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)
Central to Doug Aitken’s “100 YRS” exhibition at 303 Gallery is a new “Sonic Fountain,” in which water drips from 5 rods suspended from the ceiling, falling into a concrete crater dug out of the gallery floor. The flow of water itself is controlled so as to create specific rhythmic patterns that will morph, collapse and overlap in shifting combinations of speed and volume, lending the physical phenomenon the variable symphonic structure of song. The water itself appears milky white, as if imbued and chemically altered by its aural properties, a basic substance turned supernatural. The amplified sound of droplets conjures the arrhythmia of breathing, and along with the pool’s primordial glow, the fountain creates its own sonic system of tracking time.
Behind a cavernous opening carved into the gallery’s west wall is “Sunset (black),” a sculptural work that resembles cast lava rock in texture and spells out the word SUNSET as it glows from behind, its letters forming a relic of the entropy and displacement inherent in the literal idea of a sunset. Viewed from and obscured behind a hole in the wall, the sculpture appears as cosmic debris, as if pulled from a parallel world where a sunset is only an idea, obfuscated by detritus of the age of post-everything, a reductionist standpoint between the modes of pop and minimalism, its glow fading into the next realm. Also on view is the mirrored sculpture “MORE (shattered pour)”. Like a time-piece, the work creates a kaleidoscope of reflections of all that surrounds it. As if it were a fragmented film, “MORE (shattered pour)” creates a literal manifestation of the present and aspirational escapism, which cannot be viewed without glimpsing a piece of one’s self within the work’s reflections. Another refraction of time is glimpsed through “Fountain (Earth Fountain)”, created from plexiglas letters spelling the word “ART”, through which a slurry of moist dirt is pumped, physical earth perpetually redoubling and standing in for itself. The word ART itself subverts the entropy of time, creating a holding pattern that organic matter cannot escape from. The flickering lightbox “not enough time in the day” completes the communicative supercurrent of shimmering malaise, its letters overlapping as if seen inebriated, somehow both more profound and less understandable. The work creates a cycle that is both hypnotic and inescapable. (via)
Michelle Ramin starts her gorgeously rendered drawings by photographing friends in various situations wearing ski masks. These images are used as metaphors for twenty-something hipsters playing dress-up to make the banality of the 40-hour workweek seem more enjoyable. Discussing the need to both hide and reveal ones unique identities, Michelle Ramin’s work is certainly one to watch.
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The Black Keys, The Hundreds, and Yonder Mountain String Band all share one thing in common – the incredible illustrations of Johnny Sampson. His original works have graced gig posters, t-shirts, and even the walls of galleries. Yet, his talent is so great and diverse as to enable him to do all that and more without ever repeating himself stylistically. Whether he’s ripping on old comic book covers, Lichenstein dots, or 70’s cult movie nostalgia, Johnny Sampson is doing it with a master’s flare and impeccable taste.
Beautiful/Decay unveils a brand new website:Beautifuldecayapparel.com , dedicated solely to all things B/D Apparel! Due to overwhelming inquiries into the brand, and to further showcase their artists and designs, Beautiful/Decay has created an independent online platform for B/D Apparel.
Japanese artist and illustrator Takahiro Kimura believes that true beauty lies within imperfection. Through his collage work, Kimura tries to expose the vulnerable yet beautiful nature of the human spirit by creating distorted human faces. To achieve a ‘distorted’ aesthetic, the artist cuts and rearranges different images, which he creates, to form one.
Though I am quite interested in various aspects and contradictions which people have inside, I attempt not to think about them in the stage of creation. I’d rather devote my attention to line and exquisite balance of form, mass, composition and color so that[..] the said factors can stand out.
Although his work is lively, there is still a visible hint of darkness that creates an interesting paradox- there is, in fact, a great amount of imperfection within the obvious beauty of these human faces.
When you first witness Francesca Dimattio’s work you forget post-modernism and pummel head long into post-apocalyptic armageddon. Strongly resembling totems ingrained with furniture design, their melting quality give off surreal messages but ultimately speak to something totally present. There’s a mystical side to their nature akin to religious artifacts. A link to the distant past where certain angles become figurative channeling idols you might come across on a hike through an enchanted forest. Their formal aesthetic fuses pieces of ceramic together and creates organic patterns that zig zag through collage-like patches of cracked elegance. The tiny shards of porcelain build a narrative out of tea cups and plates a metaphor to the memories of one life lived.
The unusual technique Dimattio uses eventually manifests into porcelain-laden structures which ultimately resemble chairs and chandeliers. These account for the title “Domestic Sculpture” her latest exhibition at Salon 94 in NYC. Dimattio’s history in painting comes across when viewing these magnificent pieces in person. Up close the work has a thick impastoed paint quality which make them come alive in another sense. Whereas her paintings referenced architecture and collage, her sculptures embrace all of the above including ceramic traditions.