In a classical compositional style, Photographer Phillip Toledano‘s series A New Kind of Beauty depicts subjects that have drastically augmented their bodies. The photographs contrast classical ideas of beauty with the contemporary and nearly obsessive pursuit of it. A fixation with beauty is ancient, but the images examine it in the light of modern body modification. Toledano says of the series:
“I’m interested in what we define as beauty, when we choose to create it ourselves. Beauty has always been a currency, and now that we finally have the technological means to mint our own, what choices do we make?”
I first encountered the work of Nashville-based painter and visual artist Danielle Duer at a local restaurant-slash-coffeeshop. The order line separating me from my hipster-approved gourmet grilled cheese — well, it was long, but I didn’t mind. All the while that we inched forward, salivating obscenely, my eyes were glued to the walls of the establishment, for it was there that a number of Duer’s creations hung. I may or may not have jostled a few fellow salivaters aside so as to get a clearer view of each piece, hanging there against haphazardly stuccoed walls beneath little strips of birch bark that simply read “Danielle Duer.” First thought: I want one.
Duer’s paintings and drawings couple dainty details with fanciful landscapes, all rendered in vivid color. Ships sail in from far off places and bears cavort on unicycles in imaginative scenes that would look right at home on book covers. As the artist once said, she learned as a child to create places, whether through writing, painting, or drawing, that were smothered with the most “delicious, bizarre scenery.” As her creations show, she is also well aware of the importance of “oddities and peculiarities” in making something beautiful.
Take a closer look at Danielle Duer’s beautiful somethings after the jump.