Something feels oddly luxurious about John Breed’s strange mixed media sculptures and installations. His work largely depicts a capitalistic culture of excess and its relationship with death, the most provocative of which includes the implementation of skeletons, animal and human. In “Goodbye Paradise“, Breed portrays a silver-plated Edenic scene of human and animal skeletons, speaking to the nature of renewal that is perpetually haunted by our eventual decay. His work breathes new life into these skeletons and other found objects by coating them resin,silver, or gold, giving them an effect of purity and newness. Threaded throughout his work is the idea of monetary value and how the value of something fluctuates within a newer, shinier context. Perhaps the work that best encompasses our excessive capitalistic culture is “In God We Trust,” an installation comprised of silver-plated pig skeletons labeled with the names Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, Bear Stearns, Merrill Lynch, and citi bank. Breed lives and works in The Netherlands.
One of my favorite tendencies in Mexican cultures is their positive relationship with death, and the above skulls are some beautiful evidence of it. Our Exquisite Corpse partnered with artists from the Huichol community of the Sierra Madres in West Mexico to create a series of stunning beaded skulls. Bead art goes back centuries on centuries on centuries in Huichol culture, from enormous tableaus to, more recently, tiny tourist coasters and covering every object on the way . The skulls are a combination of Huichol artists and OEC designers, painstakingly hand-beaded, and for sale on their website. ( via )
Cara DeAngelis paints found roadkill in “compositions that both pay homage to, and satirize 17th century Hunting Still Lifes”. “The still lifes and portraits of animals on aristocratic laps explore the long-standing confrontations between the domestic and the wild.” But DeAngelis’ black magic goes a little further than that. The artist, who takes care to incorporate the “Tragic and the Infantile” within her work, includes children’s toys and dolls in her compositions to create an “absurd union“- nostalgia vs. violent death, innocence vs. murder. These paintings are done in oil, which somehow seems appropriate for the heavy concept scale within DeAngelis’ work. Ms. DeAngelis received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2011.
I know this artist has been posted and re-posted a couple times by various blogs, but I want to commit her to B/D cyberspace memory. Nadine Byrne’s work deal a lot with mysticism, spirituality, death, the occult- the wearable sculptures turning to costumes meant for performing in. It’s interesting to think about how there is a blanketing mourning process/protocol but that it varies culture to culture- or that the business of mourning necessitates the purchase of certain goods and the putting on a certain behavioral pattern.