Whether its an image of a pizza with a phalic sausage sticking out of it or a large mural of ornate pattern made out of plastic flowers and cheap snack food the art work of Adam Parker Smith has a tongue in cheek comic conceptual approach that will make you think, laugh, and say “why didn’t I think of that” all at once. I especially love his tapestries made out of hundreds of friendship bracelets. See these and more after the jump.
Melissa Brown is a printmaker who has turned her attention towards painting and animation. Her paintings repeat imagery in the way a print might, but also take on the physical quality of paint. This hybridity allows the paintings to have elements that are both familiar and strange. Brown’s animation is also a hybrid of print and paint. The animation you are about to click on is set to a mellow carnivalesque tune. Melissa has worked with games, in their various forms, to create her art. She has used the folded paper Fortune Teller we all used in grade school, and all the way up to an all-night performance on how to win the State Lottery in front of a movie screen filled with diagrams. Brown’s new animation keeps with this interest in games. It is based on an old street con, the shell game. You can see that animation in the Dinter Project Room.
When I have spoken to Melissa about her work she always starts by telling me something very technical, like something about the lighting, but we eventually talk about how the patterns and spaces in the work make us feel. This new work has a sort of physical effect on me, like a great bass line that comes out of nowhere, and, even though you’re in a bad mood, makes you dance with your seat belt on at a red light in your car at an intersection. Brown is in a group show at a Bright Lyons called Freak Furniture Fan Club with two other great printmakers Leif Golberg and Erin Rosenthal.
A beautiful drawing lures you in. It enamors and feeds an aesthetic which is similar to falling in love. The senses are heightened and you feel good. It allows you to breath and stop for a moment and reflect. It acts as an aphrodisiac brought on not only by creator but viewer who enables it to live.
Jillian Dickson creates drawings filled with love. After giving birth to her son she reflected on the powerful connection between us and nature. This spawned a series which entwined placentas and umbilical chords with delicate budding flowers, insects and plants. Like the connection between mother and child the parts symbolize our union to every living thing in the world. In a weird way, the drawings recall The Matrix. There’s something deeper to be found behind expertly rendered flowers and parts which cannot be seen but felt.
The floral arrangements in Dickson’s drawings bloom off the page in round shapes resembling mandalas. The ultra detailing giving them not an artificial but almost surreal touch. Done in colored pencil, the fine point and light stroke needed to produce these intriguing pieces of paper preoccupies most of Dickson’s studio practice. They are labor intensive and done with much thought and care. Some past projects have involved two elephants, tumors and plants, hanging bodies and pastel babies. She has exhibited all over the world including The Louvre in Paris for Drawing Now and Manifest Drawing Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio. She currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and works part time at Elon University.
Artist Nelly Ben Hayoun’s The Other Volcano tries to question the domestication of nature for entertainment purposes (not your middle school baby egg in this case): “How would you deal with a live volcano in the middle of your living room? Would you try to destroy it? Would you just disconnect it from the mains? Would you be more popular because you share your life with a volcano? Would you invite people to see it, and switch it on at the end of the meal to create a ‘surprising’ effect?” Beware, the pet will sit for a couple weeks in select volunteers’ living rooms.
One of the best things about publishing a magazine is having packages from distant lands (Canada) show up in our PO Box. You never know what you’re going to get. Sometimes we get complete junk…. but once in a while, we hit the jackpot with something that you want to hang on to. Case in point: this cool mini ‘zine by T. Reilly Hodgson called C inical Depression. Not only is this a great example of what a few bucks and some time at your local copy center can create, but I also love getting packages with hand written notes. Even our address is tricked out on the envelope! Reminds me of B/D’s humble beginnings when we hand wrote notes to subscribers. Maybe we should go back to that?
Laughter is universal; it transcends culture, trends, and time. The art world, however, is not considered to be droll. Galleries and museums are stoic, intellectual spaces and works of art are discussed in academic terms. Yet in this scholarly world there are artists that buck conventions and use humor to engage us and make us laugh and think. Art is a medium of communication and the artists in this issue have found that humor is the most powerful way to engage their audience and convey their message.
This class clowns issue of Beautiful/Decay is dedicated to those artists who pack their work not only with meaning but with a powerful punch line that keeps us coming back for more. Join us as we delve into the world of Winnie Truong’s surreal and funny portraits, and find the humor in Devin Troy Strother’s discomfort with his own race. Witness how Maurizio Cattelan has become the art world’s premier prankster and gain insight into artistic duo littlewhitehead’s mixture of dark humor and lo-tech fabrication.
View our cover artist Stefan Glerum’s arresting illustrations, and Ben Aqua’s subversive photography. See how William Powhida’s cynical, self-deprecating, and universally criticizing works take the role of the court jester to a new level. As if that weren’t enough to keep you busy, we’ve also invited an international cast of artists, illustrators, and designers to create original works for our Project Pages based on our theme. So get out your X-ray specs as we explore the worlds of Beautiful/Decay’s Class Clowns.
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Via large-scale installations, Antony Gormley explores relationships with nature in a radical investigation of the body as a place of memory and transformation. His recent work increasingly engages with energy systems, fields and vectors, rather than mass and defined volume, evident in works like CLEARING, BLIND LIGHT, FIRMAMENT and ANOTHER SINGULARITY.
Brighton-based artist Jake Wood-Evans‘ classical influences are readily apparent. A 21st-century Caravaggio? Who knows. But dude’s definitely on the right track. Celebrating his heroes while producing work that’s relevant to his period, Woods-Evans executes drips and fades in disaffected, casual gestures. Laurel wreaths and nuclear explosions are likely to meet in a single composition. If you’re near Brighton next month, check out his work at the Brighton Media Centre the 7th through the 16th. More images of the artist’s work after the jump.