Stephanie Davidson’s works are, for lack of a better word, super bratty. Like she totally knows it, too. It’s loaded with post-modern irony lost in the throes of youthful know-it-allness. (My Swedish friend calls them: Besser-Vissers. Better knowers? I always liked this invented word.) It’s kinda like wearing a scrunchie and reading the Babysitter’s Club while blasting Boyz II Men just for the kicks of a patronizingly late 90’s obtuse reference, regardless of how little I actually like it. Or, like staring into a gradient-laden orb slowly rotating a white wizzard in the middle of space. (PS thanks to Jason Redwood for the link.)
San Francisco-based body painter Trina Merry has created a series of scenes that blend nude bodies into New York City landscapes such as the Brooklyn Bridge, Guggenheim Museum, Empire State Building, Central Park and the New York City skyline. Due to Merry’s fine attention to detail and composition, the painter’s subjects seamlessly disappear into their surrounding environments.
Of her medium, Merry writes, “My surface is living, breathing human beings making this a highly relevant & immediate medium. I use non-toxic hypoallergenic paint applied with a brush or airbrush. The painting is temporary, like a Tibetan sand painting, beginning to change into another work as soon as I stop painting, changing texture & color.”
Merry has an impressive portfolio of projects on her site, including the Human Motorcycle Project, a project which entailed painting bodies to look like motorcycles. (via visual news)
The work of painter Karl Persson is not for the faint of heart; his horrific scenes, rendered with hyperrealistic precision, examine the darkest and more cannibalistic impulses of the human mind. Envisioned in an aesthetic evocative of the work of horror artist Chet Zar or tattoo artist Paul Booth, Persson’s unique hellscape is wrought with sexual tension, desire, and yearning.
Through Persson’s frightful lens, the human creature becomes base and animalistic; overtaken by the sheer fact of appetite, a mouth erupts from the gut of a dead chicken, its head cruelly severed and skin raised, revealing grotesque goosebumps in lieu of downy feathers. Again, a set of carnivorous teeth slice open the entire face of a baby, who kicks and thrashes about with eating utensils in hand; with his umbilical cord only just severed, the monstrous being is never satiated and still demands more. Persson’s self portrait imagines the artistic impulse as equally cruel, presenting the artist as cannibalizing his own form in service of a ravenous creative hunger.
Within this grotesque sexual and gluttonous thirst, there are moments of beauty to be unearthed. The Kiss imagines a pair of slimy insects making bestial love with their pointy, bloody legs, stabbing one another in the process; though repulsive, their slick, glinting feelers are also magnetic and alluring, their lusty movements brought to life and crystalized forever in dreamy pinks and purples.
The work is also not entirely without innocence; in this cruel vampiric world, a fetal rat lies dead and gutted. In a stunning reversal, those that we label as “vermin” become soft, delicate babes, whereas the human is revealed to be savage and cruel. Within this piteous creature, ripped fatally from the womb, we might rediscover the all-too-rare feelings of compassion and heartbreak. Have we, as humans, descended too far into our own brutal greed, or might we return to a state of virtue and empathy? Take a look. (via TrendHunter and Mongolian Art)
Australian artist Meredith Woolnough uses embroidery to create her delicate and intricate depictions of different plants. With some thread and a sewing machine, she forms different complex patterns found in nature, such as the veins of a leaf, patterns found in coral, and even lines and shapes found in red cabbage. Each fragile piece displays the small beauty found in the fine details of nature. What would be small, fragile beauty that the average person may overlook, Woolnough finds inspiration. Patterns from shells, petals, and lily pads are given new life in each breathtaking piece. The artist treats her artwork like specimens, as she carefully pins them under glass in shadow boxes for display.
Using vibrant colored thread, she builds up a density of embroidered patterns that become almost three-dimensional. In some cases, like in her embroidered bowls, the work really does have volume as it holds the shape of a bowl. Because of the method in which the artist creates her work, it demands an intense patience that can be seen as meditative. The repetitive patterns and natural quality of Woolnough’s work is like that of a Mandala, holding sacred qualities.
The work maps the frameworks of the various veining systems found in nature to create work that explores the balance, harmony and connectivity of life on Earth. Inspired by the patterns, structures and shapes found in plants, coral, cells and shells Meredith’s embroideries represent both the robust beauty and elegant fragility of life.
As part of our ongoing partnership with In The Make, Beautiful/Decay is sharing a studio visit with installation artist Chris Fraser. See the full studio visit and interview with Chris and other West Coast artists at www.inthemake.com.
When we visited Oakland-based artist Chris Fraser at his studio at Real Time & Space he first asked us to take off our shoes, then he turned off the lights. All of sudden, as I stood staring at a blank wall, feeling vulnerable in my not so glamorous socks, a bit of magic happened. Sharp lines of light cut through the darkness, drawing out a luminescent triangle where seconds ago there had only been an empty corner and bare walls. I moved closer. The dark room seemed infinite and the glowing triangle like a doorway. I had the urge to walk through it and the sense that I actually could, and that something extraordinary was on the other side.
Many of Chris’s site-specific projects are interventions into already existent architectural spaces in which he uses straightforward techniques to create unexpected optical experiences. Essentially, he employs the principle of the camera obscura to manipulate the way light enters a room. By strategically creating holes and slits in walls, he is able to coax and direct light into specific directions and shapes, transforming once familiar surroundings into fantastical, poignant spaces.
Experimentation is key to Chris’s process, and he thrives off the chance to create within different environments. Earlier this year, he had the opportunity to work in two distinctive spaces: a small box-like room at Real Time & Space, where he was an artist-in-residence, and the dining room in a soon to be demolished house in Cow Hollow that was opened up to multiple artists for Highlight Gallery‘s inaugural site-specific project, 3020 Laguna Street in Exitum. In Chris’s careful hands both rooms were reimagined, becoming portals to another world.
Spanish photographer Eugenio Recuenco has taken the timeless and iconic work of the notorious artist Pablo Picasso and translated it into contemporary photography. He models each photograph in this series after a single Picasso painting, recreating it as a seductive, contemporary photograph. Each painterly photograph is taken in such a way that even these real life women seem to be painted onto a canvas. Having had his hand in commercial and fashion photography, the influence from modern high fashion can be seen. Because Picasso’s work contains such vivid colors and a strongly recognized cubist style, the model’s make-up and clothing are a vital part of what allows the photograph to imitate Picasso’s paintings.
Cubism, the artist’s most famous stylistic period, is achieved by dissecting parts of the subject in the painting, and breaking them down into geometric forms. In this case, the subjects in the photos are women covered in geometric patterns imitating Picasso’s paintings. Recuenco brilliantly achieves this reference to Cubism not only by the women’s clothing, but also by the perfectly placed photo fragments. Several of the photos in this series are altered so that there is an abrupt crop in the image, with extra limbs on the other side. This cleverly recreates Picasso’s ever-popular figures with extra legs, arms, or eyes. Some may say that there are just some things you can do in a painting that you cannot do in a photo. Recuenco proves this wrong with his incredible and imaginative use of make-up to mirror Picasso’s fractured portraits and misplaced facial features. In one photo, an entirely new eye is created, while in another, a sharp, black line dissects a woman’s face. Intelligent and original creativity is of no shortage in this photographer’s unbelievably beautiful series paying homage to a fellow Spanish artist.
Make sure to check out Eugenio Recuenco’s new project, a short film titled “A Second Defeat.”
Khalil Chishtee constructs life-size sculptures out of plastic bags. Much of his figurative work is evocative of movement and fluidity, and indeed, some of his work is sculpted in such a way as to be constantly moving. Admittedly charmed by the vastness of the plastic bag medium, Chishtee enjoys the way it respectfully responds to his deepest emotions.
“We live in the age of plastic, and plastic bags are the most ordinary form of this material. It goes back to the Sufi approach of my upbringing where worth does not depend on what you inherit, it depends on who you are. Anything made out of bronze, wood, stone or painted on a canvas carries the appearance of being worth looking at, because of its history, but if one can change the impact of that history, one is an artist.”
Originally from Pakistan, Chishtee now resides in New York. (via combustus)