity, it is. The nude in a natural setting has always been associated with our return to a time of pure being, a return home.

 

As time has passed and technology rapidly advances, we become more disconnected with the natural world; so much so that we’re more of visitors than inhabitants. Martin goes on to write:

Nature is no longer home to us, she is much more a tourist destination. Certainly no representation of the nude in landscape in the 21st century can escape conveying our extreme estrangement from nature, intentional or not. There is an unavoidable strangeness or feeling of dislocation which envelopes the most sincere attempt at harmony. How absurd man seems stripped of his possessions and identity crutches and yet it is indisputable, he gains strength, clarity and beauty when we contemplate him abstractly , as a phenomenon of nature. My experimentation with contemporising the nude in landscape takes place within this framework of tension between these two poles of self-perception.

And finally:

… if we accept that realism now includes virtual realism, that is it incorporates a high degree of improbability, a hyperbolic realism. Man may return once again to his original landscape, his eternal home, all be it this time as a tourist, a primordial tourist.

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The Funeral Pictures Of Genevieve Blais Studies The Business Of Death

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The business of death is the subject of Genevieve Blais’ photo essay Funeral. In the series Blais looks at how consumerism dominates our lives even after life. Using a mechanical almost step by step process she captures the funerary procedure from start to finish through an itemized set of rules. In catalog fashion she shows what is needed to accomplish the final step of life; flowers, caskets, makeup, embalming machine, credit cards and waiting room. The photos themselves look dated, perhaps on purpose pointing to the fact there really hasn’t been much advancement in the business of death.
A picture of an embalming machine with the brand name Dodge makes you wonder if the popular car company was thinking proactively when designing their product which accounts for approximately 30,000 deaths per year. Turns out there’s no relation to the two and Dodge the funeral provider has been a family business since 1893. The website advertises their formaldehyde-free products and offers seminars and even a magazine for those interested in this type of work.
In her statement, Blais says when she first embarked on the project she didn’t know what to expect but as she went along she began taking a Marxist attitude towards the whole procedure. However, death is big business and those working in that industry make a comfortable living by a simple fact of nature that is both unavoidable and inevitable.

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Dan Graham And Four Other Artists Who Use Mirrors In Their Artwork

Dan Graham

Dan Graham

Alyson Shotz, Mirror Fence at Storm King

Alyson Shotz, Mirror Fence at Storm King

Ryan Everson

Ryan Everson

David Atmejd

David Atmejd

A visually interesting and literally engaging material many artists are drawn to mirrors and other reflective surfaces for their visually interesting qualities.  Based in concept, Dan Graham’s “pavilions” blur the line between sculpture and architecture.  Toying with perception the pavilions employ two-way mirrors and glass to engage a viewer and disorient his sense of space.

Inspired by artists like Graham, Danish artist Jeppe Hein is interested in illusion and turning passive visitors into participants.  Hein uses mirrors and other reflective surfaces in his work.  Finding the place there art intersects with architecture, and technical inventions, Hein often adds an element of humor to his pieces.

With similar interests Alyson Shotz also investigates issues of perception and space by using reflective materials.  Often Shotz’s works become visual representations of concepts from theoretical physics (string theory, dark metter, etc).  Other times her work exposes changing surroundings.   Shotz says of her works such as Mirror Fence, “I’m interested in making objects that change infinitely, depending on their surroundings. The light at different times of day, the weather…what the viewers are wearing, all these are just some of the variables that will make the piece different every time one comes in contact with it.  For me an ideal work of art is one that is ultimately unknowable in some way.”

Ryan Everson is a multimedia artist who reveals the sentimentality often associated with an idealized natural world.  As he explains, Fear addresses the “abstract emotional states stirred up from specific self reflective moments.” Sometimes apparent, and sometimes camouflaged, Everson’s Fear creates a deeply rich symbolic metaphor for the feelings evoked by fear.

David Altmejd employs mirrors in his works to help him, and a viewer, explore a fantasy world that puts reality into perspective.  Depicting mythical creatures, Atmejd blurs distinctions between real and perceived.

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