In 2007, Kurt Franz traveled on a bus across America and Western Europe studying city peripheries where construction and entropic sites become a common occurrence. Along the way he picked up enough materials to make some intriguing work.
KIM KEEVER’s large-scale photographs are created by meticulously constructing miniature topographies in a 200-gallon tank, which is then filled with water. These dioramas of fictitious environments are brought to life with colored lights and the dispersal of pigment, producing ephemeral atmospheres that he must quickly capture with his large-format camera.
I LOVE PAINTING! Maybe this is not so much of a secret if you’ve been following Beautiful/Decay for a while– but every time I see a Dana Schutz painting I just want to scream out…..”I LOVE PAINTING!” Dana’s a painter’s painter. A painter whose techincal chops rivals only her bizarre imagination and quirky themes. A painter who’s willing to take risks and use bold color with no fear. Unfortunately for me, Dana doesn’t currently show her work in LA. So, it was a great treat to get a copy of her fantastic new monograph today, released by art publishing hereos Rizzoli.
Rizzoli has to be one of my favorite art publishers to date. They always release monographs on the best artists of our generation. And Dana Schutz’s book is no exception: it’s filled with over 200 pages of work and essays documenting her artistic evolution. If you’re a fan of Dana, or of painting in general, you need to add this book to your collection. I guarantee it won’t disappoint!
Toronto-based creator Alex Fischer seems to prefer images laden with layers. Each image screams with a smashing of cultures and a tearing of borders. Fischer questions ownership in a similar manner to Richard Prince. Each image shows patience with a strident attention to detail, as each pressing of images goes further and further into a world all its own.
At the end of life: a camera lens, desperately recording and archiving the fears of the dying. For the series Life Before Death, the photographer Walter Schels captures the terminally ill in anticipation of the unknown and again in the moment after death. These intimate portraits are the last of a lifetime, documenting the body after some ineffable human essence has vanished. Informed by the words gathered in interview with the subjects by Schels’s partner Beate Lakotta, the haunting shots imagine the invisible, giving form to the most unconquerable human fear.
Schels’s portraits, in their silvery black and white tones, are reminiscent of Victorian post-mortem photography, presenting the dead as if sleeping, their eyes closed and brows gone slack in seeming comfort. These images are poignantly juxtaposed with the interviews, conversations in which even the most mundane, peripheral things of daily life are assigned significance; beside wizened and terrified eyes and coupled with existential wonderings are thoughts on fridge-freezers and local football teams. The banal works against and in service of the tragic; when confronted with death, a burial site and a cup of coffee are equally potent reminders of our mortality.
At the turn of the 20th century, it was believed that the eye recorded the last sight seen by the dead, that with careful study of the ocular nerves, we might reconstruct the moment of death. Schels’s subjects, pictured with gleaming eyes and contained within unrelentingly tight frames, seem to stare into the viewer as they confront inevitable passing, as if to implicate us or to say, “You are the last thing I saw.” (via The Guardian)
The work of photographer Nadia Lee Cohen is a stimulating, modern take on vintage American and British style. Her diorama-esque compositions — with their nude, cigarette-smoking femme fatales and garish 1950s/60s/70s iconography — explode with color, attitude, and fetishized, retro-suburban life. Scattered throughout are bold insertions of cultural, consumer artifacts, from packs of Marlboro cigarettes, to Coca-Cola bottles, to lip-shaped telephones, which further emphasize the images’ glossy and style-saturated appeal. David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock fans will certainly be able to identify a few crafty allusions; whether it is red curtains, or birds hovering menacingly in the background, Cohen has seamlessly meshed her own cinematic style with that of influential film directors, thereby creating a clever and campy pastiche of Western arts and culture.
When I asked Cohen what drives her work, she expressed that she primarily hopes that people enjoy the aesthetics of her photography, which is a “humorous, tongue-in-cheek” response to the way she views the world. And, aside from creating fascinating portraits of what she identifies as “strong, quirky, dark characters,” Cohen’s exploration of retro aesthetics through a modern lens provides a visible commentary on the way styles and cultural tastes have shifted over the decades — all from an alternative and progressive point of view; her work represents a range of personal styles, as well as a variety of body shapes and sizes. “I hope to convey a wider message of changing our perception of taste in terms of modern beauty ideals in fashion,” she explains, “which is why I tend to look to the interesting people around me rather than casting from agencies.”
Cohen has recently finished her MA in Fashion Photography at the London College of Fashion, and judging by her success and the in-depth nature of her style, she will be creating a lot of exciting work in 2015. Be sure to check out her website and Instagram. More adventurous (and amusingly retrospective) images after the jump. (Via Huffington Post)
The Singapore-based fashion designer Grace Ciao first started using flower petals in her illustrations when a boy gave her a rose; sad to see the gift wither and die, she incorporated it into a sketch of of a cocktail dress. Soon, the 22-year-old designer began using flowers in all of her creations, from party dresses to bridal gowns. From a single rose stem, she can create up to six separate designs.
The multidimensionality of the petals lends Ciao’s designs a unique and vibrant range; shadow and curve work together to flatter and accentuate the human body. The artist prefers to use flowers that contain within them a multitude of shades and tones; from their natural coloration, she can divine innovative prints and patterns. The garment and the floral organism dictate one another’s movements and structure; a falling yellow petal forms a ruffled embellishment or a bold one-shoulder sleeve, and the white ends of a tulip are layered exquisitely.
Ciao has a unique talent for making all colors, textures, and shapes look appealing and extravagant; an inexpensive carnation and a pricey orchid create equally luxurious garments. One can only imagine that as the petals wilt and eventually die, the garments go through a magical metamorphosis, transforming from fire-engine red to blood red and ultimately to a deep burgundy. As we move into summer, Ciao’s work is a delightful tribute to the ever-changing seasons and to the cycle of life and death. We cannot wait to see what she has in store as new flowers come into bloom. (via Demilked and Buzzfeed)
Didier Blondeau, quite obviously from France, is an incredible graphite artist (fancy-talk for someone who draws with pencils, but you knew that). One cannot fathom that the image above is hand drawn, and not a beautiful, rich in contrast black and white photograph.