Joseph Parra is an artist working with the human portrait and figure. While he obviously draws and paints very well, Parra is not necessarily concerned with perfectly replicating what someone looks like. He finds this notion limiting to an artist; after all, a photo or realistic painting can only go so far. You’ve made someone look like their outward appearance, but now what?
Parra strives to delve deeper into the figure or portrait and reveal what is unseen. His work questions what it means to be human using a couple of different methods. One way is through layers. Aside from a portrait, he adds of media that distorts the face or the body. Parra scrapes, pricks, and sands his subjects. In his words, this is “acting as reminders that we are merely a union of ideas.” Additionally, he will cut, braid, or fold paper as a way to express the complex nature of humanity. Oneself (directly below) is the same portrait but manipulated in three different ways. It references the fractured, multiple, and twisted ways we often view ourselves. Some days we think we’re great, while others we are loathsome.
Much of Parra’s work is screen prints and digital prints, which I think enhance his ideas and again parallels the human experience. We see these images mutilated and/or distorted, and they look very textural. Yet up close, they are mostly reproduced images and have a smooth sheen – the rawness is kept contained. I compare it to having a friend who appears very put together on the surface, but beneath you know they are a mess.
Parra was featured last year on Beautiful/Decay, not long after graduating college. Since then, he’s created more work that focuses on the braiding or manipulating of paper, which are some of my favorite pieces. I’m looking forward to seeing where Parra goes from here.
Mads Perch is a wonderful master of light. He not only photographs sensual portraits beautifully, but also can manipulate projections with finesse. Working mostly as a commercial photographer, Perch together with art director Gemma Fletcher has become used to producing unfussy images quickly and efficiently. He has a sensitive style that would have no problem fitting in with the digital romantics.
This is a genre where artists are harnessing digital technologies in their search for the sublime: representing manifestations of Romanticism in the digital. (Source)
Perch does just that – his images are peaceful, ethereal, emotive and gentle. He evokes something very humane with the aid of different technologies. He says of his own work:
[My] photography encompasses clean, crisp, fresh and beautifully understated portraiture to more vivid imagery imbued with vibrancy, attitude and a healthy dose of color.
Perch’s choice of patterns and tones he projects are what make his portraits so enchanting. The blocks of greens and oranges caressing noses and draping over shoulders; the stripes bending around a gently tilted head; eyelids covered in technicolor plaid – these are what turn his subjects from something expected into something surprisingly celestial. Apart from these portraits, Perch has tried this method of projection on various buildings, structures and landscapes for an ad campaign in 2014. He has also photographed the award winning Klaxons ‘Surfing The Void’ album cover, and British rock group Clock Opera’s ‘Ways To Forget’ cover. All using a similarly clever and experimental approach to light and color. To see more of his beautiful work take a look here.
Thread used as a mean to draw. German artist Annegret Soltau traces her face and body with a linear thread. Joining the eyes, nose and mouth to create a web that’s structured in different shapes. Some of the webs are harmonized with the face, others are claustrophobic. The artist is posing herself, claiming that “I am using myself as a model because I can go the farthest with me.”
The tension of the thread is an analogy to the relationships she encountered with her family members in her childhood. The strenuous connection with her mother and the heavy absenceof her missing father added to a grandmother forcing her to knit instead of doing the things she liked, weighed on her ability to cope with emotional strain. She admits that without her isolated past she couldn’t have followed the path of art.
The result is a series of portraits questioning the meaning of metamorphosis. Annegret Soltau’s method is intriguing and captivating but her focus is on the result. Her art acts as a deliverance. In the video below this article, we witness her expression while the thread is wrapped around her face. We wonder if she is feeling torture or a painful pleasure. It’s a process close to self-mutilation. Releasing energy by pulling the thread on her face marks a renewal, the abandonment of negative emotions. (via INAG).
Ever wonder what would happen if the ground you’re used to walking on had the consistency of a waterbed? Well French artist collective Raum has and decided to create a pavement that wiggles, waves and reacts to movement much liked the beloved 80’s bedroom staple, the waterbed. Collaborating with the National Art School of Bourges and the FRAC Centre, a slice of pavement-like material was filled with water on a regular street transforming the mundane patch of land into a fluid wonderland where every step meets not so stable reaction. The project, called “La Ville Molle” (The Soft City) questions the stability of the city and it’s ability to change and accommodate motion and evolution. We’re not sure if the world is ready for endless sidewalks filled with water just yet but this sure does look like a fun project that makes you rethink your environment and the permanent nature of the stable ground that we all take for granted.
Watch a video of the fluid “La Ville Molle” in action above and watch a short “making of” video after the jump to see how you can make your very own waterbed sidewalk! (via)
Damien Hirst is often known for his menagerie of carefully curated animals. You may have seen his cow, somewhat deconstructed, or his 14-foot tiger shark preserved in a tank of formaldehyde. In his new exhibit, “Schizophrenogenesis,” Hirst turns to a different kind of preservative: the kind that humans use to maintain a delicate mental balance or for the good of our health — or so we have been told.
“Schizophrenogenesis” is a tongue-in-cheek homage (or opposite thereof) to the sleek contemporary design of pharmacology. These IKEA-worthy pills are shown in neon prints or as sculptures, much larger than life. “Pills are a brilliant little form, better than any minimalist art,” Hirst says. “They’re all designed to make you buy them… they come out of flowers, plants, things from the ground, and they make you feel good, you know, to just have a pill, to feel beauty.”
Though out of the ground indeed did they come, the modern-day herbs and remedies Hirst depicts are anything but natural. Viewers are asked to contemplate their artificial curves and edges and the distant bold-faced type of a prescription (“Take SIX capsules FOUR TIMES DAILY,” one says urgently). One bubblegum pink capsule declares, “PFIZER.”
Renata Raksha is an amazing young LA-based fashion photographer whose work has been infused with a strong sense of narrative – secret getaways, furtive glances, mood defining shadows and light. One of the things I find to be most beautiful about her photos is the texture overlaid on top of strong composition. Having worked with and collaborated with a broad range of clients from VANS to local noise band HEALTH, I can definitely see more projects in the future in which she can showcase her talent.
New York based Conor Backman recently opened a solo exhibition entitled The Other Real at Nudashank in Baltimore. From the press release: “Backman’s work conflates and oscillates between sculpture and painting, authentic and simulation, material and image, ironic and actual. For this exhibition Backman will present pieces informed by visual illustrations of otherness, physicality, mimesis, and deception in classical mythology and allegory. Specifically, examples that have been sited or recontextualized in modern psychology and philosophy as metaphors for the unconscious, perception, desire, and understanding.” The show in on view through April 28th, 2013.
The Future is still unwritten! This is a reminder to everyone who has yet to submit to the Future Perfect project deadline that there are only 15 days until the deadline. You cannot fight the future so be embrace your destiny and submit your work before the March 29th deadline to have your art featured in Beautiful/Decay Book 6!
Create your vision for a better tomorrow and get featured in Beautiful/Decay book 6.
We want to see the world you want to live in, your Future Perfect. Submit your work of art based on the Future Perfect theme; you are free to use any medium and interpret the theme as you see fit. On March 29th we will pick one lucky person from the submissions who will get a package of Beautiful/Decay goods valued at $300 and a 10-15 page interview in Beautiful/Decay book 6! Up to 70 additional future perfect submissions will also be selected and published.
Share your vision, plan a better tomorrow and join Beautiful/Decay to create a Future Perfect.