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Jessica Thalmann

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Toronto native Jessica Thalmann is a photo-based artist with a curatorial presence. Her pieces bear witness to narratives of the past, overlaid on the reality of the present, capturing the intensity of these personal stories.

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Martine Johanna’s Surrealist, Color-Drenched Paintings Unveil Inner Emotional Worlds

Martine Johanna - Painting

“Nightmusic” (2014). Acrylics on linen, 140 x 180cm.

Martine Johanna - Painting

“Dear Darkness” (2014). Acrylics and graphite on linen, 60 x 70 cm.

Martine Johanna - Painting

“Anticipation” (2014). Acrylics on linen, 70 x 100 cm.

Martine Johanna - Painting

“Cosmic Tides” (2014). Acrylics on linen, 120 x 170 cm.

Martine Johanna is a Netherlands-based artist whose beautiful, color-drenched works transfigure female figures into surrealist expressions of layered emotions and inner thoughts. In 2012, we featured her illustration portfolio, a body of work which depicts her distinctive, artistic tradition of blending abstract elements with whimsical sensuality. Also included in her oeuvre are a number of stunning acrylic paintings — many of them produced more recently — that delve into the worlds of the conscious and unconscious minds with stunning depth and sensitivity.

Characterizing Johanna’s paintings are women — often nude or nearly-nude — posed in contemplation, their eyes deep and shimmering, faces soft and shaded with storms of inner emotion. When I enquired about the use of nudity in her works, Johanna emphasized that while sex and sexuality are parts of our identities that can be used in artistic, representational ways that hold a lot of subversive power, her work is more concerned with an exploration of the mind and the body’s relationship to it. As she explained in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay:

“There is more layering when it comes to forming the concepts of how [my] works come into existence, [just as] there is so much more going on in a person’s mind, conscious and subconscious; it is a web of complex emotions that contradict each other endlessly. For example: we want to be loved, but being overly loved corrupts, and love in itself is complex because the motivations behind wanting to be loved are already so many, from purity to manipulation to adornment to obsession, etc. In my process I deal with parts of these contradictions, [and] these thought patterns and emotions are endlessly fascinating to me.

However, I do not plan to make a work solely based on a combination of emotions; when I make what I make, I set up the compositions and figures that I feel, at that moment, is the right visual outcome to what my frame of reference and mind is. […] A couple of years back, I had my own sort of sexual revolution and a whole range of personal emotions connected to it. This is apparent in my work, [and] also visible is that I didn’t have my material or ways of expressing under control yet, which I’m now starting to get more of a grip on.”

The products of Johanna’s artistic explorations are paintings depicting layers of both materiality and essence. We see two worlds superimposed over each other: the corporeal, sensual, and sensate body, and the abyssal ocean of unpredictable emotion which surges within each one of us.

The surrealist elements of Johanna’s works likewise express the emotional contradictions mentioned in the above quote. Recurring motifs in her paintings are dualisms, shadowy “others” who embrace and accompany the female figures (see “Cosmic Tides” and “Dear Darkness,” for example). When I asked Johanna what this signified, she insightfully replied:

“[T]here is a balance of contradictions within us. You need dark to see the light; it’s nothing new, it’s yin and yang, it’s life. Denying darkness and not dealing with it doesn’t make life better — it makes it superficial.”

Hence why, in many of Johanna’s pieces, we often see layers of seemingly “contradictory” experiences, such as beauty alongside death (“The Hunted”), and hope alongside grief (“Opaline Blue”).

Visit Johanna’s website, Facebook, and Instagram to see more stunning examples of her work.

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Awesome Video Of The Day: Matteo Giordano’s X2MX

 

Matteo Giordano’s X2MX piece sits somewhere between bondage/fetish video and performance art. I can’t think of anything more frightening than being vacuum sealed into latex with just a tiny tube to breath out of. I couldn’t find much text about this piece so we’ll just have to decide whether this is documentation of a kinky weekend or an extreme performance about the frailty of life and how feeling trapped can be liberating for some. Watch the full video after the jump.

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dimitri daniloff’s Manipulated Bodies

Gorgeous figurative photography for both personal and commercial projects from Paris based Dimitri Daniloff that manipulates, chops, and morphs the human body into every which way.

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RYAN TRECARTIN X DAVID KARP

As a part of Rhizome’s Seven on Seven, Ryan Trecartin and David Karp created riverofthe.net, a collection of 10 seconds or less community submitted videos. Trecartin, probably today’s most important video artist, and David Karp, creator of tumblr, were brought together, along with several other artists and technologists, by Rhizome back in 2010. Anyone can easily submit, and the more videos the better, because one of the only negative aspects is seeing videos you’ve already viewed before. It’s an incredibly simple and effective idea, which showcases videos that are typically more interesting than most video art out there.

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Amanda Lear is a strange lady

Amanda Lear: previous male, current female, muse of Salvador Dali, multimillion selling Disco Queen three decades ago, subject of an incredibly long Wikipedia entry (yes, her official site is hosted on Tripod), feast for ironic art eyes, and just strange strange strange. Whenever I watch her videos I wonder “is this shit for real?”. But yeah. It is.

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Behind the Scenes at Kiel Johnson’s Studio


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The lovely Catlin Moore of Mark Moore Gallery was so kind as to provide Beautiful/Decay with a sneak-peak at Kiel Johnson’s upcoming exhibition entitled “Publish or Perish.” If you’re unfamiliar with Kiel Johnson’s work, his  work, he creates transmorphic drawings, paintings and sculpture that seem to synthesize the ever-expanding media explosion through a kind of personal narrative. Really lovely line work, almost animation-like. Check out tons of amazing studio shots and the artist at work after the jump.

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Russian Propaganda Posters Reimagined As Pro-LGBT Campaign

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Russia, the post-Soviet country that is currently hosting the 2014 winter Olympics, has arranged for some pretty illogical legal action to be taken against LGTB groups in its nation. It has caused many to burst into protest and some have been detained as a consequence of various peaceful attempts to showcase discontent.

In the midst of all of this, a tumblr page by the name of Pride Propaganda, takes a different and quieter yet effective approach to all the protests.  In efforts to adhere to the pro-LGBT agenda, PP transforms vintage Soviet posters into brightly colored displays of men, women and children waiving and wearing rainbow flags. The familiar images of Young Pioneers,  working men and loyal mothers (all symbolism for the confining ways of Soviet Russia) take on entirely new meanings when cloaked in the vibrant rainbow flags that we’ve come to associate with the global pride movement.

Participate in the protest by hastagging your tweets #PridePropaganda. (via HuffPost)

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