Leslie Ann O’Dell is a self-taught photo-illustration artist from Denver who creates hauntingly surreal portraits of women. Recurring throughout her works are washed-out figures overgrown with flowers and foliage; patterns sprout and undulate in the place of eyes, and everywhere you look subtle details unravel through hair and across skin. Charged with an arcane darkness, O’Dell’s works summon the chilling, seductive beauty of vampires and forest spirits. With nature, the psyche, and the subconscious as some of the central themes, the portraits shift gracefully between reality and dreams.
O’Dell’s subjects are specters of both beauty and death: flowers bleed and adorn the women’s heads like funeral offerings, bodily contours putrefy into weeds, and sightless eyes gaze into an unseen abyss. In a figurative representation of death-becoming-life (and vice-versa), a bird stretches its wings inside an opened chest cavity (see “Hope”). Some of the images confront us with a more somber beauty — observe the ethereal and aloof figures in “Contemporary Monster” and “Sleepwalk.” Vacillating between delicacy and intense emotion, O’Dell’s works seduce and seize the imagination.
If you’re thinking about getting married and want to take your vows under a unique environment you can hop a plane to Shanghai China. There a company called Coordination Asia has designed The Rainbow Wedding Chapel modeled after the inside of a kaledeiscope. It takes the classic idea of this creative toy and proceeds to realize it on a larger scale. Using glass, mirrors, and paint in an array of colors it gives couples an alternative to more traditional nuptial environments. It looks super pretty and signifies many different things that have changed in our culture. For one how artists today are looking to affect on a broader scale and influence many opposed to a few. It also shows how traditions in our time are now flexible.
The chapel definitely has a new age feel. The architecture is circular signifying life’s continuous flow. The beautiful colors make for aesthetic bliss and no wonder someone would think to design it for that special day. You can adjust hue and choose how many of them you want reflected on the walls. Altogether 3,000 glass panels and 65 colors make up the chapel.
Based in Shanghai, China, Coordination Asia continues to be an innovator in glass design. The company recently curated an exhibit entitled “Keep It Glassy” showing large scale installations using the material. (via mymodernmet)
Zachari Logan is a Saskatoon-based artist who creates stunningly detailed drawings, installations, and ceramic works that explore representations of masculinity and queer identities. Proliferating throughout his works are thick amalgams of nature; beards and hair sprout into lush habitats for various animals (see the “Wild-Man” series); ceramic petals cluster together like piles of delicate, bleached bones (“Fountain 1″); and elsewhere, a mythological body composed entirely of flora and fauna melds with the surrounding forest (“Leshy 2″). Interestingly, the plants depicted are of diverse origins, sourced from images collected by Logan in North America and Europe. These beautifully-woven hybrid landscapes represent the liminal spaces inhabited by queer identities — that is, those vital spaces between “here” and “there” that unsettle the restrictive binaries of heteronormative gender and sexuality.
Many of these works are interpretative self-portraits of Logan, created in the exploration of his own body, memories, and sense of place. However, in his more recent works, Logan has portrayed the body more as a “catalyst,” thereby allowing him to “re-wild his body as a queer embodiment of nature” (Source). One of his most spectacular and ongoing works, the Eunuch Tapestry Series, exemplifies this shift from self-portraiture to a more objective exploration of identity, both corporeal and incorporeal. Based on the fourteenth-century FlemishUnicorn Tapestries, the Eunuch Tapestries feature camouflaged bodies (self-representations of Logan) crouching and searching amidst walls of dense, dark foliage. The newest work, “Tapestry 5″ (shown above), features a nude, shadowy figure moving quietly through the hybridized forest. Whereas the Unicorn Tapestries represent a search for a mythical creature, Logan’s works metaphorically explore the liminal terrain of queerness, discovering new bodily narratives infused with history, myth, and presence.
Always investigating and expanding the boundaries between the physical and metaphysical, Logan’s ceramic works draw these two realms together. “Fountain 1,” for example, is a time-based installation whose bone-like flowers accumulate every time it is shown, proliferating like a living thing despite its sterile, ceramic composition. The Root Series also represents a philosophical blending of physical body and metaphysical time, place, and memory; detached body parts surrealistically sprout flourishing weeds. In these works, the body is both the adornment and the catalyst, the tangible and intangible vessel through which we derive personal meaning and identity.
Are you ready for some shocking art? Somewhere between science and art, Marc Simon Frei tests their boundaries by combining these two worlds into a stunning series of photographs titled Tesla Sparks. The innovative artist creates electrical currents with a Tesla coil and captures their iridescent glow with his camera. A Tesla coil, invented by engineer Nikola Tesla around 1891, is an electrical resonant transformer circuit that produces both high and low voltage. Frei manipulates this electrical current in fascinating ways by arching a variety of different objects to the coil. This produces mesmerizing bends in the current, resembling tiny lighting bolts. In fact, Frei plays off this likeness by staging miniature lighting storms of his own. He creates clouds out of wool and constructs a scene so that these electrical currents seem to shoot out of his “clouds.”
To add an even more striking visual, he adds an element of color by illuminating his clouds with different colored LED lights. As if the bright, purple and blue glows erupting from the Tesla coil weren’t awe-inspiring enough, his eerily beautiful clouds fill you with a surreal wonder. The intense hue that the electricity emits captivates us, reeling us in to every frame. There is a powerful tension between the undeniable beauty of the many bolts of voltage lighting up each photograph and the known dangers behind high-voltage. We are drawn to its attractiveness, but are aware of its dangers. The photographer has created a unique, dynamic series that demonstrates spectacular colors and patterns made from electrical currents. (via This is Colossal)
Playing with human size dolls and dressing them up with colorful garments and crazy accessories to contemplate today’s identity is the medium Yinka Shonibare has chosen to express his vision. The mix of Victorian style dresses, tutus and adire; a textile made by Nigerian women creates an intriguing and marvellous symphony, pleasant to the eyes but disturbing for consciousness. ‘You will undergo environmental doom” the graceful and sarcastic Greek gods disguised as ballerinas seem to be announcing. ‘What is my identity?’ seem to be screaming the headless characters.
The dolls represent the rebellion that humans deserve for soiling the planet. It is a charming, fantastical staging operated by Yinka Shonibare to condemn agressive and violent acts with a clear message: he hopes to provoke the “psychic unity of mankind’.
Caught in an unceasing dichotomy: colony and metropolis, white and black, poor and rich, progress and destruction of the earth, traditional and contemporary society are subjects approached by the artist via atypical sculptures.
The subject touches directly Yinka Shonibare who considers himself as a “post-colonial” hybrid. He was born in Nigeria and raised in England, that explains his concern towards colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation. He flirts with intense subjects such as money, empire, conflict and environement. He questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions and he asks what constitutes our collective contemporary identity today while condemning the excess of destruction due to the humans excess violence against the Earth.
Yinka Shonibare will be showing his work at the following locations: Morris-Jumel Mansion in New York until August 2015 Daegu Art Museum in South Korea until October 2015
Contemporary African art Museo Afro in Brazil until September 2015
With no color and minimal characteristics, Daan Botlek makes statement with larger than life figures placed on exteriors and interiors of abandoned buildings. In various scenarios his anonymous characters become street art interventions which engage in various acts of tumbling, jumping, dancing and running. Botlek’s muse eventually takes on a superhero persona that shows him escaping out of walls and other apparatus. If you look closely some of the narrative points to the figure escaping from himself while in others he’s having out of body experiences noted in a shade of orange. These show the usual metaphorical feelings one might have in the mind such as drowning or having your skin ripped off. Botlek playfully uses this to his advantage and makes it unique by placing it in an environment which is uncertain and out in the open.
Based in Rotterdam, Netherlands Botlek has been compared to artists such as Keith Haring. (via behance)
A most fascinating thing has been found in Kazakhstan, Russia, by urban explorer Ralph Mirebs: the decaying shell of a space shuttle. The long-abandoned air craft was a part of a project called the Buran program. Launched in 1974 as part of the on-going international space race, this pet project of the Soviet Union was one of the largest and most expensive space exploration programs.
‘Buran’ is Russian for ‘snowstorm’ or ‘blizzard’ and a few prototypes of the shuttle were built (from plans stolen from NASA), but only one actually flew. Tens of millions of dollars were invested in this particular program, so it is such a shame to find the shuttle in such a demolished and forgotten state. Mirebs discovered this particular air craft in an old hangar that is still used by Russia today. It is located on a site called the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and is a launch pad for shuttles to reach the International Space Station.
This hangar is gigantic – at 433 feet long and 203 feet high, it has massive sliding doors on either end to let the shuttles out. Containing heavy duty cranes that can lift up to 400 tons, the building in itself is an incredible sight. Full of peeling paint, rusting beams and steel that can withstand shock waves from an explosion, the hangar is a piece of architecture that should be preserved.
Hopefully along with the publication of Mirebs’ photographs of this incredible discovery, someone will realize these historical artifacts need to be restored or at least protected from further decay and damage. Be sure to check out the amazing footage of the one and only shuttle launch in 1988 after the jump. (Via Bored Panda)
Stefan Siverud is a Swedish hobbyist who has been giving snails fun custom shell designs. Humorously titled Snailpimp, his project includes shell upgrades depicting everything from rainbows, to spikes, to popular logos; snails resembling sharks, Pac-Man, volcanoes, and McDonald’s advertisements populate his endearing and slimy collection. Since 2010, Siverud has been uploading photos of his beautified, living creations onto his blog, providing amusing backstories with each one. Some of his works even derive from social and political matters: the pirate snail, for example, is a marker for the Piratpartiet (Pirate Party of Sweden). This snail was painted the day after the party won a seat in the EU parliament.
The made-over snails in the photographs seem unperturbed, moving along in their indifferent way and attending to their usual business in the garden. However, some people may suggest that the colorful new hardware could endanger the snails; for example, it might make it difficult for them to maneuver if the shell has been physically modified (such as the one with the lighthouse fused to it), or it could mean they become more visible to predators. Siverud, however, has his best intentions for his mollusk companions. He uses non-toxic paints that will not harm the snails’ sensitive and porous bodies. In addition, the bright colors may also prevent people from stepping on them. In this way, Siverud’s project is one aimed at appreciating the lives and uniqueness of our tiny invertebrate friends.
What do you think of Siverud’s snails? Comment below, and be sure to check out more photographs of the Snailpimp project after the jump. (Via My Modern Met)