KIM KEEVER’s large-scale photographs are created by meticulously constructing miniature topographies in a 200-gallon tank, which is then filled with water. These dioramas of fictitious environments are brought to life with colored lights and the dispersal of pigment, producing ephemeral atmospheres that he must quickly capture with his large-format camera.
Romulo Sans creates a dramatic aesthetic using political and cultural iconography. Sans’ photographs address issues of dominance, passivity, aggression, capitalism, and sexuality. Also of note are his blends of Western and Eastern imagery, asking viewers to consider the various absurdities within these contexts. Sans’ background in art direction and interest worldwide politics ground his work. These photographs convey Sans’ attempt to understand disparate cultural elements through a visual medium. Originally from Barcelona, Sans spent some formative years in Cuba, where he admittedly watched the Al Jazeera news outlet regularly, as it was one of the only available news outlets.
Mike Leavitt’s Intuition Kitchen churns out a plethora of playful and multidimensional pieces. From portable homeless shelters to wedding cake toppers and DIY vending machines, his career in the creative world knows no boundaries and ignores all stigmas. He just grabs inspiration and goes for it. For instance, Leavitt pays homage to Christo by shaping his image from polymer clay, a staple at Michaels or any craft supply store. This, and other Art Army Action Figures, embrace a lovely contrast between materials and content in an loveable and pitch perfect manner. It’s not just cheap plastics imported from overseas factories, nor is it about elitism in the commercial art world, nor is it a rebellion against any of it. Each art star figurine is simply built from hand in a limited edition of 10 with a raw passion and appreciation for the entire spectrum.
London based collobrative group rAndom International’s interactive installation Rain Room allows you to have the luxury of walking through the rain without getting a single drop on you. Rain Room is a hundred square metre field of falling water through which it is possible to walk, trusting that a path can be navigated, without being drenched in the process.
As you progress through The Curve, the sound of water and a suggestion of moisture fill the air, before you are confronted by this carefully choreographed downpour that responds to your movements and presence. (via)
Using narratives and visual genres found in art, combined with the clean aesthetics of design and contemporary product advertising, the work of Norah Stone is representative of a generation which has seen both art and design coexisting, flattened by the computer screen, and has no use for their separation. “The classic art vs. design question is something that comes up a lot in my daily life but I often find it to be a futile discussion, says the Minneapolis-based Stone, “I guess I just don’t think it’s important to set up boundaries just for the sake of boundaries.”
Norah Stone’s most-recent series, Artificial Utopias, creates thoroughly modern still life scenes, which despite their alluring hyppereal-quality (reminiscent of advertising and pictorial), the distinct sense of disconnect between these spotless digital worlds and our own is unsettling.
“In a culture where most of our daily routines and habits have been replaced by a digital screen, the scroll, the pixel, and the ability to retouch has ultimately changed our ideals of perfection….As I was working on this project I was thinking a lot about how growing up in the digital generation has subconsciously molded me to be attracted to a certain cleanliness that can only be achieved on screen. Artificial Utopias was a culmination of my own personal experience with the digital world and also the research I was doing on still lives. The super clean, almost surreal aesthetic came from trying to recreate the visceral experience that comes from staring at a screen for a long period of time.”
This play between perfection and illusion, the real and the empty, eventually manifested itself into twin video works as well. “In the video works (below) I was trying to recreate the process of eliminating imperfections through the clone stamp tool. In post production, I spent a lot of time retouching these photos to achieve the cleanliness of a stock photo. I wanted to capture the mundane process of retouching and erasing over and over again until you’re left with something completely different,” says Stone, who perhaps quite telling concludes, “or nothing at all.”
Eyes, we all have them. And they’re attached to the body that we have to take to the gym, so why not go to a gym that’s good looking? Take EQUINOX fitness clubs for example. The décor is zen-spa inspired. The yoga room has relaxing lighting, it’s oval shaped with bamboo floors and every mat is neatly tucked away in its place.
Everywhere you turn it’s another tasteful sign, piece of furniture or gleaming surface- a far cry from the usual garish colors and cluttered ambiance of other gyms. The treadmills even have a place to plug in your iPod and charge it, if that isn’t attention to detail, I don’t know what is.
Beautiful/Decay readers, we know you’re a discerning bunch, and you appreciate thoughtful design and great aesthetics, so get yourself over to Equinox for a 3 day trial and soak up the good-looking atmosphere for yourself.
After dying and coming back to life, Stuart Semple decided to become an artist. After years of hard work (and a controversy beginning with one of his sculptures, and ending with his smuggling his work into Charles Saatchi’s gallery), Semple has been able to get his name out. I love his quirky sensibility and use of color. (You might remember his happy pink clouds which he floated above the streets of London last year.)