Menstrual Designer Jen Lewis and Photographer Rob Lewis are redefining body politics in their series Beauty in Blood. Together, they create breathtaking images with an unlikely, and, more often than not, taboo material; menstrual blood. The idea of using her own bodily fluid as a medium came to Jen Lewis after deciding to use a different kind of feminine care product; reusable collecting cup that she would use and then dump its substance into a toilet. She explains that seeing such a bright, red liquid swirl around stark, white porcelain was absolutely stunning. Believing that menstruation is a beautiful, natural part of life that is all too often avoided, the artist decided to capture it in remarkable photographs to open up a dialogue and shed some much needed light on the subject. Jen Lewis explains that this series is not meant to be shocking or vulgar, but exactly the opposite. Her and her partner Rob create each striking image through a process of design, care, and selection.
This series is a celebration of femininity, a look into a healthy part of every woman’s life that we are often taught to be ashamed or embarrassed of. This dynamic duo aims to change the social norm of menstruation being hidden or taboo in society by allowing the viewer to get up close and personal with a natural part of life, not to mention part of the cycle that creates life. Each image claims the true and honest beauty that this significant and momentous part of life deserves. The aesthetic appeal and allure this series holds breaks down the politics of women’s bodies that contemporary society tends to control. Jen Lewis elaborates on this subject. (via FeatureShoot)
“In my experience, women and men are hungry for an authentic dialogue about menstruation and all that encompasses. It is clear the time is now to stand up and speak out on behalf of menstruation. It is a natural, messy but beautiful part of life.”
At the Joseph Gross Gallery on September 11, 2014, Brooklyn-based artist Ted Lawson will debut his solo show entitled The Map Is Not The Territory. The new series of work will consist of three dimensional wall-mounted pieces and free-standing sculptures made from MDF wood, brass plate etchings, and large-scale drawings rendered in the artist’s own blood. Yes, blood. The bodily fluid will be fed intravenously to a computer numerical control (CNC) machine using a technology similar to a 3D printer.
The idea behind using blood in conjunction with the computer is to challenge the notion that an artist whose practice utilizes technology is somehow disconnected from their work. Afterall, they aren’t crafting it with their hands; a machine is doing it for them in the form of coding, etc. Here, Lawson will give up part of himself for his work, intimately tying the worlds together and making it hard to argue otherwise. (Via Lost At E Minor)
Ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper collaborate to create a stunning installation commemorating the centennial of the First World War. A scarlet sea of 888,246 ceramic red poppies will be “planted” around the Tower of London. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red”, the installation pays tribute to soldiers who perished during the war.
For the past few weeks, volunteers have been carefully placing the flowers all around the famous dry moat around the Tower. Poppies burst through one of the windows and then flow loosely, forming an arch over the footbridge to the castle. Each poppy represents a soldier from the United Kingdom and its colonies who was killed during WWI. Cummings says he was inspired by a line in the will of a soldier from Derbyshire.
“I don’t know his name or where he was buried or anything about him. But this line he wrote, when everyone he knew was dead and everywhere around him was covered in blood, jumped out at me: ‘The blood-swept lands and seas of red, where angels fear to tread.’ I believe he meant the angels to refer to his children.”
Poppy is considered a flower of remembrance in Britain. The reason is because most of the soldiers died fighting in the trenches in the poppy fields of Flanders.
The blooming field will continue to grow throughout the summer. The final flower will be symbolically planted on November 11th, Armistice Day. The ceramic blossoms are for sale for £25 ($42) each. 10 percent of the proceeds go to benefit six different charities. You can find out more about the project by following the #TowerPoppies hashtag on Twitter. (via Colossal)
For Brazilian artist Fábio Magalhães’ hyperrealist oil paintings, the more grotesque the better. Using gruesome body horror imagery such as hacked up, barely identifiable body parts and suffocated faces in plastic bags, Magalhães’ work is as incisive as it is skillfully rendered. The breaking down of recognizably human appendages and entrails into chopped up, stomach churning chunks is purposefully reminiscent of a real-life counterpart: that of animal cruelty. Although we’re accustomed to seeing animals deconstructed into bright, vacuum-sealed packages of meat every time we go to a supermarket, it’s only when faced with the sickening sight of what our own bodies would look like if sold in similar plastic bags that truth of the cruelty behind the meat industry becomes stunningly clear. Magalhães’ paintings are nightmarish in portrayal, and certainly something you’d never want to see in real life, but when put to canvas are strong, provocative, and memorable works. Magalhães studied at the Federal University of Bahia in the city of Salvador, where he is currently based. (via Illusion)
Fed up with the shame surrounding their periods, the Spanish performance collective Sangre Menstrual took over the public streets in sets of white pants stained with menstrual blood. This performance artwork was politically motivated; as the group writes in their “Manifesto for the Visibility of the Period,” the taboo surrounding menstruation serves to oppress women and reinforce patriarchal systems.
By making a public display of their shedding uterine linings, the group hopes to reclaim the female body and free normal bodily functions from shame and judgement. Since the earliest books of the bible and before, menstruation has been viewed as unclean, and often women have even been kept separate from men during their periods. Sangre Menstrual, whose name literally translates to “menstrual blood,” intends to change all that. In their manifesto, the group of women write, “I stain [my pants], and it doesn’t make me sick. I stain [my pants] and I don’t find it disgusting.”
The implications of Sangre Menstrual’s street performance extend beyond menstruation and into larger debates surrounding reproduction and the female body. Like the feminist artist Barbara Kruger and her legendary print “Your Body Is A Battlefield,” the blood-stained performance aims to present the body as a political act of defiance. The manifesto states, “the visibility of the period [is meant] to increase the visibility of the body, as political space.” Do patriarchal, sexist institutions persist in part because of the repulsion with which we treat menstruation? Is this work of art a groundbreaking innovation or a silly shock tactic? (via BUST)
Artist Jordan Eagles works in a gory medium: blood. Eagle has developed a unique production process that envelops blood he sources from slaughterhouses. Using Plexiglass and UV resin, Eagle encases the blood in a way that preserves its haunting red hue. He further manipulates the blood and resin to create various effects and appearances such as adding blood-soaked gauze or running an electrical current through the pieces. His work calls to mind the rituals surrounding death and the preservation of memory. Check out the video to get an idea of his singular process.
Artist Allen Hampton‘s drawings are foreboding as they are. The medium for this series, though, makes them especially grim: blood on paper. Obscure texts, doilies, birds (both flying and dead) fill each sinister landscape of the Blood Drawings series. The blood at once references itself as splatters in its liquid form and a versatile ink staining each yellowed page. Hampton also turns his attention to the portrait, ironically drawing the human body with the fluid that animates it on the page and biologically.
Time to once again danse macabre by way of self-taught artist Wayne Martin Belger. Belger uses unusual materials (human skulls, HIV-positive blood, bullet shells) to build functional cameras that lend their composition to the work itself.
Wayne Martin Belger is one of the rare two-part artists that create works relying on each other through the synonymity of the repeated aesthetic. That is to say, when you look at his cameras, sculptures that represent something painfully graphic and simultaneously beautiful, you relate to the photographs in a different way. I find it fascinating that his installations show the cameras first, then you see the completed ancient photograph — it was made with this thing?