Nicholas Di Genova has developed a unique practice that is as firmly rooted in the utterly fantastical as it is in the deeply scientific. His depictions of hybrid creatures examine wildlife illustration through a Sci-fi lens. Di Genova’s highly detailed, and often encyclopaedic investigations of the natural world, yield monstrosities that are the most unlikely of amalgamations – these can be, for instance, a fusion of cat, goat and snake with cormorant, or tortoise merging into carnivorous plant and even a toad with eight, tentacle-like tongues. His depictions are obviously imagined; but Di Genova’s illustrative precision, makes these Audubon caricatures almost plausible.
His materials are simple; he looks to the conventions of analogue animation, which employs gouache paint on Mylar, or the very basic approach of ink on paper. But Di Genova pushes line-work and a compact colour palette to the extreme; his seamless and fluid application of medium is in the service of an unparalleled intricacy of image. From the tiniest black and white elements (which can be a mere couple of centimetres square) to the robust and colourful, full-sized works, Di Genova’s articulation of shape and texture is nothing short of masterful. See Nicholas’ work at Galerie Dukan Hourdequin in Paris from November 11th-December 3rd 2011.
Meet writer turned knife maker Joel Bukiewicz of Cut Brooklyn. He talks about the human element of craft, and the potential for a skill to mature into an art. And in sharing his story, he alights on the real meaning of handmade—a movement whose riches are measured in people, not cash. Watch the full documentary by Made By Hand after the jump.
Erwan Frotin’s STRANGERS series captures the flowers of Hyères (Flora Olbiensis), the dramatic and highly specialized world of plants in the region around the Villa Noailles—known as a birthplace of Surrealism—and pictures them in a fresh and invigorating way with closer ties to portraiture than a biological cataloguing of species His is a contemporary take on the genre of still life, fusing organic and inorganic materials to form unexpected results. In these images, one truly comprehends the flower as the perfect union of form and function.
The flowers of Hyères are magnified and recorded carefully by Frotin’s camera. Only one plant ever occupies the frame, and each individual plant’s colors and shapes are heightened with the use of vividly colored graduated backgrounds that glow and pulse with energy. The recontextualization of the flowers momentarily confounds but then becomes clear to the viewer, evoking a feeling Freud described as “strange strangeness.” Removed from their natural matrix, isolated in an artificial field of color and captured for posterity, Frotin’s flowers are the converse of traditional notions of their ephemeral beauty in nature.
Things fall apart, they break. Fracture, both material and metaphorical is a part of our lives. In the work of Tim Berg and Rebekah Myers, fracture acts as a unifying principle, unifying themes as diverse as luck, consumption and value. Sometimes something must be broken or fractured in order for us to see its value. This may be especially true for our environment. Only when we see the consequences of our actions do we begin to understand our complicity in fracturing it. So animals like polar bears must persist against the tide, fractured from their environment destined to become just another souvenir of a bygone era.
Sometimes we fracture things in search of something intangible, like breaking a wishbone for luck. These actions present us with an opportunity to conjure up some sense of control over the uncontrollable. We like to think we can control our fortunes through the coercion of objects or rituals hoping luck will favor us and blaming it when circumstances go awry.
Eddie Martinez invited Beautiful/Decay over to his sunny Brooklyn studio to check out his new body of work. The next day the show was headed to Berlin, so it was excellent to get to talk to Eddie before the work shipped. I was able to take pics for over an hour while Martinez came in and out of the studio space. Martinez had shelves built to hold the work at nice heights, making it easier to get up close and examine the paintings. The reason I like Martinez’s work is that it doesn’t try to mimic reality, but instead the work represents reality. It works sort of the way a great story functions: there is a language which uncovers something hidden or reveals something new about the world. As far as we know, human beings are the only creatures which live with a sense of time. Because we are bound to our own time, each generation needs people who show us back to ourselves, which in turn allows us to conceptualize ourselves and the world. I think this is what Martinez is doing, and without a doubt his work does that for me. The show, Seeker, opens November 11th at Peres Projects Mitte, Berlin.