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Jessica Ward

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Jessica Ward has a brilliantly dark mind.  The majority of her work is black and white, which really helps to maintain her macabre aesthetic.  The nature of her drawings feel sexual and violent, while tempting and frightening the viewer.  She has an interesting series of drawings that depicts deities of various eating disorders.  According to her bio, Jessica has struggled with eating disorders herself, so the diety series comes from a very personal place.

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This Is What Happens When You Pour Molten Aluminum Into Anthills

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What happens when molten aluminium is poured into an anthill, allowed to dry, then excavated and cleaned off? Anthill Art – an anonymous American artist – creates intricate metallic sculptures by doing just that. These forms reveal the depth and styles of various ant species’ hills, mainly from the beds of pesky fire ants. The complex and beautiful systems of these ant beds are revealed through this process, but has created a bit of controversy. People concerned with this method of sculpture work have commented on Anthill Art’s Facebook page, where the artist has responded generally to these concerns.

“I regret every day calling it anthillart. To be honest it was a short memorable name and I went with it. I’m not really a fan of art and would never refer to myself as an artist, I guess I considered the ants to be the artists (and architects). If someone created these themselves and called it art I would call it modern art crap. That the ants created it makes me love it.

I first started doing this just out of pure interest (always having been interested in biology and science). A few of my teacher friends took them to school and camp, the kids loved it and it really seemed to get them interested in science. So, I decided to start the site and try to sell a few.

The fire ant colonies are not abandoned. The justification being that there are so many of them and I need to kill them anyway, with kids and pets around. Plus they’re an invasive species in this area and wreak havoc. Some states have eradication programs. The other ants (usually carpenter ants), I try to find abandoned nests but it doesn’t always work out. Either way, I do it sparingly and the property is still over run with them.”

Anthill Art has even documented a survey of land to justify the eradication of the fire ants. You can watch a video of Anthill Art’s process here. (via my modern met)

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Spine-Chilling Paintings Of Suffering by Dr. Kevorkian, Practitioner Of Assisted Suicide

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The late Dr. Jack Kevorkian, known for his life’s work of advocating assisted suicide and for helping to end over 130 lives with his ominous-sounding Thanatron, or “machine of death,” was also an oil painter. The doctor, who spend 8 years in prison, created a little-known body of work tinged with the horror of pain; illustrating his controversial ideas on compassion, the paintings take aim at his religious critics and appeal to a nuanced moral ideal where death is seen simultaneously as a terror and an escape.

Kevorkian’s Thanatron takes its name from the ancient Greek personification of death; in his paintings, he also uses mythological themes. In “Fever,” he illustrates a hell composed of the ill and suffering; like Dante’s Virgil, he leads his painted patient through the depths of agony and fear with wide, sweeping brushstrokes. The Christian Brotherhood is reimagined as a monster characterized by multiple grotesque, sharp-toothed heads vaguely reminiscent of Inferno’s Satan.

Seemingly drawing inspiration from symbolist painters like Paul Gauguin and Edvard Munch, the artist, often referred to as “Dr. Death,” distorts the form of his subjects so that they might express psychological despair and heightened anxiety. In one image, titled “Coma,” a man, draped in a bed sheet, is inhaled by ghostly skull, his body absurdly foreshortened and his lined feet disproportionately swelled to express profound weariness. As the monstrous spirit of “coma” sucks him in, his tiny, darkened eyes beg for release. In “Paralysis,” the body becomes a prison, the brain removed and bound in chains.

When exhibited alongside the doctor’s paintings illustrating his love of music (Johann Sebastian Bach, a treble and bass clef), as they are at Gallerie Sparta, the more frightful images take on a strange operatic quality, evoking eery tonal climaxes with expressionistic bursts of color. 11 of the doctor’s paintings will be on view through April 30. (via Huff Post)

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Beautiful/Decay Book 1: Supernaturalism Video Preview

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We finally received the long-awaited advance bound copy of Book 1 and we are thrilled with how it looks.

We made a virtual video tour so you can get a sense of how the book will look! Click the link above to preview it. Just a reminder, there are only two weeks left until the July 1st deadline to reserve your copy. We’ve had an overwhelming response (especially since each book features a unique piece of artwork from featured artist Kyle Thomas) and supplies are very limited. So, to ensure you receive this special inaugural copy, please subscribe as soon as possible.

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Behind-the-Scenes with “Art Works Every Time” artist: Eric Shaw

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Eric Shaw creates fractal-filled cosmic psychedelic drawings and paintings that takes both abstraction and figuration to strange, surreal new levels. We’ve actually had the pleasure of doing an in-depth interview with him on the B/D site last year, so it was great to catch up with him! Just a few days away ’til “Art Works Every Time,” and we can’t wait!

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Alessandra Maria’s Beautifully Eerie Drawings On Coffee-Stained Paper

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Artist Alessandra Maria uses tools like graphite, gold leaf, and black ink to produce her intriguing portraits. In addition to these traditional materials, she has an unconventional surface that she works on – coffee stained paper. The dark brown ground offers an entry point for these characters, and the gray pencil adds a soft touch to her realistic-looking figures.

Gold leaf is seen here as an accent for the butterflies, flowers, and intricate details. Their drawing style and symbolism conjure fairy tales and other fantastical stories. While there’s a lot of luscious, life-like drawing, the characters often have a blank stare. It’s hard to determine what they’re thinking, which makes Maria’s compositions all the more alluring. Here, beauty is a facade for a deeper, potentially darker  below.

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Kevin Appel’s Screen Series

Los Angeles-based artist Kevin Appel‘s Screen series shows trivial nature photography layered with coloured, transparent materials in different graphic shapes. Appel uses a range of media – acrylic, ink, enamel and print – to achieve this effect, in order to distort the photo by adding a ‘screen’ of new material. More images from the series here:

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Jamie Isenstein

Jamie Isenstein’s work questions the traditional divisions between sculpture, performance, and video.  Isenstein is known for blurring the lines between performance and sculpture, often through her use of her own body as a ready-made object.

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