London based artist Issac Cordal created a series of small (but very interesting) installations titled, Cement Eclipses. Through this series, Issac explores the relationship between urban spaces and humans slowly becoming part of its furniture. Cement Eclipses started in 2006 as a nomad project, but its photographs were later realized around 2009.
For over one hundred years the Faberge egg has been a symbol of wealth, status and beauty. Originally created by Carl Faberge for the Russian Tsars to gift their wives during easter time, its exquisite makeup consisted of the finest jewels, metals and motifs. Its structure depicted scenes of historical and domestic value which the Russian Royal family deemed significant. Over time, these precious objects d’art became unusual records of lavish beauty which consisted of coronation scenes and portraits of kings and queens.
Incorporating the same idea with a modern twist, artist Jonathan Monaghan creates Faberge eggs in a digital format which combine pop culture, human anatomy, luxury items and historical architecture. His vision produces an egg-shaped utopia which comments both conceptually and sociologically on world tradition. Through a kaleidoscopic view of the past, present and future, his narrative breaks down what we deem important and questions our desire for material wealth. In one piece, the egg is replaced with Starbucks logos instead of jewels. It metaphors the brand we hold near and dear to us today and creates an egg-shaped universe that speaks to the viewer with a utopian ideal that places worth on things opposed to ideas and individuals.
Only fifty of the original Faberge ‘Imperial’ eggs were made and only forty-seven survive. The first Faberge heirloom, known as the Hen Egg was a replica of an actual white egg that disclosed a solid gold yolk inside. This in turn stored a golden hen which further possessed a tiny diamond replica of the Imperial Crown from which a ruby egg pendant hung. Unfortunately, these last two surprises were lost.
James Clarkson‘s collages take photographic images of objects from old art catalogues and treats them as a blank canvas to add abstract paint-strokes and form new art. The Sheffield-based artist focuses on the contradictions between high-art, design and mass-production; demoting the artworks of the photography to mere found objects in order to explore new forms and meaning. Check out more images after the jump.
We at Beautiful/Decay would like to consider Alex Bec a runner-up for our “Submit your Artist” contest from two weeks back. His work was way too awesome not to post (thanks for letting us know, Gringo)! Alex’s creations consist mainly of typographic illustrations, colors and shapes that pop–all entirely from cut paper and sometimes even masking tape. Major props for patience and intense precision.
Dealing in an atypical kind of self-portraiture, Dawn Woolley often creates photographic copies of herself, and then photographs them in various locations, positions and moods. Making herself a substitute and her visual representative, the work forms an inquiry into the act of looking, and being looked at. As she says of the work, “Referring to psychoanalysis and phenomenology I examine my own experience of becoming an object of sight and also consider the experience the viewer has when looking at me as a photographic object. By producing artwork that establishes me as an object it could be argued that I reinforce stereotypical images of the female body.” Indeed, the female body is a common subject of Woolley’s work, often playing with stereotypes through reinforcing them, or defying them.
In series, such as TheSubstitute, Woolley created a photographic copy of herself and placed it in the real world in her stead. Seeking to reinforce conventional images of the female body, but with apparent exhibitionism, Woolley created a replacement that rendered her real body invisible. The sense of disbelief for a viewer is slow to materialize, as our brain wants to see an actual 3-dimensional person. The effects are similar even when both individuals are cutouts. Selecting moments in her past, Woolley’s series, Adolescence gives her some distance from emotionally heightened events by re-creating them using photographs.
The ambiguousness of her work allows Woolley to play with assumptions about gender, and conventions of photography. There is a performative aspect to the work that is ultimately completed by the viewer. A viewer feels like a voyeur, and then, after realizing he is looking at a 2-dimensional depiction of a 2-dimensional photograph, a fool for being duped. An interesting way to examine gender roles and self-portraiture, Woolley’s images are challenging and provocative.
Generic Art Solutions is a duo made up of artists Matt Vis and Tony Campbell. The two artists comment on present day anxiety by re-imagining classic paintings. Their photographs are carefully staged, often to resemble classic works of art. Their images are clearly populated with subjects, clothing, and settings that are all modern. However, the compositions immediately bring to mind the paintings of Caravaggio, Goya, and Marat. Perhaps a reason the images of the classic artwork and re-imagined in the duo’s photographs are still relevant is because people have never moved beyond the anxieties and problems that plagued us centuries ago. The gallery statement for their upcoming exhibit at Miami’s Mindy Solomon Gallery expounds on that point:
“The work of Generic Art Solutions (whether it be a photograph, performance, video, or print) begins with a thoughtful re-examination of the human condition, and the effect of recurring cycles of technological advancements and cultural awakenings. But, how much has mankind really evolved? Aren’t we essentially still making the same mistakes? According to the artists, it would certainly seem so. Compare Gericault’s famed painting ‘The Raft of the Medusa,’ 1819, to the G.A.S. representation of Deepwater Horizon’s oil spill in April 2010, as depicted in their photographic work ‘The Raft’ (2010): these two artworks portray shockingly similar tales of human suffering brought on by corporate greed. Or, take Delacroix’s ‘Liberty Leading the People’ commemorating the French Revolution in 1830, and the perpetual revolutionary uprisings of the Arab Spring as seen in G.A.S.’s ‘Liberty,’ 2011. The artists state: “However evolved we may think we are, the folly of human behavior is still the root of all societal (dis)functions. This is a sobering thought that demands attention. But there is a message of hope in these contemporary homages: through thoughtful reexamination and a commitment to change, we can break the cycle of repeating our mistakes.”