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Stunningly Beautiful Photos Of Man o’ Wars Resemble Technicolor Rorschach Tests

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Using a custom light table, photographer Aaron Ansarov has captured the ethereal and frightening beauty of Portuguese Man o’ Wars in his series “Zooids.” Each one of these floating, compound marine animals are actually a colony of four different kinds of organism, each adapted to perform a specific function for the benefit of the whole, unable to survive on their own.

“As if looking through a special lens into a different dimension, Aaron has given them personalities that seems to shift with every viewer. Through Aaron’s masterful use of light, technique, and ability to go beyond the obvious, we are able to see patterns come together to create a fine-art collection of images entitled, Zooids: Faces of Tiny Warriors-beautiful creatures seeking their place in the world.”

Like gorgeous Rorschach tests, the images are symmetrical and abstract, familiar and indecipherable. The photographs are fine art, ready for display, yet scientists use them for research as well, since the creatures can only be kept alive in a lab for a limited time.
Why are these creatures so beautiful? From an ecological perspective, they don’t need to lure their prey with their multi-colored translucent displays. They look like blown glass, colorful and tactile, yet touching one would result in painful stings and welts from its long, stringy tentacles. It’s certainly a metaphor, that something so lovely can cause so much pain.

Ansarov finds the Portuguese Man o’ Wars on the beaches in Florida, having been blown ashore by the wind. He takes them to his studio, shoots them, and then returns them to the place on the beach where he found them, allowing nature to decide their fate.

“I have two rules with this project. The first is that captured creatures must be released unharmed. The second rule is that I keep shoots to 15 minutes or less, even if I don’t get the picture I hoped for. I don’t want to frighten my subjects. Besides, there’s always another time-they live right here.” (Source)

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It’s The Freakin Weekend….

 

It’s the weekend. Rip off your pants and enjoy. Courtesy of Problem Solverz

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Damien Hirst Made Artwork That’s Actually Good

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Damien Hirst’s exhibition at White Cube Sao Paolo, called Black Scalpel Cityscapes, is surprisingly compelling conceptually and technically intriguing. Hirst, though I’m sure I don’t really need to tell you this, reader, is a very divisive artist. His practice is a slippery one. It’s difficult to dismiss him, because he’s carved out a big space for himself in commercial galleries, but to some work, in example his spot paintings, feel a bit like an emperor wears no clothes scenario. It’s easy to argue that Hirst’s legacy is the success of his practice itself as a sort of art piece, and it would be true that he’s figured out some notable strategy for success, but whether it’s particularly honest or admirable is a question often dismissed by the powers that profit from Hirst or uphold his ideology.

In contrast to all this, Hirst’s most recent series is unexpectedly insightful. He recreates bird’s-eye view images of international cities using paint, surgical tools, and other industrial instruments. The materials for the Rio painting consist of Scalpel blades, skin graft blades, zips, stitching needles, aluminum filings, pins, stainless steel studs, fish hooks, steel wire cutting spool and gloss paint on canvas. On the White Cube website, Hirst’s statement reads:

Hirst investigates subjects pertaining to the sometimes-disquieting realities of modern life – surveillance, urbanisation, globalisation and the virtual nature of conflict – as well as elements relating to the universal human condition, such as our inability to arrest physical decay.

In the paintings, manmade features and natural elements such as buildings, rivers and roads are depicted in scalpels as well as razor blades, hooks, iron filings and safety-pins, all set against black backgrounds. For this exhibition, Hirst selected 17 cities, which are either sites of recent conflict, cities relating to the artist’s own life, or centres of economic, political or religious significance

What’s exciting about this series is that the themes Hirst claims to be examining are clear and his execution is effective. The paintings are visually impressive and also hold up conceptually, and most importantly, they tackle relevant political issues. Basically, it’s not bullshit. Congratulations, Damien Hirst. (Via The Fox is Black)

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Nishi Building’s Striking Entryway Installation Made Entirely Of Reclaimed Wood

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Combining Japanese architectural influence with a concern and skill for using reclaimed materials, Australian firm March Studio decided to make a statement to the entryway staircase to the Nishi building in Canberra, Australia. Already being called “Australia’s most radically sustainable mixed-use building and apartment complex,” the building’s design makes an effort to harmony with its natural surroundings, treelife, and wasting as little as possible in it’s construction.

Hotel Hotel Blog explains March Studio’s design goals well, quoting, “Let the location inform the materials, and then let the materials inform the design. In Nishi’s case, the creative catalyst was the splendour of the construction site itself: chaotic but precise. March also prescribes to the philosophy of “letting the material be the material” (ah so desu ka, sensei) by using them in their natural state.”

Made of 2,150 recycled (or upcycled, whichever word seems more appropriate), the repurposed wood from homes, basketball courts, and the remnants of the construction site of the building itself. Held in place with over 2000 steel rods, the installation creates a striking effect, yet balanced with an ordered peacefulness. Beautiful yes, but dusting seems like it will be a pain. (via colossal and hotel hotel blog)

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More from Bryan Schnelle…

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B/D featured artist Bryan Schnelle a while back on the blog, and he recently sent us these ‘zines/brochures of his work.

If the black mask on the cover wasn’t an indicator to you that theme was unorthodox, then I don’t know what is! It’s definitely interesting how he places a black mask over the faces of his subjects. In the one instance that he doesn’t, he removes the model’s eyes. Just a little creepy. Maybe it’s a shot at the fashion industry or maybe a comment on the concept of beauty itself. In any case, Bryan Schnelle’s work has definitely struck a nerve with me.

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Marwane Pallas’ Disturbing, Provocative Photographs Ooze Sexual Tension

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The French photographer Marwane Pallas’ painterly photographs contain within their borders an uncomfortable blend of allure and violence. His work centers around the body, honing in on its urges and most private yearnings. At times, the body itself is seen in profound sharpness, crystal clear, while it also sometimes bleeds sensual color, as if painted on a canvas. Pallas’ highly stylized images read more like murals than photographs, deliberately and seductively drawing us into a fictitious and allegorical narrative.

With his series What I Eat, the artist presents human appetite as an visceral marker of identity; a housewife is forced to eat her clothes iron, and a (possibly transgender) woman, having undergone a breast augmentation, munches on a plastic barbie doll, symbolic of the idealized female form. A cancer patient dips his cigarettes in ketchup, and a priest hesitates for just a moment before devouring a wooden crucifix.

In This Is My Body, religious allegorical icons stand in for an overwhelming eroticism. Eve in the Making presents the artist as still and pale as marble, wounded like Jesus Christ, engaging in an act of intimacy with a translucent head, whom we might imagine to stand in for God. In another self-portrait, a nose bleed causes blood, seen as wine like the blood of Christ, to drip over his parted lips into a glass below. A candle drips onto a pair of praying hands; on closer inspection, we see that the waxy light lays in place of a man’s erect phallus. Like Eve, the artist into apple that ultimately brings death, containing within it an ominous skull.

In Sur/Face, this sensualized physical body undergoes a metamorphosis, veering into a metaphysical and spiritual realm. Enchanted forests cover the artist’s head, and mossy roots stand in for veins. The flesh cracks open to reveal a layer of fresh new skin. Take a look.

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Paul Chiappe’s Extremely Small Drawings of Vintage Photographs

Crazy small drawings from Edinburgh-based artist Paul Chiappe. Recreating graphite versions of early 20th century photography, the artist meticulously produces his works within tiny confines. Many of his drawings fall below the 4×4 cm. mark. Looking at the sad faces of our forebears given life by Chiappe’s drawings, you get the sense that they might easily have been forgotten by the world. His efforts celebrate those we’ve lost in a really unique way. Check out more below. (via)

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Hugh Kretschmer’s Surreal and humorous ad campaigns

Native Los Angeleno Hugh Kretschmer is one of those rare photographers who has the ability to completely transform a commercial ad campaign or editorial piece into a magical story that will move you. Using metaphor and hand crafted trick-the-eye elements he transports us to surreal narratives full of humor and intriguing mystery where anything can happen.

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