Helle Mardahl holds nothing back in her work both in subject and materials. Her background in fashion is evident, but her collections are not made for any runway. Start with her show A Royal Orgy Of Consumptionwhich was on display atWAS gallery in Copenhagen, August 2008. Keep exploring; there’s a world of intricacies and complexities wanting to be seen.
Artist Janet Echelman has joined forces with global design firm Arup to create a magnificent sculpture, which is now hovering 365 feet above Boston. The sculpture is made up of polyethylene tied into half a million knots, the total weighing about a ton. In daylights it resembles a giant net but when night falls, it is illuminated in ways that echo the Northern Lights and give a new visual dimension to the piece.
Echelman’s craft is inspired by rope weaving techniques she picked up from fishermen during her time in India. In this piece, she has combined the functional aspects of a fishermen’s net and the complex, yet simple beauty of nature. The piece appropriately entitled “ As If It Were Here Already” reflects the way in which the piece is somewhat natural in its form, reminiscent of clouds, vines and even spiderwebs.
Her cocoon like sculpture is at the junction of the natural and artificial world which are in turn reinforced by the context of the piece: hanging above a major American city. The illuminated pieces of her sculpture change with the movements of the wind. Her collaboration with a group of engineers has also given her work a more technical, manufactured aspect. The combination craftsmanship, technology and art gives this piece a stronger voice in the sense that is also reflects what the city is made of. It gives a sort of supernatural aspect to the urban atmosphere and complements the night sky while fitting in perfectly with the city in the daytime, as if it were already there.
Finnish photographer Janne Parviainen‘s mesmerizing light painting photography is created manually, with no post-production alterations or enhancements. This type of photography is created using various light sources like colored strobes, flash lights, light toys, or tools specifically designed for light painting, and manipulated during periods of long exposure. While a photograph is being exposed, it can be used like a canvas with light as a tool for painting or drawing. Parviainen’s photographs are usually figurative and evoke a ghostly surreality that is beautifully startling. Parviainen uses Finnish urban landscapes as his canvas, exploring and transforming these landscapes into scenes with haunting apparitions.
Parviainen: “What interests me most in light painting is the ability to draw in three dimensional space and the possibility to alter the reality without post processing programs. I like to use in my photos different kind of figures such as skeletons and ghostly light creatures. By using these figures I can add more humane stories into my photos and alter the cultural learned feelings they cause in the viewer of the photo. I especially like to use the skeleton figure because of it’s strong pre-learned emotional concept and place it in totally different situations and emotional stages than in which it’s usually seen in popular culture. ”
Viktor Hachmang is a designer and illustrator based in The Hague, The Netherlands. Though visually influenced by ’60s psychedelic posters and ’80s postmodern design, he takes his inspiration from a wide variety of sources and his work often alludes to famous artists and artworks. Central to his work is the illustrative imagery which focuses strongly on decorative details. The concept of collage is also apparent, as his portfolio is a deliberate hodgepodge of various eras in art history and different ways of image making. Hachmang combinines the banal and the beautiful in one image, often mixing intellectual and naive imagery of strict geometry with hand drawn forms. He also co-edits the blog theeyestheysee, an ongoing collection of artists, artworks and other sources of inspiration.
The surreal photographs by Christopher McKenney are haunting, as a (mostly) faceless figure interacts with a deserted environment. The desaturated images are shot in the middle of the woods, a corn field, a lake, and back country roads. Sometimes, we see a ghost. Other times, a man is lit on fire. Whatever the situation, McKenney crafts a quietly desperate image.
The photographer recently told art blog iGNANT that he one day found himself in the woods with nothing but a sheet, chair, and frame. He placed the sheet over his head and photoshopped his body out. He tells iGnant, I like taking away identity when photographing and to leave people thinking. “I only make the photos I do to express myself and what other people see or think is up to them, as long as I make them feel anything I’m ok with that.”
Personally, I experience cognitive dissonance when looking at McKenney’s work. I find a lot of these images disturbing yet beautifully composed.. For instance, the photo Fragile Perspective (above) features someone with a burning box over their head. Formally, the colors are rich and the orange of the fire is stunning against the blues, browns, and grays. But, then I study the content of the photograph and realize that it depicts someone who is essentially set on fire.
Not all of McKenney’s photographs are like that. Other times, they are simply whimsical and nonsensical. In Let Go, a suitcase with a balloon tied to the handle stays on the ground as its owner floats away. Another photograph has a chair in an empty field with a pair of hands (only hands, no body), infinitely holding a mirror. It’s these photographs I enjoy more – ones that are odd, but don’t communicate utter despair. (Via iGNANT)
The work of the street artist known as 108 is much like his pseudonym: simple and mysterious. Often large black masses of abstract street art inhabit walls. Devoid of most or any detail, these masses are frequently punctuated by bursts of color. In a way the colorful abstractions feel like offshoots or biological growths on the larger black masses. There is a larger flow to his murals that are somehow familiar. The shapes, the way interact with their surfaces, and the way in interacts with itself feels organic. 108 explains this idea in a 2006 interview saying:
“Usually I work in public spaces, you know, and the background is the most important thing. I must find a good shapes for that place, usually I prefer old walls and abandoned places, and my “thing” grow by it self, as a tree or moss did, but I know nature do that really better than me! It’s very hard for me to work on a blank white surface… in that situations I must find a good inspiration elsewhere, maybe in another work I did before or working with a good friend with good ideas.”
Other times his abstract murals almost hint at an iconography, symbols, or recognizable shapes. Like much abstraction there is a lot of room for interpretation. Still, he goes on to say:
“Most of my works come from my unconscious and are totally irrational. You can see the abstract, soft and gloomy shapes… My works are also very symbolic. The same old example of the wheel, I found it in my unconscious, it was a big fixation for me… usually I have drawn it with 8 rays inside… In fact it was the sun wheel, one of the most important symbol in ancient Indoeuropean cultures (you can find it in a lot of Indian and Celtic stuff). This is just one example.”
As part of our ongoing partnership with Feature Shoot, Beautiful/Decay is sharing this article by Carolyn Rauch on Steve Back.
The most intriguing part of Australian photographer Steve Back’s gorgeously graphic series Hutt Lagoon is that the bright pink-colored water is all natural. “The images are not manipulated for color,” said Back. “I was commissioned to shoot some abstract landscape shots of Western Australia for a big Perth hotel. I chartered a light aircraft to explore shooting some islands off the coast of Northern WA. I had noticed these lakes on the map and Google Earth, and decided that they were worth a look. From the ground, the pink coloring is not so evident and a bit unimpressive, yet from the air, it looks fantastic. These are natural landscapes but the coloring is out of this world. And at first sight it is not easy to tell whether they are close up or far away.”
Hutt Lagoon is the world’s largest Beta Carotene farm (produced by naturally occurring algae in the water). In the middle of the lagoon are a series of manmade ponds that form the fundamental composition elements of Back’s images.
Irena Zablotska is a Ukrainian artistborrows inspiration from Eastern European folk art and super saturated cartoons to make drawings that are mythic, cute, and psychedelic. Like Stacey Rozich, she makes creatures that are combinations of animals, people, plants, and patterns. Her world is one where life hasn’t splintered into different forms but exists in one animistic force, or maybe it’s a world where we’ve evolved to such a degree that we can collage lifeforms onto one another to make new inter-special selves. As graphic as they are colorful, they’re a real visual treat.