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Alva Bernadine Uses Mirrors In The Creation Of Uniquely Provocative Nude Photographs

Alva Bernadine - Photography Alva Bernadine - PhotographyAlva Bernadine - Photography Alva Bernadine - Photography

Alva Bernadine is a British photographer known for his color-saturated, surrealist style and subversive content. Contained within his oeuvre are several series of unconventional nude photographs; from conjoined torsos to uncanny perspectives to disembodied legs and fetishized footwear, his works are story-filled portraits that engage and entice as often as they confound (or even repulse). Inspired by surrealist artists such as Rene Magritte and photographers Cheyco Leidmann and Guy Bourdin, Bernadine’s works contain elements of absurdity mixed with eroticism, glamour, mystery, and oftentimes humor.

This particular series incorporates mirrors to attain Bernadine’s signature stylistic effect. He was inspired to create these images when he bought six small mirrors in a £1 shop. “I have used mirrors before in my work but never in multiples,” Bernadine explained in a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay. “After initially trying to get as many into an image as possible, I then started thinking up different permutations, finally working my way back down to one mirror […]. As the mirrors were so small, you can only reflect a small portion of the body with one, which led me to try to reconstitute a woman with several.”

The results are provocative, to say the least. From playful self-examinations to fragments of orgasmic bliss, the images entice us with a unique — but not wholly transparent — form of voyeurism. We can see the nude models engaged in acts that hover between private intimacy and exhibitionism, but we are not given the whole picture; we are never truly certain of what is occurring in the room behind the camera. This ambiguity heightens the erotic effect by taking some control away from the viewer/voyeur in their engagement with the photos. Speaking of his work generally, Bernadine expresses how he is consistently trying to “produce a sort of unresolved picture, an inconclusive narrative, that the viewer has to finish for [him]” (Source). Thus, instead of passive consumption, Bernadine’s images stimulate the imagination, engaging us on both cognitive and erotic levels.

Bernadine’s work has become deservedly well-recognized over the years. He worked his way up as a self-taught artist and collaborated with magazines. He eventually won the Vogue Sotheby’s Cecil Beaton Award for young photographers for The Fetish, a series of photographs showing a high-heel shoe in a variety of strange contexts. In 2001, Bernadine published Bernadinism: How to Dominate Men and Subjugate Women, which won him the Erotic Photographer of the Year in Britain (2002). Another book, titled Twisted, recently came out in 2014. Visit Bernadine’s website and Facebook page to follow his fascinating, creative, and unconventional work.

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Sarah Muirhead’s Bonded, Textural Nudes Will Confront You With Their Stare

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Scottish artist Sarah Muirhead creates mesmerizing, nude paintings that are masterful in more ways than one. Her work is masterful in that it is very skillful, but also in that the subjects of her paintings are in control of their audience. Wanting to steer clear of creating nudes that are submissive to our gaze, Muirhead creates tension filled situations where the nude subject is staring at right back at you. Her subjects are not passive, but instead embody an incredible strength that challenges their audience. Each subject has a somewhat inviting stare, but still holds a control over the situation in their powerful, contorted stances and positions. In the artist’s new paintings, many of her subjects are bound by rope or string; others have intriguing elements like white, chalky substances all over their bodies.

Muirhead’s paintings are both unique and impressive, with an incredible eye for detail and color. However, her work is not entirely photorealistic. They explore this texture of the body in expressive ways. Muirhead is interested in patterns and textures, which you can see on her subject’s skin and hair. In one painting, the hair texture is emphasized by a woman grabbing her own hair and attempting to bite it. In another painting, skin texture and color is further explored and manipulated by depicting a nude posing with digital images projected onto her body and surroundings.  Each subject is in mid motion, adding another dynamic element to Muirhead’s already multifaceted work. You can see Muirhead’s wonderfully tactile paintings on view now at Leyden Gallery in London until June 27th.

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Video Watch: How To lose $2,400 in 24 SEconds

The title of this very short,clever, and funny (and a bit sad) video by Kurtis Hough pretty much explains everything you need to know. Just click the read more button below and let the good times roll.

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Chinese Artist Vacuums Beijing’s Polluted Air for 100 Days And Creates A Brick Out Of His Findings

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Climate control has been a controversial and momentous topic, well, for at at least two decades, but, the issue of global warming seems to be re-trending in light of the the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. One tactic of addressing the issue’s importance, as we have seen, has been the thousands of activists marching all over the world (and the silent protest in Paris due to recent events). However, a Chinese performance artist who goes by the name “Nut Brother” has decided to take a more quantitative and perhaps informative approach. Beijing, the capital of China (the country that has largest CO2 emissions in the world), is a city of industrial smog. The artist announced a plan to literally vacuum the dust from the Beijing’s air for four hours a day, for 100 days in a row. As a performance, the artist walked the streets, starting in late July, with a pony tail, often a respirator mask, and vacuum with suction nozzle held in his hand to collect debris. On November 30th, the last day of his project, he gathered all 100 days worth of dust and brought it to a brick factory to be mixed with clay and turned into an alarming soot filled brick. Nut Brother is aware that he is not actually changing the air quality, however, he hopes his project will provoke passerby’s to consider their relationship to the environment and their surroundings. (via QUARTZ)

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Sponsored Post: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Presents The Gentlemen’s Wager

How do you get what money can’t buy? The good folks at Johnny Walker Blue Label and Jude Law show us how. This epic tale starts deep at sea on an Italian boat built in 1928. Jude Law and Giancarlo Gianni are cruising through what seems to be a perfect paradise complete with tropical islands, lot of sun, and a cool breeze. As a man that has everything, Jude confesses that he must have the luxurious and rare boat. When Giancarlo alerts Jude that no amount of money can purchase the boat Jude comes up with a challenge. Since the boat is priceless and no amount of wealth can obtain it, he challenges Giancarlo to a gentlemen’s wager, a dance off of sorts set in a memorable restored nightclub complete with a live jazz band and backup singers. With a delicious Johnny Walker Blue Label Whisky in hand and a few taps of their feet, the two men battle it out on the dance floor as only two stylish gentlemen could. Watch the video until the end and see how this epic tale between two sea loving gentlemen ends.

This post is sponsored by Johnny Walker Blue Label.

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Andy Warhol And Four Other Artists Who Make Art With Balloons

Andy Warhol "Silver Clouds"

Andy Warhol “Silver Clouds”

Choi Jeong Hwa "Life/Life"

Choi Jeong Hwa “Life/Life”

William Forsythe "Scattered Crowd"

William Forsythe “Scattered Crowd”

SpY, "balloon boy"

SpY, “balloon boy”

Andy Warhol’s Silver Clouds is probably one of the best-known balloon installations. Silver Clouds was first created with the help of engineer Billy Klüver and incorporated into other works, such as Merce Cunningham’s 1968 Rainforest.  Re-made many times since its first installment, the mercurial piece is a favorite of many.

German choreographer William Forsythe created an amazing installation called Scattered Crowd that consisted of thousands of white balloons.  Seeking to reflect the concept of human decision, Forsythe wanted visitors to consider how they chose to maneuver through the piece.

Madrid-based street artist, SpY has been creating urban interventions for over two decades.  His “balloon boy” is both humorous and surprising.

First created in 1998 and re-created several times Half the Air in a Given Space by Martin Creed is comprised of thousands of balloons.  Always the same color, the installation is mean to be clever, fun and interactive.

South Korean artist Choi Jeong Hwa created an installation called Life/Life, consisting of over 10,000 balloons at Gallery Central in Australia.  The beautiful installation was made all the more powerful for its ephemeral nature.

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Daniel Seung Lee & Dawn Kim’s Crayola Theory

Los Angeles photographer Daniel Seung Lee teamed up with New York art director Dawn Kim for a stellar little series entitled Crayola Theory. As you might have guessed, the series interprets the objects and environments in Crayola’s crayon names to make still life photographs that are a tons of fun. Not only does the project work in the direction of bringing objects to the names of colors, it inspires the converse as you wander around the city, applying names to the objects around you — voting envelope fuchsia, stereo silver, toilet paper white, suburb beige, tanning booth orange. Thank you Daniel & Dawn for reminding us that we live in a world made of colors. 

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Andrea Hasler’s Sculptures Made Out Of Flesh And Guts

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Installation view Irreducible Complexity/ You and I and Irreducible Complexity/heart

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The sculptural work of Andrea Hasler has always created a dichotomous dynamic – push and pull, revulsion and attraction. The Zurich, Switzerland-born artist (previously featured here) has used her trademark visual medium of sculpted fiber-glass covered with wax to insinuate the human body, with equal parts inference to our insides as well as outsides. 

Her newest work is title Embrace the Base, a commission for Greenham Common in Berkshire, England by New Greenham Arts. The site, which held the longest women’s protest against a site storing nuclear weapons in the early 1980’s, is rich with history and emotion. The larger pieces in Hasler’s commission recall the tents that these women protesters erected in their camp outside of the military base which now serves as a cultural meeting place.

“For the New Greenham Arts Exhibition, I have created a new sculptural body of work that takes Greenham Common’s history as a starting point, particularly with the Women’s Peace Camp with its tents situated on the site during this time. This new work also takes into account the historical perspective. as well as entwines with the recreational aspect of how Greenham Common as a site, is being used now, as well as the New Greenham Art gallery being located in the former American Army’s entertainment quarter. Metaphorically I am taking the notion of the tents which were on site during the Women’s Peace Camp, as the container for emotions, and “humanise” these elements to create emotional surfaces.

Hasler mentions that with Embrace the Base she is taking a political element as a starting point and then involving body politics. In Matriarch and Next of Kin, two tent forms, cloaked in skin-like covering, recall the tents that these protesters erected in the Women’s Peace Camp. While one tent is a full-sized replica, the other scaled down, and as the artist hints, most likely represents a mother and child relationship. Often working with skin as a loaded (and typically, simultaneously literal) metaphor, Hasler says, “It’s almost like I am taking the fabric of the tent, the sort of the nylon element of the tent, and I make the fabric, this skin layer as sort of the container for emotion, or sort of the container to hold emotion, as in the skin holding emotion.”

Embrace the Base is on view now at the Corn Exchange Newbury & New Greenham Arts through April 11th, 2014.

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