We had written about the powerful duo photographer Zoren Gold, and graphic artist Minori Murakami back in May of this year. Now they are back with some new additions to their editorial section and it is just as packed with their wonderfully strong sense of collaborative design as before.
Walking the line between fine art and craft, Brent Owens has a characteristic style of woodworking that he incorporates with a somewhat irreverent sense of humor and applies to a myriad of subjects. Conspicuously hand-carved, embracing the flaws and all, Owens enhances his imperfect look by selecting wood with notable imperfections. The casual woodwork is not a comment on Owens’ talents. Rather it is done to emphasize the fact that the human hand has influenced the material. Conceptually, Owens works from the notion that humans have a tendency to render nature amenable to their own agenda. Describing this “healthy disrespect for nature” as a “shameless manipulation of a gorgeous natural material,” Owens considers his woodworking to be “imposing his own desires on the material” in the name of progressing culture.
Owens’ exploration of craft takes him in several directions. His “Turkish rugs,” for instance, are carved freehand and modeled after Googled images. These works are juxtaposed with carved paintings of appropriated text of medical queries and responses, which have been translated from Chinese to English. The results are a mix of park signage and conceptual art exhibited as a confused mix of words that have lost the nuance of human translation. The works becomes symbolic of how epically the human desire to understand and control everything so often fails.
Both funny and frightening Owens’ works are ultimately a representation of the fact that craft as fine art becomes a commentary on fine art itself. Thereby becoming commentary on culture, and human nature at large.
No matter what the medium, artist Shanti Grumbine manipulates her work by slicing it into fractals of distorted imagery. In her series titled Looking Awry, she uses front-page images from the New York Times, and prints them in large format. She then cuts and divides the image into hundreds of smaller pieces and rearranges them before mounting the squares onto wooden dowel. Each square resembles a pixel, creating a strange mix of visual information since they are not placed in their original spot. This hodgepodge of colors and shapes are referencing a digital file that is corrupted, in which we can no longer see what is originally intended to visually display. Although altered and skewed, we can still make out some of the original image in Grumbine’s work. If you look closely, you can see a woman’s face or remnants of a human body. Grumbine explains her journey while creating her wall reliefs.
These wall reliefs become monuments to the untold levels of mediation between my creative acts and the rest of the world.
Much like digital files move across digital highways or frequencies, Grumbine’s work seems to travel across the composition in waves. As each cut out “pixel’ is mounted on a wooden dowel, the dowels are all different lengths, creating a wall relief. These varying levels, confronting the viewer, form a new textural and visual element. Further engaging the viewers are small, square mirrors that Grumbine integrates into each piece, replacing some of the “pixels.” Now, each captivating piece is not just reaching out at you in waves of visual complexities, but also include fractals of the viewer and its surroundings. You are now a part of the piece, a part of an endless source of aesthetic, digital information. A master at carving new meaning into different materials, this Brooklyn-based artist also has a series of incredibly detailed newspaper cut-outs titled Zeroing, also utilizes New York Times newspapers. New visuals are sliced into each word, and even a wall relief in the shape of an orb is formed from its text.
To celebrate the short work week we’re putting all our back issues of Beautiful/Decay magazine on sale for the rest of the week! Save 50 percent off all our magazines from now until Thursday May 31st midnight PST. Just use discount code 50magdiscount during checkout and get piles of magazines at a fraction of the cost!
Artist Brandon Muir creates dark, creepy, digital collages. With creatures such as a vintage pilot whose nose seems to have been burned off, a smiling blue child with red melting eyes, and a boy with a mutated head including a third eye complete with tentacle arms, Brandon Muir’s potential patrons of hell are truly what nightmares are made of. They are reminiscent of The Twilight Zone meets The Munsters meets Basket Case (1982). They are undoubtedly demonic, however, the work also has this sense of playfulness (perhaps solely because they are displayed using the lighthearted platform of the GIF). Muir’s work has an of aura of jest, perhaps taking notes from the type of kitsch found in 1950s horror films. In his own words “[My] one intention with these animations is to ride the line between a disgusted cringe and a smooth chunky chuckle” (source). His process begins as any collage artist’s would — he collects images taken from magazines such as National Geographic and LIFE magazine. After he creates his more traditional collages, he then uses programs such as Photoshop and AfterEffects to formulate the digital rendering. By placing the work into a digital format, Muir allows himself to explore more complex textures, colors, and juxtapositions, creating striking images you can’t seem to get off your mind. (Via The Creators Project)