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.
Pinhole photographer Justin Quinnell takes photographs from an uniquely personalized perspective; from the inside of his mouth. Quinnell‘s images, despite the fact that they are taken from behind a set of teeth, tend to be surrounded by the ordinary. We find ourselves as witness to routine, fun and travel, perhaps adding up to be just the followings of an every day guy. Within this series the viewer finds themselves looking at smiling babies, children’s toys, cocktails, and known monuments from around the world. From this insider’s (quite literally) perspective, the viewer is not just asked to question what is being seen, but also, what is the experience of the person, or maybe you could call him the protagonist, of this series. Who is this person and what does he think, feel? Mostly on the side of humor, his series is light hearted and fun. Their is a true air of experimentation as it can be assumed that with each photograph the artist has given up his ability to control and leaves the work up to chance and the elements in which it is surrounded by. This series, titled Mouthpiece, is just one of many of his pinhole camera experiments. Each of his works has a vintage and personalized touch, allowing them to stand out and truly feel like a glimpse into the artist’s mind.
It’s hard not to be absolutely delighted with this story and these illustrations. Mica Angela Hendricks is an illustrator and graphic artist who used to keep her art projects separate from her daughter’s as a way to maintain control of artistic direction. One day, that changed when her 4-year-old insisted that Hendricks share her new sketchbook with her, finally berating her with, “we might have to take it away if you can’t share,” something Hendricks told her daughter often. So Hendricks let her finish the bodies of many faces she’d started (informed by old black and white movie stills), and was surprised and delighted with the results. Hendricks claims her daughter often has a focused direction when finishing a piece, and that her imagination is unpredictable.
After her daughter finishes drawing, Hendricks adds color and highlights, texture and painting to complete them. Her daughter critques most of them a bit harshly, but ultimately enjoys their collaboration. As for Hendricks, the collaboration means more to her than the creation of interesting and unique illustrations:
“…From it all, here are the lessons I learned: to try not to be so rigid. Yes, some things (like my new sketchbook) are sacred, but if you let go of those chains, new and wonderful things can happen. Those things you hold so dear cannot change and grow and expand unless you loosen your grip on them a little. In sharing my artwork and allowing our daughter to be an equal in our collaborations, I helped solidify her confidence, which is way more precious than any doodle I could have done. In her mind, her contributions were as valid as mine (and in truth, they really were). Most importantly, I learned that if you have a preconceived notion of how something should be, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE DISAPPOINTED. Instead, just go with it, just ACCEPT it, because usually something even more wonderful will come out of it.”
You can purchase prints of these delightful illustrations here. (via)
You might remember Kumi Yamashita from one of our October posts featuring her extraordinary collection of works with light and shadow. If you recall, Yamashita subtly manipulated materials such as paper, fabric and wood to strategically use lighting on them in order to create shadow art installations. Her imagination and impressive craft skills lead her to create this new ongoing series entitled Constellation (a title that references the Greek tradition of tracing mythical figures in the sky).
This body of work consists of three materials: a wooden panel painted a solid white, thousands of small galvanized nails, and a single, unbroken, common sewing thread. She creates these stunning portraits by using the single,unbroken thread wrapped around thousands of nails. The task at hand is laborious, but the result is well worth the work.
In less than 3 weeks since its release Beautiful/Decay Book: 5- Psychonauts has officially sold out! This is the fastest any B/D book has ever sold out. You may be able to find a few copies here or there at local shops or boutiques but the chances of finding one will now be slim. We still have four copies of Book 2 left, thirty five copies of Book 3, and fifty copies of Book 4 in our shop. Make sure to grab these before they sell out as well. As always once B/D books are sold out we will never reprint them and the only way to get them will be via ebay. Make sure to subscribe to Beautiful/Decay to ensure that you get all future copies of B/D. All subscribers receive 33% off each book as well get books before they land in stores.
Helle Mardahl holds nothing back in her work both in subject and materials. Her background in fashion is evident, but her collections are not made for any runway. Start with her show A Royal Orgy Of Consumptionwhich was on display atWAS gallery in Copenhagen, August 2008. Keep exploring; there’s a world of intricacies and complexities wanting to be seen.