Chen Chen’s products are at once beautiful and repulsive, which is what I love about them. Imagine serving your guests a frosty beverage on his “Cold Cuts” coasters or arranging your Lilies of the Valley in his “Swell” vase.
I headed over to Brooklyn to check out what Ryan Schneider had cooking after not seeing his work for a year. He was painting when I got there; mixing a fleshly color on the big glass palette in the center of the room. Canvases lined the walls, some were finished and some were in progress. He paints all the nouns: people, places and things; and does so in a thoughtful way that reflects life. Still lifes which range from bathtubs to bookshelves, and landscapes which seem to suggest an alternate, more romantic reality.
The paintings are populated with figures, and he had interesting things to say about figure painting. In person, the paintings are very obviously physical. They combine juicy paint, carved-in-words, bold colors, and a funky sense of space. This makes for paintings which flip between pattern and illusion. His new paintings were confident, and maybe even more colorful and spatially complex than his previous work. Schneider recently left Priska C Juschka, his gallery of several years. Besides being a painter, Schneider is also a curator and has organized high profile group shows in locations near and far, and he was at it again. He is behind a show which just opened in Austin, at Champion Contemporary, called “Wild Beasts.” He included a group of artists who share a love of color and admiration for Matisse and the French Fauves. Read some of our discussion after the jump.
After only a month and a half Beautiful/Decay:Future Perfect book is officially sold out. This book, as with all Beautiful/Decay books, will never be reprinted in its entirety turning into a limited edition collectible that will be passed down from artist to artist as the ultimate source of inspiration. If you didn’t get a copy of the book you have one final chance to get one of the highly coveted 1,500 copies. We have 10 copies reserved strictly for subscribers on a first come, first serve basis. Simply subscribe as soon as you read this and during checkout ask that we start your subscription with Beautiful/Decay:Future Perfect and you might just get one the very last copies available. We can’t guarantee that you’ll be one of the lucky ten but those that miss out will start their subscription with Beautiful/Decay Book 7!
If Raul Gonzalez had a soundtrack to accompany his drawings, it would be a mash up of old Disney movie themes, Death Metal and Mariachi music. It’s a bizarre mix of badass and cute, (cute like a two-year old giving you the finger) all on color splotched and stained pages that make you feel like you’re getting a secret look into Gonzalez’s personal sketch book. You can imagine the free-association process that went into each image, each element building, as if at some point Gonzalez thinks to himself, ‘it would be rad if the chicken was coughing up a human tooth,’ or ‘this guy should have a beat up severed head in one hand and a flaming cigarette in the other.’ And what may look like stains or scribbles reveal themselves to be crucial compositional devices that contribute to the overall success of each illustration. Best of all is the playful freedom: while the characters are often beheaded, impaled, beaten, or in some state of peril, there is always an aspect of humor and joy. Even if it’s the kind of joy some of us got from frying an ant hill with a magnifying glass as kids. Gonzalez brings to mind some of most underappreciated cartoons to hit the glowing screens in American homes, shows like Ren & Stimpy, Beevis and Butthead, and even Itchy & Scratchy on The Simpsons. Shows that are so awesomely gross and hilariously violent they pull at the heart strings of those of us who liked to poke dead things with a stick.
Jay Quercia is like a design Swiss Army knife that’s ready for any situation whether it’s bold illustrations, website design, dynamic motion pieces or typographic installations.
Alessandro di Prisco has created a number of beautiful design objects. His latest is Cubico, a multi-functional cube that can serve as a coffee table, magazine rack, stool or as just an objet d’art. Clever design is really all about marrying form and function in an intelligent and beautiful way.
As digital technology takes over analog traditions it becomes harder to keep alive the tried and true methods of yesteryear. Case in point, analog photography. This is why British photographer Richard Nicholson began documenting the few remaining professional dark rooms in London before they all slowly disappeared and were replaced with high resolution digital cameras and massive digital printers. Will these labs one day only live in history museums and through the work of such photographers such as Richard? Only time will tell.
Born in Belgium in 1969, Anja Van Herle combines a European sense of high fashion in her artwork with an American sense of wonder. Her childhood years were devoted to exploring the fundamentals of her art using crayons, pencils and watercolors. In 1987, she enrolled in Belgium’s Higher Institute for Art Education where she earned a Master’s of Fine Arts in Painting. In 2003, Anja relocated to Los Angeles, where she now concentrates on figurative paintings that are inspired by both classic and contemporary fashion while exploring issues of identity, emotion and human interrelationships. As timelessly chic as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Anja’s women are playfully sexy, and their expressions and eyes tell stories that go far beyond the simple exhibition of fine fashion. In Anja’s masterful hands, fashion becomes alive.