The saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” proves itself to be true with this outstanding series of work by redditor, Shystone.
On this body of work, the artist cleverly juxtaposes paintings of London from the 18th and 19th century with London’s modern-day settings in Google Street View. Taking inspiration from the film “London, Then and Now”, Shystone takes several popular landmarks on Google maps, including Westminster Abbey and the River Thames, and just like a puzzle, he inserts the matching 18th/19thth century painting where it belongs on the GSV’s shot. The beauty of this is how much we think things have changed over time, but truly, as we can see here, everything still kind of remain the same, at least aesthetically/architecturally. The 19th/18th century paintings make us nostalgic for the simpler times, but the Google Maps image makes us cynical about today’s highly industrialized, loud and filthy London. It is interesting to think about how we are looking and thinking about these polar opposite characteristics in a place that has physically changed very little. (via The Atlantic Cities)
Cuban artist Rubén Fuentes creates euphoric and surreal ink landscapes that serve as an admiration of nature as well as a quest within a meditative and serene space. Fuentes, inspired by the lush greenery of his homeland, uses his work as a means to sympathize and glorify “all of the ecosystems of our planet.” He greatly uses Chinese shan shui ink drawings as an influence methodically, aesthetically, and philosophically. Shan shui works are known for their beautifully detailed yet simultaneous almost mystical, abstract and dreamlike quality. They are strongly referential to Daoist notions of living in harmony with all— and, similar to the Abstract Expressionist movement — shan shui paintings bend and evolve the notion of what a painting is meant to achieve; these works are a vehicle for less tangible elements such as meditation and philosophy. Fuentes believes that art acts as a means of self reflection, and thus, creating art allows one to practice and improve on one’s ethical behavior and cognitive self. Therefore, the act of creating art is simultaneous, in a sense, to the act of meditation.
Within the statement of his series titled Mind Landscapes, Fuentes’ states that he tries “to represent in my art works an inner strength, a cosmological and telluric force within us that transcends the duality of matter and spirit. The practice of zen, along with a worship of mother earth and the invocation of vital forces in nature, inherited from the past of the native Cubans, Afro-Cuban culture, as well as Chinese Taoism, mark the center of my latest works.” (via INAG)
Microbes as paint and a petri dish as a canvas. These are the conditions in which biologists and artists collaborated together to create organic and innovative pieces of art. Organized by the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the ‘Agar Art contest’ called all ASM members to demonstrate by a visual expression of their science the beauty of bacterias. The rendering of the contest led to entertaining designs and for some cases, deeper and profound interpretations.
If we look at the end results on the ASM Facebook page, without knowing the origin of the work, we could have guessed it was achieved by drawing and writing with colored sharpies on a gel texture. It’s astonishing and amazingly well done. The winners, microbiologist Mehmet Berkmen and artist Maria Penil won twice.
First with their ‘Cell to Cell’ design, a symmetrical design in orange and fuchsia colors. The captions explain the colors were obtained by isolating ‘yellow Nesterenkonia, orange Deinococcus and Sphingomonas’. Who knew bacteria existed in such superb tones? The duo also won with ‘Hunger Games’, a 3D skeleton face literally symbolizing life and death. As explained in the description, the main bacteria which forms the textured effect of the eyes, nose and mouth grows in defense to a famine condition within its environment. Death had to be created first to generate life. The examination of the biological world via bacterias not only produced surprising designs, it also created a space for a spiritual introspection. (via Junk Culture).
Rachael Yamagata has been busy lately, she’s just about to release her new Heavyweight EP and has just embarked on a Fall Tour which will bring her back to Los Angeles next Tuesday, November 20th at the El Rey Theatre. I was lucky enough to talk with her briefly as she made her way to Vancouver for the first show of the tour.
“Sorry it’s so noisy, I’m sitting in the back of a van on the road.” Laughing, I said that I’m in an art gallery with construction going on… we make quite a pair (more laughter). She then asked me if we had met because my name sounded so familiar (oh how I wish I had the guts and split second timing to joke around and say that we had once dated). I told her that we had met at one of her past Hotel Cafe shows, but was also one of her Pledge Music supporters for Chesapeake (her last release). “That’s it! I even remember writing you a note – once I write a name down, it’s hard to forget.” Yup, she pretty much made my day. Moving on, she was excited that the first thing I brought up was the cover art for her new record. All her previous releases have photos of her, so I asked how she found the painting.
“I was just searching online and came across this artist named Jan Zoya. Her work had this feeling of sadness, nostalgia, and passion that I could relate to.” Her artist statement also made an impression. She told me it wasn’t easy though, apparently the artist didn’t believe who she was so it took a bit of going back and forth, “I finally just had to tweet at her saying, look this really is me and I’m trying to contact you.” That finally worked and now one of her paintings graces the cover with even more collaborations possible in the future. As for returning to Los Angeles, I had to mention that I always felt that she belonged to us. “I feel the same way.” She said she still has so many friends here and that it was really hard for her to move to Woodstock. As for the show, “I’m really excited to play the El Rey, I’m touring with strings this time around and really wanted to have seats to keep it intimate.” If you’re familiar with the El Rey, you know it’s usually standing room only.
If you’ve never seen her before, do yourself a favor and go to one of her upcoming shows. Her onstage banter and incredible voice makes her one of my favorite singer/songwriters. Tickets are still available for the El Rey show via Ticketmaster and you can also download a free mixtape from NoiseTrade. Also, don’t forget to buy her new EP, Heavyweight from her website. Thanks again to Rachael for taking the time to speak with me, it was a real pleasure.
Watch the video to her single Even If I Don’t after the jump.
If you weren’t lucky enough to subscribe to Beautiful Decay in time to get Book One: Supernaturalism, there’s still time to sign up and get our upcoming Book Two! Here’s a sneak peek of what Book Two will feature! But hurry, there’s only two months left to subscribe, so don’t dilly-dally, you don’t want to forget two months from now.
The work of Melbourne based artist Justine Khamara may at first appear to be digital manipulations, but these sculptures are in fact photographs that have been physically manipulated. By cutting, shredding, and shaping pieces of mostly portrait photographs, Khamara creates these absurd and warped images. She sculpts some photographs into spheres or other three-dimensional forms, others she weaves or skews but maintains more of the image of the original photograph, only with a warped effect. In some of her work, she has copied the image of a single body part multiple times, and sculpted fractal-like shapes that give an appearance of continuity. The hand-cut precision of these constructions demonstrates Khamara’s fine attention to detail and use of a medium that usually utilizes a broader variety of images. (via skumar’s)
Minneapolis born John Lurie is a jack of all trades. He was originally a musician, playing sax in NYC no wave group Lounge Lizards. Later, in the 1980s, he moved on to acting, having a number of memorable roles in Jim Jarmusch movies like Down By Law. Mostly recently however, and especially since isolating himself due to what seems to be Lyme disease, Lurie has been a painter, creating dark, absurdist works with unusual titles. If you like his work, I recommend adding him on Facebook. His online updates are little gems of black humor, just like his paintings.
For award-winning photographer Oliver Grunewald, the medium of capturing images offers the ability to document, share, and investigate the natural forces which shape our world. Grunewald, along with his partner, journalist Bernadette Gilbertas, travel the globe, focusing on natural wonder, which for the French photographer offers, “…a pretext for immersing himself in the world as it was in the early days of its creation, and his patient quest for the magical, ephemeral light that best underscores the wild primitive side of nature pays off.”
As part of a massive body of work focused on volcanic activity around the world, Serfdom of Sulphur Night, offers some of the more intense photographs taken at the Kawah Ijen Volcano in Indonesia. Grunewald explains the genesis of the series, “For over 40 years, miners have been extracting sulfur from the crater of Kawah Ijen in Indonesia. To double their meager income, the hardiest of these men work nights, by the electric blue light of the sulfuric acid exhaled by the volcano before climbing up to the top of the volcano with their heavy charge.” (via myampgoesto11)