Lea Anderson is an American artist who creates beautiful and “propagating” wall-mounted installations. Exploding and evolving like particles, individually crafted parts (or “pods”) made of soldered tin cans, socks, wire, and flowery digital prints merge into beautifully flowing units, enveloping walls with an ecstatic, quasi-infectious fervor. Inspired by the unstructured nature of memory, thought, and hope, Anderson’s works represent the free-flowing multiplicities that compose our emotional lives. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, she explained her process:
My work is fertilized by personal fascinations with the parallels found between the tangible, biological world, and the world of ideas, thoughts, and emotions. My work begins with a question about how a particular unseen reality might present itself if it were actually re-produced in physical form: What surprising form would the energy of ‘creative intention’ take on if it were visible? How might your memories flex and intermix with one another if we could see them all at once? What does the cumulative energy of one’s entire life look like when, through the grief of loss, it is transformed into love?
Many of Anderson’s works emerge from pain as projects of healing. “Matters,” for example, is a tribute to the enduring memories and influences of her late mother and father; “Rebirth of a Life” grew as an artistic response to the possibility of never having another child. In each case, Anderson dismantles mazes of pain by “sprouting” matter in infinite directions; as in the natural world, there is always a way to initiate healing and renewal by embracing the ebbs and flows of uninhibited thoughts and ideas. Without a predictable structure, Anderson’s works provide visual environments for highly subjective interpretations:
I hope the works stimulate curiosity and resonate on both the most fundamental and highest levels. The meaning I personally infuse in the work isn’t required for a link to be established. The language of color, shape, and form are powerfully unifying and universal ways of communicating. Responses reflect who each individual is in that moment. In that way the ideas are germinated within the mind of another, and the evolution continues.
Flicking through Colin Crane‘s photography is like playing a game of hide and seek. It’s joyful, light-hearted, flirty, a bit adventurous, and will make you smile. Crane has the knack for capturing the happiness in his subjects and images. It may sound so simple, but the effect is not to be underestimated. His photographs are like a celebration of many different aspects of life, but mostly about curiosity, enjoyment, wonder and inhibition (or lack of).
Crane’s series Dreaming In Color is a collection of intimate, dreamy moments caught on camera. Coquettish girls lie basking in a meadow, zoned out in a blissful state. A grown adult is engrossed in a pair of binoculars as if they were discovering them for the very first time. We see a figure mysteriously emerging from colored lights placed in a forest – and can only dream about what they are up to – where they have come from and why. Adventurous faces are captured, ready to create another memorable experience that they will no doubt tell around the next campfire. Friends are profiled in surreal light, flares, and orbs, sharing something magical with each other.
Crane has a naivety to his work – but most certainly not in a negative way. It’s almost as if he is experiencing the world for the first time, with virgin eyes, and we get to share in his astonishment. His work has titles like Life Is Elsewhere, A Dream That Could Come True, and Nicaraguan Afternoon – and it certainly feels like we have entered a fictional, surreal reality when we enter the world of this young talented photographer.
Michael Pietrocarlo is a photographer whose solemn photos of abandoned buildings capture the beauty of ruin and the renewing power of decay. Three series are featured here: Rust Belt, Forlorn Faith, and Unmanned Posts. Rust Belt explores the communities of Buffalo, Detroit, and Pittsburgh, which struggled during the economic turbulence of the 1980s; Forlorn Faith shows us vast spaces of spiritual worship left in decline; and Unmanned Posts guides us through the dust and stillness of the Bethlemhem Steel Admin Building, which closed in 1982. In his images, Pietrocarlo both shocks and stirs the imagination by revealing what happens when places once invested with love, energy, and hope are neglected; windows break, ceilings crack, paints peels. They become breathless ghost spaces, engraved with memory and mystery, breaking down and moldering in silence.
As these photos show us, however, there is beauty in deterioration; skeletons of industry and worship become tangible links to the past, signifiers of a passion and a hope that has preceded us. Decay becomes the passage to renewal, both personal and shared. As Pietrocarlo explains further:
I am drawn to the mystery of spaces where longevity has defied significance: forlorn constructs ravaged by nature, time, and the boundaries of ruin. I discover and appropriate these “found places” in my photographs to expose the brutal beauty of their (inevitable) decay, exploring contrasting themes of transience/permanence, deterioration/renewal, and abandonment/reclamation.
[…] Above all, these acts of discovery and documentation help me confront my own struggles with mortality in an attempt to illustrate artistry in dereliction, hope in obsolescence, intimacy in emptiness. (Source)
Perhaps taking some influence from the Hindu god Shiva, Korean artist Ahn Sun Mi creates self portraits depicting herself as some type of all seeing entity. In a surreal sense the photographs Mi creates depict the many emotions and feelings one experiences throughout the day. It conveys the complexity of human behavior by showing multiple eyes or arms. These represent the many things we see and do throughout the course of our lives. The numerous changes we undergo each day become in Mi’s work another mark in our psyche which is visually or literally depicted in her work.
While studying in Paris Mi became interested in the concept of metamorphosis which resulted from her being away from home in a strange land. Some of her photographs resemble a moth about to turn into a butterfly. Others have her struggling out of a cocoon like a covering made out of her arms. It helped her deal with all the emotions which stemmed from her new surroundings and mirrored how growth is good even though somewhat painful. By using herself in the photos we not only experience the ideas she’s trying to communicate but also get to see the biographical side in a literal visual sense. Historically Mi’s work finds reference to artists such as Yayoi Kusama and Rene Magritte. (Via faithistorment)
Like looking into the private thoughts of a diary, photographer Adeline Mai creates narratives of intimacy, portraying poetic scenes of human interaction. In her body of work, she creates ethereal images of profound closeness between her subjects. With titles like J’ai Embrassé L’Aube D’Été, French for I Embraced the Summer Dawn, Weightlessness, and Dirty Weekend, the names of each series are just as lyrical as the photographs itself. The Parisian artist captures stunning images of contorting bodies, displaying breathtaking views of the human body. In her series I Embraced the Summer Dawn, each photograph contains a stark emptiness except for the two, nude figures beautifully entwined as if they are attempting to become one body. This same sense of intimacy is embodied in her series Dirty Weekend. Only instead of gracefully posed, flawless bodies, we are now given a view of a more natural nudity, out in the woods and in more candid positions. Mai not only captures a playful kind of nakedness, but a shared closeness between clothed subjects as well. She is a master at capturing tender moments between her subjects and laying them out for all to see.
Mai having the ability to brilliantly capture light on her subjects, her series Weightlessness includes floating figures with soft, warm light consuming their surroundings. These figures appear to be floating, but they are actually underwater! The photographer has turned this normally cool-colored environment into a glow of yellows, reds, and oranges. Adeline Mai’s entrancing photography pulls you in to its intimate scenes of magnificent nudes being swallowed up by a sea of color or by human embrace.
Multimedia artist Alex Kiessling works with different ideas of how the future can be. He combines the ideas of fine art and high technology. He has used robots as painting assistants and exhibited it through a live stream to a worldwide internet-based audience. This series of paintings give the impression that they were made with digital help. Their colorful layers are overlapped just like a screen print gone wrong, but of course this is intentional. But despite appearances, Kiessling has achieved this striking effect by painting acrylic on canvas – by hand.
The series, titled Shift, ties in with his larger ideas of augmented reality, simulation, hybrids, and the existence between reality and dream. He explains a bit more:
In the static scenes of my paintings, the protagonists remain mostly resident between the glaring colorfulness of virtual realities and darkness, which is inherent in most of our dream sequences and memories. Both of these worlds are paramount due to their systematic character, which is connected to the simulative, and are projection surfaces of the human psyche. (Source)
His paintings have the affect of dreaming – you feel like what you are seeing isn’t really right, and maybe you should look a little harder. He has a beautiful way of describing his work:
In my work I concentrate on dreams and all kinds of dreamlike structures and explore its borders and bridges to reality. I try to visualize the “no men`s land” between the absurdity in our existence and the concrete concerns that come with our human mind or spirit. I am fascinated by the interacting vibrations between virtual reality, dreams and the basic common ground of our world`s so called reality. (Source)
Kiessling is interested in fragmented identities, and the fact that most of us now-a-days live our lives out in many different spheres or realities – in the physical as well as the digital. His painting series Shift is just another visual exploration of the theme that is becoming more and more relevant to this generation. (Via SuperSonic Art)
Ryo Yoshii is a Japanese artist who produces beautiful and evocative watercolor portraits. With an impressive control of the medium, Yoshii is able to capture the minute details of the face — such as the lines around and light within the eyes — while also introducing a surrealist blur: hair melts into the paper, tears streak and divide the body, animal faces are fractured over top of human ones. In a haze of dreamlike pastels, the portraits express both external character and internal life, unveiling moments of deep introspection.
Brimming with depth and sensitivity, Yoshii’s work can be read as metaphorical explorations of inner emotional worlds. Despite the stoic faces, which steadily meet the viewer’s gaze, there are signs of fluidity and instability within. The unpredictability of the watercolor medium lends perfectly to this depiction of inner turmoil and intensity, as the colors — much like our emotions — bleed invisibly from the body into the surrounding environment. As expressed in the beautiful blend of colors, no emotion exists in singularity in Yoshii’s work; instead, everything fuses together in a spectrum of experiences.
Romy Maxime has been experimenting with an interesting medium of late – Infrared film (typically used in military surveillance). Her series Lucid Dreaming is a soft, romantic, hazy collection of portraits of musicians based in Berlin. She uses the unusual candy colored tones of the film to evoke a strange surrealism from her subjects and their surroundings. Her images look like dramatic fairy-tales, or stills from some sort of film noir. Maxime talks about those influences on her:
This ongoing personal project was born out of nostalgia, a love for classic art films and the style and colors of photographs from the 1960s. (Source)
Growing up between Zurich, Cape Town and Cannes (she now calls Berlin home), Maxime translates her gypsy tendencies and ease with nature and quietness onto film. Working mostly in fashion photography, and portraiture, Maxime loves to create fantastical images that are like an exaggerated reality. She talks about her favorite parts of fashion photography:
It’s totally unrealistic! It’s the fantasy genre of photography – mostly an illusion with every excuse to include beautiful things. I do try to create some sort of story when I shoot fashion otherwise the clothes remain just beautifully cut textiles on a model. (Source)
She also talks about the effect yoga has had on her and her work – the calmness, serenity, and quiet that is all practiced in yoga gives her the focus she needs to capture the right mood in her shots. Read a full interview with her here on the International Foundation for Women Artists Blog. And be sure to see more of her many beautiful images on her Tumblr page and her Facebook page.