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Documentary Watch: Airstream Living + Designing

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live and work out of a airstream then watch this great short documentary about landscape architect Andreas Stavropulos. Watch the full doc after the jump!

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Zoe Keller’s Charming And Elaborate Illustrations Of Flora And Fauna

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Portland, Oregon based artist Zoe Keller creates intricate and whimsical nature themed illustrations and designs. After her graduation from Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Keller found herself spending time in rural areas such as the rocky cost of Maine, on a blueberry farm in Michigan, and the quiet town of Hudson, New York. Inspired by her experience and her surroundings, Keller’s work aims to explore the “intersection of art making, activism and the natural sciences.” Using graphite renderings that are sometimes enhanced with digital coloration, Keller’s drawings are flawless and comprehensive. Each work, exploring a stylized still life or, in some cases, a more narrative focused composition, acts as a tiny shrine to nature. Many of her drawings depict endangered species, allowing her art to serve as a form of education, awareness, and perhaps memorial. For example, her piece Life Cycle portrays the various phases within the life of a Black Racer Snake, an endangered species native to Maine. Another piece, Endangered Turtles, is a charming composition of North American endangered turtles stacked by size. Her drawings have a lithographic feel, allowing them to act as a part of the classical tradition of drawing as documentation. Her images clearly pay homage to the vintage botanical drawings once used before the days of photography. Painstakingly detailed, yet simultaneously fun and carefree, her images have an almost fairytale quality. Keller’s work is undoubtedly endearing and her craftsmanship undeniably elaborate. 

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Ghada Amer’s Embroidered Porn Paintings And Feminist Text

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Ghada Amer is an Egyptian-born artist who speaks assertively about feminine depiction in her paintings. In earlier work, she used soft-core pornographic reference images for her large-scale thread paintings. In an interview with Border Crossings, Amer explains her decision to use thread as her primary medium. “I didn’t invent embroidery, but I wanted to paint with embroidery. I was speaking about women in a medium for women, and it made the speaking stronger and more present.” Embroidery, weaving, and other traditionally female mediums are often categorized as craft, in many ways as a dismissal of the expression as inferior to painting, sculpture, and other ‘high art’ mediums. Amer decided to reappropriate the media, and has made a very successful career out of it. Ghada Amer: Rainbow Girls was the artist’s most recent exhibition, showcased at Cheim and Read, certainly not low-hanging fruit in the commercial art world.

Amer has branched out from pornography, originally a means for her to rebel against her family. She’s made sculptures and borrows feminist slogans like: “Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition” in text-based work. Her colours can be sever with a black ground and an abstract explosion of thread or bright and playful, which is also reflected in her approach. Her intention is serious, but like the thread she embroiders, she is also loose and celebratory of the feminine condition.

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Brad Wilson’s Soul-Bearing Portraits Of Rare Animals

Brad Wilson - Photograph

Brad Wilson - Photograph

Brad Wilson - Photograph

Brad Wilson - Photograph

Often there is a thick line that separates the fact of human and animal conscience. Brad Wilson’s portraits demonstrate the profound character each of his animal subjects possess. Wilson is a commercial photographer used to working with human subjects. His lens creates a bridge between humanity and the animal kingdom, allowing us to contemplate the gap that is likely much narrower than we believe between ourselves and other living creatures. His photographs allow us to recognize ourselves within the animals, in some way, their humanity (although of course, not literally).

His experience in taking the photographs is extremely enlightening. Below are excerpts from a Bored Panda article. 

“The animals engender an amazing sense of relationship that is primal in its roots and profound in the moment. I learned that they are what we, as humans, used to be: completely present in the moment and curious about the immediate enviroment around them, and living primarily through instinct and intuition.”

Tigers have quite a presence in the studio. There were some rather awe-inspiring, fear-inducing moments when you realized just how physically powerful they were. Overall though, with a camera in front of my face, I felt strangely removed from the environment around me. I was simply unaware of any intimidation or danger. Of course, this was a complete illusion, but it served me well.”

“I’m after something very specific – a moment where mood, composition, and stillness come together to reveal something uncommon and unexpected. I’m looking for unique connection to my subject that shows something deeper and more intimate to the viewer and treats the animals as equals, affording them all the respect and dignity I would offer any person in front of my camera. Hopefully this makes my series different from most other animal photography, but that’s ultimately up to each individual seeing the work to decide.”

(Via Fubiz)

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Patrick Nagel

1309 Patrick Nagel was  a Los Angeles based artists whose work strongly resembles that of the japanese woodblock and art deco styles.

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Unnerving Artworks Created With Deadly Disease-Causing Bacteria

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Miniature woven felt lungs injected with sterilized tuberculosis bacteria

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In collaboration with microbiologists, the English artist Anna Dumitriu has honed her unique talent for working with bacteria as a means of staining fabric; her high-art fashions feature organic patterns made by microorganisms. In her most recent installation project, The Romantic Disease, she works with a more dangerous type of bacteria: Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism responsible for Tuberculosis.

In combining now-killed TB DNA with found and altered relics of late 19th and early 20th century technologies, Dumitriu creates a vivid medicinal—and often foreboding— landscape. Before the invention of antibiotics, TB patients were taken to “sanatoria,” hospitals built at high altitudes (then thought to be beneficial to sufferers), where they were confined to bed and given extreme treatments. For a piece titled “Rest, Rest, and Rest!” Dumitriu constructs a model sanitarium bed; for another piece, she carves the pattern of lung tissue onto an actual Pneumothorax Machine, once used to collapse patients’ lungs.

The Romantic Disease is neither a historical or scientific tour of old hospital machinery; on the contrary, is is an emotionally dangerous and poignantly subjective exploration of the disease. Although the exhibit avoids mention or representation of actual sufferers, individual pieces are imbued with a distinctly human touch. The sanitarium bed and curtain are small and delicate as dollhouse pieces; beside the larger pieces, they appear lonesome and afraid. Similarly, a group of miniature woven felt lungs, each containing sterilized Mycobacterium tuberculosis, appear to flutter like tiny, fragile birds beside the Pneumothorax Machine.

A maternity dress, dyed with supposed TB cures like safflower and madder root, hangs loosely on a dress form; this piece becomes all the more heartbreaking with the knowledge that at a time when the disease was thought to be spread genetically, pregnant women underwent forced abortions. The historical reverence and tender craftsmanship with which Anna Dumitriu presents The Romantic Disease serves to humanize those who suffered at the hands of this politically and socially fraught disease. The work is currently on display at West London’s Waterman’s. (via Smithsonian Magazine and Anna Dumitriu)

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Animal Sculptures Created Out Of Plastic Beach Litter

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animal sculptures

animal sculptures

French artist Gilles Cenazandotti constructs life-size animals out of litter he’s combed from beaches, recycling a variety of plastics and other detritus. Titled, “Future Bestiary,” this series of sculptures directly addresses problems related to throw-away culture and the waste that results from conspicuous consumption. When the creatures are inserted into natural landscapes, they almost appear digitally rendered because the contrast between natural and man-made elements is so pronounced. Of his work, Cenazandotti says,

“Impressed by everything that the Sea, in turn, rejects and transforms, on the beaches I harvest the products derived from petroleum and its industry. The choice of animals that are part of the endangered species completes this process. In covering these animals with a new skin harvested from the banks of the Sea, I hope to draw attention to this possible metamorphosis – to create a trompe l’oeil of a modified reality.” (via laughing squid and junk culture)

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Ziska’s Icelandic Pyramids

I’ve always wanted to head out to Iceland to discover new art, design, and stalk Bjork. Now I can also head over there to check out Ziska’s Pyramid paintings.

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