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Jess Riva Cooper’s Beautifully Grotesque Ceramics Celebrate Death And Decay

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The ceramics of Jess Riva Cooper are gross, majestic, fragile and poetic. Her Viral Series is a collection of clay heads bursting with groups of insects, tree roots, branches, leaves, flowers, stems and buds. Mostly white with a heavy glaze, Cooper subtly decorates areas of her sculptures and adds accented color. The pieces show a beautiful understanding of the circle of life, or rather how things are destroyed and created simultaneously. Cooper talks about how something seen as destructive and parasitic is no different from the form it is overtaking. She treats all areas of life as equal, and each creepy crawly is as beautiful as a lotus flower.

My work, Viral Series, is a continued exploration into the death and regeneration taking place in deteriorating communities. Places and things, once bustling and animated, have succumbed to nature’s mercy. Without intervention, nature takes over and breathes new life into objects, as it does in my sculptures. (Source)

Cooper has researched heavily into different cultures and how this same idea is treated. In most eastern philosophies, the idea that birth and death are part of the same spectrum rings true. She takes that idea further and looks a bit deeper into one culture in particular:

I also study the foundation myths of the Golem and Dybbuk spirits in Yiddish folklore and reinterpret these traditional stories through a female lens. I see a direct parallel between my interest in insidious plant life and a malevolent Dybbuk spirit, which takes over the human body. In both situations a loss of control is suffered as the parasitic entity subsumes the host. (Source)

Cooper’s ceramics remind us that even though things of beauty are there to be admired and celebrated, it is also a fine thing when those things are disrupted and replaced by other things.

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Alec Huxley’s Cinematically Surreal Sci-Fi Narratives

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San Francisco based artist Alec Huxley‘s large and cinematic sci-fi paintings are filled with noir-influenced contrast. Both bleak and bright, his paintings largely take place in urban or desert landscapes of the American West Coast and are representative of both science fiction and surrealist inspired narratives that often include animal figures. Huxley’s use of light throughout his compositions lend his work a realism that is rather haunting, and reminds me of something you’d find in an apocalyptic comic book narrative. His solo exhibition, “Astronomical Menagerie,” is described below and currently on view at the Minna Gallery in San Francisco until October 26th:

“At the witching hour, fashionable figures in space helmets rendezvous with wild beasts in the empty streets of San Francisco. As animals are central to our perception of humanity, relationships of power and domination juxtapose with naked reminders of human frailty. Confident in our ingenuity, we float about cities at the apex of species. Absent our imagination and material protections, we stand vulnerable beside creatures functioning solely to survive.” (via exhibition-ism)

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Chad Wys’ Shuffles and Manipulated Familiar Forms in His Multi-Disciplinary Works

Illinois-based artist Chad Wys does a lot of different things. He’s worked with collage, sculpture, textiles, aerosol, digital media, and more. A lot of his w0rk manipulates and completely shuffles the tone of established, familiar forms. Strategically removing aspects of canonical portraiture, painting a kitschy duck sculpture in pastels, and stenciling text elements onto benign porcelain and china are a few methods he’s employed to mess with our brains. But this type of art isn’t produced in a malicious way. It’s just the artist’s way of getting us to see things the way he sees them for once. (via)

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Jenny Saville

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Oxford, England based artist Jenny Saville, is frightening in how she is so good in what she does. Her paintings always make me feel uncomfortable, and in that way, seduced as well. She is mostly known for her paintings of large, fleshy women that quite often appear similar to landscapes or a huge slab of meat. It’s a desire of mine to one day see her work in person. Amir has, and apparently photographic records of her work does not do it justice.

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Kimsooja’s Mirrored Installation Transforms Classic Greenhouse Into Psychedelic Rainbow Room

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Perhaps the fascination for artists utilizing chrome and mirror in their works is the increasing divide between seeing ourselves more and more via social media, yet understanding ourselves less. This is particularly evident in the work of New York-based Korean multidisciplinary artist Kimsooja, which often deals with the self-perception and the self and the other. In her installation To Breathe – A Mirror Woman at the Palacio de Cristal, Parque del Retiro, in Madrid, Kimsooja transformed a classic greenhouse by removing everything and replacing it with a mirrored floor. Next, the Tague, South Korean-born artist used a translucent, light-diffracting film to coat the windows, which cause an array of naturally occurring rainbows, which were in turn continuously reflected by a mirrored surface that covered the entire floor. Like many of her projects, an audio pairing accompanied the visuals. Visitors would experience a recording of Kimsooja breathing, enhancing the contemplative yet personal and relatable mystery of the installation.

Taken from Kimsooja’s description of the project, “Outside light filters through the glass of the pavilion and reflects off the diffraction film. It diffuses into rainbow spectrums, transforming the external panorama seen from within the palace. The resulting effect is that the entire structure as well as the rays of colour reflecting off the mirrored floor. Natural light, colour, and sound are all ethereal elements within the empty space. The artist’s breathing from the performance, The Weaving Factory, bounces off the mirrors and fills the entire building to intermix with it, breaking down barriers of inside and outside, self and other, and reality and fantasy.”

Kimsooja’s most recent project most recently wrapped the Korean Pavilion with a similar film treatment at the 2013 Venice Art Biennale. (via myampgoesto11 and colossal)

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Counsel Langley

Port Townsend, Washington based Counsel Langley paints exquisitely painted works that will quench your thirst for abstraction, representation, texture, fluid brushstrokes, and experimental mark making all in one painting.

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Matthew Christopher Documents Forgotten Spaces In Abandoned America

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Ten years ago Philadelphia photographer Matthew Christopher began a photo series attempting to document the decline of the state hospital system. Today his evocative and beautiful collection, “Abandoned America”, includes images of asylums, institutions, military, hospitals/health care, prisons, schools, power plants, factories, mills, quarries, hotels, transportation, theaters, houses, churches, and graveyards. The photos are beautifully composed and shot and are totally captivating in their emptiness.

“There is an undeniably artistic element to decayed sites, and an immense number of social, theological, and philosophical questions they pose. Abandoned America’s aim encompasses not only the historical and photographic cataloging of such sites, but also on a larger scale a eulogy for the lost ways of life they represent, a statement of their emotional, spiritual, and metaphoric relevance to our everyday lives, and a sense of the visceral experience of entering a parallel universe of silence, rust, and peeling paint.”

The pictures of abandoned spaces seem to want to create a narrative. They ask questions: What is the difference between a place abandoned temporarily and permanently? Is it a matter of chance, of luck? When you walk out the door, are you certain that you’re coming back? What sort of artifacts does a person leave? There is a poignancy to these spaces, a haunted voyeurism, a solemn quality to their emptiness. What lives were being lived here, and why were they interrupted?

Christoper’s book, Abandoned America: The Age of Consequences, will be released on December 7th. He also posts updates on his Facebook page.

“There is something magical and mysterious about spaces that are no longer in use, where nature and time and man’s presence have combined to create something absolutely unique,” says Christopher. “I hope that people reading my book can experience that sense of the transcendental and sublime that I did when I photographed these forgotten places. This book is a chance to examine why we are losing so many sites that are critical to our identity and culture.”

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The Futuristic And Visionary Super Yacht Designs Of Russian Architect Vasily Klyukin

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Vasily Klyukin is a business man, architect, charity supporter, space patron and now super-yacht designer, on a mission. After supporting commercial art initiatives and hosting art events for many years, the Russian powerhouse has turned his hand to the world of yachts. And just like his attitude to buildings, Klyukin believes yachts should be individualized, recognizable, and memorable. Luckily for us, his futuristic designs are exactly that.

Drafting up plans for yachts that look as surreal as they do expensive, the accomplished  designer will make you wish you could afford one just to see his ideas realized. He has come up with ideas like a floating Manhattan skyline, an over-sized Swan, a modern Mondrian homage, and a sleek ‘Red Shark’ design that will be sure to impress.

He talks about the inspiration behind his aesthetic:

Even if you would build the largest yacht in the world, there always is the sea lover who is richer than you, and he would beat your record to have the biggest one. But he would be a champion only for a certain period of time. A couple of years more and the garland will float away on the new boat, bigger than the previous ones. I’m not captivated with such a competition. I do not want to compete at all. I just want a special yacht: one of a kind. I do not want its beauty to float away from me when somebody will build its copy. (Source)

Klykin has also put together a 300 page book with publishing house Skira showcasing 50 of his land-based designs. Called Designing Legends, it contains images and ideas for towers, opera houses, museums and office buildings. As an extension of his interest in architecture, Kylkin has also exhibited his first professional sculptural and fine art show in 2013. Be sure to check out his impressive resume and more design work. (Via The Creator’s Project)

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