Erin McCarty paints from somewhere deep within. Her colorful, chaotic paintings often channel fear, anguish, and desire in ways that are palpable. The bold leaf- and crystal-like motifs used throughout seem somehow magically charged. All in all, I find it hard to believe that this artist is fairly fresh out of art school. It must be that the cold, crisp air of Alaska stimulates her creativity.
Currently Brooklyn based, Ryan Peltier is a talented illustrator who is currently earning his Masters at the School of Visual Arts. He has been featured in publications such as 3×3, American Illustration, and has won awards from the Society of Illustration Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited at BRIC in Brooklyn, and the Tinlark and Billy Shire Fine Arts in Los Angeles.
Ryan’s process depends heavily on the kind of surface he is working on. He makes it a point to begin with beautiful materials that hold character. The outcome is a collection of illustrations with a whole lot of awkward humor, and delightful surrealism.
This Saturday Beautiful/Decay will be taking part in L.A. Print: Edition 2, the second annual showcase of Los Angeles printmakers, dealers, galleries, and non-profits focusing on current trends in printmaking and publishing. Guests are invited to connect directly with artists, curators, printers, and dealers to learn more about the production and collection of
fine art prints and editions.
Presentations and artist talks throughout the day illuminate the creativity and process behind printmaking. With a variety of affordable prints available, it is perfect for those looking to build their own collection or to purchase special gifts for the holidays.
Canadian illustrator Michael DeForge’s portfolio recalls the festering goodness/grossness of cartoon classic staples Ahh Real Monsters and Ren & Stimpy that made your eyeballs feel like they were covered with a layer of prismacolor slime. I love his posters for bands such as Xiu Xiu and Les George Leningrad. Very fitting.
Adam Voorhes, a photographer residing in Texas, has released an amazing book documenting 100 extremely rare, damaged, and malformed human brains. This book, called Malformed: Forgotten Brains of the Texas State Mental Hospital, was released this November through PowerHouse books. As Voorhes’ work shows, there is an aesthetic beauty to the contours and shape of a brain that only add to the intrinsic mystery surrounding them. Through a twist of fate, Voorhes gained access to a medical niche and has built a body of work that will prove to be historically priceless. His project created a detailed photographic archive of the brains that has led to a new, revitalized interest from the medical community. Scientific journals have voiced intrigue and the researchers at the University of Texas at Austin are now producing MRI’s of these brains, which will be displayed in their new medical school.
Voorhes explains how he came into this subject:
“I had been sent to the University of Texas’ Animal Resources Center to borrow a brain to photograph for a magazine article. I was shown through a laboratory into a storage closet filled with human brains stacked in jars from floor to ceiling, two rows deep. All told, there were more than 100 rare specimens extracted from former patients at Texas’ state mental hospital in Austin, and all displayed distinct abnormalities. Each jar had been labeled with a date, an observation in archaic Latin and a case number.
I took the brain I’d been assigned and returned to my studio to work, but I quickly became preoccupied with the vision of this decaying collection. I wanted to know more about the donors, their quality of life and experiences. The gravity of what I’d seen haunted me. The thought of cataloguing the collection and preserving it with my camera became an obsession.
Eventually, my photography team and I were granted access to the lab. Uninterrupted and unsupervised, we donned respirators and heavy gloves. Over the course of two days in the locked research facility, we documented the collection. The history of these brains remained unknown, however. Although the descriptive text on some of the jar labels had faded or worn away, most had corresponding case numbers. Those case numbers referenced medical records, and those records became my secondary obsession.
In over my head, I collaborated with journalist Alex Hannaford to track down the story behind the brains. As he pored through archaic documents and tracked every available lead, he uncovered not only the history of the collection, but also the unfortunate loss of nearly half the original specimens. Our hope for this project is to help preserve the remaining portion and foster greater interest in its beauty, historical importance and medical value.” (via Slate)
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Renegades, a photographic series by Frank Marshal, captures the Heavy Metal subculture in Sub-Saharan Africa.
As we know, Heavy Metal audiences have traditionally been Caucasian and Eurocentric. All of these things, however, are not an obvious description of Sub-Saharan Africa. Marshall’s portraits offer a vision of an unlikely Heavy Metal subculture in Botswana, his subjects are an anomaly, a reaction to a strictly occidental genre. Marshall aptly labels his subjects as renegades, as he renders portraits of rebellious individuals who form part of “an ulterior, emergent rootedness where traditional identities and political histories in Botswana are subverted”. Furthermore, Marshal’s portraits break down established archetypes of ethnicity, cultural identity, and ideology. These individuals are on the fringe of a society that is already situated within the ‘geographical and ideological’ space of the Other, meaning that they are already viewed as exotic by the Occident.
The peculiar thing here is, that we see the ‘Other’ under an completely unpredictable light.
Tribe-like, Heavy Metal possesses an unconscious sense of brotherhood that transcends race and nationality in the context of Renegades. So too, Marshall’s renegades unpack popular stereotypes, transcending traditions, blurring the boundaries between liberty and fraternity, helping to delineate the power structures inherent to Heavy Metal, which may be misinterpreted as a trace of an oppressive past. This is in keeping with the extremism of Heavy Metal ideology, embracing anything that popular culture finds unacceptable.
On an ethereal ground of white light Christophe Avella-Bagur shows us archetypal representations of male and female bodies that answer our expectations of mass-produced perfection. Avella-Bagur disrupts this ideal with a second layer of portraits painted in visceral flesh-tones that never quite register with the face’s outline. The two portraits are collapsed together to create disturbingly distorted juxtapositions painted in the grotesque manner of El Greco or Goya.
Avella-Bagur first began the Floating Souls series in 2005, working in a medium-sized format. These paintings contained archetypal figures with their eyes closed, in which a “floating soul” was depicted attempting to register with its host. Now the idealized bodies have their eyes open, creating tension and visual complexity between the two faces.