There is something intrinsically fascinating about seeing the ordinary created in new, surprising ways. Artist have long used this technique to make their viewer contemplate new connections and possibilities, and the internet has proven to be a particularly useful tool in spreading this type of work. South Korean artist Seon Ghi Bahk is an expert at this method. Using charcoal and other natural materials en masse to form familiar objects, Bahk reminds of us the connection between man-made goods and their source.
Bahk’s precision is absolute, meticulously hanging large groups of charcoal at specific heights to collectively echo architectural and building elements, such as stairs, columns, shelves and planters. Using translucent nylon thread to hang individual pieces gives each installation a floating quality, further separating them from their everyday inspiration.
In an interview with the Korean Art Museum’s Korean Artist Project, Bahk explains how he came to use charcoal in his installation work. ”I first used stones as materials for the installations…but the supporting structure and installation became unnecessarily large and overwhelmed the stones so I replaced the stones with charcoal. Since I spent my childhood out in nature, I wanted to embrace natural things in my work. I found that my favorite things in nature were wind, mountains and trees. But it was difficult to express wind or mountains in my work, so I chose trees as an alternative, and charcoal comes derives from that…now I seek natural encounters between man and culture…I emphasize the materiality in its poetic shapes.”
Alejandro Guzman focuses his artistic practice on the idea of creative misunderstandings through art. Guzman uses performance, sculpture, painting, drawing, photography and video to explore his interest in human nature, behavior, migration, consumption and materialism. A Puerto Rican artist living and working in New York there are cultural and historical references to indigenous folklore traditions, colonialism and storytelling combined with European and American modernism throughout Guzman’s work.
Also interested in shared human experiences, Guzman designs performances and art objects that offer experience and provoke thought. For his exhibition, Intellectual Derelict, Guzman created a sculptural performance object, a dual character, one half covered in colorful flowers and drawings and the other in mirrors and black-and-white drawings. The figure was involved in three performances that were meant to enhance a viewer’s experience with the natural world. For another performance for AD Projects, Guzman wore a modified Vejigante mask. El Vejigante is a historical figure generally part of Puerto Rican festivals. He was born out of Spanish Christianity, West African Yoruba rites and Taino aesthetics. The figure both embraces and resists his multifaceted roots and represents the ability to live both inside and outside society.
Always incorporating industrial and natural materials as well as his own drawings and sculptures, Guzman’s creations and performances are thoughtful, insightful and visually engaging.
New York City based artist Klaus Enrique constructs portraits based on painter Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s 400 year old work that features human figures with features represented by images of plant, fruit, or other organic elements. Enrique was inspired to create these portraits while photographing a human eye peeking out of leaves. He thought he could use leaves to construct facial features or masks. After some research, Enrique discovered Arcimboldo’s paintings and decided to recreate the images. This project has also inspired him to recreate other portraits, like those of Darth Vader, Gandhi, and The Terminator.
Enrique says, “Although most recognize the images immediately as portraits, there are many people who do not. At first they only see the individual parts of the image: the fruits, flowers, and vegetables. But after looking at it for a while, they realize that it’s a portrait of a person. To see that thought process being played out in real time is very satisfying to me because it mimics the thinking behind the art: that simple organic objects come together to create something more meaningful than the sum of its parts.” (via lens scratch)
Location is important to Canadian artist Aaron S. Moran. The wood sculptures he creates are both inspired by, and dependent on pieces of wood that he finds in a particular area. From them, he assembles the discarded material into works of art. Using a variety of colors, textures, and patterns, he creates pieces that create a dialogue between place, media, and the viewer.
At times, his sculptures feel like they are going to combust. In his series If You Resist This! and Wash Up (Boundary Bay), wood is unevenly matched in color and size. Pieces are wedged, layered, and placed where they will fit. The non-matching feels almost haphazard, like the piece’s shelf life wasn’t supposed to be very long. This visual tension feels volatile, as if there is something is ticking inside them and about to burst.
At other times, Moran’s sculptures are more docile. They hold an entirely different air and attitude. Here, he uses wood that’s been painted colors of a pretty sunset. Moran has considered placement of colors and arranged the wood in patterns. He titled the series Kite Contest/1991, conjuring up the feelings you’d get from a warm, pleasant day. He writes this about the series, poetically stating, “Sun filtered nostalgia, memories of vibrant kites flying high in the sky along the shore of a beach. Lively patterns from days gone by, blurred by time. Sun bleached photographs of smiling faces. Picnic blankets and pinwheels moving in the warm breeze.”
Moran is currently pursuing his MFA with the University of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. He lives along the Detroit River on the border of Canada and the United States. You can follow his works in progress and inspiration on his Tumblr, Year On A River.
Pieter Hugo, a South African photographer, plays with color channel manipulation to create portraits that highlight the impurities on his subject’s skin to make a statement about race, the colonial experiment in South Africa, and contemporary ideas of beauty.
There’s a Place in Hell for Me and My Friends entails portraits of the artist’s friends- all whom call South Africa their home. Through the manipulation of color, Hugo emphasizes the sitter’s blemishes and sun damage making them look darker than they would normally appear without the editing process.
In these portraits one sees how the sitters’ environment, a place where there is incredibly harsh sunlight, has started to ‘corrode’ our epidermis. This speaks to me about the South African colonial experiment – all these people from all over the world, thrown together within the confines of a nation by the forces of history. The damage left by the sun and the environment becomes allegorical of the burden of South Africa’s tempestuous and fraught past. History leaves its marks on us. It eats away at us. We cannot escape its heavy weight.
Besides the political allegories found in the work, Hugo is also interested in highlighting the errors of racial distinction by revealing that beneath it all, beneath our skin, we all look the same. As the critic Aaron Schuman writes about Hugo’s work, “although at first glance we may look ‘black’ or ‘white’, the components that remain ‘active’ beneath the surface consist of a much broader spectrum. What superficially appears to divide us is in fact something that we all share, and like these photographs, we are not merely black and white – we are red, yellow, brown, and so on; we are all, in fact, colored.” (Images via Stevenson)
Here at Beautiful/Decay we know a thing or two about what makes an artist’s portfolio successful; each day we receive dozens of artist portfolio submissions from all over the world showcasing art, design, photography, and more. When it comes to artist portfolio sites, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly- we wanted to share our favorite artist-friendly website builder with our readers, it’s called Made With Color.
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In just 30 years Future Shop has turned from a small one store electronics shop in Vancouver, BC to becoming Canada’s biggest retail and e-tailer of Electronics. So it should come as no surprise that Future Shop continually brings you some of the exciting and popular pieces of tech and electronics.
The above video by Future Shop showcases the Bose OE2i headphones which are some of the most lightweight yet durable headphones on the market. These headphones don’t have any of the bulk that you’re used to seeing on other premium headsets but they pack a powerful audio punch with advanced acoustic design that gives you surprising depth and clarity, adding further nuances, deeper lows and clearer highs to your favourite tunes. Best of all the Bose OE2i headphones are equipped with an inline remote and mic that’s compatible with most Apple products making it easy to control your device whether you’re in the studio painting all day or running around town.
These incredible coin sculptures were created by artist Robert Wechsler, who was commissioned by The New Yorker to create this work for their October 14th “Money” themed issued. Wechsler’s coin designs are crafted with money from varying countries of origin into geometric, fractal-like shapes. These shapes were created using a jeweler’s saw to cut out notches in the metal and then linked together with other coins. Wechsler has used coins for some of his past work, and most of his sculptures are created with objects from life’s seeming mundanity, like fingerprints, schooldesks, snails, a toaster, and an iron.
Wechsler writes, “Comfortably accustomed to everyday objects and spaces, we are blind to their unseen beauty and elegance. Who looks at a shopping cart or a toaster for the object itself? This state of static expectations is fertile ground for surprise. It is a conscious re-examination of my subjects that re-instates the novel back into the familiar. This is the moment of surprise, the moment we discover what is unseen in what is always seen. In reverence for what initially appears modest we get a small glimpse of the boundless elegance of our world.”(via exhibition-ism)