Angel Olsen’s Burn Your Fire For No Witness

Photo by Zia Anger.

Photo by Zia Anger.

Singer Angel Olsen is back with a new album, Burn Your Fire For No Witness released earlier this month on Jagjaguwar. I featured Angel here on Beautiful Decay early last year with her incredibly haunting sophomore record, Half Way Home. She has one of those unique voices that clearly stands on its own and with this new record she brings some of it with an edgier, harder sound.

The record starts simply enough with the opening track, “Unfucktheworld” where she sings about a broken heart and then lets loose with the next track, “Forgiven/Forgotten“. It’s truly a beautiful record from start to finish and quite different than both her debut, Strange Cacti and Half Way Home, but her voice is still the star of the show.

Angel is about to embark on a massive three month tour of the US and Europe so you have plenty of chances to see her live. You can catch her this coming Sunday, March 2nd at the Echoplex in Los Angeles, March 3rd at San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall, and Friday March 7th at Barboza in Seattle. She’ll also be playing at the SXSW Music Festival in Austin as well as at Primavera Sound in Barcelona, Spain. Check out all of her tour dates here and check out her new video for, “Hi-Five” directed by her frequent collaborator, Zia Anger.

 

Alain LaBoile’s Poignant Images Catalog Childhood Abandon

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When Sally Mann published a series of photographs of her children titled Immediate Family in 1992, she spotlighted childhood with a rich tonal backdrop of a Virginia riverside summer house, and she was met with accusations of child pornography. About twenty years later, caught in a starkly different contemporary artistic current, the photographer Alain LaBoile presents La Famillie, a series that for its distinctive silver gelatin aesthetic and subject matter seems to pick up where Mann left off.

 

LaBoile’s work, unlike Mann’s, lacks the suggestion of immediacy, binding viewers within the nostalgic frame of childhood play, entirely carefree and unabashed. Mann’s work is urgent: she reveals a haloed shot of her daughter, blonde hair dancing in pool of water like some inexperienced Ophelia, and she tragically subverts its innocence with image of the last nude swimming photo her son let her take. Childhood for Mann is something to be beautifully lost, but for LaBoile, it’s more of a constant realm, easily returned to with a flash and made blindingly undeniable by jarring accents of white.

 

The innovative power of this contemporary work relies upon oh-so-subtle symbols of purity and incorruptibility of youth; a boy digs himself from mud filled and grave-like abyss, resurrected in glowing white to a young girl who prances about the Edenic verdure. Similarly, another daughter remains preserved in a class case, safely nuzzled between fine china and a white cat. Bums innocently moon the camera like those of cherubs. A boy printed in a blinding sort of white appears to hang from a tree; yet upon closer inspection, he’s just climbing, playing the part of a-not-yet-fallen Adam for an onlooking sister. Take a look. (via Feature Shoot)

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Paul Kaptein Questions Notions Of Substance, Emptiness And Temporality With His Wooden Sculptures

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Australian sculptor, Paul Kaptein creates unusual but skillful wooden sculptures that question our ability to look past missing pieces in the bigger picture. Kaptein, interested in the Buddhist term sunyata (Sanskrit word for ideas of emptiness as a way to achieve wholeness), integrates (and questions) notions of substance, emptiness, and temporality into his highly skilled pieces of wooden work.

By seamlessly incorporating empty gaps (usually long empty rectangles) into busts and entire recreations of human bodies, Kaptein imposes the viewer with questions as to why these pieces are missing. The simple fact that viewers will directly and promptly question this characteristic first, further enables Kaptein’s interest in challenging the viewer’s resistance, and/or apprehension to accept something that is not complete. The main idea  here relies on getting the spectator to react to Kaptein’s work for what it is: seamless, beautiful wooden sculptures that happen to be missing a piece or two.

It can also be said that these gaps are indicative of conceptions of time:

I’m exploring the notion of the now as a remix of past and future potentialities. This facilitates a renegotiation of perceptual truths resulting in an expression of things not quite truth, yet not quite fiction.

40 Galleries You Should Know If You Love Paint: Redux

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Elijah Burgher. Courtesy of Western Exhibitions (aka Scott Speh Gallery), Chicago

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Nicholas Nyland. Courtesy of Prole Drift, Seattle

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Dana Schutz. Courtesy of Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York City


I put together my first selection of Forty Galleries You Should Know if You Love Paint in 2012. As with everything in life, a lot has changed in the art world over the past two years. Some of my favorite galleries have closed, including Harris Lieberman in New York City and the legendary Daniel Weinberg Gallery in Los Angeles, while some younger galleries have either suddenly appeared or have developed their programming in truly noteworthy ways.

Of all the changes since 2012, the most difficult has been the recent loss of the visionary and beloved New York art dealer who simply went by the name Hudson. His gallery, Feature, Inc., has been a critical part of the city’s frenetic art scene since the mid-1980s. Hudson brought early exposure to dozens of important artists, including Alexander Ross and Tom Friedman. In the past few years, his championing of mid-career artists such as Andrew Masullo and David Deutsch helped bring their work much-deserved attention. While Hudson will long be remembered for his impact on the art world, it is his quiet intelligence and gentle spirit that I will miss the most. There is no word yet as to what will become of Feature, Inc. – Steven Zevitas, Publisher New American Paintings 

Steven Zevitas founded New American Paintings magazine in 1994 as a vehicle for providing promising emerging artists with international exposure. Working closely with museum curators, New American Paintings reviews the work of thousands of artists each year. Forty artists are selected to appear in each bi-monthly edition, many of whom go on to receive substantial critical and commercial success. Additional magazine content focuses on the medium of painting, those who influence its direction, and the role painting plays within the wider contemporary art world. Visit New American Paintings for more information or to subscribe.

Zsolt Molnár Illustrated Poster of Every Episode Of “Breaking Bad”

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S02E08 / Better Call Saul

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Budapest-based designer Zsolt Molnár created an illustrated poster for every episode of the popular television show, Breaking Bad. It took the designer five months to produce 62 full-color posters, which are minimalist representations of iconic moments in each episode and include an important object or person that’s accompanied by a memorable quote.

If you’ve ever watched Breaking Bad, you’re aware that it’s basically an hour-long anxiety attack. The tension between characters and situations in the show is intense and suspenseful. It takes place in New Mexico, and in every episode we’re inundated with saturated colors of sand and the desert.  Molnár styles his illustrations similarly, like gritty texture with a pop color, like Walt’s green shirt or a destroyed pink teddy bear. They are contained in their compositions, and rely on symbolism of objects and colors in every poster.

Molnár has posted his handiwork on his Tumblr. If you haven’t seen the entire show and don’t want any potential spoilers, then you might want to hold off on scrolling through the his series until you’ve watched it. (Via Buzzfeed)

Brad Spencer Uses Bricks For More Than Building

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Brad Spencer doesn’t just build things out of bricks, he also sculpts them into existence. Much of his work is large-scale and features human figures or elements that appear to emerge naturally and seamlessly from this solid medium. Bricks are normally used architecturally to build structures with 90 degree angles. Spencer challenges this conception by creating fluid shapes from this recognizable form. He uses a relief technique – starting with unfired clay, he sculpts the walls and figures into a brickwork pattern. He then fires the pieces separately, and assembles the entire piece on the day it’s set to display. Spencer says,

“Brick sculpture can be dated back to ancient Babylon but remains a fresh and interesting enhancement to any building, wall or environment.

Projects may include bas (low) relief, high relief, full dimension free standing and often a combination. The brick medium has all the same characteristics of durability and low maintenance as a brick building, blends well in settings where other brick construction is present, looks good with landscaping and has a familiarity which is comforting to people. Brick sculpture adds intrigue and interest to a commonly understood material as viewers try to figure out the techniques by which it was created.” (via my modern met)

Made With Color Presents: Cassandra Jones’ Incredible Geometric Cheerleader Patterns And Lightning Drawings

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Cassandra Jones

Our friends at portfolio site builder Made With Color have teamed up with Beautiful/Decay yet again to bring you exclusive artist features. Each week we join forces to bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers working today who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek websites. Made With Color doesn’t just help artists create minimal and mobile/tablet responsive websites but allows them to do so in a few minutes without having to touch a line of code.This week we are happy to share the work of mixed media artist Cassandra Jones.

Cassandra Jones uses thousands of found images collected from stock photography
agencies, eBay, and public domain archives to create her dazzling digital collages. Culling through thousands of found images, she compiles these photographs to create imagery that tell stories about human observation and the power of photographic imagery in our snap-happy contemporary lifestyle.

Two standout bodies of works by Jones includes her Good Cheer and Lightning Drawing series. In Good Cheer Jones takes stock photos of peppy cheerleaders performing stunts that flaunt their briefs and transforms them into a mesmerizing geometric patterned wallpaper. This type of photography, a young girl in uniform with one leg up in the air, has a duel connotation of family values and pornography all in one image. Good Cheer surrounds the viewer in this paradox of ethical ambiguity. In Lightning Drawing Jones turns to found images of lightning. Merging “Remix Culture” with traditional mark making, Jones groups and connects stock photos of lightning bolts, end to end, to draw a series of circles. Each of these pieces is executed with a different and distinct line quality, including bold, thin, feathered, overlapping, meandering, and fluid linear scores.

About her work Jones States:

My photography archives and the works I create from them are documents of a banality that have emerged from an over-abundance of common imagery. Led by a desire to create a counter to convention, I am attempting to liberate specific visual clichés by embracing them. I draw connections between theses images to demonstrate that the most prevalent scenes we are compelled to capture, somehow link us. Alone, these photos have diverse meanings but when intertwined and woven together they reveal much larger stories of history, ritual, desire and innate human aesthetics, regardless of author.

Uncanny Photographs Explore The Aging Human Body

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For her undergraduate project Young and Old, the freshman photographer Kelsey Duff photographed two models: the first is 18, and the second is 65. By excluding her subjects’ faces from her close frame, she catalogs the aging process as it might apply to an everywoman figure; despite trademark tattoos and painted toenails, each woman is stripped of clothing and other common markers of individual identity. Avoiding the impulse to capture moments of conventional portraiture, she shoots isolated sections of each woman with an imaginative fascination, pulling apart the body and fixing each piece within precise borders.

Despite its repetitive and almost anthropological vantage point, Duff’s camera work avoids any sense of coldness or sterility. The choice of warm natural lighting imbues the series with a romance that highlights tone and shadow. As if the subject of a yellow-filled Baroque landscape, the three-dimensional erosion of flesh through stretch marks, scars, pores, and wrinkles are dramatically and reverently seen. Even the clothing change from black skivvies to white underthings reads as part of a years’ old fading process.

The ever-present backdrop of shifting daylight and plain white bed sheets serve to visually condense years into a single dawn or dusk; as Duff follows her visual narrative, the time-lapse between her two subjects flattens, forming a poignantly timeless archive of the evolution of the female body. Caught at two poles of the same lifetime, young and old woman engage in a physical dialogue, exploring beauty and eternity hand-in-hand. Take a look. (via BUST)