As a sneak peek to the knock-out exhibition “Fresh Perspectives” at Mark Moore Gallery surveying a selection of young, emerging artist opening September 12th, Beautiful/Decay conducted an exhibition preview extravaganza. Read an interview with Catlin Moore about her process of selecting artists, putting the exhibition together and more, as well as five mini interviews with each of the featured artists. In keeping with the theme “Fresh Perspectives,” we gave each artist the same three questions- with surprisingly different answers from each artist! Full article after the jump!
Emma Powell‘s photo series “In Search of Sleep” is a sequence of snapshots straight out of a semi-lucid dream. To create her photos, Powell uses the cyanotype process and also tints them with tea and wine. The result is a layer of haziness and off-kilter colors that enhance the surreality of her artwork, making them almost seem like paintings of the mind.
“In Search of Sleep recreates this shadowy realm and allows me to explore my real-life questions, from personal dramas to romantic doubts,” Powell says. Her inspiration is also, in part, the bedtime stories her father used to invent, which incorporated real world locations as well as a mysterious “dream-world of caverns, forests, and oceans full of unexpected animals and dangers.”
Powell’s work certainly embodies that sense of searching, longing, and subterranean menaces. In some photos, her dreamer seems very small: standing before a looming labyrinth; marooned on a rock next to an enormous anchor; pausing before the stairs as a large shadow moves behind her.
“In Search of Sleep” almost gives the sensation that as much as the dreamer seeks, she is also being sought. Powell’s photography gives us a sense of a journey, and as mysterious as it is, we can’t be sure if the seeker ever finds what she’s looking for. (h/t I Need a Guide)
The Black Keys, The Hundreds, and Yonder Mountain String Band all share one thing in common – the incredible illustrations of Johnny Sampson. His original works have graced gig posters, t-shirts, and even the walls of galleries. Yet, his talent is so great and diverse as to enable him to do all that and more without ever repeating himself stylistically. Whether he’s ripping on old comic book covers, Lichenstein dots, or 70’s cult movie nostalgia, Johnny Sampson is doing it with a master’s flare and impeccable taste.
9 score and 1 year ago, our father brought forth, upon this continent, a new nation…oh wait. Wrong address! 1 Year and 9 months ago, Fei started working at Beautiful/Decay, and now today is her last day!
Back then, Fei was like a neon hyper-color baby, favoring bedazzled street-wear thrift store sartorial creations. Now, her clothes incorporate a more muted palette, some classic, feminine pieces like straight leg, form fitting dark pants, as well as some more avante-garde pieces that are on trend, like cucoon shirts, harem pants, or other ready-to-wear pieces that play with volume. OK that’s not really doing her justice either, ’cause its what’s on the inside of Fei that counts!
OK, anyway, Fei has contributed an insane amount of insanely amazing design while she’s here, from the redesign of our blog (a creation she has lovingly mothered and tended to like a small digital vegetable patch), to of course, the layout of the entire magazine, in which she has embedded secret esoteric Free-Masonic based astral symbols that, when held under the light of a full moon and wetted with a drop of a howling wolf, tells the viewer her whereabouts in the world (China.)
Throughout our time together I have delighted in the fact that Fei and I are somehow psychically linked, ostensibly heightened by the fact we eat the same lunch here at the office most every day: Albertsons soup and Trader Joe’s Italian salads. I’m a little sad to see what will become of our kozmic mynd conneksh, but hope that even across continents, our bond remains.
Among my favorite Fei memories:
-Our rollicking rendition of “Rooftop,” (a song we penned together at the old office)
-The day she wore “hoop” earrings
-Hare Krishna buffet
-How she got hit by a car on her first day on the job in the Subway parking lot
-The time Fei made me stand on the old Rooftop (yes, the famous rooftop from the aforementioned ballad) with a feather headdress on and mirrors on my hands, gently making waving motions to refract the sun’s beams for some “art” thing she did
-Singing “Ja, må hon leva” to her
-Having to say “Smultron” to interns in a Swedish accent at her behest
-How she’d sometimes eat a tamal for breakfast
-How she’d sometimes eat leftover cake that was in the freezer for a month for breakfast
….And more! Anyway, Fei, we will all miss you tons!!
Artist Mark Reigelman‘s new site-specific installation is aptly titled Reading Nest. The structure was created just outside the Cleveland Public Library using thousands of reclaimed wood boards. Reading Nest acts as an alternative setting for learning and growth. In his statement Reigleman says of the installation’s symbolism:
“For centuries objects in nature have been associated with knowledge and wisdom. Trees of enlightenment and scholarly owls have been particularly prominent in this history of mythological objects of knowledge. The Reading Nest is a visual intermediary between forest and fowl. It symbolizes growth, community and knowledge while continuing to embody mythical roots.” [via]
Artist Sheida Soleimani has translated her frustration with her home country Iran and it’s politics into a captivating and symbolically complex photographic series called National Anthem. Her parents fled the country in 1979 after the revolution that overthrew the pro-western Pahlavi dynasty took place. (Both parents were targeted for actively opposing the regime – her mother tortured, and her father escaping across the border.) As a political refugee in America, Soleimani observed her country transition through several fundamental changes and decided to express her disdain visually. Each photographic scene is an exploration of cultural themes and symbols all representing different aspects of the last 35 years in Iran, and the many different dictators and leaders the country has seen. Soleimani says:
In my photographic scenarios, cultural symbols and signifiers are appropriated to create a narrative in regards to my position as an Iranian-American viewing the Middle East from an outside lens. The usage of specific colors and political figures form a symbolic lexicon that runs throughout the series, while party supplies hint at the doctrines of ‘political parties’. Each of the photographs addresses a specific time in Iranian history, while alluding to how both the East and West have responded to societal occurrences. Through incorporating multiple layers, the lexicon can be read and refashioned by the viewers’ ideologies, creating images that remain coeval, while acknowledging former origins. (Source)
Combining collage, installation, performance and object assemblage, Soleimani creates powerful, emotional art-as-activism. The fierce mark making, scrunched up images, burnt candles, and mutilated cultural objects all have the hand of an aggrieved survivor. Managing to turn her deeply personal history into a series of clever, sarcastic visual puns, Soleimani’s artistic therapy is beneficial to us all.
A stint in prison for selling drugs helped Australian artist Bindi Cole refocus her mode of expression. Having always been interested in photography, shortly after her release Cole began focusing her work on issues of identity. Aboriginal, but fair skinned, Cole had never really been sure about the way she identified with the stereotype of the Aboriginal. Her Not Really Aboriginal series, which featured fair skinned Aboriginal people in blackface, garnered her much attention.
In another work, EH5452 (Cole’s prisoner number), Cole documents her time in prison using photos, diary entries and prison issue personal items such as cigarette papers and lighters. Cathartic, for Cole, the project in her words “aims to turn something dark, hidden and shameful into something light, revelatory and beautiful.”
In yet another series, Cole spent a month capturing portraits of the Tiwi Island culture’s “Sistagirls.” A Sistagirl is a transgender person. Formerly revered in the culture, after the culture was colonized and converted to Catholicism, the Sistagirls became shunned and excluded from their tribe. Existing in their own mini world, Cole sought to capture the essence of who they are and the spirit o their community.