These images are from the design studio of the architecture and design firm Choi + Shine. The concept is to transform simple power line pylons into massive sculptures. The firm says, “Making only minor alterations to well established steel-framed tower design, we have created a series of towers that are powerful, solemn and variable.” The figures would be designed to interact with their function as well as the landscape. Some figures would appear to be climbing up hill. Others would crouch for increased strength as if to bear the weight of the wires on their shoulders. All would serve to enhance the landscape while also serving a utilitarian purpose.
Dylan Wooters is a photographer and writer from California, living in NYC. His photographs depict his encounters through the various cities he has lived or traveled to. Mr. Wooters has also followed the Bay area graffiti scene and taken numerous photos documenting his experience. Check out his Flick’r account, as well as his website, for more of his photos and writings.
Janice wu’s work explores how meaning, value, and associations are placed upon things in the material realm. She is interested in how seemingly worthless objects have the potential for whimsy and how the ‘inanimate’ mundane can reveal poetic and narrative possibilities. Through re-imagining the mediocre, the ordinary can become playful and even precious. Working meticulously in pencil and watercolor, her drawings reveal the intricate, tender nature of this medium and reflect the notion of devoting time and contemplation in to the easily overlooked. Through this process of investigating the quotidian, she trains her looking practice towards observing the subtleties in her own lived experiences.
Since the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and other tragic massacres, gun ownership and Second Amendment rights have been a site of intense controversy; on both sides of the debate, fear is a driving force, with one side arguing that guns provide protection and the other asserting that firearms cause more deaths and injuries.
How do guns factor into the lives of younger generations, born during this period of political strife? The photographer An-Sophie Kesteleyn adds to the dialogue with My First Rifle, a series of portraits of children bearing Crikett rifles, a firearm designed for children with a smaller scale and a variety of color choices. Beside each image, Kesteleyn places a torn, school-lined notebook page, onto which her subjects write their deepest fears.
Many of the .22 caliber rifles look like colorful toys; shot atop their small beds and beside Disney princess merchandise, the children appear as though caught by adults in a game of make-believe. They position their guns across their bodies in a protective manner, shielding themselves and their cozy bedrooms from the lens. The rooms, neatly ordered, maintain a certain innocence that is at times irreconcilable with the notion of a weapon intended to wound or kill.
Furthering this thread of childlike naiveté are the children’s drawings depicting their fears; these scrawling notes, touchingly misspelled, often assign terror to fictitious or extinct creatures: zombies, werewolves, dinosaurs. In this way, the artist incorporates the weapons into an elaborate realm of youthful nightmares. Depending on the viewer, this choice could either implicate NRA activists as infantile conspiracy theorists, or it could paint the world as a dangerous place wherein weaponry is necessary. What do you think? (via Feature Shoot)
As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with artist Serena Cole. See the full studio visit and interview with Serena and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
Serena’s studio is in her Oakland apartment, a modest space that she has efficiently rigged to accommodate her needs. She’s set it up so that her studio takes up most of the apartment’s square footage, but she keeps things flexible with furnishings that are easily moved and rearranged. I’m always impressed with resourcefulness and am appreciative of the kind of ingenuity that comes out of necessity and that manages to circumvent a set of limitations. In fact, the idea of limitations kept coming up for me in thinking about Serena’s artwork because her pieces are very much visually dictated and confined by her reference material. Her work directly appropriates the fashion imagery of advertising campaigns and editorial spreads, highlighting the patterns and tropes used to elicit desire and encourage consumerism. In taking on this imagery, her work attempts to examine what is revealed about our collective psychology, the culture of consumption and escapism, and the complexity of fantasy. In our conversations, she acknowledged that she isn’t so much trying to create something new, but instead aims to deconstruct already existent imagery in the appropriation of it. But this is a slippery slope— in being so tightly tethered to the aesthetics of the fashion world, Serena’s work runs the risk of coming off as analogous instead of questioning. Serena is aware of this risk— in creating art within a framework already heavily loaded with well-established associations, value, and perimeters, she knows the trick is to get the viewer to recognize that there is actually a lot at stake amidst the glitz and glamour.
For her frightening and beautiful portraits, the artist and designer Tamara Muller uses her own face, pasting it atop various haunting figures. Within the context of these crudely drawn bodies, her features, seen over and over again, take on an uncanny, trance-like quality, allowing them to collectively span her entire lifetime from girlhood to the present. Within this expressionistic realm, the barriers between childhood’s innocence and the guilt of adulthood are disturbingly blurred to create a narrative where play and fear work in tandem.
Muller’s faces leap dizzyingly through the ages: baby, child, adult, blurring the lines between male and female in the process. A seemingly incomplete rendering of the bodily form appears to the post-Renaissance eye as primitive or childlike, creating a cognitive and visceral tension with the heavily weighted heads, which are given a disproportionate depth and dimensionality. For this reason, the fleshy, flushed faces seem dangerously precarious, as if they were too psychologically burdened to rest comfortably on a naive and doll-like body.
In a realm where child self and grown self live side-by-side, an uncomfortable eroticism emerges, carrying with it the guilt of innocence lost. In one image, a woman bears her naked breasts, her head taxed with the weight of a baby face robbed of her body. In another disturbing piece, a young girl sits on a rabbit, normally a symbol of fertility and sex, baring her disturbingly youthful genitalia. A woman holds a younger version of herself, and the latter’s body wilts, rag doll like. In these powerful images, it’s unclear who is haunting whom; is the grown self plagued by her childhood, or is it the other way around? Take a look. (via HiFructose)
Born in Paris and trained in London, visual artist Charlotte Cornaton combines two unlikely platforms—the ancient craft of ceramics and the modern medium of video art—to create multi-faceted, socially-charged pieces. For Insomnio, her latest series, Cornaton focuses heavily on the ceramic side of her practice, creating 21 delicately crafted and hauntingly illuminated porcelain books.
Stunningly handmade and intrinsically dreamy, Insomnio presents and explores the paradoxal nature of clay’s transformation from a heavy, solid medium to a fragile, paper-thin representation of the contents of a book. Created during the artist’s residency in Jingdezhen, China, the pieces—comprised of porcelain and illuminated by hidden LEDS—are directly influenced by ancient techniques and rooted heavily in Chinese culture:
Insomnio is a complication of porcelain sculptural books which explain the symbolism of my nightmares using Jung dream interpretation. The oneiric world is true cerebral storm and the fear of the unconscious is here materialized through the cracks and imperfections of the porcelain . . . I used the three main ancestral Chinese techniques of incised porcelain: carving celadon, cobalt painting and cloisonné glaze. Insomnio thus uses oriental know-how to express western form of thought, incarnating the exchange and symbiosis of cultures.
Adorned with designs and inscribed with text, each book presents the artist’s acquired sense of a culture’s aesthetic and, through both a literal use of light and enlightening symbolism, results in an exhibit based prominently in illumination—literally.