Los Angeles based artist/sculptor J. Frede‘s recent body of work, “Heirloom” was shown last month at Pirate Contemporary Art in Denver, CO alongside painter Amanda Gordon Dunn‘s latest paintings. J’s Heirloom collection consists of 13 new sculptures that investigate the objects he uses and the artists personal memories attached with those objects and the objects he uses where he has no previous history with. An excerpt from Frede’s artist statement explains it best:
“I am interested in the idea of objects holding the past while hiding their past. The memories we associate with our grandfather’s watch or the blanket our mother made us, we can have strong reactions at the mere sight or smell of items whose history we can recall and these same objects are static to anyone else who sees them with no personal association.”
A reoccurring object J used in several sculptures is rope taking the place of a broken or missing piece in an item in a way that seems to embody or hint at a personified ghost. J possibly adding narrative to what the object signifies to him from his past, or adding his own imagined explanation to what the objects might of meant to someone who once cared for those treasured heirlooms.
Tokyo born artist Ramon Todo splices pieces of stone, volcanic rock, obsidian, fossils, books and even pieces of the Berlin Wall with translucent layers of glass. Taking raw chunks of natural material and adding highly polished bits of glass, he creates sculptures that are unstated and surprising. The juxtaposition of the sharp hard glass surface wedged in between crumbling porous rock, or forced into obsidian, or slotted into an old frayed book cover is a quiet commentary on the nature of material. By combining these distinctly different materials, Todo is talking about fragility and stability. He questions the very nature of the objects he is working with, and exploits the properties that we understand them by having. He asks us: what makes a rock a rock?
Todo collects the original stones and fossils while out walking (he is based in Dusseldorf), and initially is drawn to them as artifacts of the culture and the land they come from. By inserting something alien into these pieces, Todo is effectively rewriting their history, and the place that these objects hold in the world. With titles like Artificial Stone of Paris; Bois de Boulogne Paris 2007 #4, and o.T. – Spitz, these art works are like something from the shelves of The Natural History Museum, or the Geology Department at a university. They are definitely objects of curiosity, and you can see more of them after the jump.
Three months ago we approached long time B/D contributor Kyle Thomas to hand draw every single copy (1,500 total) of Beautiful/Decay’s Book: 1. Much to our surprise, Kyle quickly agreed and simply said “Bring it on!”
Last night at 6pm, we received the shipment of books and Kyle began the monumental task of creating 1,500 distinct works of art. The video above documents his stream of conscious supernatural drawing style. He’s currently holed up in the Beautiful/Decay offices drawing non stop during the whole work day! Based on his current pace he will complete all the covers by Tuesday July 14th, which is also the cut off date to reserve your copy. So make sure to subscribe today to ensure you get a copy of this one of a kind book.
Mikie Poland does what he wants, and that is awesome. Some might read this and think that it’s juvenile, but in a world where most people play a passive role in their own lives – I’m truly inspired by someone who is willing to pursue their passions with everything they have at their disposal. Poland is on the road about half the year touring with one of the two bands he plays in (Giving Up or State Champion), and spends much of his remaining time working odd jobs and helping to promote Sophomore Lounge Records in whatever way he can. As the web manager, primary art director, and right-hand-man of the label’s creator (Ryan Davis) you might wonder where he finds time to do much else. As it turns out, there is a good amount of “downtime” in the van in between gigs, and Poland often spends this time productively. Whether he is drawing posters for upcoming shows or clever illustrations referencing everything from Jazz to Dracula – Poland stays busy.
The nature of his practice could force a comparison to Raymond Pettibon, but Poland’s aesthetic is very much his own. There is certainly a gritty quality to the work, but his quick wit and keen understanding of texture and mark making have an intentionality to them that belies the crude manor in which many of his illustrations are fashioned. Having a fine arts degree from a conceptually oriented school like the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (where Poland received his undergraduate degree) often leads one down a path of pretention that can be hard to escape, but Poland manages to keep things in perspective. His observations are honest, the tone is real, and I enjoy looking at the work. If you scroll through these drawings and at least one of them doesn’t put a smile on your face I think it might be time to re-evaluate how seriously you take yourself. Giving Up will be on an east coast tour this June, and if you like what you see below I encourage you to check out their shows and pick up one of Poland’s expansive zines at the merch booth.
I was talking with Jason Redwood a few weeks ago, checking out some process shots of a new painting he’s working on (titled fathomless psychotropicali), and realized it’d be kind of cool to do a blog post on the progression of the painting, from start to finish. So, Jason snapped a few pics from different stages of the painting being completed- kinda cool! The entire series is below.