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Amelia Bauer’s Illuminated Forest Scenes Inspired By The American Occult

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Photographer Amelia Bauer’s series Burned Over showcases brilliant spectacles of light with a supernatural twist. The images are inspired by the deeply-infused religious history of the New York region, and the dark forests have an eerie light or haze that is concentrated in a tree or covered clearing. Bauer explains her photographs  in an interview with Feature Shoot, stating:

My work is a series of discrete investigations into our cultural conceptions of the natural world. I examine my surroundings, specifically rural Central New York, through a lens of history and mythology. Aesthetic traditions are repositioned to create spaces that exist somewhere between our fears of the uncultivated wild and our romanticism of the ‘virgin’ landscape. In this way I explore the American experience of the frontier — the transitional landscapes at the boundaries of civilization.

In upstate New York, there’s an area called the “burned-over district,” where religious fervor tread through the landscape in the early 19th century. The territory was the birthplace of several early American religious and occult groups like the Shakers and Mormon, as well as the Spiritualists. It’s the Spiritualists who this series is really inspired by, and they believed that Mediums could interact with spirits via seances. They created photographic evidence of these meetings and used gauze, double exposure and darkroom techniques to produce their images. Bauer further explains:

Inspired by these photographs, I set out to make portraits of the landscape that hosted such religious and spiritual pursuits by those early settlers. Working with a pyrotechnics crew, custom fireworks were created specifically for the shoot, and hiked into the forests of rural upstate New York. The photographs that make up the Burned Over series reveal something felt but not seen about these forests, as though the land itself holds a presence we seek to uncover but fear revealing entirely. (Via Feature Shoot)

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Artist Applies Paint Solvents To Photographs To Create Eerie And Surreal Images

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There is little to be found on mixed media artist Kuinexs, who claims this name as an identity and artform. For his “Photodissolutions,” the artist applies paints solvents to photographs, creating a chemical reaction that smears and blurs the colors in the photograph. The effect is at once haunting and a bit disturbing. Some of the elements of the original photograph peek through or remain untouched backgrounds to the dissolutions, presenting a jarring juxtaposition of realism and surrealism. The subjects in Kuinexs’ images are often obscured, and only the curves of faces and bodies and flesh-tone colors exist as evidence of a subject’s presence. (via juxtapoz)

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Fairytale Princess Mugshots Are Both Alarming And Totally Awesome

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Normally, fairytale princess characters are the epitome of chastity and innocence. With her series on folk stories, the Spain-based illustrator Marilen Adrover turns the concept of feminine modesty and purity on its head, presenting the gruesome mugshots of legendary heroines. Far from her days of resting piteously in a glass coffin, Snow White, an icon of the selfless domesticity of any ideal wife or helpmate, is arrested for sexual misconduct. Little Red Riding Hood, blood smeared across her once naive rosy cheeks, is taken in on murder charges. Poor, young Goldilocks, no longer a helpless child in search of shelter, has lived a life of crime, and she is reprimanded for breaking and entering. Lewis Carroll’s sweet Alice has grown disillusioned with the real world, turning to her own dangerous wonderland of psychotropic drugs.

By placing these icons of feminine docility and martyrdom in the context of contemporary crime, Adrover cleverly subverts the traditional madonna-whore dichotomy that persists narratives about young women. Like an angst-ridden teen, each vixen stares at her captives teasingly, hoping to challenge their authority. They are no longer defined by their histories of idyllic pastoral innocence, but they certainly cannot be pegged solely as unruly miscreants. Both beloved and dangerous, they refuse to conform to a single fantasy, playing with our culture’s deeply ingrained prejudices and assumptions.

In another ambitious series, Adrover explores the painful pressures facing the bodies of women, presenting evocative portraits of eating disorders and plastic surgery. Her imagined manifestation of anorexia is a bloody red orb, shining outwards from the belly of a woman. In her vision of orthorexia, the orb is blue. Each image, evocative of watercolor painting, subtly explores the persistent emotional traumas and obsessions that burden the human spirit. Take a look. (via Lost at E Minor)

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Tara Donovan Transforms Index Cards And Plastic Rods Into Incredible Organic Sculptures

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Untitled, 2014. Acrylic and adhesive.

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Untitled, 2014. Styrene index cards, metal, wood, paint and glue

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(detail) Untitled, 2014. Styrene index cards, metal, wood, paint and glue

Tara Donovan (previously featured here) has famously used inorganic materials to emulate organic shapes, resembling hives, mountains and other natural configurations. Her most recent exhibition, Tara Donovan, at Pace Gallery’s Chelsea, New York, expands on the artist’s use of inventive materials, including index cards, a first for Donovan. Featuring two large-scale works, “the artist continues to explore the phenomenological effect of work created through the accumulation of identical objects” 

The former Macarthur Foundation ‘Genius’ Grant recipient is known for her commitment to process, inventive materials, and evocative installations.  Says Donovan,

“There is a sense I get of wanting to choreograph someone’s experience of my work, because the surfaces of my work do often shift and follow the perspective of the viewer, there is a perceptual movement that coincides with a person’s physical movement within the gallery space.’”

(via from89 and designboom)

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Justin Plunkett Assembles Unusual Buildings In Desolate And Forgotten Landscapes

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These surreal landscapes are a series titled Con/struct by South African designer and photographer Justin Plunkett. He compiles imagery into scenes of desolate or forgotten places, where often these structures are the tallest thing on the horizon amongst swirling clouds and dusty streets. They are patched together exteriors of slated roofs, windows, shipping containers with advertisements on them. An artist statement about this series gives insight to these unusual buildings:

Con/Struct is an exploration into the themes of empowerment and imagination. Plunkett, using his own photography, has created new juxtaposed environments that encourage questioning and exploration: inviting the debate around how marketing- induced aspiration and perceived value can empower but can also corrupt, how it can be both perverse and create beauty. At the same time, at the core of his work, he honours and applauds ingenuity and the creative spirit. (Via Colossal)

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Tattoo Artist Creates New Areolas And Nipples For Breast Cancer Survivors

Inspirational Tattoo artist Vinnie Myers boosts the confidence of breast cancer survivors by giving them back what they lost.

Working out of his Finksburg, MD studio, Myers gives women back the bodies they loved before surgery by tattooing special nipple designs on their lovely lady lumps. Myers, who started as a traditional tattoo artist while in the army, currently mixes a wide palette of paint to achieve a 3-D effect design of areolas. Too often, he says, women just get the basic, nothing too fancy but that does the job of bringing back color and livelihood to the area. The women he tattoos say that the process doesn’t hurt much since most sensation is lost during surgery.

Myers has now done about 4,000 nipple tattoos since he got started. (via ABC 7 and SuperStar Magazine)

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Ever Wonder What An Astronaut Does When They Aren’t In Space?

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Photographer Tim Dodd has long loved space, so when he happened to find a vintage Russian high altitude space suit on an auction website, he had to have it. The purchase has definitely been worth it. After owning it six months, he’s worn the suit at least 17 times to photograph himself in the series Everyday Astronaut. It depicts Dodd as an astronaut character that’s doing the everyday activities we all do, like walking the dog, cooking dinner, and grocery shopping, but all with a hilarious (and sometime tragic) twist.

In all of these images, the spacesuit is present. It’s the narrative thread that connects all of the Dodd’s stylishly-shot photographs. The character is an everyman, just going through the day like anyone else, except that he has this special suit. Does it give him super powers? No, but we get the sense that he might think it does, which adds a humorous touch to this series.

It’s impressive at the amount of details that Dodd included in each image. Every photo is an attribution NASA in some way, and some are more obvious than not. Like shopping for tang, watching Apollo 13 on TV, and even down to the bedding, take a look and see if you can spot all of the photographer’s carefully-placed references. (Via Fast Co.Exist)

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Marvelous Tiny Worlds Made Inside Toilet Paper Rolls

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For her project Rouleaux, the French multimedia artist Annastassia Elias builds tiny world within single toilet paper rolls. Lit from behind, her delightful cardboard scenes appear like stills from a mysterious work of shadow puppetry. Here, the roll, most commonly a piece of trash associated with the mundane rituals of domestic life, becomes elevated to the realm of high art. Elias’s visual narratives span time and space; as surely as summer swings fade to frigid snowmen, we move from an underwater universe to the barber shop around the corner.

Caught between the circular borders of the toilet paper roll, Elias’s characters seem to emerge from the cardboard of their own volition. Each racehorse and dinosaur is constructed from cut pieces of paper that share their color with the naked roll itself. The artist chooses not to paint either the rolls or the scenes that emerge from within them, allowing the textured, sand-hued paper to maintain a uniform circularity; ultimately, each tiny world appears to be eternally collapsing into itself. Horses run in circles, and a weary man and his donkey, who lowers his head in exhaustion, appear to trudge forward down a path that will only lead to the start.

Fitting in the palm of one’s hand, Elias’s delicate pieces remind us of the preciousness of even the most banal moments. Beneath sheets of toilet tissue, we might discover secret universes, available only to those with a childlike imagination and a thirst for adventure. Rouleaux is now available as a book, and the pieces are currently on view at the National Museum of Singapore until August 3, 2014. (via Demilked)

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