Jaw-dropping installations made from cardboard and tape, colorful and geometric paintings on discarded wood or subway car interiors, highly-patterned murals on the streets — Clemens Behr creates a little bit of everything. Or, rather, the Berlin-based artist makes A LOT of everything, much to the delight of his followers. Full disclosure: Yes, I am one such enthusiast.
Natalia Evelyn Bencicova is a Slovakian photographer who creates works of surreal beauty and supernatural unease. Characterized by dark, sterile rooms built of tile and cement, her settings are eerily reminiscent of abandoned hospitals and vacant catacombs. The models are washed-out and almost alien in their beauty, contorting as they pose nude, or draped in cloth with additional limbs that reach from underneath. They appear human, but also inhuman — and no better is this obscuration of humanity demonstrated than in the images portraying piles of nude bodies sprawling on the floors, crawling up against the walls, or aligning themselves in fleshly, geometric structures. With their faces obscured by torsos and furniture, they seem engaged (or possessed by) a strange ritual that is more about the multitude than the individual.
Part of what makes Bencicova’s work so powerful and provocative are the environments and quasi-theatrical narratives she creates. The hospital-like settings foster an atmosphere that is unsettling for the psyche; writhing and embracing on cold floors or groping at sterile furniture, the characters resemble ghosts in an abstract, emotional ballet. In some of the images, the bodies look like they have been stowed away and forgotten, and are struggling to survive. But in all of Bencicova’s works, there is a haunting magnificence, a reverence for the strength of the human body, and an “opening up” of beauty that extends into the alien and absurd.
Bencicova’s Tumblr is a stunning journey into her darkly alluring and innovative worlds. You can also see more of her work on Behance, and be sure to follow her on Facebook.
Art and design boutique Kittozutto (Yana and Jun) just recently updated their website with some brand new work! They’re the minds behind B/D shirt “The Web” (pictured above), which will be released this summer.
They combine fine art illustration with digital imaging, and the highly detailed results are often best seen in large formats. Women, fluids, and nature inspire their hyper-realistic yet surreal illustrations.
‘Wow’ is usually the first thing I say when I look at Matthew Porter’s photographs. Big, bold, and wildly imaginative, Porter fabricates iconic images straight out of a teenage boy’s day-dream. All critiques aside, it’s pretty cool to see a muscle car flying through the air, no? His latest show “High Lonesome” runs through January 23rd at M+B in LA, so hurry up and check it out!
Roman Klonek has a soft spot for old fashioned cartoons, especially east european styled prints that sit somewhere between folk art, pop, and propaganda graphics. In the 90s he studied Graphic Arts in Duesseldorf and discovered a passion for woodblock printing. For the last 10 years he has been creating posters with a wide range of whimsical creatures, mostly half animal/half human, preferential in awkward situations.
Sarah Duyer is a San Francisco-based artist who brings ceramic tableware to life in unsettling and thought-provoking ways. Teapots with spidery legs scuttle across their platforms, dripping with black and blood red paint; bowls and mugs with human teeth and fingers resemble the offspring of botched laboratory experiments. Infused with body parts and the illusion of movement, each pot, bowl, and mug seems to take on a half-consciousness that troubles its status as an ordinary, innocent object.
Duyer’s creations arise from a curiosity about how an object’s design can produce comfort or discomfort—and her works elicit both. By coupling fun, pastel colors with creepy body parts, her works make us amused and repulsed. The interplay of life and death is also visible; one teapot (or “creature pot,” as she calls them) appears to stumble wearily, half of its legs broken off. The use of encaustic wax and rough, exposed clay in some of her pieces further adds to this ominous theme of biological deterioration.
In the following statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, Duyer explains her unique and investigative approach to ceramics, which seeks to re-explore the medium while reinvesting familiar objects with meaning:
“Ceramics as a medium is kind of tricky to classify, since it’s still stuck in the debate of whether it should be considered a fine art or a craft. I think with this project I really wanted to utilize my knowledge of traditional forms and techniques and challenge the idea that the two have to be separate. I wanted to alter the tradition and explore the relationship we have with the ceramic pieces that we interact with on a daily basis.”
In addition to these sculptural works, Duyer creates functional ceramics, such as plates and mugs etched with unique designs. Check out her website, Instagram, and Tumblr to learn more.
Jeff Hamada (designer extraordinaire and creator of fave blog, Booooooom) recently teamed up with converse to make the above hand-winged design. They sort of look like if you put them on you’d suddenly be able to fly.The nice thing is, all profits from shoes purchased wholesale at the upcoming Live Stock event on February 19th in Vancouver will be donated to the Global Fund. (Flyer after the jump). Look rad, give back. Win-win.
Colorful acrylic paintings by artist Ryan Pierce – surreal, possibly telling of an impending doom, the absence of man leaves animals to wander through our remains. I wonder, can you eat birds like this?