The Victorian doll is a symbol of feminine delicacy and piety, but the Scottish sculptor Jessica Harrison has turned that notion on its head, constructing porcelain figures and painting their flesh with vivid sailor tattoos. Harrison, previously featured here for her graphic and macabre figurines, subtly builds upon contemporary dialogues of sexuality and the female body. Where Victorian women were encouraged to be sexually modest, religious and sober, Harrison’s dolls adopt the visual language associated with drunkenness and sexual freedom on the high seas. Sailors, feared for their rowdy traditions, were thought of as the antithesis of the ideal woman, who was almost always middle class, white, home-bound.
Harrison’s dolls, like many Victorian woman, wear corsets and petticoats of soft, pastel hues; one even modestly holds a fan. But these seemingly coy women obviously have some ruffian pasts. Tattooed on one woman’s pale arms are the names of a dozen conquests: Daisy, Rita, Maria, Eileen. Unlike the figurines treasured by small Victorian children, Harrison’s characters seem to have anachronistically accompanied Sailor Jerry on his boozy pin-up filled adventures. Beside a budding rose sewn into the color of her dress, a lady reveals a pair of flying swallows, an icon that appears frequently in mid-20th century sailor tattoos.
Harrison’s impressive series coyly lays bare the deeply entrenched sexism, racism, and classism of the Victorian era, during which women were not permitted to vote or visit pubs. With their waists cinched and their hair powdered into elaborate updos, these seemingly fragile porcelain figures contain an undeniable grit that transcends all social barriers.
Texas based photographer Nick Minton has been working on a personal project over the past few years titled Days With Rose. The series documents his great grandmother’s journey, at age 90, as she moves from her lifelong home & a life of independence to an assisted living community.
Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere website building platform Made With Color to bring you some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today. Made With Color allows you to create a website that is professional and easy to use with just a few clicks and no coding. This week we bring you the beautifully grotesque paintings of Christian Rex van Minnen whose clean and sleek website was built using the Madewithcolor.com platform. See Minnen’s solo show entitled “Welsh Rats” at Robischon Gallery in Denver Colorado running through May 4th 2013.
“Welsh Rats” is a complexly layered presentation of new and recent paintings by emerging, New York-based artist Christian Rex van Minnen.Extolling his lavishly ornamented personal vocabulary of subtle and outrageous grotesqueries, van Minnen’s unsettling and disfigured, yet comical portraits hang alongside still life paintings of twisted tulips and hyper-real glistening entrails. Equally tangential, the exhibition title of “Welsh Rats,” is the Anglicization of the German word ‘Weltschmerz’ a reference by John Steinbeck in “East of Eden” meaning “world pain.” This sincere yet somewhat naive American (mis)interpretation of weighty European concepts of the past, reflects the confusion of language and history which is crucial to van Minnen’s artistic stance. This extends not just to the artist’s perception of European culture and painting but, also to how Native American and other ancient histories are also assimilated through art. Likened to a modern Archimboldo, van Minnen states, “I find myself either suppressing or indulging of my own desire to associate personal narrative to the raw visual information inherent in the material and process. Construction, destruction and reconstruction are symbiotic elements in the creative process allowing the image to fluctuate between abstraction and representation, truth and illusion, personal and archetypal.”
French artist Geneviève Santerre‘s body of work is, well, about the body. Explicitly erotic, her work is shocking and provocative. It speaks to central concerns about women’s bodies and sexuality in general. From human-animal-creature genital hybrid sculptures to bronze cast vaginas to a pair of discharge-soaked underwear hand stitched with the words “shit happens” to a tangled and suspended speculum to a performance piece wherein she wears a Niqab adorned with silicon vaginal molds, Santerre is by no means subtle. Her work is direct and compelling, challenging the viewer with something powerfully resonant yet potentially disturbing. Santerre pushes boundaries, asking us to reflect on recontextualized sexual images.
Santerre explains in her statement, “Belonging to a generation that is supposedly open sexually, I wonder why this jubilation is considered taboo. Despite some improvements since the feminist movement in the 1960’s, contemporary society remains patriarchal and regards women as objects, while frowning upon sexually open women.
Andy Ristaino is the lead designer at Adventure Time. His online portfolio is insanity. Yeah, Ristaino’s got the whole psychedelic thing pretty much down. But he’s also doing a lot more. This is what it looks like when you reach a high level within your craft. His blog is worth a click as well. (via)
Fellow art blog, Booooooom, has organized a great opportunity for you to help Haiti and build up your art collection, at the same time. The artists have agreed to donate all proceeds from each sale to Haiti. So please head on over to their fundraiser and support this cause. If you prefer to just donate, you can do so through Google: http://www.google.com/relief/haitiearthquake