This is a huge disco ball. The hugest, actually. Michel De Broin‘s newest site specific installation One Thousand Speculations was created for Toronoto’s Luminato Festival. The piece consists of disco ball over 25 feet in diameter hoisted 80 feet into the air, spun and spotlit each night of the festival. The ‘thousand’ of the piece’s title likely refers to the ball’s mirrors – a thousand of which reflect on David Pecaut Square below. Each of the individual mirrors reflect a large swath of light that travels over the yards and buildings each evening. The surrounds, perhaps unavoidably, seem to feel just a little more lighthearted.
Iconic and lovely Louise Bourgeois once said, “The feminists took me as a role model, as a mother. It bothers me. I am not interested in being a mother. I am still a girl trying to understand myself.”
Likewise, one might suggest that the soft and silicone rubber sculptures of Michelle Carla Handel, collected here, are conceptually doing something similar, but with a splash of Claes Oldenburg’s wit and color pop.
Each piece feels intriguingly pubescent: exploring the grotesque softness of bodies and gender through seemingly pliable forms that physically confuse or bend out of shape, emotionally heaving with discovery and wear.
Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere website building platform Made With Color to bring you some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today. Made With Color allows you to create a website that is professional and easy to use with just a few clicks and no coding. This week we bring you the delightfully skewed paintings of Travis Collinson whose gleaming white and minimal website was built using the Madewithcolor.com platform.
San Francisco artist Travis Collinson’s drawing and paintings investigate portraiture, perception and sense of place. His works, though seemingly allegorical, are rooted in a sense of the absurd and abstract. Working from personal photographs and sketches derived from a process of automatism, Collinson selectively couples elements from each, reinterpreting them at a larger scale. Drawing from the influences of both classical painting and minimal abstraction, Collinson’s work creates a framework for people, nature and space to exist in an anxious state of entropy. With a skewed perspective and distortion of unassuming subjects, objects and environments, the artist’s compositions are at once familiar and enigmatic.
Kyle Kogut is a recent graduate of the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. His mixed media work often blends technical printmaking techniques with expressionistic, supple applications of paint. Set within a refreshing, distinctive palette, his compositions are full of energy and variation, yet never come off as cluttered or overly busy. This ability to conduct myriad elements within a functioning, harmonious whole works well with his current subject matter- Nature, and organic life. From the artist’s website:
“While impossible to surpass Her, my study of Nature and the phenomenon that is life has been a continuous investigation of organic patterns and forms, stemming both from visual observation and also subconscious mark-making.”
Kogut just closed an exhibition at Philly’s F&N Gallery. Make sure to check out his tumblr.
Photographer Jena Buckwell’s greatest goal in life is to never be bored. Producing beautiful photography is one of the many ways she keeps herself busy. This is her latest series of surrealist portraiture of those she holds dearest. This New York native also does design and illustration that you can check out on her daily blog.
For photographer Ellie Davies, the forest is her studio. Her images are an immersive mix of realism and heightened fantasy. In a mossy clearing, for example, galaxies have been interposed with the landscape like clouds of will-o’-the-wisps, while elsewhere, stars resembling flaxen particles drift down in a column, illuminated by the sunlight. Her landscapes are not only places of mysticism and beauty, but of darkness, as well. Fog and clouds drift amongst the trees like ghostly breaths expelled from the twisted, bronchiole-like branches. In one particularly haunting photo from Between the Trees Triptych (2014), skeletal trees flank a spectral cluster of mist.
Whether glowing bright or cast in shadow, all of Davies’ images reveal a reverence for the forest, as well as her intimate understanding of the way such landscapes have manifested themselves in our cultural imaginations. As she writes in her Artist’s Statement:
“UK forests have been shaped by human processes over thousands of years. […] As such, the forest represents the confluence of nature and culture, of natural landscape and human activity. Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In recent cultural history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious.”
And it is true; all of these cultural legends, practices, and traditions have made the forest — indeed, “nature,” as a concept — a construction, a story we tell ourselves to try and understand our individual connection with it. We imagine the woods as a symbolic place of “elsewhere” and “otherness,” and this cognitive distancing allows us to romanticize it, fear it, and/or exploit it.
Davies wants to confront us with these fictions “by making a variety of temporary and non-invasive interventions in the forest, which place the viewer in the gap between reality and fantasy” (Source). She creates her scenes in what she calls “small acts of engagement [that] respond to the landscape” — she builds things, creates pools of light, incorporates craft materials such as paint and wool. As I read it, the images have several effects. They resonate with our fantasies about the forest, but at the same time, we recognize their construction, which helps us to perceive that our cultural relationships to the forests of the real world are also constructed. In unveiling such narratives, Davies’ work encourages a more ethical connection to the woods: we recognize “reality” as a series of stories that have been told to us, we sense that we are not truly separate from what we call “nature,” and we accept that we can never fully understand it — an acknowledgment that fosters both respect and peaceful coexistence.
Patty Carroll photographs women who hide behind fabric. In her series, Anonymous Women: Draped, she features figures sitting and standing, all shrouded in luscious fabrics, rugs, and more. These women are invisible, meant to convey the idea that as we perfect the space of our home, it can fuse with our identity. Carroll’s choice in fabrics harkens another era, and look like they could be in the house of a grandparent. The Nuclear family of the 1950’s and 1960’s comes to mind in her work, when women’s roles were often domestically confined. Carroll writes about the series and the inspiration and implications behind it, stating:
I am addressing the double edge of domesticity; the home as a place of comfort, or conversely, a place where decoration camouflages one’s individuality to the point of claustrophobia. The draperies in these photographs act as both a visual cue as well as a literal interpretation of over-identification/obsession! While my direct sources for this series come from furnishing a home, as well as remembering the nuns in their habits while growing up, this series also references draped statues from the Renaissance, women wearing the burka, the Virgin Mary, ancient Greek and Roman dress, priests’ and judges’ robes, among others. I believe everyone has a hidden identity formed by personal traditions, memories, and ideas that are cloaked from the outer world. Cultivating these inner psychological, emotional and intellectual worlds is perhaps our greatest challenge as people, wherever we come from or wherever we live. (Via I need a guide)