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Ben Butler’s Dizzing Maze Playground Created With Thousands Of Sticks

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Hard to believe that a gigantic in situ installation made out of thousands of poplar sticks was built from scratch. Yet, that is the work process of Ben Butler. He started to play with the sticks and came up, as he kept going, with the abstract shape of his piece. Exploration is what guided the artist to assemble the rigid squared voids among the organic impulsive sculpture.

He compares it to hiking in the forest and to realize that nature doesn’t adapt to the human scale. There is no limitation. Through this process we, humans, discover forms and need to engage in order to interact and build meaning. The voids created within the sculpture needs to be filled to complete the work. That is the dialogue Ben Butler wants to encourage between the piece and the viewer, let him make his own discoveries and introspections.

“The art shouldn’t be about art, you bring your owns ideas to it”. Ben Butler is not concerned by fhe final result. It doesn’t matter if it has nothing to do with his starting vision, his process of creation never follows the initial impulse. However, he is comforted by repetitive patterns and rigid parameters. He plays with methodology, in one direction and once the threshold has been reached it’s where a new characteristic emerges and enters an abstract zone that has nothing to do with the original components.

Ben Butler’s “Unbounded” installation is now showing at the Rice University Gallery in Houston, Texas until August 2015. When the exhibition is over, the 10,000 sticks will be disassembled and the sculpture will no longer exist as it was set up in the gallery. (via Design Boom)

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Studio Visit: Eddie Martinez

Eddie Martinez invited Beautiful/Decay over to his sunny Brooklyn studio to check out his new body of work.  The next day the show was headed to Berlin, so it was excellent to get to talk to Eddie before the work shipped.  I was able to take pics for over an hour while Martinez came in and out of the studio space.  Martinez had shelves built to hold the work at nice heights, making it easier to get up close and examine the paintings.  The reason I like Martinez’s work is that it doesn’t try to mimic reality, but instead the work represents reality.  It works sort of the way a great story functions: there is a language which uncovers something hidden or reveals something new about the world.  As far as we know, human beings are the only creatures which live with a sense of time.  Because we are bound to our own time, each generation needs people who show us back to ourselves, which in turn allows us to conceptualize ourselves and the world.  I think this is what Martinez is doing, and without a doubt his work does that for me.  The show, Seeker, opens November 11th at Peres Projects Mitte, Berlin.

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Viktor Timofeev

We posted about Viktor Timofeev‘s amazing drawings a couple of years ago, and his work has only gotten better.

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Romain Laurent’s Absurd And Laugh-Out-Loud Animated Portraits Will Make Your Day

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If you are hating your Monday morning, do yourself and favor and looks through these gifs- they will make your day! Not only will they make you laugh, but you will also relate to them.  I’m sure you are slapping your face away on your way to work this morning. Wake up, sleepy !

These ironic, hilarious, and surreal animated portraits are part of commercial photographer Romain Laurent‘s photography challenge. Laurent’s desire to break the routine (of working on commercial photography) ended up on a quest to create silly-looking looped animated portrait each week since last September. He says the bizarre and often laugh-out-loud experiments are a low-pressure way to experiment and be creative without expectations.

“As far as the intention of the series, it’s a way for me to explore a hybrid medium, experiment and being spontaneous while still sticking to a short weekly deadline. There isn’t a common concept between each loop, I just ‘go with the flow’ and see what comes to my mind each week.”

You can keep up with Laurent’s weekly animated portraits on his Tumblr. (via Colossal)

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Hundreds Of Copies Of The Wizard Of Oz Create Hypnotic Waves Of Color

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The Wizard of Oz experiment from Dennis Neuschaefer-Rube on Vimeo.

When creating his reinterpretations of Technicolor masterpiece The Wizard Of Oz, German artist Dennis Neuschaefer-Rube didn’t limit himself to a singular medium. Dabbling in video manipulation, installation and printed ephemera, his “experiment” exists as a deep dive into what happens when the artist points the focus away from narrative, and instead zeroes in on visual velocity. He chooses to takes a step back, and re-imagines the film as a series of frames—laid side-by-side in a technique he refers to as “stilling film.”

In this 2-minute preview of Neuschaefer-Rube’s video piece, you can see hundreds of copies of the film, playing simultaneously in a hypnotic wave of color fluctuation. In the exhibited form, this work is accompanied by a printed version of the investigation, a singular film still, and a large (somewhat ominous) black box designed for viewing. Neuschaefer-Rube’s ability to steer the viewer’s attention from piece to piece is masterful, with each element of the experiment hitting just the right notes—perhaps making a slight nod to the Great and Powerful himself.

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Astounding Human Skulls Carved Into Delicate Mother Of Pearl Shells

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Carved carefully into the delicate surfaces of shells, Gregory Halili’s magnificent human skulls look like forgotten human fossils, discovered long after the extinction of our species. The New Jersey-based artist draws inspiration from the wild plant and animal life the Philippines, where he lived into his teenage years; his medium, black-lip and gold-lip mother of pearl, are gathered from the shores of the island country. The artist’s shimmering skulls are complex bas-reliefs, and his technique, which includes detailed oil painting, is evocative of ancient coins; in the place of hard metal lies a soft partially organic material, and portraits of kings are replaced with ominous skulls.

Halili’s skulls are poignantly fragile, far less durable than human bone. A single slip of a tool, and the tender piece is ruined. The shape of the shell lends itself to the humanoid form; encased within its circular bounds, the skull appears like a child in the womb. The shell material that once protected a gastropod with maternal determination, softly frames Halili’s expert carving. In this way, the artist forces a collision between birth, the “mother” of pearl, and death, represented here with the skull. Like relics washed ashore, these masterful pieces serve as a memento mori, reminding us of our own mortality, our creation and our inevitable demise. Take a look.

Halili’s work will be on view at New York City’s Nancy Hoffman Gallery beginning October 30th and through December 13th. He also has an upcoming show at Manila’s Silverlens Gallery. (via Colossal)

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Carol Carter’s Watercolor Solarization

Carol Carter is a contemporary watercolor artist based out of St Louis, MO. She is such a prolific painter that it proved nearly impossible to select just seventeen images to feature out of the hundreds documented throughout her website. Her subject matter is incredibly varied, ranging from swimmers, nudes, flora and fauna, to interiors and landscapes of the Everglades and Italy. In spite of painting such a vast range of subject matter, her work remains consistent with her personal style; painting with an electric color palette, she saturates values of light and dark with a brilliant range of unpredictable color that often takes on the effect of solarization. Her technique shifts between wet-in-wet application and controlled execution, producing work that is peppered with an incredible amount of detail and spontaneity. Carol’s mastery of watercolor and divergent way of seeing the world is apparent in her remarkable paintings. 

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Artist Interview: Michael DeForge Is King Trash

The world of child mafias, gooey relatable beasts, funky leathery space dudes, soft bodies, diseased bodies, and crusty bodies, is the world of DeForge. Toronto-based Michael DeForge is running amuck in the independent comic’s scene. He is consistently putting out top-notch work executed in his very distinct style, a style that allows for plenty of room for experimentation while still being immediately recognizable as the “DeForge touch”. At age 24, with just a few years solidly devoted to comics, it’s amazing to imagine what he will achieve in his lifetime. On top of that, he does prop and effects for the wonderful Cartoon Network series Adventure Time. He has the drive. He has the look. He has it all. He is King Trash.

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