The human relationship with the natural world is a complex one that doesn’t seem to untangle anytime soon. With animal life increasingly being abused and habitats encroached upon anxiety is understandably mounting. Artist Chris Musina address these issues in painting and also sculpture. Musina depicts the uglier side of the human/animal relationship. Rather than highlight idyllic scenes of nature, he draws gruesome imagery of animal mistreatment to the forefront. Animal carcasses are often kept as trophies, dead souvenirs of a once living creature. Painting’s tradition of depicting killed animals is extensive – the fox hunt alone, for example, an entire genre. Appropriately, then, Musina’s animal carcasses are not there to be admired but act as animals condemning the viewer. They seem to be holding an accounting for their present condition in the painting as well as in a larger abstract sense. They act as a tool to deconstruct disassociation. Musina further explains his use of painting in addressing ecological and animal issues:
“Dealing directly with our increasingly volatile and uneasy relationship to the natural world, I draw from contemporary animal thought and a deep phylogeny of cultural cues. My work dismantles how we look at animals via “nature morte” painters, philosophy, hunting, museum dioramas, and the like. Manifested in life size compositions full of dark humor and bright color, I am addressing the animal as neither symbol nor object, but as subject, a subject aware of his or her own powerful symbolic nature. Painting represents the bulk of my practice precisely due to its place in the forefront of a history of representing animals. My paintings are populated with animal protagonists who stare back at the viewer in an uneasy gaze; aware of that place in our cultural history– asking for compassion, mercy, or simply to be put out of their misery.”
In a world desperate for uniqueness and originality, the greatest irony may be that we ultimately succumb to “following the herd”. Whether we like it or not, we the “sheeple” have become fervent disciples of a globalized economy. Sheep Nation, a series of photographic works by Montreal-based contemporary artist Davide Luciano, explores this fertile ground through a characteristically satirical yet compassionate lens.
This large-scale photographic series includes 23 intimate and introspective portraits of sheeple. Behind every mask lies a personal truth, an innocence, a sense of individualism, a longing to be seen and heard. The 6 mises en scène depict people unable to think for themselves. Allowing the influences of different forms of media to undermine their own identity and wander mindlessly in herds, like sheep.
With the help of a special effects make-up artist to create prosthetic masks, the 3 hour transformation began. The use of product branding in each scene puts forth the idea that we live in a world where we are slaves to consumerism and where advertising has us chasing a need to be accepted.
New project Sausage Party by Aaron Meyers looks at your upcoming Facebook events and rigorously assesses their respective male attendance ratings on a 0 to 5 sausage scale. In my case “Ready For The House” (LA artist Ben Bigelow’s house warming) rates a whopping five on the Sausage scale (perfect Sausage score)! First I’ve seen since I’ve been on the site! This way you can gauge and plan your nightly social agenda accordingly. Thank you Aaron, for bringing us such an awesome way of connecting with Facebook and the sausage of the world.
Shauna Richardson lives and works in the UK. She has coined the term Crochetdermy to describe her process of hand crocheting large animal sculptures. A 19th century art form is employed and specimens are created from scratch rather than being stuffed and mounted. The work puts a handcrafted spin on the art of taxidermy and comments on our relationship with the natural world. Recently she participated in the Lionheart Project in which: “…three giant lions, crocheted by hand by the artist…travelled the UK in a custom-built, mobile, glass case. These powerful sculptures reflect the region in both symbol and materials.”
Four months of exhausting hard work in an abandoned area with no sun just artificial light. The final result, a stop motion movie with no digital effects where everything is handmade. everything is handmade. Over 5000 pictures were processed with an average of 15 per second to make this come alive! By Quintessenz Creation.
Announcement! Beautiful/Decay friend Jessica Hische‘s first font, entitled Buttermilk, is now on sale at myfonts.com. The font is good for “magazine headlines, book title type, initial caps, holiday cards, wedding invitations, you name it.” In related news, a shirt Jessica designed for B/D Apparel will be coming out soon!
George Boorujy is a New York-based artist who paints large-scale animal portraits with ink. His subjects are non-human inhabitants of North America, such as bluebirds, lynxes, vultures, and black bears. Each species is incredibly researched, and it shows; after visiting zoos and studying photographs, Boorujy recreates the animals with painstaking detail. Every feather and tuft of fur is accounted for, creating a palpable and almost hyper-realistic sense of texture and animation. Set against a white backdrop, the viewer gets the rare opportunity to study the animals and appreciate their distinctiveness and beauty.
There is no denying that Boorujy’s subjects have a way of demanding our attention; their silent, steady gazes drill into the soul, in a deeply personal encounter. When our eyes meet, the boundaries between “humans” and “animals” fall away into a greater awareness of cross-species consciousness. The following quoted statement from Colossal reveals the emotional and philosophical intent of Boorujy’s works:
“Boorujy challenges the viewer to confront both the animal and their preconceived notions about it. Through their gaze an interaction evolves with the wild that otherwise would have to be sought out or birthed from happenstance. However fleeting our exchanges with the wild are, an impression of their presence marks our memories. There is something mystical at play; a silent exchange that either moves us towards awareness or heightens our fear of the unknown.” (Source)