Family Values: 5 Artists Draw Inspiration From Family

Zhang Xiaogang

Zhang Xiaogang

Song Dong photography

Song Dong

Seonna Hong

Seonna Hong

The saying “home is where the heart is” very rarely relates to contemporary art.  And though the works featured here are not directly about home, they are informed to some degree by immediate family,relationships and experiences that stem from it.  In a global spectrum of east meets west these five artists come from genres ranging from Chinese Avant Garde to lowbrow painting, from surrealism to contemporary portraiture, to name a few.  The paintings, mixed media works and digital media stills of artists: Song Dong, Brooke Grucella, Seonna Hong, Aaron Holz and Zhang Xiaogang exemplify the diversity with which the artists’ loved ones have become not only the subject for the works, but also at times part of the process, as well as a platform to tell a story that becomes increasingly universal.

I recall visiting the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco a couple of years ago to see Song Dong’s massive solo exhibition of works made with his family members as subjects, as well as a massive installation that incorporated decades worth of of family possessions as material.  His work is deeply personal, with a strong narrative thread, and truly draw you into his world with their reverence and profoundly flawless execution.  Zhang Xiaogang’s works from his series Bloodlines uses other family portraits as a vehicle for conveying the experiences of his immediate family that they experienced as he came of age during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.  Each piece in this series has a thin red line that weaves throughout the composition, symbolizing the connection of heritage and family.

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Photographer Alters Your Perception Of Space With Masking Tape Created with Masking Tape Scenes

heishman photographer 3

photographer

heishman photographer 7

With simple masking tape, photographer Robert Chase Heishman transforms everyday spaces into flat, geometric scenes. This effect creates an illusive new space, redefined by new boundaries. Whether the tapes’ colors are bright or more subdued, the effect is stark. He creates new shapes within the photograph, or uses the tape to create a framed effect for the photograph. If the photographs were stripped of tape, the photographs would be a bit dull. By adding the tape to some of his scenes, Heishman creates the effect of a lost dimension. Because his designs are so thoughtfully shaped, it takes more than a glance at these photographs to recognize that the tape has been placed onto the scene and not the photograph. When he’s not masking his surroundings with tape, Heishman also works with video and sculpture to explore similar themes like peripheral vision, flatness, and digital affect. He lives and works in Chicago. (via from89)

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Magazine Alteration Creates Haunting And Abstract Images

abstract images zarraluki21 abstract images

Guim Tió Zarraluki is a Spanish mixed media artist who creates work that transforms magazines into haunting and abstract images. Much of his work features portraits sourced from magazine advertisements. He alters the page with chemicals and oil pastels, transforming these “picture perfect” models into abstract, and sometimes unsettling, figures. His work maintains a photorealistic sensibility while containing something haunting and foreboding. If you look carefully, you’ll notice that the artist has left a small part of the magazine untouched or barely altered, leaving a trace of the original during his process. Tió also has a photography series of human figures with faces painted in a similar aesthetic, turning his form back in on itself to create abstracted figurative images. (via)

“The artist stages a controversial issue for contemporary society and his work becomes an exploration of the collective unconscious, which governs the aesthetic valences on all types of human monstrosities in the sign of narcissistic beauty emulation as the key to success; a parody of stereotypes that today govern the new conceptions of the meaning “human being”. (via)

You can watch him at work on a magazine page alteration here.

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Surreal Paintings Created With Liquid Resin

surreal paintings

DuneganMixed2  Surreal Paintings

Jessica Dunegan’s surreal paintings and portraits are beautifully complex both in content and technique.  Using a mixture of epoxy resin, acrylic paint, and archival prints, Dunegan creates organic work with physical depth. After squeezing paint into a layer of liquid resin and creating opaque, delineating strands of paint, she repeats this process many times. Much of her paintings mediate between a sense of tense turmoil or unrest and peaceful tranquility. There is something both romantic and disorienting about her subjects and composition, and her formal process speaks eloquently to this particular aesthetic.

“My subjects are more than superficial objects. They may look realistic from afar, but upon further inspection, they are comprised of suspended, chaotic lines. I want to capture each animated form in time and celebrate its imperfections.” (via)

Dunegan currently lives in Boston. You can watch a video of her process here.

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Not Your Typical Embroidery

BarbozaEmbroideryMixed5 BarbozaEmbroideryMixed2 BarbozaEmbroideryMixed11

Most of Ana Teresa Barboza’s embroidery work centers around the body. There are usually sharp contrasts of color imagery embedded in her work, and sometimes, she will use graphite to draw on her fabric before beginning to stitch. These mixed media pieces address the fragmentation of the body, as well as the ability to mold and sculpt our bodies, and how we use them to cultivate identities. Barboza’s work also makes us deeply aware of the internality/externality of our bodies and the primality with which they exist in relation to others.

In addition to these basic concepts, her work is often humorous. Something about embroidery in general renders its subjects playful, as it never seems to take itself too seriously. It therefore becomes the perfect medium for Barboza’s subject matter. A scene that would normally be perceived as grotesque – such as a woman pulling our her entrails – becomes absurd and funny. Perhaps it has something to do with the delicacy and softness of the form and medium. Regardless, Barboza’s work leaves me with a smile.

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Six Artists Transform Sugar Into Art

Aude Moreau sugar

Aude Moreau

Aude Moreau sugar

Aude Moreau

At Beautiful Decay we are beginning to bring our readers weekend coverage, where we’ll be sharing micro art trends of the unusual and unexpected every weekend.  And we figured what better way to start than with dessert?

The work featured here of artists Peter Bugg, Rebecca Holland, William Lamson, Aude Moreau, Navid Nuur and Kara Tanaka demonstrates that diverse ways confection can become conceptual.  From the painstaking process of Moreau’s Sugar Carpet (which uses 4,500 pounds of loose Domino sugar) to the haunting ephemerality of Tanaka’s Social Leveler (When Immortality Became Uncouth)the use of sugar as a medium, sometimes in combination with other materials, becomes an expansive tactile vehicle.

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Real Fish Heads Used In Photographs To Satirize Everyday Human Life



Anne-Catherine Becker-Echivard places real fish from her fish monger on doll parts to recreate, amuse, and in a way, criticize/satirize aspects of human society.

Of her work, Dr. Didier Rouzeyrol poeticizes:

The fish of acbe do not look at the ground.
They play there. They play. They play with us.
They place us into these pieces.
Parts in an act, in a photograph.

European bred and born, Becker-Echivard could easily be a character in a Julie Delpy film– charmingly dedicated to absurd yet accessible content with an undeniably curious or obsessive edge. For instance, after the setting and shooting is done, this Parisian artist tops off each project by eating it for dinner, stating, “It is the perfect recycling of art. Nothing is left over – and I can live from it.”

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Vibrant Collages Mirror The Artist’s Oakland Surroundings

Amy Wilson Faville - Mixed Media Amy Wilson Faville - Mixed Media Amy Wilson Faville - Mixed Media

Inspired by her Oakland surroundings and the mysterious life of collected objects (from homeless shopping carts to a public disposal & recycling area), Amy Wilson Faville collages her own drawings in with an assortment of vibrant materials such as old mattress fabric, file folders, vintage wallpaper, and other scraps. Comparable to quilt-making, Faville’s compositions incorporate consistent patterns with eclectic pops of color, conceptually mirroring her subject matter.

Speaking on her Carts series specifically, Faville states, “My goal was to use the power of beauty to transform images of squalor into splendor.”

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