Sara Angelucci’s intriguing series titled Aviary recalls the past to create strange portraits of birds that are superimposed onto anonymous nineteenth century cartes-de-visite (small, business card sized) photographs. It began by the artist studying the American Victoria area, and she connects its cultural, social, and ecological aspects conceptually to her work.
The nineteenth century was the United States’ colonial era when there was unprecedented expansion, exploration, and an interest in science and art. Family photo albums and commemorating memories were something new, as photography became increasingly common. The collection of cartes-de-visites were like trading cards, and the urge to collect didn’t stop there. People had cabinets of curiosities that included things like taxidermied birds, an interest that lead to the extinction of the passenger pigeon. Angelucci explains in a statement about the work, writing, “Made by combining photographs of endangered or extinct North American birds with anonymous nineteenth century cartes-de-visite portraits—they portray creatures about to become ghosts.”
She goes on to muse:
So how do we read these strange human-birdlike creatures? One could at once see them as manifestations of their time: a hybrid crossover of faith in science with a belief in otherworldly beings. As W. G. Sebald writes in Campo Santo, “[photography is] in essence, after all…nothing but a way of making ghostly apparitions materialize by means of a very dubious magical art.” And, what would it mean to embody another creature: Could one then see, feel, and understand its desire to live? Might we then imagine the Aviary portraits as chimera suspended in a state of empathy, and wonder what our treatment of other sentient beings might be if we could feel what they feel, or see what they see? (Via Observer: Design Observer)
Otto Rap hides these grotesque imagery in a delicate, graphite-rendered haze. Otto’s illustrations exude a natural flow of dark noise that vibrates with raw energy. But the way he executes it all, in a kaleidoscope explosion of beautiful pattern making, is what really does it for me.
Kant, in “The End of All Things,” suggested that the imagination is more active in the dark than in the light. The current exhibition at Matthew Bown gallery explores this concept for its current group exhibition. Taking its title from Baudelaire’s description of his Creole lover, “noire et pourtant lumineuse,” (black and yet luminous), Matthew Bown literally “turns the lights off” in the gallery, shrouding it in total darkness, to present a group of artists who explore concepts of lightness/darkness within their work. Alexander Brodsky, above, creates an organ griding machine that plays the Beatles, and encases a lit-up city in the murky depths of an tank aquarium tank. Gunda Forster’s work consists of a wedge of intensely bright light, shining through a crack between the door and the floor- referencing the great divine mystery of that which lies beyond. The exhibition runs until May 25 in Berlin.
Ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper collaborate to create a stunning installation commemorating the centennial of the First World War. A scarlet sea of 888,246 ceramic red poppies will be “planted” around the Tower of London. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”, the installation pays tribute to soldiers who perished during the war.
For the past few weeks, volunteers have been carefully placing the flowers all around the famous dry moat around the Tower. Poppies burst through one of the windows and then flow loosely, forming an arch over the footbridge to the castle. Each poppy represents a soldier from the United Kingdom and its colonies who was killed during WWI. Cummings says he was inspired by a line in the will of a soldier from Derbyshire.
“I don’t know his name or where he was buried or anything about him. But this line he wrote, when everyone he knew was dead and everywhere around him was covered in blood, jumped out at me: ‘The blood-swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread.’ I believe he meant the angels to refer to his children.”
Poppy is considered a flower of remembrance in Britain. The reason is because most of the soldiers died fighting in the trenches in the poppy fields of Flanders.
The blooming field will continue to grow throughout the summer. The final flower will be symbolically planted on November 11th, Armistice Day. The ceramic blossoms are for sale for £25 ($42) each. 10 percent of the proceeds go to benefit six different charities. You can find out more about the project by following the #TowerPoppies hashtag on Twitter. (via Colossal)
I first encountered the work of Nashville-based painter and visual artist Danielle Duer at a local restaurant-slash-coffeeshop. The order line separating me from my hipster-approved gourmet grilled cheese — well, it was long, but I didn’t mind. All the while that we inched forward, salivating obscenely, my eyes were glued to the walls of the establishment, for it was there that a number of Duer’s creations hung. I may or may not have jostled a few fellow salivaters aside so as to get a clearer view of each piece, hanging there against haphazardly stuccoed walls beneath little strips of birch bark that simply read “Danielle Duer.” First thought: I want one.
Duer’s paintings and drawings couple dainty details with fanciful landscapes, all rendered in vivid color. Ships sail in from far off places and bears cavort on unicycles in imaginative scenes that would look right at home on book covers. As the artist once said, she learned as a child to create places, whether through writing, painting, or drawing, that were smothered with the most “delicious, bizarre scenery.” As her creations show, she is also well aware of the importance of “oddities and peculiarities” in making something beautiful.
Take a closer look at Danielle Duer’s beautiful somethings after the jump.
From Futura Standard to Helvetica Neue, designer Aleksi Hautamaki refits vintage neon letters, previously destined for the bin, with a touch of LED lighting to resuscitate their glow for another 10 years.
Character, his company, sells each piece to the public, intending to cultivate a “second life cycle” capable of creating “new value for everybody involved.”
Likewise, portrayed here in a series of artful photographs, each previously abandoned bit of font now haunts the city, with a fresh sense of freedom, searching for a new artful context, home, or environment outside its previous life in advertising.
The Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski has created a new set of work themed around the megalomaniacal aspects of Facebook and social media in our lives. A prized satirical artist, Kuczynski has been winning awards for his work since 2004. Although the statements are not offensive, the themes are comical and instantly relatable, giving the viewer a humorous look at some of the harsh realities of our lives.
He covers a wide range of topics, “Pawel Kuczynski creates thought-provoking illustrations that comment on social, economic, and political issues through satire. The illustrator’s portfolio ranges from criticizing military practices and the incentives behind war, to themes of mortality and reinterpreting the uses of social media as elusive spying platforms. Each image reflects its fair share of serious issues balanced with whimsical illustrations.”
These illustrations highlight how Facebook has saturated our way of living: from bringing us closer together at times, to further apart at other times, to being a way of judging one another, to being a catalyst of the spread of knowledge, misinformation, and gossip, to how it has morphed our entire concept of proximity, intimacy, and communication.