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Iain Baxter Re-imagines His 1966 Bagged Place Installation In The Key Of Rebecca

Iain baxter - Installation

Iain baxter - Installation

Iain baxter - Installation

Rebecca Levy died. Her apartment, situated above Raven Row gallery in London, did not; instead, it became a work of art by Iain Baxter, Canada’s most prominent conceptual artist.

Here, Baxter re-imagines his classic 1966 piece Bagged Place in each nook and cranny of Rebecca’s abandoned flat, wrapping clear plastic around the contents of which previously had been donated “intact” to the gallery from her family. Unsurprisingly, Rebecca’s Bagged Place, this 2013 rendition (collected here), seems to have more of a personal feeling, which immediately brings a new spark to not just Baxter’s work, but also, the underlying narrative or intention. This is not about sterilization nor consumerism, instead, it’s about Rebecca: her past, present, and future.

Before Rebecca’s things were bagged, they were alive because she was alive holding them, sitting in them, staring at them, and touching, loving, or losing them. Now that she has passed, her habitat is still and quiet, at least momentarily until the room slowly disassembles from one new pair of hands to the next. The thought of an interior space collapsing and dividing seems like a final goodbye, and the preservation of that farewell, heartbreakingly seems like an inability to confront death and an almost tragic prolonging of life. A room on life-support. How as viewers do we fall into the room? What do we take from it and where do we stay? When will we let go?

In this piece, amidst all the plastic isolation, the subject shifts with our own anxieties, daydreams, or curiosities in reaction to such careful preservation. We start to imagine Rebecca as we imagine ourselves: our own deaths, our own rooms, our own limbo before the dismantling. In this sense, Rebecca’s Bagged Place mirrors our own, and strangely we are Rebecca looking in from the outside.

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Francis Upritchard’s Technicolor Mystical Figures

Francis Upritchard - modelling material, foil, wire, paint, wood,Francis Upritchard - modelling material, foil, wire, paintFrancis Upritchard - modelling material, foil, wire, paintFrancis Upritchard - modelling material, foil, wire, paint, wood,

Artist Francis Upritchard sculpts, paints, and conjures up different figures and artifacts. Alluding to different ancient tribes and cultures (Native American, Maori) Upritchard creates objects soaked in sentimentality. From wrapped mummies and robed shamans, to shrunken heads and mysteriously worn down relics, her objects belong to a time of tranquility, of sensitivity and purity.

Her effigies have painted faces, triangles woven into silken robes, draped scarves hang off their fragile frames. They often have strange markings and are accompanied by personal artifacts or offerings. These not-quite-humans hold up their hands, not in protest but in some sort of ritual. We seem to have stumbled in half way through a sacred process. Lunge, Archer, Sneaky – all these titles suggest a movement that is half way through completion. She says of her new figures:

I wanted them to be really close to Dungeons and Dragons figures. Fantasy alongside the sentimental, nostalgic and idealized – or perhaps I mean stylized. Almost like dolls.

Upritchard scours flea markets and second hand stores looking for vases, hockey sticks, cookie jars, anything that can be turned into some sort of relic. Using real teeth, human hair, silks, wood, and natural rubber from Brazil, boiled with different pigments, her work is immensely tactile, and immediately old.

Her work is a glimpse of a time that either has happened, is happening, or will be happening. It is an idea of a modern day Utopia, one of subtlety, and quiet power. This is the new Voodoo.

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Cal Arts Print Fair & Beautiful/Decay Lecture- This Sunday!

This Sunday Beautiful/Decay will be taking part in the first annual Cal Arts Print Fair. Students from the Cal Arts art & design departments will be showing off and selling their zines, posters, and other limited edition products and a series of lectures and workshops will be taking place all day long. This event is completely free and open to the public so head up to the valley and visit one of LA’s best art schools for some Sunday zine & Print fun.
Featured guest speakers:

Ed Fella, artist and CalArts Graphic Design faculty member
Amir H. Fallah, founder of Beautiful/Decay magazine (That’s me!)
Dylan Lathrop, senior editorial designer of GOOD magazine and media.

CalArts: Print Fair
California Institute of the Arts, Main Gallery
Sunday, April 15  | 11 am-5 pm |Free admission
24700 McBean Pkwy, Valencia, CA 91355

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Dollhouse Scale Rooms By Leanne Eisen Miniaturize Sex Trade Spaces

Leanne Eisen - Play

Leanne Eisen - Play

Leanne Eisen - Play

The world of dollhouse miniatures is dominated by sweet structures with period-perfect furniture and impossibly tiny accessories. Leanne Eisen subverts all expectations with “Play” her photo series of 1/12th scale brothel, strip club and other sex trade sites. Eisen makes the pieces of these meticulously detailed scenes herself, having found difficulty in sourcing ready-made miniature condoms, porn magazines and sex toys. The spaces have a seedy, disreputable air enhanced by the details—a used washcloth hangs haphazardly over the sink, sequined shoes are abandoned on the strip club stage, and a forest of egg timers sits under posted house rules. Although Eisen had not been in an actual brothel, she researched films, documentaries, books, and photographs to create her voyeuristic spaces.

The photographs in “Play” are enlarged, playing with scale to disorienting effect. Scenes that are rendered in miniature are suddenly life-size again, with no referent of scale in the images. These are realistic spaces but they are also fantastical. No woman will ever spin on the golden pole. The cow clock in the kitchen will always read 10:10. These abandoned rooms tell their stories through their contents. She says:

I am very interested in residential spaces; the artifacts that we accumulate and leave behind, and how they tell our stories in our absence. I also find the idea of a space that is seemingly a workplace as well as a residence intriguing. In these photos, the viewer takes the role of voyeur, and can take the time to analyze the setting at a perhaps more manageable, less intimidating scale.

The series also serves as a commentary of the accepted social roles for women in a residential space. Where a traditional dollhouse might have a domestic mother figure keeping house, these spaces are intended for women as sexual objects. Whether in the sad paneled room with the pink-clad single bed or in the black walled sex chamber with its red X and metal cage, these are spaces intended to commercialize women.

Through detailed conceptualization, deliberate craft and artful photography, “Play” blurs the lines between whimsy and menace, making pointed observations about the place of women in this world.

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Michael Mapes’ Dissected Portraits

Michael Mapes Boxed collages house thousands of individual specimens consisting of dissected photographs and biographical DNA in the form of such things as hair, finger nails, scent, eye lashes, fingerprints, food, botanical elements, fabric swatches, makeup, dirt, handwriting samples and breath. The human specimens reflect the artist’s interest in the role of creative science as lab threatens to supplant studio in his own work. Representations of the specimen are dissected and then reconstructed through artistic interpretation invoking entomological, forensic and artistic methods. (via)

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SIMON OUWERKERK’S Morphing sculptures Made out of Action figures

Simon Ouwerkerk’s dense sculptures are floating masses of plastic children toys and action figures that come together like Voltron to create something completely anew. Morphing, flying, and swirling in swarms, these piles of plastic are always in flux with a futuristic destination unknown.

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Ryan Humphrey

RyanHumphrey

I am sure the mop-topped quartet known as the Beatles might not necessarily appreciate Ryan Humphrey re-appropriating their  their classic 1964 album cover for heavy metal (tears of blood and Slayer, to be exact), but I do. This reminds me of posters I made for our practice space in Hollywood a few years ago, which was sort of similar but the Fab Four had Kiss facepaint on, and were more in their go-to-India-psychedelia era. Other gems? Judas Priest’s seminal album “Screaming for Vengeance” emblazoned on a gay pride rainbow flag.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Seishi

It’s hard to pull off creepy, minimal, beautiful, and dark all in the same video but it’s accomplished in Stefan Werc‘s Seishi video.

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