David Cat√°¬†describes his ongoing series, “A Flor De Piel” as an autobiographical diary of which his skin is the canvas.¬†Cat√° embroiders portraits of people who have influenced or marked his life¬†¬†- family, friends, teachers, lovers, partners – by physically marking his palm with these images. This embroidered flesh corporally represents relationships we have with each other – love and union and the pain and loss felt through separation, as well as the residual imprint of the relationship.¬†Cat√°¬†documents this action with photography and videography, imprinting his life story into various surfaces. You can check out more body-as-canvas work on his website. (via design boom)
Often working within the realm of fairy-tales and folk-lore, artist Su Blackwell cuts out images from books to create three-dimensional dioramas.¬† Her material is important to her.¬† Interested in both the fragility and the strength of paper, as well as the conceptual depth of old books, Blackwell finds something both accessible and precarious in her method.¬† Believing in the power of imagination (an avid reader herself) Blackwell transforms description into a version of enchanted reality‚ÄĒthe story becomes another translation of the story.
She says of her works, ‚ÄúI tend to lean towards young-girl characters, placing them in haunting, fragile settings, expressing the vulnerability of childhood, while also conveying a sense of childhood anxiety and wonder.¬† There is a quiet melancholy in the work, depicted in the material used, and the choice of subtle colour.‚ÄĚ
A scene caught in time, presented as if it grew out of the book itself, Blackwell‚Äôs sculptures are fantasy turned reality, which still manage to feel like fantasy.¬† There is precision, attention to detail and a feeling of diligence present in Blackwell‚Äôs pieces each functioning to further both the illusion and the veracity.¬† Inciting wonder, curiosity and imagination all at once, Blackwell‚Äôs sculptures are like fantastic little worlds all unto themselves that a viewer feels lucky enough to catch a glimpse of.
Artist Sam Songailo uses bright colors, straight lines, and bold, graphic shapes in his outdoor and indoor installations. Geometric repeating patterns span span floors, ceilings, and walls. Lighting plays a role in his work as it enhances color and gives the work a sense of space and a depth of field. Once the viewer is immersed in the space, all of the elements of Songailo‚Äôs work transports them to another place.
Outdoor installations, like the ones on a city street, work with the existing landscape. Songailo’s patterns fill and conform to every inch of the given space like a mutating organism. The high-contrast colors and intricate trellis-like shapes create a disorienting effect. Not so much when viewing it as a whole from above, but walking through it leaves little indication of direction.
Before he started large-scale installations, Songailo was a graphic designer. This is evident in the execution of his work, especially in one of his few indoor installations, ¬†Zen Garden (directly above).¬†¬†The piece mimics the lines of sand, with a few “rocks” that are spread throughout the gallery floor. Songailo is able to have full control over the space, and uses principles of design to make it not only attractive, but to effectively transport the viewer to a minimalist, geometric zen garden.
Celebrated artist Alberto Giacometti once said, “The object of art is not to reproduce reality, but to create a reality of the same intensity.” Giacometti was an artist noted for his abstraction and deconstruction of the human form, which he depicted through a multitude of sculptures, paintings and drawings in elongated shape and scumbled lines. ¬†Figurative paintings and portraiture are nothing new, yet subgenres of portraiture continue to emerge, survive and move us. ¬†The common phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” aptly applies, and the activation of perception, observation and process are represented in beautiful and intricate ways in the four contemporary artists whose work is featured here. ¬†Featured artists include:¬†Karim Hamid, Colin Chillag, Borondo¬†and¬†Angela Fraleigh.
The work of Mathew Zefeldt¬†(previously featured here)¬†successfully balances improbable combinations – modern with historical, digital with classical, painterly foregrounds with computer-like backgrounds – all by densely rendering them in traditional painting techniques with oils and acrylics. ¬†Having created an advanced personal lexicon of art historical references to classical sculpture, as well as to abstract and figurative painting, these figures cohesively exist alongside more modern glitch aesthetics, shifting colors, garish patterns, and computer-like repetition. Through the combination of these disparate elements, Zefeldt recalls the history of the painting medium, while referencing the potential to represent our new, hybrid reality. Explaining his work, the artist says,¬†“My paintings are still-life arrangements that take place in my head; they are windows onto a fictional world, governed by rules based in the real world, but bent and broken…”.¬†
These still-lifes exist in another improbably capacity, that of using both illusionistic depth and perspective, but on two-dimensional plane. This use of the flat-plane is more often found in collage, as is Zefeldt’s tendency to repeat (almost) identical imagery. When asked by Beautiful/Decay why he chooses painting to construct his explorations of a variegated contemporary visual culture, Zefeldt replies,¬†“It would be a million times easier to collage or photoshop rather than paint. But paint forces you to slow down. Painting the same thing over and over again is almost meditative. Painting can be subversive too. Everything is getting more digital, movies etc. I think its important to keep making things manually, by hand.” This attention to craft highlights a uniquely human quality, where each sculptural bust appears exactly the same, but holds its own standard of flawed beauty upon closer inspection.
Cecelia Webber‘s collage work features tessellated figures and limbs of the human body arranged to form images of plants and animals. Webber photographs nude models – including herself – in various poses before she digitally edits the images, cutting and coloring them to form particular parts of the new image. The final product features different bodies and body parts posed in the same positions. Many of the pieces take months to finish, but the longest image – the rose – took her a year to complete because of how tricky the angles were to capture and arrange. Webber creates an image with such a high resolution that they can be printed up to 6 feet tall, a size that would make the tessellated bodies even more pronounced and captivating.
“Each image takes many stages to create.¬†I start by researching photos of the creature or plant I’m trying to create and then sketch poses I want to photograph in a notebook…I never warp my models or edit them to change them – it is important to me to portray real natural bodies.¬†Once I have my photos I start laying out my piece and playing with colour and arrangements…Many drastic transformations take place during this stage, so it’s sort of magical, because so many different variations are possible.¬†I feel many possibilities at once but the true form of my subject slowly emerges.” (via daily mail)
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Dylan Shields, an artist based in London, creates sculptures that investigate the relationship between classical sculpture and contemporary materials.
The sculptures further explore and build upon the existent relationship between canonical works of art (in this case and its contexts within modern society by creating them out of cardboard, a relatively new (ish) material in the realm of art-making. He uses re-cycled cardboard and parcel tape to produce work that is at both familiar yet fresh by its original use of form and perspective.
‚ÄúIt has been a process of trial and error to perfect my style. One of the challenges of working with cardboard is the limitation of its flexibility. Also, sourcing the right colors has been difficult as I don‚Äôt paint the sculptures, so the colors have to come from the cardboard.‚ÄĚ