Taxidermy is a subject that frequently makes people squeamish and uncomfortable, and there is something definitely something surreal about preserving an animal that has died. Idiots are a Dutch art collective who combine their skills in sculpture and design create taxidermy works of art that are both playful and disturbing. The animals are lifelike and dynamic, but often with their bodies torn apart, stuffed into glass containers, or trapped in unnatural positions. Their sculptures often exhibit the animals inner workings, and replace organs with metals, minerals, or jewels. The beauty contained inside the animals makes their lifelessness even more tragic, and indicates that the artists recognize the morbidity in their own work.
NYC via Arizona artist Joe Sorren creates oil paintings of idyllic children and their soft, forgiving companions. He shares a similar palette with Dave Cooper, and both artists have also been represented, at one time or another, by the same gallery (Jonathan Levine in Chelsea, NYC). But that’s pretty much where the comparisons end. Where Cooper depicts hedonistic wood-nymphs frolicking in the woods, Sorren places children sitting on a blanket reading a book. The artist’s beautiful paintings show us that there is as much intrigue and mystery in the lighter (and perhaps also sad) elements in in life as there are in the dark, animalistic realm of self-serving greed. Sorren will hold a small solo show in Levine’s project room in December.
Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see people with copious amounts of tattoos on their arms, legs, and head. But, it wasn’t that long ago that these permanent adornments were only found on a very specific group of people – prisoners. Tattoos back then were markedly different than their modern counterparts, and some were preserved for posterity in formaldehyde. The tiny pieces of history are an eerie but a fascinating look at the past.
The designs of early tattooing were much simpler than they are today. Instead of the needles we’re familiar with, prisoners would use crude tools like razor blades, broken glass, paper clips, or wires. Ink was substituted for pencil refills, charcoal, watercolor paints, or crayons and mixed with water, fat, or urine.
At the beginning of the 20th century, a study of the prisoners’ tattoos began in the Department of Forensic Medicine at Jagiellonian University, and researchers wanted a way to document their findings. While photography might have been the simpler (and more obvious) solution, prisoners’ tattooed skin was removed and preserved.
The extractions, encased in glass, are small curiosities that don’t really look like tattoos at all. Removed from the context of the body, they are symbols for crimes like burglary, rape, and prostitution. (Via Scribol)
Elyse Busenbark, it is with a heavy heart embossed upon antique letterpress stationary set that I bid ye farewell. Where to begin waxing philosophic of your many talents? Your enthusiasm, hard work, tolerance of Ziggy’s tummy-shames and epic masterminding of our new and improved intern binder have all brightened everybody’s days here at the office! Not only have I grown so fond of you that I call you by your spirit name (as opposed to the serial number we assign to all B/D interns), I will actually miss you! All jokes aside, we here at B/D wish to issue you a resounding thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all of your help during your time here! And…Elyse is a great graphic designer. (That’s why we hired her, duh.) Check out some of her work after the jump…and leave a comment wishing her well! Better yet email her and give her freelance work!
Kyle Cook describes himself as “a whimsical boy of magical nature.” His photographs seem to mostly feature his friends and lovers (even down to showcasing a dirty stain on his boxers.) I like the youthful nature of his work.
Portland, Maine based artist Sascha Braunig is a portrait painter of sorts. She uses traditional baroque portraiture techniques with a nod to Op art and a wink at Surrealism. Braunig’s figures seem to barely emerge out of a hypnotic (and nearly seizure inducing) patterned background. Her canvases are striped with colors that contrast so much they nearly appear to glow. The effect is hallucinatory and almost a bit haunting. The gallery statement from her current exhibit describe the various concepts at play saying:
” Braunig’s geometric figures have a visual fluidity, as if their delicate skins can barely contain their bodies. Subject and background merge, creating ambiguity and optical tension. An alliance is forced between flat patterned designs and observed, mimetic representation.”
Sascha Braunig is exhibiting her work through December 22 at Manhattan’s Foxy Production.
Agua Sagrada is the title of this series of photographs by Columbia-educated James Pomerantz. The photos were taken in Mexico at a cenote, which is a water-filled sinkhole, found mostly in the Yucatan, that the Mayans believed to be portals to another world. Today these cenotes are tourist destinations, though the otherworldly Mayan connotations are still plainly evident in their haunting, ethereal appearance.
More photos after the jump, but check out Pomerantz’s site for some other beautiful sets, mostly of poverty or tragedy-stricken places like Eastern Europe and the Congo.
What I like about the work of Steve Seeley, besides the awesome Ultraman, Superman and many other super heroes in his paintings, it’s the subtle way of combing elements that you wouldn’t really see as a backdrop for these characters. From wild bears and monkeys to forests, rainbows, cowboys and astronauts, he is able to combine all these characters and elements to make a pretty hilarious combination in each painting.