Pastel-hued and delicate, the body part collages in the series “Anatomy” are part of Hong Kong artist Kayan Kwok’s daily art project “A poster per day for 365 days. ” The scope of her project is impressive—one fully realized piece of art every day for a year. Along with “Anatomy” the categories for the one-a-day posters are “Banana”, “Birdman”, “Blow”, “Dot”, “Hand”, “Letter”, “Loner”, and “Lost.Found”. Each grouping has a specific aesthetic and point of view although all are inspired by vintage graphics and American advertisements from 1920–1960.
In “Anatomy”, Kwok combines tinted anatomical drawings with mostly black and white figural images, incorporating other elements including scissors, flowers, and animals. She says:
“Collage has a surrealism background, but other than that, it also act[s] like Alchemy. Because you are putting stuff together from different places and times, the result is clearly unpredictable and this is what makes collage so fascinat[ing].”
One of the things that make this work captivating is the shifts in scale between body part and inhabitant. The small figures are nestled in, reclining on a heart chamber and a brain cavity. The integration of disparate parts into a cohesive whole makes these pieces deceptively simple. In fact, the blending of content and styles is technically accomplished, somewhat subversive, and really quite lovely.
For his series Evolution of Type, the artist and graphic designer Andreas Scheiger creates living, breathing fonts; his ABC’s might be dissected like a human limb, revealing boney spines and straining ligaments. With surgical precision, the flesh of his curvy S is pulled back in a manner that is both grotesque and sensuous. In this strange marriage of art, language, and science, the artist is inspired in part by Victorian sentiments and the emergence of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species and the theory of evolution, which spurred medical debate and disillusioned many a spiritualist.
Scheiger’s work is profoundly influenced by seminal Vicorian text The Alphabet and Elements of Lettering, written by Frederic W. Goudy, the designer behind famous typefaces like Copperplate Gothic and Goudy Old Style. Schneiger imagines the literal manifestations of Goudy’s analogies, which compared lettering to animated organisms; like creatures extinct and in existence, language too has a history, bringing with it the ability to record and preserve human thoughts and discoveries.
Within Schneiger’s imaginative font, E’s are skinned to reveal a muscular-skeletal system; deeper still, is a network of red and blue veins and capillaries that transport oxygen to some unknown organ. Much like actual bodies, these letters are capable of deterioration and decay; a G appears lifeless, mounted like dinosaur bones. Similarly, a P gets trapped and preserved in amber, and a prehistoric J is fossilized in stone. The terms “the life of language” or “the body of text” become spell-binding realities in this whimsical and thoughtful series. Take a look. (via KoiKoiKoi)
Mixed media artist Travis Bedel, also known as bedelgeuse, seamlessly blends vintage anatomical illustrations with botanical or other biological images to create stunning collages that range anywhere from 5 inches to 6 feet in size. Bedel often uses glue and a razorblade to excise printed vintage illustrations, combining them into beautiful and surreal new iterations. He’ll also scan his images and manipulate them digitally because this technique provides him with more opportunity to play around with sizing, cutting, and pasting the various elements in his collages.
Of his interest in human anatomy, Bedel says, “I find the body beautiful and mysterious. I am amazed and what people can do with their bodies and how if you take care of your own body, the rewards are much greater than imagined. I believe a lot of self-healing takes place mentally and physically when you eat clean and stay active.”
The best art strives to make visible the invisible, and the body painter Johannes Stoetter takes his work literally, seemingly turning his subjects inside out to reveal internal anatomy; with his vivid colors, he traces anatomical parts that linger below the surface of the skin, visually peeling away layers of his models’ body.
With each work, he digs deeper below the surface, moving from sinewy muscles to organs, and ultimately into the psyche of his subjects. He begins by staying relatively true to human anatomy, depicting detailed tendons and muscles in eye-popping red, yet throughout the series, the artist’s allegiance to science softens, allowing him to paint with more unrealistic, emotionally evocative hues.
Without discernible facial features, his models rely solely upon the apparent tensions of the biceps or the illusion of blood flow to express their identities, opening the door for Stoetter to experiment with non-literal anatomies. The placid woman is painted with the natural world associated iconographically and art historically with her sex, while a male model is shown as having a geometrical machine beneath his flesh.
Each landscape nurtures the perception of the body and heightens its beauty, and the painted bodies cease to be individual and come to represent the coherent, unchanging nature of humankind; in each of us, there ticks the same robot heart, flows the same river of blood. Though nude, the models are desexualized by the obscuring of their flesh, and we are invited to marvel at the organic majesty of anatomy, both physical and emotional. Take a look at Anatomy and more of Stoetter’s astounding work below. (via Lost at E Minor)
Deborah Simon sculpts anatomically correct bears out of polymer clay, faux fur, linen, embroidery floss, acrylic paint, glass, wire and foam. Aside from their size (around 22″ high), Simon’s bears are realistically detailed and meticulously fabricated. Her inside-out bears tread the boundaries of taxidermy, toy, and sculpture.
“Evolution has always held a particular fascination for me, informing how I create and group the animals in my work. As I’ve read and dug through museum collections to research my pieces, western science’s mania for labeling, codifying and collecting has stood out. Most of this categorizing bears little resemblance to how animals and plants exist out in the natural world and I find this disconnect fascinating.” (via design boom)
At RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, lecturer Claudia Diaz has implemented an unconventional project in order to inspire her anatomy students. After teaching human anatomy for over 20 years, Diaz decided to try something new as she found the regular routine of anatomical memorization boring and uninspired. Over the past 3 years, Diaz has explored human anatomy with her students by having them paint the bodies of 10 students, revealing tendons and bones that would be visible if the person’s skin were stripped. Featured in these photographs is chiropractic student Zac O’Brien who patiently sat for around 18 hours while fellow students painted him. The finished result is what Diaz likes to call “anatomical man,” first brought to one of her classes in 2010.
”We walked him in and I still remember the looks on the kids’ faces. They were just in awe,” she said. ”I realised it shocked them, it inspired them and it motivated them.” Previously shy about taking off their clothes so classmates could study their bodies, the students began to shed their inhibitions through this painting exercise. ”I couldn’t get the kids to keep their clothes on. They were all throwing them off,” Dr Diaz said. (via)
The highly detailed paintings of Valerio Carrubba offer an unexpected combination of styles that strangely complement each other. His scenery and figures seem to emerge from a Renaissance and Baroque tradition. Mysterious hands pull and cut at the flesh revealing each subject’s inner anatomy in a nearly cold way very similar to modern anatomy atlases. The scene as a whole, however, bears the definite influence of surrealism. Carrubba works these various styles and aesthetic sensibilities as skillfully as the oil paint. The boundaries are seamless and carefully worked.
Danny Quirk creates elaborate and accurate anatomical paintings using the human body as a canvas or the subject of canvas paintings. After the frustration of facing rejections from multiple medical schools, Quirk decided to combine three things he loves – anatomy, art, and education – using this very direct approach. He seeks to change the creepy or morbid perception of the body’s anatomy by revealing its delicate beauty. “Having spent time working with cadavers and creating illustrations for medical publications, I got to experience first hand just how complex yet delicate the body is, wonderfully illustrating beauty is more than skin deep.”