Dutch photographer Paul Kooiker‘s latest exhibition, “Sunday,” takes erotic portraiture out for a new spin. His subject, an anonymous pale woman, stretches and contorts herself in the nude against a lush background, at once reminiscent of classical cherubs as well as modern pin-ups. The result is suggestive and sexually charged, yet also awkward and voyeuristic. Without a glimpse of her face or expression, viewers are left wondering what emotional state she’s in. Is this a peepshow for one? Or is she showing off for a paramour?
Kooiker describes the series of erotic nudes as “robustly built women with flesh so palpably rendered that their bodies attain an artless poetic grandeur.” Duality is ever-present in the series. The words “flesh” and “grandeur”; the contrast of “artless” and “poetic”; and the fact that the series seems to be many women yet one woman at once. The bright colors and sumptuous shades of burnt autumn reds and oranges in the background only serves to highlight the dreaminess of the photos, as though the woman is being viewed at a distance, various emotions roused but suppressed at once.
I’m absolutely loving the work Buenos Aires based illustrator and character designer Rey Misterio. His Imaginary Japanese Ad characters are some of my favorite in his portfolio. See the entire series and more after the jump!
It’s really easy to hate on Thomas Kinkade. His landscape paintings, which boasts themselves as “paintings of light,” are dull, wooden, and nearly all the same. Wholly uninteresting, Kinkade’s paintings beg to have a little pizzaz added to them. Luckily, artist Jeff Bennett has solved this problem. He’s added the Star Wars Imperial Forces to Kinkade’s work. Storm Troopers, Star Destroyers, and more invade the candle-lit houses, babbling brooks, and flower gardens. Houses are set on fire and landscaping is trampled. And, throughout it all, you are cheering for the historically “bad guys.”
Bennett’s keen Photoshop skills allow him to seamlessly integrate the two worlds, making them believable and thus very entertaining. In a way, this series mimics the typical good vs. evil story. The exception is that who we perceive as good and evil is turned on its head. You’d think that tranquil Thomas Kinkade paintings would be harmless. But think again. Kinkade, with his lowest common denominator work, overpriced and mass produced chachkies, and greed (in 2006, his company was convicted of defrauding two Virginia gallery owners), is really the bad guy in this scenario. The Imperial Forces are helping destroy banality. (Via Adweek).
With regular vinyl tape, Glasgow-based artist Jim Lambie transforms any given space into a colorful, mesmerizing landscape that often create optical illusions. There is no beginning and no end, no contraction and no expansion- in turn, Lanbie says that his construction “somehow evaporates the hard edge off and pulls you towards more of a dreamscape.” Much like the iconic, giant works of the Abstract Expressionists, its composition is hypnotic, abysmal, and sometimes spiritual, but always bit disorienting at first.
The labor intensive intallations take up to several weeks to complete, but that is no excuse to stop making them. As a former musician, the artist draws on musical references as inspiration. Often time, the titles of his pieces refer to iconic bands or songs, including The Doors, Morrison Hotel (2005), and Careless Whisper (2009). The design of his installations depend on the architecture of the space; each and every one of these are unique and transient installations that cannot be exactly reproduced anywhere else.
New York-based German artist Markus Linnenbrink has created an enchanting installation which envelops visitors in a disorienting colorful pattern. Although not exactly in a ROYGBIV formation, this rainbow room, made of bold hues of acrylic paint covered in epoxy on resin, creates a unique experience for viewers. The piece above is named “WASSERSCHEIDE(DESIREALLPUTTOGETHER)” and is currently up in Germany at the art center Kunsthalle Nuernberg until October 12th.
Linnenbrink has worked within this use of line work and colors for much of his artistic career. While some of his shows have featured conventional paint on canvas work, he often utilizes the space to its maximum effect. Linnenbrink composes a piece of art one walks into, is a part of, and can see from all vantage points. One really intriguing work of his, shown below, features colored line paintings hung on walls that are doused in lines of grey and black.
The artist toys with color and boundaries of separation. The colors bleed into one another, drip lines form from gravity, and each layer is pulled into subsequent layers. Despite the rigidity of the lined patterns, there is always this aspect of chaos and an unwillingness to be contained. Boundary breaking, inside of the canvas and outside of it, stretching his vision across whatever parameters may be set architecturally. The dramatized effect of this work becomes atmospheric; how one relates to the space then changes, as the lines and contours of walls are abstracted, nearly dissolved, through the blanket of pattern. The piece is primarily dictated by the space it is shown in, but ultimately the space is taken over by the artwork, creating an interested and entirely unique interaction between the two within each and every installation.
Often there is a thick line that separates the fact of human and animal conscience. Brad Wilson’s portraits demonstrate the profound character each of his animal subjects possess. Wilson is a commercial photographer used to working with human subjects. His lens creates a bridge between humanity and the animal kingdom, allowing us to contemplate the gap that is likely much narrower than we believe between ourselves and other living creatures. His photographs allow us to recognize ourselves within the animals, in some way, their humanity (although of course, not literally).
His experience in taking the photographs is extremely enlightening. Below are excerpts from a Bored Panda article.
“The animals engender an amazing sense of relationship that is primal in its roots and profound in the moment. I learned that they are what we, as humans, used to be: completely present in the moment and curious about the immediate enviroment around them, and living primarily through instinct and intuition.”
Tigers have quite a presence in the studio. There were some rather awe-inspiring, fear-inducing moments when you realized just how physically powerful they were. Overall though, with a camera in front of my face, I felt strangely removed from the environment around me. I was simply unaware of any intimidation or danger. Of course, this was a complete illusion, but it served me well.”
“I’m after something very specific – a moment where mood, composition, and stillness come together to reveal something uncommon and unexpected. I’m looking for unique connection to my subject that shows something deeper and more intimate to the viewer and treats the animals as equals, affording them all the respect and dignity I would offer any person in front of my camera. Hopefully this makes my series different from most other animal photography, but that’s ultimately up to each individual seeing the work to decide.”
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ABOVE: Steve's B/D Apparel design, "Unknown Voyage." BELOW: Steve working in his studio.
This week’s Beautiful/Decay Apparel Artist Interview features Steve Bonner, who contributed the nautical themed “Unknown Voyage” shirt to our Spring 2010 collection. With its art deco flourishes, the shirt hearkens back to the golden age of glamorous cruises in the 1930’s, when tuxedoed and ball-gowned movie stars might be seen in the dining hall, or red-lipped starlets might sip a cocktail or two sunbathing on the deck. Today, the T-shirt would look great with your favorite pair of Docker’s and boating shoes- or just hanging around town. Steve’s work is almost exclusively digital, focusing on sleek and creative typography. Read the full interview to find out the one activity Steve devotes an hour to every day (and that every emerging artist should do as well), how he stays inspired, and more.