South Korean artist Lee Yun Hee creates narrative ceramic pieces inspired by literature and story telling. She uses both Western and Eastern influences, creating a style of her own that is striking, unique and undoubtably contemporary. Her work is fragile and flawless, almost creating an aura of effortlessness. She uses her work to reflect upon stories of everyday people; their struggles, fears, hopes, and anxieties. Yet, most importantly to her, she is truly interested in documenting their “cures” — the sort of “up from below” type stories that end with a protagonist who has had the strength and endurance to overcome a difficult task. For example, her piece La Divina Commedia, reinterprets the classic 14th century poem by Dante. In her version, she depicts a young girl’s search for truth. She explains the tale behind the piecein an interview with Brilliant 30. She states,
“there was once a girl that received an oracle, telling her future. The knowledge, the predestined desire and insecurity left her troubled. In search of happiness and peace, she embarked on a journey. Along the way, she encountered many obstacles; but at the end, she discovered the peace she has been striving for…By overcoming anxiety and suppressing desire, the girl reaches a state of ultimate peace.”
Her work acts as windows into her own version of a fairy tale; she is able to re-create morality stories within her own framework. She refers to her self as a collector— she takes influence from everything she sees. She explains, “I have been keen on collecting images since I was a child. I would rather cut out the pictures from cartoons than read them. Even the encyclopedia wasn’t safe. These processes have had more influence than anything else on my background as an artist.”
Lee Yun Hee’s work is mystical and fantastic. Though balancing modern, classic, Eastern, and Western styles, she has creating an epic body of art that is honest, profound, and truly unique.
Dominic Shepherd’s Paintings invites us into a time and place that is in-between, a place of mystery and the imagined. Calling to mind John Fowles’ ‘The Magus’, Shepherd envisions a place populated by magicians, solitary wanderers, messengers, lost poets, artists and musicians, a place that is between reality and sur-reality where the macabre and the frivolous walk hand in hand. This imagined place is prompted by Shepherd’s own immediate environment, where cottage and studio sit isolated in a clearing within dense Dorset woods. Stepping into these woods at night one feels simultaneously stimulated and threatened, but one is urged to embrace the shadows and the illusion that lie therein, where the fictive obfuscates truth.
At night, perhaps, such experience is appropriate, during the time of revelry and ritual, magic and intoxication. All take place beneath the cover of darkness. But at the hour of daybreak, as the morning star rises, thresholds other than night to day are broken. Reality returns and with it a wistful awareness of a loss of the other. The dreamlike and hallucinatory are overcome by a confrontation of the self where one can emerge enlightened as with St John of the Cross or fallen as with so many romantic heroes from throughout history. Indeed, Shepherd’s canvases might be populated by lost icons and anti-heroes such as Hesse, Redon, Shelley, Blake or Wagner or more contemporaneously Jack Kerouac, Keith Richards or Charles Manson. ‘The sleep of reason brings forth monsters’, cautioned Goya and Shepherd outlines that escapism, individualism and heroism, and the drives of the intuitive and the unconscious can bring egotism, destruction and excess as well as beauty, magic and discovery, thus simultaneously enticing and forewarning.
Belonging to the genre of abstract expressionism, Kostas Seremetis uses recognizable imagery from comics, film, and life in new and evocative ways; juxtaposing shapes and colors to powerful effect. Kostas’ Ready…Set…Go!, a solo exhibition by Kostas will premiere on September 12th at Fourth Wall Project in Boston.
Tyler Orehek’s photographic interest lies in vintage-style photography, which he creates with his young son, also Tyler, as the subject of his portraits. Each scene is meticulously planned as Orehek selects the environment and props beside which he casts his son. It’s really enjoyable to see his son inhabit each character, and he does it well. Tyler looks like a shrunken man from the 1900s on, as a bookie, a boxer, a police officer, and more. It’s obvious that Orehek has done his research.
Orehek speaks about his love of vintage photography, and his reasoning for his approach in his artist statement:
My intent was not and is not to replicate existing vintage photographs but to capture the mood, feel and the visceral emotion of that period. Having a child in lieu of an adult in my work allows the viewer to focus on the “essence” of those past environments and professions with greater clarity through juxtaposition.
He’s right on that by including Tyler instead of a full-grown man, the scene seems fresher. The images are drenched in nostalgia, but they seem living because of the naïve air of his son, who is really making the part his own, while trying to emulate the moods his father strives for.
Stefan G. Bucher is a graphic designer, illustrator, author, creator of monsters, and pursuer of obsessions. The (sole) creative force behind 344, his clients have included art galleries, film directors, magazines, record companies, Saks Fifth Avenue and the Blue Man Group. If you’ve seen the Yeti themed Saks Christmas windows, you’ve seen Stefan’s work. The Daily Monster is his, too. The cover of The Matrix soundtrack; typography for Mirror, Mirror; Blue Man Theater. All Stefan G. Bucher.
Aside from his amazing and prodigious creative skills, Stefan is an astute observer of culture and a consistently funny writer. He agreed to be interviewed for Beautiful/Decay.
B/D: Thanks for talking with me, Stefan—I’m just going to jump right in. What’s the most interesting thing you’re working on right now?
Stefan Bucher: It’s my pleasure. The most interesting project I’m working on right now is the pitch for an animated show surrounding the Daily Monsters. It’s a long process of uncertain outcome, but it involves a lot of things I love—illustration, working with a brilliant writer and a genius animation producer, thinking about music and character design. It’s great! I’m also working on a solo gallery show for the spring. That’s just a big beast breathing down my neck. I don’t know how much of it will be retrospective and how much will be new work. I just want it to be a fun trip for the audience.
Not only has Kate bequeathed copious amounts of love and affection on Mr. Zigglez, our lil hard-workin’ B/D office mascot (which makes her good in my books) she has won all of our respect here at B/D for her amazing bit-mapped B/D graphics, lovely blog posts, and sharp as nails design sensibility! We will miss you terribly Kate. We were not so sure, seeing as your boyfriend Matt interned here first and is a very hard act to follow. Just kidding! We were sure you would totally be better than him. Just kidding! We love you both equally. Thanks again! Check out Kate’s amazing design portfolio here and view some of her works after the jump!
Photographer Nat Wilkins spent two weeks documenting the ceremonies and death rituals of the Troajan tribe in the highlands of South Sulawesi in Indonesia. In his series Dealing With The Dead, The Troajan Of Tana Toraja, he takes a close up look at this fascinating world and wishes to examine his own understanding of death and decay. The funerals carry on for a number of days and are one of the most important part of the culture in the highlands of Tana Toraja. When a family member dies, they are embalmed and lay waiting inside the family home until the ceremony can take place. Wilkins explains a bit more about the process:
When the time of the funeral comes illegal cock fighting, illegal gambling, buffalo fighting and the slaughter of buffaloes and pigs mark the occasion. The wealthier the family the grander the funeral, with this grandness being marked by the number of buffalo slaughtered, a minimum of one buffalo is required to pass to the land of souls but wealthier families will slaughter 10 to 20 sometimes 30 buffalo and the richest Torajan’s will kill hundreds.
To some these rituals may seem over-elaborate, and excessive, but to the Troajans, it is essential to ensure their loved ones cross over safely to the ‘land of souls’. Devoutly Christian, the tribe places great emphasis on life after death, or the treatment of the body and soul once dead. The living who are left behind, make great sacrifices to provide what is needed for those who have passed. But with the weight of this responsibility comes much hardship. Wilkins explains again:
From an outside perspective it can seem that to the living these funerals are used as a reflection on the importance of the deceased’s family, a status symbol for the rich. On the flip side though, death can be a serious burden on the poor. Every spare penny earned by the living goes to honoring the dead and the importance of a good funeral puts serous weight on the poorer Torajan’s with the poorest getting serious debt problems just to slaughter a buffalo.