In a series titled Future Fatigue, photographer Bryn DC explores feminine power and the battle against gender inequality. Collaborating with a group of female filmmakers, writers, artists, and activists, he portrays “girl gangs” in post-apocalyptic, war-torn environments. Each one is garbed in ways that challenge conventional notions of femininity; wearing ragged clothes, armed with deadly weapons, and their faces streaked with dirt, they manifest and critique a world polarized by violence and identity binaries.
Bryn’s images are color-drenched and cinematic. Blending composition and costume together in story-filled images, he elucidates his themes in ways that are visceral and metaphorical. A lot of his work derives from personal anxieties about the destructive power of hyper-masculinity, in the way it is portrayed in contemporary culture; as he explains in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, he fears a world “where violence and blind progress are seen as necessary, and are often celebrated.” In the fictional apocalypse of Future Fatigue, gender binaries are opened to public discourse while the feminine is empowered as its own mode of influence.
Visit Bryn’s website to view more of his works, which often breach on his fascination with the pulls between mythology and reality, life and death. His Instagram profile is also a good resource to learn more about his projects.
Mari LaCure is an artist interested in the minute. She understands the importance of every single element – and explores them with woodblock printing, etching, watercolor, pen, colored pencil, and hand-stitching. Her work uses the macro and microscopic of nature for inspiration to create an aesthetic that looks incredible on screen, and probably even better in person.
I came across this John Galliano couture collection from 2006 and couldn’t help but laugh. I’ve been thinking about the great question of war & peace ever since hearing snippets from a rare house debate on the subject on NPR the other day. I don’t really have any answers on the state of the nation….apart from presenting Galliano’s bedraggled mud-slang revolutionary rockers doused in oil make-up, flip-flops, Galliano branded life vests (?), Michael Jackson-inspired spike shoulder pads and fake beards. Is Galliano lampooning the ridiculously luxe couture high-fashion world? Or our mythological idealizations of fighting desperados? Perhaps Mad Max is upon us.
In the past years, bee populations have been devastated by something scientists are calling Colony Collapse Disorder, causing a global crisis for humans and other animals. Sam Dreoge, a biologist at U.S. Geological Survey’s Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, catalogs hundreds of bee species in his lab. As the head of the USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab, Dreoge produces stunning high-resolution images that capture the diversity and spellbinding beauty the fascinating and helpful little creatures.
Dreoge’s photographs, which are used to identify and track bee populations, are often magnified up to five times the actual size of the insect. Focusing on minuscule details normally only visible under a microscope, most of the pieces are composites of numerous images, shot at multiple ranges with a 60 millimeter macro lens. Each image is also carefully edited, scrubbed of specks of dust. In preparation for the photo shoots, each bee specimen undergoes a bath in warm water and dish soap, after which they are carefully blow-dried to showcase their astoundingly beautiful, vibrant hair.
Dreoge’s images of bees read like the technological age’s answer to Leonardo da Vinci, who studied and sometimes killed insect specimens for the dual purpose of art and science. Research like this always raises ethical flags, but that moral question becomes more complicated when we are confronted with environmental crises like CCD. Bee populations are effected by parasites as well as problems caused by humans, like pesticides and climate change; it’s imperative that we find a way to save these miraculous animals, and Dreoge’s work could go a long way. What do you think? (via Smithsonian and Colossal)
In a classical compositional style, Photographer Phillip Toledano‘s series A New Kind of Beauty depicts subjects that have drastically augmented their bodies. The photographs contrast classical ideas of beauty with the contemporary and nearly obsessive pursuit of it. A fixation with beauty is ancient, but the images examine it in the light of modern body modification. Toledano says of the series:
“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?”
It is difficult not to imagine a narrative when seeing the work of Terrence Payne. The Minneapolis-based artist uses elements of design, iconography, typography, pattern and figure, all rendered in a decorative style and soft pallete but with subject matter that is anything but. While the artist occasionally focuses on a central word or scrawled text behind the animals and repeating, archetypical figures, Payne’s paintings use loaded narratives that combine believable earnestness and well-intentioned antagonism.
To achieve the softness in the work, Payne first uses colored pencils to enhance the quality of light and jewel tones, then applies layers oil pastels which allows the the under-drawings show through. Payne says:
“I want you (the viewer) to see the mechanism of it. The idea is just how can I reinforce the sense of this being artificial, that these people aren’t real. They are just representations of what I am thinking about“
Terrence’s recent work has been concerned with “cataloging the human effects of trying to keep your head afloat in an increasingly polarized world of haves and have-nots” and “examining a person’s perceived place in society” and how that affects the way the work is perceived. This most recent work will be collected in an exhibition alongside Nick Howard (previously here) called Cake, at the artist-collective space Payne helped found, Rosalux Gallery in Northeast Minneapolis (which was named Twin Cities’ Best Gallery in 2013). Cake opens October 12th and runs through October 31st.