German artist Claudia Rogge digitally transforms her photography to create patterned and rapturous images of masses of people. Often the subject matter of her work appears bleak or apocalyptic, but ultimately portrays the vulnerable beauty of these deliberately arranged human figures. Even in the photographs that are a bit more chaotic, you can sense Rogge’s careful attention to the patterns she creates, and the order contained within them. Her meticulously composed photographs evoke both a sense of euphoria and foreboding while demonstrating the fractal-like beauty of people en masse. One of Rogge’s biggest challenges in her work is creating a scene that looks genuine and believable with digital effects.
Of her work, Cluadia Rogge says, “The fascination the theme “mass” exerts on me lies both in the content as well as in the formal and aesthetic aspect. As regards content, it is indeed exciting to live in a time that on the one hand trains people for absolute individuality, but an individuality that is defined by mass media, mass consumption, mass tourism etc. Aesthetically, the patterns and rhythms developed from masses are unique. You can find them in shoals and flocking birds as well as in major gatherings like military parades, processions, concerts etc. Regarding this, I do not resort to already existing masses in my works, but simulate my own.”
Alyssa Monks might make photorealist paintings but she’s equally interested in abstraction. Monks’ paintings explore the tension between abstraction and realism, using different filters to visually distort and disintegrate the body. In this shallow painted space, the subject is pushing against our real space. Strokes of thick paint in delicate color relationships are pushed and pulled to imitate glass, steam, water and flesh.
“When I began painting the human body, I was obsessed with it and needed to create as much realism as possible. I chased realism until it began to unravel and deconstruct itself,” Alyssa states, “Realism and Abstraction are in a symbiotic relationship – they need each other to exist and eventually become the same.” -Alyssa Monks
Hungarian artist Flora Borsi’s latest work was fueled by the emotions she felt after visiting Detroit. The artistic examination of architectural and infrastructural ruin has proven to be a topic of interest for many a creative person. From the ruins of once bustling institutions comes an idealization of the past that in turn triggers reflection on the future. She explains that she was “saddened by the state of abandoned buildings and factories”. She transferred this feeling into her latest project, simply entitled “Detroit”, which is a clever series of photos where she places old photographs of people in Detroit on top of photos she took during her time visiting the city.
Her photos include couples roaming the streets, children ice skating, and factory workers manufacturing tire parts. She merges what she sees as a very alive past and a very much less alive present. Through her splicing of past and present, she addresses the melancholy associated with the decay of an urban setting and the nostalgia of a metropolis in its heyday.
Her series reaches beyond a simple display of sadness and neglect, and the clashing of the city’s past and recent present provides strong grounds for reflection on the idea of rebirth. By doing this, she has somewhat created her own vision of urban decay in a way that is both bleak and hopeful.
Janice wu’s work explores how meaning, value, and associations are placed upon things in the material realm. She is interested in how seemingly worthless objects have the potential for whimsy and how the ‘inanimate’ mundane can reveal poetic and narrative possibilities. Through re-imagining the mediocre, the ordinary can become playful and even precious. Working meticulously in pencil and watercolor, her drawings reveal the intricate, tender nature of this medium and reflect the notion of devoting time and contemplation in to the easily overlooked. Through this process of investigating the quotidian, she trains her looking practice towards observing the subtleties in her own lived experiences.
If kinetic art “is art from any medium that contains movement perceivable by the viewer or depends on motion for its effect,” (Wikipedia) then “Electronic Traces: Memories of Dance” by Lesia Trubat González is the most literal form of kineticism. In “Electronic Traces” González has adapted ballet pointé shoes to create digital pictures, recreating the dancer’s movements.
“We focused on the ballet shoes themselves, which through the contact with the ground, and thanks to Lilypad Arduino technology, record the pressure and movement of the dancer’s feet and send a signal to an electronic device. A special application will then allow us to show this data graphically and even customize it to suit each user, through the different functions of this app. The user can then view all the moves made in video format, extract images and even print them.”
Many people desire to capture the beauty of physical movement in art. Heather Hansen’s “Emptied Gestures”, previously covered on Beautiful/Decay, also seeks to document the movements of the artist’s body as she lies on a huge sheet of paper and holds charcoal in her hands, tracing her choreographed performance. “Electronic Traces,” however, is more than an artist’s tool.
“Dancers can interpret their own movements and correct them or compare them with the movements of other dancers, as graphs created with motion may be the same or different depending on the type of movements executed and the correction of the steps and body position.
This is a project that can be extrapolated to other dance disciplines and the applications are multiple, from self- learning or dance classes to the graphical representation of live performance.”
Particularly evocative is the subtitle, “Memories of Dance.” Video can film a dance as it occurs; photography can elegantly freeze a particular frame. But like a memory, the sketchy lines of E-Traces capture the movement but lose the specificity of the moment. (Via Juxtapoz)
Jennifer Celio’s delicately rendered landscapes manipulate perception, creating fantastical iterations in which artificial and natural imagery fuse to become newly impossible sites. Working in graphite pencil on paper, she creates obsessively detailed scenes inspired by urban environment. Hinting at the contemporary threat of environmental degradation, Jennifer’s drawings depict seemingly mundane spaces that have been artificially altered or supercharged. The artificiality of our natural environment as well as our quest for it is questioned. See Jennifer’s work in person until April 21st in Los Angeles at Katherine Cone Gallery.
Spencer Tunick designs and installs nude human bodies into landscapes and photographs or films them. The blending of the color and texture of human skin with industrial or natural landscapes is stark and effective; the bodies themselves become their own landscape. Tunick has traveled the world staging photographs and videos of these large nude installations, and uses anywhere from a handful of voluntary participants to tens of thousands of them. The end result is a beautiful combination of art forms, including design, sculpture, performance, photography, and video. According to his website, Tunick has been arrested 5 times since 1992 while performing in New York City, and has gone to court to defend his First Amendment rights, which he won, but was still denied a permit from the city to practice his art. As a result, he creates his work abroad and has not performed in New York City in over 10 years.
While combining realism and expressionism, Mao Yanyang new works surprises the observer with very audacious paintings. Using daily broadcasted images he appeals to the spectator’s collective and individual memory shaped true years of media confrontation.
But there’s a very big difference between those known images and Mao Yanyang’s Works. The audacity of the artist’s ideas is expressed true the constant presence of several microphones in every single one of his paintings. This presence might seem kind of irrelevant and surreal, certainly when the artist is depicting war scenes, but they symbolize in fact the transformation of our world into an image consuming universe.