Image maker Suzy Poling seems to believe in the unreal. Her work breaks the formalities of typical photography, by utilizing many different methods for production. Some of her work has hints of Andreas Gursky, while other parts have the the surreal air of Tim Walker. Her work feels like a documented rapture, where nothing exists where everything once did.
London based artist Phil Toledano’s provocative “A New Kind Of Beauty” series examines the extreme lengths people go to alter, change, and morph their appearance through plastic surgery and other cosmetic alterations. Balancing on the verge of not looking human these individuals are pushing the limits of identity politics.
“I’m interested in what we define as beauty, when we choose to create it ourselves. Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make? Is beauty informed by contemporary culture? By history? Or is it defined by the surgeon’s hand? Can we identify physical trends that vary from decade to decade, or is beauty timeless? When we re-make ourselves, are we revealing our true character, or are we stripping away our very identity? Perhaps we are creating a new kind of beauty. An amalgam of surgery, art, and popular culture? And if so, are the results the vanguard of human induced evolution?”
The first quality one may see in the brightly-colored, bent steel pieces by Rana Begum is the potential to shift based on perspective. From one angle, viewers will be confronted by a flat, monochromatic shape jutting from the wall, while another view offers more intricate geometric patterns spreading across several pieces. This is the legacy of Sol Lewitt, Donald Judd or Agnes Martin – to take the simplest shapes and through color, form and collection, imbue them with complexity and depth. As Begum explains, “Its so beautiful the way the simple form and shape can be repeated to create a space like that”
Though Begum lists these more modern artists as influences, theBangladeshi-born, London-based artist also explains that the Aniconism (belief in avoiding/outlawing representations of divine beings, prophets or any human beings in religious imagery) traditions of Islam were equally influential. This tradition was responsible for the exquisite geometric and intensely detailed works seen in classical Islamic architecture, a connection which is apparent in Begum’s deceptively simple works. “For me, architecture evokes memories of reading the Quran as a child in a mosque in Bangladesh,” said Begum in an interview with Surface Magazine’s Marina Cashdan, “which was bare, simple, and had a lot of light coming in through the windows.” This shifting imagery can be seen in her works, where repetition and simplistic elements collectively offer complexity.
Begum’s most recent works often uses paint on Origami-like, bent mild steel and powder-coated aluminum, but she has also begun using brass and copper as a base for her wall sculptures. “[They are] materials I spent a long time researching and I’m excited to use them for this show,” she says. “They bring an extra dimension to the works” (via wallpaper* and surface)
Lily Morris is an emerging artist based out of Brooklyn, NY. Detailed and yet distorted, her paintings depict foggy but seemingly familiar scenes that require squinting eyes and conjure a feeling akin to driving somewhere remote in the pouring rain. Her style fluctuates between washy layers of oil and solid photographic realism. Subjects and objects are caught exploding, describing the very instant an action occurs- the horrifying moment before perception intervenes and untangles what just happened. Morris’s paintings recount these inexplicable, fleeting moments of confusion and lay them out in raw and compelling fashion.
Artist David Kinsey‘s upcoming solo exhibit, Everything at Once, opens at the Joshua Liner Gallery December 13, 2012. Kinsey’s newest work reflects the intense nature of the show’s title. Severe angles and color hint at a depiction of mounting chaos. Several pieces, seem to be filled with a violent struggle for survival, domination, even attention. These mixed media pieces document a world spinning out of control and a the desperate scramble to document it. On this, Kinsey relates:
“Collectively, the developed world is swimming in modern media; we’re learning to navigate this landscape every day while becoming unwittingly addicted, for better or worse. And that’s simultaneously exhilarating and a little scary. Throw in climate change and you’ve got a scenario worthy of our attention.”
Dave Kinsey was the subject of the first interview in Beautiful/Decay’s now sold-out first issue. Everything at Once will be on exhibit at Manhattan’s Joshua Liner Gallery December 13th through January 12th
Hyperrealist Kit King has created an extraordinary body of work filled with realistic rendering of intense portraiture. This Ontario based artist possesses an unbelievable skill in painting, which she used to create her larger than life images of emotionally charged faces. She does not merely recreate a person’s face in her paintings, but adds a focus on the moment behind the still image on what the person expresses. Many of her subjects look tormented, as their eyes appear weary, stunned, or bloodshot. The lighting King uses in her work adds a force of drama, drawing you into the transfixed gaze of the subject. She aims to spark your attention and capture a transient moment in time where one might feel the sting of these emotions.
The texture is as palpable as the complexity that is often found in the eyes of her subjects. We can almost feel the tangibly wet eyes in Kit King’s paintings as well as the smoothness of the skin. Even the make up in her paintings seem to be flaking right off the canvas. Her husband Oda King also being a talented artist, she often collaborates with him on several of her paintings. Kit King explains the intentions behind her concentrated skill and focus.
“Through a focus on hyperrealism, my paintings are reflections of the ephemeral visual relationships around us. Capturing fleeting moments that affect our emotional state from a singular glance, under the aegis of a heightened sense of reality.”