Portia Munson’s latest show at P.P.O.W uses photography, installation, and sculpture to create a vibrant and colorful atmosphere that examines nature, including our own.
Entering the gallery, photographic wallpaper of dandelions reach out from under a series of still life prints or memento mori: images of actual flower blossoms, carefully arranged by the artist as a mandala, inside of which, a woodland creature, formerly found along the roadside, nestles.
Of her imaging process, Munson elaborates, “I use the scanner like a large-format camera. I lay flowers directly onto it, allowing pollen and other flower stuff to fall onto the glass and become part of the image. When the high-resolution scans are enlarged, amazing details and natural structures emerge. Every flower mandala is unique to a moment in time, represents what is in bloom on the day I made it.”
When shown alongside Munson’s other piece: Reflecting Pool, a “congested installation” of heaping blue landfill trash, we are forced to confront our natural instincts– to build and discard with quick irreverence.
In deconstructing Barbie dolls and repurposing them as jewelry for “Plastic Bodies Series,” the designer Margaux Lange forces us to enter an uncomfortable space between disgust and worship of the iconic toy. Barbie, who has been a target of the last decades’ feminist debate, occupies an ambiguous role in the social and sexual development of girls; she exudes sexuality with her adult figure, but she also remains virginal, never revealing her nipples or genitalia.
Lange’s work powerfully evokes the girlhood tension between reverence and anger felt towards the doll and its conflicting representation of female eroticism. At its most practical, the art is a function of style; elevated to the status of precious jewels, Barbie’s eyes and breasts inspire nostalgia and desire. Yet the doll is so clearly dismembered, and therefore violently objectified, and her selfhood becomes reduced to a series of nearly identical body parts, arranged for your consumption.
Arguably, the most compelling of the works include Barbie’s male companion doll Ken. Although the dolls often serve as play actors for a child’s early exploration of sexual desire and experience, their plastic forms obscure and confuse concepts of intimacy. In isolating the dolls’ features, Lange is able to express more clearly-seen longings within the previously sterile dolls; they become fixated between metal filigrees, robbed of their eyes but permanently in contact with one another. In use, the relationship between the owner and the doll also reaches new levels of fetishistic fascination. In one pair of earrings, doll hands reach out to touch the curve of the human neck; a necklace allows a tiny pair of metal lungs, filled with the breath of Barbie and Ken, to lay atop the wearer’s own chest. Take a look. (via Margaux Lange and BUST)
Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere website building platform Made With Color to bring you another exclusive artist feature. Each week we join forces to bring you some of the most exciting artists and designers who use Made With Color to create their clean and sleek websites. Made With Color doesn’t just help artists create gorgeous websites but allows them to do so in a few minutes without having to touch a line of code. This week we’re happy to bring you the mixed media collages of Tim Furey.
The work of New Jersey based illustrator Tim Furey is full of texture, shapes, neon colors and best of all aliens! Combining a wide array of media in his collages Furey creates psychedelically hued interiors, still lives, and narratives that will hint at the story without giving away the plot. Inexpensive craft paper meets holographic stickers and crayon scribbles create images that are as primal as they are futuristic. The result is a hypercolored world where aliens mingle with mankind to create unknown future worlds.
Londoner Petra Storrs is not just a set, prop, and costume/fashion designer– she’s an artist who collaborates with performers to transcend ideas beyond the ephemeral and into a sturdy cult of fantasy. The “reflective mirror dress” she designed for Paloma Faith, for example, not only sharpens the singer’s playful theatrical identity, but further investigates this concept of “the gaze”. In Dazed and Confused Magazine, Faith elaborates on the intention, “Obviously, as a performer, I am normally the observed, but I wanted to flip that dynamic around and make the audience the focus.” Storrs response, of course, was to whip up a garment that literally does just that.
But it’s not just creative camaraderie that gets Storrs’ juices flowing– she also finds inspiration from everyday objects and history, or everyday objects that hold history such as . . . tea. Camellia & the Rabbit, her latest design endeavor (collected here), involves performance artist Rachel Snider, who uses “tea as a central motif/metaphor” and a narrative “like sea shanties” to interweave “historical facts and stories of tea”– thus, evoking our own personal relationship to this British afternoon tradition.
Miami based artist Asif Farooq builds highly detailed replicas of guns using only found cardboard, an X-Acto Knife, and glue. The weapons are build to mimic their real life counterparts in both detail and size. Farooq constructed 300 of these cardboard replicas in order to create an entire “gun shop”. The atmosphere of danger that surrounds the weapons is contrasted by the nature of his medium. His sculpture not only encourage viewers to confront a fear of the weapons but to also contemplate that fear. Farooq’s work is especially relevant in the midst of recent gun-control debates.
Woohoo! The press keeps rolling in for our Spring 2010 line! This week has seen a number of other excellent reviews, including a mention by TWBE that Ben Tegel’s t-shirt, “Greetings from LA” above, looked as “if Paris Hilton turned into Heidi Montag.” I’d say that’s pretty accurate. Other great reviews from Spanky Stokes & Addicteed. Thanks guys, for the blog love!
Rose-Lynn Fisher’s Bee is a visual exploration of the anatomy of bees; she used an electron microscope to capture close-ups of honeybees from 10 to 5000x! She first became involved in this project nearly 20 years ago, when she noticed that the hexagonal field of a bee’s eye nearly perfectly mirrored the six-sided pods they created in their honeycomb, leading her to wonder if there was a more profound relationship between vision and action; does the way we see affect the way we construct our world? Her book is a marvel of science and design – as are the bees she shoots – and provides incredible insights to the nature of the insects that so many of us take for granted. It’s an educational read without trying too hard, (you won’t have to try either, it’s mostly pictures). Read it.