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Studio Visit: Noah Becker

Noah Becker graciously allowed Beautiful/Decay into his Canadian studio to view his new body of work.   Becker is about to open a second studio in New York this September for the fall 2012-13 art season.  This is a correspondence studio visit, Beautiful/Decay requested the photos and they were provided by another photographer.  Although the paintings are clearly portraits, Noah describes his newest work as figurative instead of portraiture.   I recognize a few of the faces but generally the paintings aren’t obviously people we should know, and because they aren’t it follows that they can’t be portraits in the traditional meaning of a portrait of a specific person.  Noah presents us with a romantic vision of elegant people, people who are good at living!  Wish I was one of those, ha.  Some of the folks feel like 70s’ rock stars or maybe authors from the 30s’, and I think I recognize some of Velasquez’s Spanish Renaissance princes.  When asked Becker mentions “stillness and time frozen in a moment,” which is a way to talk about the strange nowness of consciousness, or possibly he’s saying the point of modern life is to be elegant in the absence of direction.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might as well do nothing with style.

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Marshall Scheuttle’s America

Photographer Marshall Scheuttle travels across the country, bringing his lens to bear on our nation’s cultural patchwork. In his work, desolate landscapes are occasionally dotted with a baptism or bolo tie, a snake charmer or carnival worker.  It is a world that is lonely, powerful, surreal, and distinctly American. 

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Laurie Simmons’ Photo Series About Japanese Subculture Of Cosplay

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Laurie Simmons‘ recent show, Kigurumi, Dollers and How We SeeSalon 94 Bowery in New York, features eerie looking photos of dollers (also known as Kiggers), a circle of Japanese cosplay enthusiasts (Kigurumi), who dress up like anime-style female dolls and wear their costumes out in public. The men and women involved in this fascinating ‘counter-cuture’  go to great lengths to suppress any lingering vestiges of their own bodies, wearing 360-degree masks, wigs, and full bodysuits.

Simmons gathers her own models and Doller costumes in order to create her own line of Kiggers.

Some of my cosplayers are men and some are women but they all portray female characters. I try to explore the psychological subtexts of beauty, identity and persona surrounding the assembled Dollers. At first I dressed them only in fetish latex, which seemed both doll-like and right for their identities, but it soon became clear that they needed to expand their repertoire and play dress up.

Along her collection of photographs, we see this odd juxtaposition between the inanimate and the living; how is it possible to be experiencing something both so fake yet so real all at once? It is that and more- Simmons’ gives these ‘dolls’ the opportunity to experience the phenomenon of the selfie (“Yellow Hair / Red Coat / Snow / Selfie” [2014]) and an overall exposure to what is to be present, as something outside of the realm of the average human being, in the current world of self-promotion and its agenda (perfection, beauty, etc). “Might masking (becoming a Kigger, in this instance) be at least part of the appeal of contemporary forms of imaging and presentation of the self via social media?”, asks Simmons.

 In the last decade the boundaries separating identity and persona have become increasingly blurred — as individuals ‘present’ their BEST selves to their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram followers. One tilt of the iphone can make the difference between a glamorous, funny or obscene selfie. I wonder about the fuzzy space between who “we” are to ourselves and the “we” that is invented, constructed and expressed using the readily available tools of the 21st century? Aren’t we all playing dress-up in some part of our lives?

Laurie Simmons: Kigurumi, Dollers and How We See in on view at Salon 94 Bowery (243 Bowery, Lower East Side) through April 27.

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Fabian Marcaccio Creates Grotesque Sculptures With Paint

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Argentinian artist Fabian Marcaccio’s sculptures are paintings come to life. During the 90s, Marcaccio began to create a series of sculptures he referred to as “paintants,” a portmanteau of “painting” and “mutant,” of which he combines digitally manipulated imagery, sculptural form, and 3D painted surfaces. From this point, he began to create work influenced “by the dynamic relationship…between elements and overcrowdings that attract and string one another, link up and get activated in time and space.” His sculptures are at once stable as physical entities and unstable as representations of excess and collapse. Marcaccio uses a variety of media in his creations including oil and acrylic paints, silicon, sand, rope, plastic, wood, and aluminum. He’ll also create color-saturated brushstrokes with white or colorless silicon and stick them onto his sculptures.

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Ray Villafane’s In-sane Pumpkin Membranes

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Happy Halloween from us guys and ghouls at B/D! To celebrate the season here’s some crazy pumpkin sculptures by Ray Villafane. He seems to gravitate towards the obvious Halloween iconography of possessed grim reaper demon skulls, giant alien man-eating spiders, and George Bush. If you’re so inclined, you can even read a tutorial on how to carve your own squash into these hauntingly delightful mimetic designs on his website! And I thought I was talented for managing a triangle eye and jagged mouth on my pumpkin….

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Robert Moya

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Working with materials such as glue, pre-mixed craft paint and food coloring, Robert Moya‘s pieces are meticulously crafted using hand made materials and “dried and colored glue remnants taken from previously or simultaneously-made paintings“. Creating a cycle or as he calls it a “one process, one orientation and one modular shape” rigorous routine, these crafted “paintings” are an enjoyable mixture between a sculpture and an abstract painting. While some of them contain a variety of colors and “pieces”, he is still able to elegantly hold everything together within the frame of the panels.

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Amze Emmons

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Employing concrete barriers, make-shift housing and check points, Amze Emmons uses the architecture of refugees to paint urban disaster.  His grim imagery is mismatched by a cheerful palette, creating the impression of Martha Stewart going wild with pastels in a war-torn camp.  Emmons puts it dryly: “I’m interested in how strife, climate change, disasters and global migration effect the way folks live and the types of environments they build.”

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Vik Muniz’ Huge Scrap Metal Animals

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Brazilian artist Vik Muniz created these images of animals using scrap metal.  You can get idea of the huge scale of Muniz’ work by looking at the first image – notice the pile of car doors on the left.  Much of Muniz’ art is an accumulation of what many would consider garbage to create fine art.  He creates huge ‘collages’ from these objects, photographs them, and returns them to their smaller scale.  You may recognize Muniz and his work from the acclaimed documentary Wasteland in which his process was detailed. [via]

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