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Installation As Poetic Monument

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Christopher Lavery’s sculptures and installations work as poetic monuments– stretching beyond one particular brand or medium, and focusing, instead, on the art of humanity in relation to our natural state of dreaming.

For instance, Cloudscape (top image above), a collection of representational clouds, stands as tall as 42 feet and hovers alongside Pena Blvd. in Denver, Colorado. Each piece, made of steel, solar panels, polygal, and LED lighting, allows us to reconsider our own relationship with the sky– how a cloud is a talisman or connector: nature’s billboard, ephemerally reminding us to look up and inward.

Big Gold Word Bubble (plan and model, 2nd and 3rd image above), his latest endeavor, after completion, will stand 14’ tall and examine this idea of how, parallel to the clouds, language is both concrete and abstract: a beautifully harmonized collective word bubble and diversely individualized journey of interpretation. To help support its construction and transit to Art in the Park at Elm Park in Worcester, MA, click here. To view more Cloudscape installation shots, scroll down after the jump.

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Paul Koudounaris’ Photos Of Human Skeletal Remains Adorned With Opulent Costumes, Precious Jewels

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The photographer Paul Koudounaris has made a name for himself by photographing the mysterious dead: mummies, skeletons, ossuaries.The enchanting subject of his recent project Heavenly Bodies are the never-before photographed relics of Europe’s Catholic churches, said to be the bones of Christian martyrs. At their discovery in 1578, these remains were taken from underground tombs and enthroned as objects of worship in place of earlier saintly relics ravaged by the Protestant Reformation.

The opulent adornments that surround the remains (i.e. wigs, gemstones, gold lace) reflect the decadence of the late Middle Ages, when churches ornamentation became more elaborate and extravagant. Dressed like royals, these saints suggest an afterlife filled with heavenly pleasures. Against rich, dark fabrics, the precious metals shine brilliantly; within a tight frame, Koudounaris shoots from below, simultaneously capturing the splendor up-close and elevating the sacred remains to a slightly higher plane.

Although he exalts his subjects in this way, Koudounaris’s images remain touchingly human; while some images capture gigantic, enthroned figures with the utmost deference, others focus on small, humble details. A gap where a tooth once sat or a clenched skeletal hand serves as a poignant memento mori, reminding viewers of the human deaths that happened long ago. The mysterious remains, of whom no one knows the full story, are seen ambiguously, both as a suggestion of an enraptured afterlife and a morbid recognition of mortality and decay. Take a look at the mesmerizing images below. Heavenly Bodies is available in print here. (via Colossal and Hyperallergic)

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The Crumpled Paintings Of Stefania Fersini Studies Fashion’s Distorted View Of Beauty

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Pages from high fashion magazines are brought back to life as forgotten pieces of crumpled paper in Stefania Fersini’s realistic oil paintings. By distorting the original image, Fersini makes statement about the fleeting nature of style and beauty. Her message strongly suggests the idea of what’s in today, will be passe tomorrow and metaphorically studies the excessive nature of youth and beauty in the fashion industry. On the flip side she spends hours duplicating an image that has already appeared in a mainstream magazine. The same is true of the visual itself which is the result of many different people.  It examines the time and energy spent to create something of aesthetic value in our society.
Her skill as a painter is readily apparent. The distorted view she brings to light is due to that ability and in the process brings other nuances out that might not be visible in the original photograph. By using a crumpled paper technique we are able to decide if the image itself would be as attractive if a few lines showed. As with most painters that decision is left up to the viewer to decide.
Fersini says she paints from magazine images because she likes using the ready made as a mirror. She is based in Torino, Italy and is part of an artist collective called Nucleo in that region.

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Caroline Larsen’s Woven Paint

Caroline Larsen weaves, splotches, goops, and dabs oil paint all over the place to create thick and juicy oil paintings that look so good you want to eat them.

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Jamie Baldridge’s 101 Fairy Tales

Lafayette, Louisiana based Jamie Baldridge’s love of stories dates back to a lazy afternoon from his childhood when he discovered a book entitled, “101 Fairy Tales,” in his grandmother’s attic. When Baldridge creates his interpretations of the fables and tales that he has implanted in his subconsciousness they emerge as very surreal and yet visceral photographs that walk the line between reality and fiction.

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Jose Manuel Hortelano-Pi

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Madrid based illustrator, Jose Manuel Hortelano-Pi, creates these wonderfully detailed pen and watercolor works. I for one especially enjoy his black and white drawings (like the above.)

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CF’s Underground Comics

CF, offspring of Fort Thunder, and Providence-based artist/musician has consistently created some of the best comics in the underground genre. His work in undeniably his own, and although it is often duplicated, his work remains distinguished from the rest. The delicacy and humor of his masterwork, POWR MASTRS (1,2,3), puts him easily in my top 10 for contemporary comic artists. He blogs and twits, he is a Picturebox regular, and he performs under the moniker Kites while he blasts out sonic booms. He is a gem.

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Marion Balac’s Apparitional Void Drawings

Marion Balac lives and works in France. She creates large graphite works that are jam packed with detail. Her drawings often feature extremely dense foliage juxtaposed with large white voids. The visual combination of painstaking detail coupled with empty space helps to accentuate her lush compositions. Are the mysterious ghostly forms ominous forces? Or respite from an ever swelling forest? The viewer is pulled into a stark landscape where anxiety reigns.

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