Alyssa Monks might make photorealist paintings but she’s equally interested in abstraction. Monks’ paintings explore the tension between abstraction and realism, using different filters to visually distort and disintegrate the body. In this shallow painted space, the subject is pushing against our real space. Strokes of thick paint in delicate color relationships are pushed and pulled to imitate glass, steam, water and flesh.
“When I began painting the human body, I was obsessed with it and needed to create as much realism as possible. I chased realism until it began to unravel and deconstruct itself,” Alyssa states, “Realism and Abstraction are in a symbiotic relationship – they need each other to exist and eventually become the same.” -Alyssa Monks
Maltese artist John Paul Azzopardi puts together delicate sculptures and complex structures made from bone. His figures and objects are a combination of being frightening and entrancing. They are gothic and modern. Architecture and organic. Morbid and energetic. The Maltese artist welds bits of bone together, forming ornate ram’s skulls, haunting bats with outstretched wings, axe-welding menacing mythological creatures, and hybrid beasts with intimidating profiles. Azzopardi is very poetic about his approach to his work – describing the metaphysical aspect to his sculptures:
[It] is a collection of fossilized structures that explores the gentle temperance located within the constitution of sound, i.e. it’s very silent center. The architectural relationship that oscillates back and forth from the simple and the complex to the living and the dead connects space and form, creating existential structures of interwoven silence. The death embedded in it’s form, it’s life. This might confront the spectator with a spectre, the simulacrum of itself that stalls, halts being something in it’s tracks. (Source)
He exploits the nature of the material he is working with. Bones are the things that knit our bodies together, and are also one of the last things to decay. They have a lot of symbolism and spiritualism embedded in them – Azzopardi is making that more apparent and immediate with his art works. He goes on:
Facing truth, man often does not look. S/he does not see, for instance as when confronting the world, the transient. The rules of words then is that what one see, is what one is, and (to admit) that facing truth, we often see nothing, hear nothing, and say nothing. (Source)
It seems these sculptures announce to us our impending decay, and for us to embrace it, and yes, to even celebrate it.
German photographer Rachel de Joode is yet another example of why one doesn’t need fancy props to create provocative images. Armed with a camera and a mess of everyday things she creates compelling photographs that pair a dozen eggs with heels, slabs of meat with coconuts, and whole chickens and computer keyboards. These gripping images are anything but ordinary and completely mesmerizing. (via minimal exposition)
Whether its an image of a pizza with a phalic sausage sticking out of it or a large mural of ornate pattern made out of plastic flowers and cheap snack food the art work of Adam Parker Smith has a tongue in cheek comic conceptual approach that will make you think, laugh, and say “why didn’t I think of that” all at once. I especially love his tapestries made out of hundreds of friendship bracelets. See these and more after the jump.
Videographer Rob Whitworth together with city-branding pioneer JT Singh create a stunning flow-motion panorama of the mysterious capital of People’s Democratic Republic Of Korea, commonly known as North Korea. “Enter Pyongyang” is their another collaboration combining the stunning effects of time-lapse photography, HD and digital animation, acceleration and slow motion.
According to the creators, North Korea, which is mostly imagined as a country “immune to change”, is rapidly developing. Besides the uplift in tourism, the whole infrastructure is rising with new railways being planned and special economic zones launched. Whitworth and Singh accurately capture this shift in their video filmed with the help of Koryo Tours, a Beijing-based travel agency who provided the team with exclusive access to the city.
“As is standard for all foreign visitors to the country, we were not allowed to shoot any construction sites, undeveloped locations or military personnel. Other than that we were given relatively free reign.”
North Korean society is highly enclosed and lifting the curtain, especially for a video, is a truly unprecedented behavior. However, “Enter Pyongyang” captures the controversial reality of this multimillion capital: from its high-end golden statues and modern glass skyscrapers, to the humble and earnest citizens. The fast-paced video conveys what is essentially Pyongyang’s biggest wealth – the dynamism and energy driving it to the new heights. (via The Awesomer)
It pains me to say that an extraordinary intern of ours, Alexis Kaneshiro, will be leaving the Beautiful/Decay offices today! Alexis is a budding creative talent studying Fine Art at USC (not to mention a pleasure to work with) and will be missed here! Anyways, her personal artwork is really lovely- marked by a characteristic sense of fancy, sincerity and whimsical charm (sort of like her!) I love the cake she made, above, that interprets the tactile “softness” and festive nature of a birthday cake through the crafty materials of felt, balloons, googly eyes, pearls and candles. Constructed from these materials, the fleeting nature of the cake is transformed into a permenent and bittersweet effigy to her father. More of her work below!
Stockholm based Carl Kleiner, is a wonderfully talented still-life photographer. I love his work on the manequins and fruit assemblage. Endearingly quirky, and cute. Make sure to check out his photographic diary! Not only will you find an extension of his style (and more,) but a wonderful example of his take on every day life.