International architectural firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has created a life-sized wooden maze reminiscent of European hedge mazes of the 17th and 18th centuries, currently on view at The National Building Museum in Washington D.C. Eighteen feet high and made of baltic birch plywood, this installation offers a glimpse into BIG’s work and their forthcoming exhibition, scheduled to open in early 2015. The thoughtful design of this labyrinth allows visitors to see the entirety of the maze elevated around them once they fully descend to the center of the structure. BIG describes the project, “As you travel deeper into a maze, your path typically becomes more convoluted. What if we invert this scenario and create a panopticon that brings clarity and visual understanding upon reaching the heart of the labyrinth? From outside, the maze’s cube-like form hides the final reveal behind its 18 foot tall walls. On the inside the walls slowly descend towards the center which concludes with a grand reveal – a 360 degree understanding from where you came and where you shall go.” (via design boom)
Ashley Oubré is a self-taught artist from Washington, DC, who paints large-scale images that could easily be mistaken for photographs. Using graphite powder, India ink, and carbon pencil, she masterfully creates dramatic contrasts and realistic textures. The human subject is explored widely throughout her work, often portrayed in soul-searching states of vulnerability and contemplation. She also has a fascinating jellyfish series, in which she perfectly captures the invertebrates’ translucent bodies and trailing, ghost-like movements. Each of her works is marked by an accuracy that subtly transcends the boundaries of reality, drawing the viewer’s attention to the beauty of form by accentuating the details.
In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Oubré described herself as an “artist who paints (my view of) the human condition.” A tangible presence surrounds her portraits. Drawn to subjects who have endured social hardships, Oubré’s grayscale style sensitively portrays the physical nuances of pain and rejection. Despite their defeated poses, the figures resonate with an honest and unwavering strength. By evoking powerful emotions in the viewer, Oubré’s work enacts a form of healing and empowerment through representation.
Based in Brooklyn, Phillip Fivel Nessen is the major creative force behind Sparrow V. Swallow design studio, as well as a prominent contributer to our very own B/D Flickr pool! An homage to construction paper, Nessen’s clean line work and often muted color palette suggest a simpler time: a time when men were men. Carmelized onions? No thank you, I’ll be having rattlesnake on my hotdog.
In the depths of East London, artist Lucy Sparrow ambitiously converted an abandoned, rundown store into a majestic, playful and fully functional corner shop. The only catch is that every single object in this store, including the cash register and the functional pricing gun, is made out of felt! Everything has been stitched and created by Sparrow herself out of nothing but felt, thread, and the occasional stuffing. Last year, when The Cornershop was “opened” it was filled to the brim with normal, everyday items that a grocery shop may have in stock, but instead, made of felt. The items included ice cream, cans of soup, Doritos, beer, and even cigarettes, just to name a few. The variety of items that were sold at the store was endless. The best part about this corner shop is that it functioned as a real store. A customer could enter the store, shop, purchase the felt items, and take them home. Sparrow’s felt creations became so popular that she even opened up an online shop where anyone in the world can purchase his or her own soft food and cigarettes.
Each grocery store product looked impressively similar to its real-life counterpart, in spite of being made out of felt, with the exception of Sparrow’s vegetables with eyes, of course. While The Cornershop was opened, it contained over 4,000 soft, plush items. The painstaking task of creating each individual grocery item out of felt and embroidery speaks volumes to the artist’s patience and artistic talent. (via The Jealous Curator)
Luis Lorenzana is a Filipino artist who uses surrealist painting and sculpture to tease and reflect upon the state of consumerism and technology in the present-day world. His style is decidedly “lowbrow” — it is playful, and rich with satire and humor — but his works involve explorations of elitist cultural trends and re-interpretations of classical, “highbrow” art. This particular series is called instanity, a combination of “instant” and “insanity,” which reflects the idea of material excess and immediate gratification: we need to have everything, and we need to have it now. The fact that Lorenzana bends artistic temporalities (by painting Angry Birds into a classical landscape, for example) further shows an insane desire to compress time and space into one material instance — even the result is a little bit strange.
The characters in Lorenzana’s paintings are intentionally ugly. His painting of the Venus — recalling of course, Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus — is portrayed with an over-sized head and asymmetrical breasts, unsettling her status as a venerated artistic figure. Lorenzana’s sports-car-driving characters are likewise strange and hyperbolic, with their striped suits, cigarettes, stacked mustaches, and cavalier attitudes, all of which denote a level of excess and materiality that has turned into madness and ludicrousness. These unpleasant representations of culture poke fun at our own “instanity,” and, more generally, at the sheer monetary/aesthetic value and elitism often associated with fine art.
Alexandra Newmark weaves mohair, the silky soft stuff of holiday caps and scarves into into these horribly creepy characters. Their forms are a little bit frightening, sort of contradicting the nature of the material being used.
Based in Paris, Mademoiselle Maurice creates colorful installations on the street by conglomerating a bunch of origami. A lot of “street artists” love to talk about how important the ephemeral nature of their work is. Well Mlle. Maurice’s delicate origami doesn’t look like it will last long in its original state. But somehow these works seem really natural in their setting, like a growth of delicate lichen on the shadowed side of a rock. It’s almost as if they appeared on their own. Be sure to check out her website for many more images and projects. (via)
From Carnival in Haiti to West African Masquerade, Phyllis Galembo has seen it all. Humanity has always had such a fascination with dressing up–with becoming someone else for even a short period of time–that these costumes and the rituals associated with them play an important role in these societies’ cultural textures. Galembo photographs these moments in which people become magical, steeped in the symbolism of their dress. So, what does it say about us if our definition of costume is a sexed up, polyester sailer/nurse/bunny?