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Artist Zaps 15,000 Volts Of Electricity Into film To Create Beautiful Abstractions

Phillip Stearns - photographic image Phillip Stearns - photographic image  Phillip Stearns - photographic image

Brooklyn electronic media artist Phillip Stearns is exhibiting a new series of some pretty wild photography, and all produced without the use of a camera. Applying different household materials (bleach, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, salt, rubbing alcohol) before and after exposure to electrical currents, Stearns was able to produce some electrifying images. Applying 15,000 volts of alternating current directly to the surface of instant film, the electricity arced, ignited, and sparked, leaving beautiful patterns in the emulsion.

Stearns has been exploring his understanding of what a digital or photographic image is, through many different approaches. He sees images, sound and video not only as signals, or a way or producing something, but as raw materials to use and to exploit. In the Evident Material exhibition, he puts this theory into practice and explores the relationship between the human eye and the camera.

The sentiment that the camera is an extension of the eye is taken to an extreme. When looking through the Fujifilm FP-100c instant color film datasheets, the similarities between the layering of materials in the film and the layering of cells in the retinal is striking. Perhaps it is because the development of such film technologies parallels an evolving understanding of how the eye sees. (Source)

The similarities don’t end there. Stearns commented that the sparks he was experimenting with on the film stock, function in a similar way as the electric impulses in our eyes when processing images.

I find it curious and exhilarating that the impressions left behind after developing these extreme exposures so perfectly resemble networks of blood vessels in the retina. (Source)

Evident Material exhibition opened on November 15 at Transfer Gallery in New York and will continue until December 13. (Via The Creators Project)

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Choi Xooang’s Exquisitely Nightmarish Human Sculptures

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Korean artist Choi Xooang creates sculptures that you’d see in your nightmares. The grotesque artworks are made out of resin and shocking in the brutal ways that they manipulate the human body. Severed limbs, skin corsets, and people-made backpacks are all featured in these pale, hyperreal mutant characters. Although they feature exquisite craftsmanship (the life-like details are stunning), it’s hard to get away from subject matter.

Galerie Albert Benamou – Véronique Maxé, who represent the artist, write about Choi’s work, stating the ideas behind his work:

His existentialist creatures, in the torments of their flesh and their contradictions, become our double dumb and clueless. The artist says that emotions are the only things given to a man or woman apart from their social status in the functioning of a capitalist society. Choi Xooang not only gives us his own feelings but attempts to retrieve a collective soul, a chart of all the sufferings and joys experienced by everyone.

We see these types of feelings represented; while there is pain, there is also sensuality between the characters, and even some eroticism shown throughout the strange hybrid people. With this, Choi communicates that pain and pleasure can walk a thin line. (Via Hi Fructose)

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The Beautiful/Decay Shop Grand Reopening!

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Beautiful/Decay is thrilled to announce the grand reopening of the B/D Shop! At first look you’ll notice a bolder, brighter layout and big crisp photos. Our books, posters, and back issues of the zine are – of course – still available for purchase. In addition, we are very excited to now start releasing limited edition prints and other products on a regular basis.

Our plan is to do multiple releases every month, beginning this month. Each release will be an opportunity to own ( and support ) an artist’s work that has moved and mesmerized you. A generous portion of the sales goes right back to each of the artists we work with.

Stay tuned for more information and announcements, and sign up for the mailing list to get updates on new print releases.

Now, take a few moments and check out the new Beautiful/Decay Shop!

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Kendal Murray’s Incredibly Miniature Nature Scenes Built On Top Of Household Objects

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Kendal Murray makes miniature sculptures inventing various scenes with miniature characters, but whose stories are life sized. Scenes of families at the beach or sailing toy sailboats, and friends exploring a perilous landscape of wood clothes pegs are some of Murray’s creations. Her invented landscapes built atop compact mirrors, bowls, glass jars and teapots, and clutch purses exist somewhere between their own world and our own. Because they’re built on regular, albeit mildly nostalgic objects, the viewer is reminded of their existence in our own world, but they also seem to live in their own contained reality, ending at the limits of the object.

Some scenes are more absurd than others, like a woman standing proudly naked in front of a fully clothes man beside a fence. Another that’s particularly funny is one of a woman being chased by a swan while a man (who was presumably accompanying her) wanders through high reeds. Other scenes are more mundane, like a couple flossing and bathing in a bathroom together.

According to Ignant, the artist sees the miniature sculptures as an opportunity to explore identity. She says that dreams are where we’re able to experiment with different identities, and her sculptures are a manifestation of that possibility. (Via Ignant)

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Drew Conrad’s Haunting Installations Of Buildings In Disrepair

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New York artist Drew Conrad sources materials to build these eerie and beautifully disturbing structures that carry their mood with them. Using salvaged materials to complete these haunting renditions of exteriors and interiors long since passed, he constructs a narrative of loss and despair, or even of just the forgotten. These planks of wood articulate their own meaning of history and the viewer can’t help but get lost in the mood that surrounds one of Conrad’s shows.

“Conrad’s architectural sculptures and hanging assemblages in Backwater Blues seem to be the somber ruins of a once vital place. Constructed out of raw material – distressed by hand with rust, debris, stain, and sediment – Conrad creates dwellings and remnants of domestic spaces that appear corroded by time. The fractured interiors and exteriors become sites for identity making, serving as metaphors for psychological reflection. Reoccurring themes of legends underpinned by myth and assumed cultural pairings suggest a questioning of collective memory in contemporary times.”(Excerpt from Source)

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Brad Troemel Collaborates With Ants To Create Colorful Abstract Installation

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Multihued translucent Plexiglas rectangles hang from the ceiling in Brad Troemel’s latest installation LIVE/WORK. They’re pleasingly abstract, reminiscent of sunsets and seashores, but look closer: each is a self-contained ant universe. The gel is edible for the ants, a commercial variant of NASA’s soil replacement, and as they tunnel and work they create patterns and movement in the art.

“Each team of ants is working on behalf of three not-for-profit organizations. The striped colors of the homes represent the colors of the not-for-profits’ logos. These organizations range from the Earth Liberation Front to Edward Snowden’s Legal Defense Fund to Planned Parenthood. At the end of this exhibition, each home’s piled up refuse from tunneling is weighed as a proxy for which team of ants did the most work digging. Whichever team’s displaced gel weighs the most wins the prize for their three organizations, splitting 10% of the proceeds from this exhibition three ways.”

The press release for the show is concerned mostly with the ants. “One must wonder – when will ant labor evolve to incorporate collaborative just-in-time tunnel building strategies, or even Fordist production lines?” It asks. “Are disruptive innovations even possible species-wide if made within isolated habitats? These are just some of the questions this generation of ants faces.” The questions are somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but they raise other issues. If Troemel is relying on the ants to produce constantly changing works of art, what happens to his installation if they stop working? What if they die? The three large blank checks hang on the wall opposite the ants, underlining the financial impetus of the show. Living insects+art=profit. It’s an unusual equation, but a surprisingly lovely one. (Via Lost at E Minor)

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John Bisbees’ Incredibly Intricate Nail Sculptures

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Sculptor John Bisbee has been working exclusively with nails for the last 30 years. He finds seemingly endless ways to bend, weld, hammer and manipulate the nails into large, striking, elegant sculptures. His installations include large wall murals of geometric patterns, three dimensional flower shapes, robust seed pods, intricate star bursts, and delicately twisted spirals. Most of his forms are based off ideas of flora or fauna, on either a magnified or minute scale. He proves that even an industrial material can be coerced into something graceful, and even flimsy.

Bisbee’s mantra is “only nails, always different”, and he uses it as a guideline or reminder that you don’t need much to push the boundaries and to be creative. Narrowing his materials down even further, he has for the last decade limited himself to 12 inch steel nails known as ‘bright common’. Treating the nails as lines, Bisbee says there is not much he can’t do with this wonder material.

Bisbee discovered the potential for nails completely by chance. While rummaging through an abandoned house during his years as a college student, looking for raw materials, he came across a lump of nails, fused together in the shape of the bucket that had held them. He then proceeded to explore just how far he could corrupt the nature of nails and used them as a drawing tool and as an inspiration in and of themselves.

You think that you would sort of choke off your options and potential, the more you keep excavating a single item, but I find it’s the opposite – it explodes. There are so many amazing tangents that I haven’t had the time to take; so many great insights that are buried years back, so it’s ever expanding, this mundane object. I’m quite happy saying now that I will only work with nails. (Source)

(Via Colossal)

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The Intimate Moments Between People And Their Sex Dolls

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Early morning at the hotel in Wales. ‘Shadowman’ wakes up with his doll Carly. He has 2 adult daughters with another woman. Besides Carly he has 4 other dolls. Bianca is one of them. His dolls are not part of a daily life with his family, but everybody knows of their presence. Shadowman recently got divorced from his second wife.

Phil stopped smoking for a year to be able to afford his doll Jessica. He is aware that she's a doll, but simply doesn't care what anyone thinks about his choice of lifestyle. Phils friends all know of her existence.

Phil stopped smoking for a year to be able to afford his doll Jessica. He is aware that she’s a doll, but simply doesn’t care what anyone thinks about his choice of lifestyle. Phil’s friends all know of her existence.

Rebekka and June in the backyard of Everard. He has 12 dolls and often takes them to the garden for a photoshoot. His neighbours goes inside when he enters with his dolls. Everard has only had one relationship with a living women and has difficulties understanding women. He is lonesome but his dolls gives him kind of a comfort by their presence. The men are in general vain towards the dolls, they use a lot of time to make the hair and make up right before they picture them. That is also the reason why Rebekka and June are wearing summerhats – not to have the sharp sun in their face.

Rebekka and June in the backyard of Everard. He has 12 dolls and often takes them to the garden for a photoshoot. His neighbours go inside when he enters with his dolls. Everard has only had one relationship with a living woman and has difficulties understanding women. He is lonesome but his dolls give him kind of a comfort by their presence. The men are in general vain towards the dolls; they use a lot of time to make the hair and make up right before they picture them. That is also the reason why Rebekka and June are wearing summerhats – not to have the sharp sun in their face.

In 1986 after having their first child Chris Zachos wife filed for divorce. He was refused contact with his daughter for years. Every now and then he would try to search his daughters name on different social medias to get back in touch and a few years ago he managed to find her, now married and a mum of 2. It has been very painfull for Chris not to have been a part of his daughters life, so it was big when they finally reunited.

In 1986, after having their first child, Chris Zacho’s wife filed for divorce. He was refused contact with his daughter for years. Every now and then he would try to search his daughter’s name on different social medias to get back in touch and a few years ago he managed to find her, now married and a mum of 2. It has been very painful for Chris not to have been a part of his daughter’s life, so it was big when they finally reunited.

While, since its popularization in the 1990s, the phenomenon of sex dolls—life-sized and lifelike synthetic figures intended both as erotic objects and as stand-in companions—has been riddled with condemnation, Danish photojournalist Benita Marcussen seeks to shed these judgments through her series, Men & Dolls.

Following a group of six male doll-owners, Men & Dolls documents the individuals’ relationships with the anatomically-correct mannequins and provides an intimate glimpse into this controversial lifestyle. While the identities and situations of the subjects greatly vary—two men are married with children, two have been through a divorce, one was once betrothed in a dead-end engagement, and one has never had a girlfriend—they have one very apparent thing in common: they each consciously turn to dolls as a means to alleviate their loneliness.

This is why, in the photoseries, Marcussen does not solely focus on the sexual aspect of neither the dolls nor the relationships that they facilitate. She presents, rather, images that convey the ways in which the men incorporate the dolls into their daily lives and treat them as sentient—albeit intimate—companions.

Ultimately, whether clad in a sun hat and seated outdoors, dolled up in formal attire, carried around on a romantic pseudo-stroll, or wrapped in an embrace on a bed, it is clear that each doll featured in Men & Dolls is so much more than a sex toy. (Via Feature Shoot)

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