Using a unique surface Jason Middlebrook creates abstract motifs. He takes tree bark and combines its natural grooves with ideas which speak to nature in a way that celebrates its form and at the same time symbolically shows how man has put his stamp on it. In his plank series he takes different types of discarded wood such as maple, black birch and cottonwood to create paintings which follow the natural pattern of bark but in the process creates a beautiful design. They exaggerate what’s already there and makes beautiful process out of recycled materials.
In wall works Middlebrook takes it one step further and mimics the tree bark with materials such as bronze and stainless steel. These evoke more of a cave mystique. The darker surfaces and nature reference rocks and harder surfaces. The colors in a few are subdued hinting again at the random way things are formed in a natural state. While the wall works made of tree bark begin to resemble minerals found in rocks due to color and application of paint. Middlebrook finds a nice common ground to play with what’s found in nature and remaking it using another raw material. Middlebrook has been working with wood for many years. Some of the other projects he’s been involved include garden gnomes, park benches and birdhouses. He currently lives and works in Hudson, NY.
Photographer Pavel Samokhvalov captures intriguing images of the nearly-nude body set against day-glow neon lighting. The provocative photos feature models clad in see-through hosiery and whose bodies are bent and contorted towards the camera. Often, their faces are obscured by hair or poses. Samokhvalov will also only shoots part of the torso, zeroing-in on a small tattoo or glitter-covered nipple.
The photographer does a lot of editorial work, specifically in the fashion realm. His background is cinematography from the Moscow Film Institute, and this training can be seen in his work. The images tell a story, and each fuschia-colored background is one piece of a larger puzzle. They double as character studies, showcasing a product while at the same time providing subtle clues about the nature of the pieces and the people who wear them. (Via Scene 360)
Culinary artist Annabel de Vetten creates, bakes, and sculpts incredible, artistic edibles that tend to be on the dark side. She makes sinister sweets that look exactly like bird skulls, animal insides, and the exposed organs of a cadaver. All of her detailed work would be impressive as a sculpture, but to make it with chocolate, cake, and icing takes a very unique set of skills. Her morbid, graphic style of cake making grew from a background of fine art and, not surprisingly, taxidermy. During this practice, Vetten became very familiar with the site of guts and bones, which is why the inside of her human and animal corpses appear so real, even though they are actually desserts.
You may wonder who would want to eat something that looks so horrifying, but Vetten’s business is booming! Her business, clever named Conjurer’s Kitchen, is wildly successful and only continues to grow. This means that her cooking not only looks amazing, but it must taste great as well. In order to accurately construct each bone and blood vessel, Vetten must only use the finest ingredients. For her chocolate sculptures, she must use high quality Belgian chocolate, so that the features won’t melt away. For the coloring, she invents deliciously creative ways to integrate food that naturally has the hue she desires, making both her technique and her subject matter equally innovative and unique. Vetten’s sickening sweets may display a deathly subject matter, but more importantly display unbelievable artistic skill. (via Munchies.Vice.com)
At the end of the world, if all of our waste, memories, and collective knowledge were to be resurrected into living masses, it would look something like this. In an exhibition of metaphorical power and desolate beauty, artist Philip Ob Rey (in collaboration with Louie Otesanek, who inspired the movement, and photographer Mailie Viney) brings us V, an installation/photography project currently on display at the Cell63 in Berlin. Featured in V are black-and-white photographs of faceless, monolithic giants plodding aimlessly through an apocalyptic wilderness, here represented by the vast and darkly beautiful horizons of Iceland. Made of tangled VHS rolls — along with natural artifacts (feathers, stones, shells, and dry seaweeds) Ob Rey found amidst the fjords and active geothermal areas of Iceland — the bodies of the mysterious, god-like beings rip and tear in the wind. Elsewhere, eerie cocooned beings sit in silent, candle-lit caves encroached by snow, emanating a sense of wisdom and despair.
For Ob Rey, the giants manifest the five essential elements in a post-apocalyptic context, as well as the voices of lost generations trapped within the magnetic rolls. With their withering, film-wrapped bodies and their ancient-yet-futuristic appearances, the giants stand as mute omens that warn against current cultural and environmental trends. “They are covered with a black toxic skin, [a] chaotic flesh of magnetic encoded images,” Ob Rey explains. “I built in 5 essential elements, creatures made of VHS, dreamlike and disfigured in reaction against the growing dictatorship of the mass media and the unstoppable plastic pollution due to the overconsumption of the new technologies.”
At once cautionary and retrospective, Ob Rey’s V provides a beautiful, neutral medium in which to envision the earth pre- and post-human life. As temporally indistinct visions, the summoned giants allow us to emotionally explore the idea of our own end, when one day our bodily traces linger as non-recyclable materials floating around on the earth’s desolate surface. If you are in Berlin,V is showing until May 8th. You can see more of Ob Rey’s work on his Facebook page and website, where he works under the title “Humantropy” (a word referring to the nature of universal chaos and the decline of humankind). More stunning shots from V after the jump. (Via beautiful.bizarre)
Mandarin Duck (Aniko Koleshnikova) hand carves one-off book covers inspired by fantasy and supernatural stories. Using colorful polymer clays, the Latvian artist sculpts dragons, frogs, owls, leaves, beetles, skulls, roses, and vines. She adds crystals, Swarovskis, or resin details to her creations to accentuate the features, and engraves or indents different patterns into the surface of each cover. Each design is so intricately made and beautifully finished, you can see the amount of hours put into each piece.
Koleshnikova doesn’t only customize book covers – she also uses her carving skills making jewellery and decorative sculptures. She makes beads, pendants, earrings, and also cases for pocket mirrors and large vases. If you want to try it out for yourself, she has many tutorial videos on Youtube you can follow and learn from. Or you can visit her Etsy shop here. Furthermore, Mandarin Duck also takes custom orders if you would like your own personal journal covered. (Via Bored Panda)
Patrick Bergsma‘s sculptures aren’t your childhood’s tree houses. Though they embody the whimsical architecture that a child might dream up, they also feature urban decay: rusted cars, broken down buildings, overgrown houses in disrepair. The trees seem to spring forward, like next-generation dwellings that have survived a nuclear apocalypse.
Bergsma’s sculptures also play with physics, sometimes featuring an inverted house underneath the roots of a large, gnarled tree. The barren branches loom over tiny figures that sit beneath them, as though they’re contemplating lives past or lives lost. In a way, the trees almost seem to depict a life that an urban dweller might hope for: a simpler life in the outdoors, free from worrying about busted pipes or rent or the other responsibilities of caring for a permanent dwelling.
There’s a peacefulness to Bergsma’s work. It asks us to imagine ourselves somewhere else and shows us that, even when we’re thinking about watering the lawn or fixing the shingles, we’re still a part of nature.(via I Need a Guide)
Norwegian artist Andreas Lie fuses wild creatures with landscapes in a subtle collection of animal portraiture. Using two different photographic images, he creates a double exposure where woods, water, mountains, and even the Northern Lights are contained within the bodies of beasts. Polar bears, foxes, and wolves are all featured, and their torsos become one with the ground.
The textures of trees (like evergreens) often works in Lie’s favor. It mimics the look of fur so while these images are undoubtedly surreal, they also look natural. And, that’s part of their appeal. They combine visually disparate elements of the natural world in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing. It comes in a nice, animal-shaped package.
Lie sells his work via Society6. Check it out for prints, clocks, tote bags, and more. (Via Blu)
The figures in Sarah Louise Davey‘s world are haunted, magical, nymph-like creatures who are both hard to look at, and delightful to see. She sculpts double headed woman-beasts who are tortured, but hopeful; disgusting but ethereal; grotesque, but innocent. Her work is a blend of aesthetics and emotions. By presenting us with these gruesome half-human half-monsters, Davey is essentially asking us to evaluate our own aesthetic measures – what do we consider beautiful and why?
Can a bald dwarf with saggy pig ears and forlorn eyes sprouting fungal forms still be attractive? We can definitely appreciate the craftsmanship of the object, and yes – somehow find ourselves wanting to look at it again and again. Davey says she also wants to question her own standards of beauty:
Through the vessel of the figure and materiality of clay, I create sculptural objects and installations to evoke intuitive, visceral responses informed by our subjective notions of physical image and societal norms. I question my own experiences of these through the various personalities that emerge with each hybrid portrait, as they are often an exaggerated mix of whimsical beauty and exaggerated macabre. (Source)
She herself calls her creation-beasts ‘feral’ and ‘beastly’ – yet she can see parts of herself and various personalities she can relate to within them. She is able to reflect on her own experiences through the broken brutes and we can see that while we are all human, we are all also part ugly, tortured animals.
At the heart of these works is the eternal push and pull of the spirit. The two-headed beast, the twin within, living just beneath the skin, sharing the shell and breathing life in through the cracks. They are psychic creatures blistered by hope and beaten with twinges of nostalgia. (Source)