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Christina Pettersson Creates Revisionary Illustrations Of Mythological Tragedy, Savagery, And Beauty

Christina Pettersson - Illustration

“The Sentinel” (2012). Graphite on paper, 65″ x 80″.

Christina Pettersson - Illustration

“I Will Still Be Here, Long After the Kingdom Cometh” (2012). 68″ x 96″.

Christina Pettersson - Illustration

“Desdemona Sleeping Beside Death” (2009). Graphite on paper, 66″ x 70″.

Christina Pettersson - Illustration

“Ophelia at Fourteen” (2008). Graphite on paper, 72″ x 80″.

Christina Pettersson is a Florida-based (Stockholm-born) artist who draws on mythology and classic literature in the creation of large-scale graphite works that depict scenes of tragedy, savagery, and beauty. With realistic shading and elaborate textures, the images have a narrative-rich and highly expressive style that is reminiscent of historical paintings. Fascinated by the role such ancient, emotional, and metaphorical stories have on contemporary culture, Pettersson writes:

“I want to restore that epic and mythological dimension, a sense of awe and reverence for the world. The fact is they are not much about my personality. I want to be a storyteller. I want to believe that life is still wild” (Source).

Central to Pettersson’s illustrations are references to classical female figures, including the huntress/protector Artemis and Shakespeare’s Ophelia. Most of the images are dark in their imagery and/or atmosphere: Artemis, holding her bow, confronts the viewer with a fatally impassive expression; Ophelia, still awake, sinks into an oceanic abyss; while other women, unnamed, lie slain and bloodied. What Pettersson seems to be exploring (and critiquing) is the female body-as-sacrifice in such mythological traditions. These women — whose deaths are often treated as incidental plot-devices or metaphors in otherwise male-centered narratives — are given representation that mourns the tragedy of their deaths, and in many cases, signifies a liberating rebirth. Desdemona, for example, murdered in her bed, lies beside her peacefully-sleeping resurrected self; Ophelia, submerged in water, remains conscious while a ship — a symbolic “lifeboat” — turns her way. In a beautiful poem accompanying the latter image, Pettersson explains how she seeks to reclaim Ophelia from Shakespeare’s lethal sentence:

We are accustomed to your cruel pen,
the way it marks a creature for death, death only,
and evermore,
but this is too much.

I refuse.
I am taking it back,

taking it all back. (Source)

Visit Pettersson’s website for more revisionary and emotionally-infused mythological illustrations. (Via Art Fucks Me)

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The Funeral Pictures Of Genevieve Blais Studies The Business Of Death

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The business of death is the subject of Genevieve Blais’ photo essay Funeral. In the series Blais looks at how consumerism dominates our lives even after life. Using a mechanical almost step by step process she captures the funerary procedure from start to finish through an itemized set of rules. In catalog fashion she shows what is needed to accomplish the final step of life; flowers, caskets, makeup, embalming machine, credit cards and waiting room. The photos themselves look dated, perhaps on purpose pointing to the fact there really hasn’t been much advancement in the business of death.
A picture of an embalming machine with the brand name Dodge makes you wonder if the popular car company was thinking proactively when designing their product which accounts for approximately 30,000 deaths per year. Turns out there’s no relation to the two and Dodge the funeral provider has been a family business since 1893. The website advertises their formaldehyde-free products and offers seminars and even a magazine for those interested in this type of work.
In her statement, Blais says when she first embarked on the project she didn’t know what to expect but as she went along she began taking a Marxist attitude towards the whole procedure. However, death is big business and those working in that industry make a comfortable living by a simple fact of nature that is both unavoidable and inevitable.

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Julie Green Paints The Final Meals Of Death Row Inmates Onto Porcelain Plates

Maryland 17 July 2004:  Had the regular prison fare of a chicken patty , potatoes and gravy, green beans, marble cake, milk and fruit punch.

Maryland 17 July 2004: Had the regular prison fare of a chicken patty , potatoes and gravy, green beans, marble cake, milk and fruit punch.

Missouri 30 August 2000: 12 ounce T-bone steak (medium rare), Caesar salad, double order onion rings, 20 ounces of Diet Coke.

Missouri 30 August 2000:
12 ounce T-bone steak (medium rare), Caesar salad, double order onion rings, 20 ounces of Diet Coke.

Washington 27 May 1994: Salmon, scalloped potatoes, peas, tossed salad, cake.

Washington 27 May 1994: Salmon, scalloped potatoes, peas, tossed salad, cake.

Oklahoma 22 January 2009: Barbecue ribs, chopped beef, hot links, baked beans, plain potato chips, coconut doughnuts and chocolate milk.

Oklahoma 22 January 2009: Barbecue ribs, chopped beef, hot links, baked beans, plain potato chips, coconut doughnuts and chocolate milk.

Since the year 2000, artist Julie Green has immortalized the final meal requests of US death row inmates. It’s an on-going project aptly-titled The Last Supper, and she paints cobalt-blue pictures of the meals onto second-hand porcelain plates.

Green’s initial inspiration for the series came when she was working at the University of Oklahoma and noticed this menu printed in her morning paper: “three fried chicken thighs, 10 or 15 shrimp, tater tots with ketchup, two slices of pecan pie, strawberry ice cream, honey and biscuits, and a Coke.” It was included in the death notice of an inmate’s execution. This tradition of a final meal startled her, and she clipped the menu, as well as others that she saw.

Not long after seeing that clipping did she start The Last Supper. Along with painting the plates, she also details what the inmate ordered. Green writes:

In states with options, most selections are modest. This is not surprising, as many are limited to what is in the prison kitchen. Others provide meals from local venues. California allows restaurant take-out, up to fifty-dollars. Pizza Hut, Wendy’s, and Long John Silver’s are frequently selected in Oklahoma, where their fifteen-dollar allowance is down from twenty in the late 1990’s. Requests provide clues on region, race, and economic background. A family history becomes apparent when Indiana Department of Corrections adds “he told us he never had a birthday cake so we ordered a birthday cake for him.”

 

Over time, she’s completed 600 plates – 50 a year. Green spends six months of every year working on this project, and she plans to continue it until capital punishment is abolished.

The Last Supper will be on display this spring at the Dayton Art Institute in Dayton, Ohio in an exhibition titled The Last Supper: 600 Plates Illustrating Final Meals of U.S. Death Row Inmates. (Via PBS Art Beat)

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Adventure Photographer David Heath Captures The Enchanting Beauty Of Burma Over The Course Of Five Years

David Heath - Digital Photography

David Heath - Digital Photography

Adventure photographer David Heath delicately captures the enchanting land of Burma, showing its shockingly stunning, exotic beauty. Over the course of five years and after taking eight individual trips to this mysterious place, Heath has completed a masterpiece of a collection of photographs radiating with natural beauty, and dripping with color. This incredible series, now available in print as a coffee table book, is a tribute and celebration to the lush culture and land that is Burma.

“From the moment I first set foot in this magical land, I fell under its spell. I found it to be one of the most enthralling and visually captivating countries I have had the privilege to explore – truly a photographer’s paradise,” explains Heath, “I aspired to convey the soul of the beautiful Burmese people, their mystical culture and mysterious customs, in the most artistic way possible”.

Burma, a place not many people can say they have traveled to, has become a place of comfort for Heath, as you can see in his photographs. He captures subjects with such love and allows such a strong authenticity to remain within them. Heath uses no flash, only natural lighting in order to show the true, authentic nature of this amazing culture. Traveling through Burma by boat, canoe, train and foot, Heath shows us remote and rare perspective of this captivating land. Each image is a remarkable adventure where we can see ancient temples, colorful and traditional Burmese clothing, busy street markets, tribal face tattoos, and the sparkling, eager eyes of the children of Burma. We are able to experience a culture that seems a world away through the intimacy of David Heath’s travels.

Make sure to check out the book “BURMA: An Enchanted Spirit” to see more unforgettable photographs.

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Artist Allie Pohl Uses The Torso To Comment On Society’s Notion Of Perfection

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Allie Pohl uses the measurements of an ideal woman (36-24-36) to engage in a number of conceptually driven art projects. Taking this ‘perfect form’, she fabricates a mannequin torso to represent the prototype for her conversations. To Pohl, this middle area constitutes a place of birth, renewal and assists the artist in her studies about self esteem, image and determination. In one project, the form is used as a chia pet showing the grass growing in the torso’s genital area.  In another, the form is created using a red mirrored material and placed on a pedestal.

Pohl reassesses our idea of beauty and reflects on what women deem important. Some of her other work has examined the torso in the bathroom where she photographed a model on the toilet in gallery and museum restrooms. Her intention was to show the amount of time woman spend in the john. Another saw her take on the high heel. In 6″ shoes with a strap-on camera she went hiking. The result bore an all too familiar metaphor to the extremes women go to achieve physical perfection.

The hairier sex has also been the subject of Pohl’s studies. Using male mannequin legs from different eras, she created a group sculpture. The idea was to show what the perfect ‘male leg’ looked like throughout the years. Most recently, her torso has been used for philanthropy through a line of jewelry where all the proceeds go to various women’s organizations where Pohl lectures and discusses these important issues.

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Elena Montemurro Takes Her Camera On A Coming Of Age Journey

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Like all good contemporary photography, Elena Montemurro‘s Coming Of Age series highlights a particular zeitgeist, or a certain subculture you wouldn’t normally see so clearly. Her study of American teens discovering life is like a Sophie Coppola film – featuring kids full of ennui, walking wistfully through the streets and sitting aimlessly in diners throwing food in their mouths and at each other. She candidly captures a time of innocence and sincerity. Her images show kids doing exactly what they want, authentically expressing how they feel, and being outright bored. Her photos feel like you are following your cousin around an affluent suburb somewhere in America.

Flirting between gaming arcades, car parks, playgrounds at night, pet shops, lonely trains and empty beaches, Montemurro is able to show an accurate view of the disjointedness of modern life. The way we live our daily lives are quite ho-hum and underwhelming and she manages to turn the dreariness of it all into something a bit magical. Just because something is mundane doesn’t mean it can’t be appreciated. Montemurro transforms unexciting routines and the in-between space into something worth having a second look at. The waiting room somehow doesn’t seem like such a boring place after all.

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Infectious Desires: Margarita Sampson Creates Soft Sculptures Of Chairs Bursting With Organic Life

Margarita Sampson - Soft Sculpture

“Zsa Zsa” (2011).

Margarita Sampson - Soft Sculpture

“Anemone Incursions: Klaus” (2011).

Margarita Sampson - Soft Sculpture

“Anemone Incursions – Bev & Eli” (2014).

Margarita Sampson - Soft Sculpture

“Anemone Incursions: Pussy Galore” (2012).

If you ever worry about the microbes living unseen inside your own home, beware: artist Margarita Sampson has beautifully manifested your worst fears — but with good intentions. In a series of soft sculptures currently being exhibited at the Stanley Street Gallery in Sydney, Sampson upholstered found chairs with colonies of organic growth. All of the sprouting nodules and budding orifices are meticulously hand-sewn with brightly colored textile materials, giving the hairy and spiny lifeforms both an endearing and unsettling quality. Inspired by Sampson’s upbringing on Norfolk Island, the coral- and urchin-like growths seem to take on a presence and consciousness of their own; leave them for a few weeks, and they might consume the entire room.

Titled Infectious Desires, Sampson’s exhibition explores the false dichotomy of domestic sterility and messy, organic life. We often imagine our bodies as detached from the chaotic and “dirty” processes of proliferation and decay — indeed, separate from the microscopic worlds that breed and die on every surface we encounter — when in fact we are already enmeshed within those environments. As Sampson eloquently expresses on the Stanley Street Gallery exhibition page, the “glamour” of interior life is illusory:

“Glamour is the strict control of the body or the environment, sublimated to an ideal — there’s no body fluids or stains in glamour. It’s about boundaries, zones of comfort. We feel we are betrayed by our bodies — a lot of this work is about my own aging, my body, about death and disease, about fear and surrender, tightening and release” (Source).

With their hyperbolic size and sexually suggestive shapes, Samspon’s sculptures boldly encounter us with the material realities of our bodies. There is no need to fear the lifeforms inhabiting our favorite furniture — we (and anything we shed, ooze, or excrete) are already hosts to invisible, microbial landscapes.

Visit Sampson’s website and Facebook page to learn more about her work. The exhibition page for Infectious Desires (which runs until March 14th) can be found here. (Via beautiful.bizarre)

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Tec’s Street Art Playfully Interacts With Brazil’s Roads

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The Brazilian artist known as Tec creates artwork whose scale is large enough for the open road. Kites, characters, and other symbols occupy the middle of the car-lined thoroughfares. Sometimes, Tec will add cast shadows that gives the illusion that his subjects are hovering above the streets. It’s additions like this that foster a sense of playfulness.

On the ground, you don’t get the full effect of Tec’s creations. They don’t translate as well and look distorted. It’s only when you’re at a bird’s eye view do you see the kite’s fluttering tail or the man clinging to the double-yellow line in the middle of the road. Although this is consequence of working at such a large size, it also changes who Tec’s audience is. Up in the air or on the roof of a tall building, it’s like he’s created a concealed messages for only certain people to see. (Via Lustik)

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