Evan DeSpelder’s paintings are an exploration of the formal and conceptual possibilities of the digitally mediated painting.Using painting as a vehicle to fundamentally question the way our realities are constructed, Evan’s work is an expression of modern ambivalence, a representation of the world in which we live, where truth and the human mind are malleable, manipulated, and history is leveled by an unprecedented access to information.
Surprising, colorful patches have been appearing on the scarred roadways in Chicago. In an effort to bring art and beauty where once there was neglect and deterioration, artist Jim Bachor embarked on a project to fill potholes with mosaics of ice cream. Named “Treats in the Streets,” each lighthearted piece blends seamlessly into the cracked asphalt. The best part is, as sturdy pieces deriving from an ancient (and enduring) art practice, the mosaics will likely stand up to the test of time. Bachor speaks on his passion for the medium:
Using the same materials, tools and methods of the archaic craftsmen, I create mosaics that speak of modern things in an ancient voice. My work locks into mortar unexpected concepts drawn from the present. By harnessing and exploiting the limitations of this indestructible technique, my work surprises the viewer while challenging long-held notions of what a mosaic should be. Like low-tech pixels, hundreds if not thousands of tiny, hand-cut pieces of Italian glass and marble comprise my work. (Source).
“Treats in the Streets” is also occurring in Finland. In a similar project, Bachor covered potholes with mosaics of flowers. To see me more of his clever and contemporary work, check out Bachor’s website, Facebook, and Instagram.
Opening tomorrow, September 27, is Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition @Large in the former San Francisco Bay prison, Alcatraz Island. The sculpture, sound, and mixed media installations are staged in four locations throughout the space: the New Industries Building; a group of cells in A Block; the Hospital; and the Dining Hall. Ai’s work inside creates a dialogue about how we define liberty, justice, and individual rights.
In 2011, Ai was secretly detained by Chinese authorities for 81 days, and is still not permitted to travel outside of the country. He was unable to visit Alcatraz during the planning of the show and was developed in his studio with the help of the FOR-SITE Foundation.
There are a variety of pieces in @Large, including Trace, which is 176 portraits of political prisoners and exiles made from LEGO blocks. The impressive works began at Ai’s studio in Beijing and were completed in San Francisco by a team of 90 volunteers. Cheryl Haines, the exhibition’s curator told the San Francisco Chronicle, “I’m overwhelmed by how remarkable it looks. This is the face of the individual in the fight for freedom, but it’s also a collective statement and to see the density and quantity of people that are incorporated in this work, I find deeply moving.”
In addition to Trace, there are six other themes: With Wind, a giant traditional Chinese dragon kite; Refraction, stunning metal wings; Stay Tuned, sound installation that occupies 12 cells; Illumination, the sounds of Tibetan Buddhist and Native American chants; Blossom, fragile floral bouquets; and Yours Truly, where visitors can write postcards to prisoners. (Via FOR-SITE and Artnet)
As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Alexandra Grant. See the full studio visit and interview with Alexandra and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
Alexandra’s studio is in the historic West Adams district of Los Angeles, just a short distance from Koreatown and Downtown. From the outside her building looks like a non-descript, kind of funky commercial space that in no way expresses how big her studio actually is. The place is huge with a cavernous feel to it— cold, shadowy, and resounding with echoes, it heightened every one of my senses. Everything I took in seemed exaggerated: the damp air, the bright fluorescent lights, the vibrant colors of Alexandra’s paintings, and the steady rhythm of her voice. Long after our visit those impressions continued to linger, as did much of my conversation with Alexandra. She is a force to be reckoned with— her brain is agog with ideas that she expresses in a continuous flow of conversation, often jumping from one thought to the next as they wildly run through her mind. Her energy is infectious and inspiring, and makes you feel like the world is in fact full of promise, insight and adventure. Many of Alexandra’s paintings are collaborations with writers and their ideas, which makes sense because she appreciates the complex nature of dialogue: the exchange of both concepts and language, the act of deciphering and interpreting, the twists of subtext, and the inevitable losses in translation and how we make up for them. By borrowing writers’ poetic language she utilizes the format of dialogue to create “conversation” between image and text. In engaging text and image this way, the work then becomes a liminal space that challenges the viewer’s ability to perceive and hold both elements at once.
Beautiful/Decay delivers groundbreaking art and design from around the world to your doorsteps three times a year. Each limited edition book is an instant collectors item with special inserts, impeccable design, and over 160 pages of advertising free content that you won’t find anywhere else.
Support the publication that has continually promoted emerging artists for more than a decade and subscribe today!
Daniel Johansson is a freelancing graphic artist that goes by moniker, Venom Palatte. We discovered this gem in our Beautiful/Decay flickr pool. His bright colors and sometimes humorous ‘vector-collages’ really stood out. We like you Daniel Johansson!
For anyone with a fondness for west coast life, the gritty, glorious scenery that unfolds across Bay Area painter Laura Sutro‘s canvases is nothing short of sentimental. In simple, generous strokes, Sutro uses tastefully honest narrative to spell out one person’s journey on the freeways, down the sidewalks and through the bedrooms of a contemporary California. Her lush, layered color palettes echo a careful, critical study of light, while her snapshot sensibilities make each piece feel curious and fresh.