Beautiful/Decay has partnered with premiere artist portfolio building platform Made With Color to bring you some of the most exciting contemporary artists working today. Made With Color allows you to create a website that is professional and easy to use with just a few clicks and no coding. If that’s not enough all Made With Color sites are optimized for mobile and tablet viewing so you’re site looks perfect no matter how it’s being viewed. This week we are happy bring you the work of Portland based artist and Made With Color user Wendy Red Star.
Over the course of her practice, Wendy Red Star has worked within and between the mediums of photography, sculpture, installation, performance and design. Red Star’s multilayered work influences are drawn from her tribal background (Crow Nation), daily surroundings, aesthetic experiences, collected snapshots of moments of the past and present, and stories that are both real and imagined. Through her photographs and sculpture a new cosmos is built, simultaneously urban-rural and high-low, conveying ideas through representations created from suggested associations of seemingly diverse sites, objects and ideas. HUD houses, rez cars, three legged dogs, powwow culture, indigenous commoditization, and Red Star’s personal collection of memories growing up as a half-breed on the Crow Indian reservation are used to excite a response in a form that can be experienced by others.
The work represents an insider/outsider view that is rich with complexity and contradiction. Red Star’s unruly approach examines the consumptive exposure of a cross section of American cultures while also being a meditation on her own identity. Her works explore the intersection between life on the reservation and the world outside of that environment. Red Star thinks of herself as a cultural archivist speaking sincerely about the experience of being a Crow Indian in contemporary society.
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Collage artist Ed Spence uses hundreds of hand-cut pixels to interpret photographs. The original works, mundane scenes like floral arrangements and out-of-focus landscapes, are made infinitely more interesting with his additions. Spence abstracts the original image by organizing the tiny squares on top of it. In doing so, he presents his alternative and desired image.
Spence’s works are modern-day pointillism, and the stippling effect made by squares rather than dots. While pointillism has existed since the late 1800’s, the artist puts a modern spin on it by referencing pixels. It looks like this idea was born from our increasingly digital world.
Spence states that he uses a knife and ruler to dissect the information within the photograph. In other words, he chooses what to distort and enhance, which explains the way he pixelates his work. I started to view his collages assuming that he had precisely pixelated the original image. I quickly realized this was not the case. If you squint your eyes, sometimes Spence’s pixels complete the image. Other times, colors and shapes don’t really match up. There’s an obvious disconnect between what I expect the image to be and how Spence wants to depict it. While pixels are often a warped but true representation of an image, the artist plays with this idea. Not only does he craft something analog that should be digital, but he skews what we’d come to expect from it. (Via iGNANT)
Photographer Laura Plageman carefully distorts her photographs in a way that is so subtle that it makes you do a double take. Using photographs that she has shot, she folds, tears, and crumples idyllic-looking landscapes. This is done in such a way that at first glance, these Plageman’s slight alterations make perfect sense. You wouldn’t necessarily question the melting tree line until you begin to study the photographs. Once you do, you can see that the mood of these images has changed. And, that’s exactly what Plageman wants. From her artist statement:
Her images explore the relationships between the process of image making, photographic truth and distortion, and the representation of landscape. She is interested in making pictures that examine the natural world as a scene of mystery, beauty, and constant change transformed by both human presence and by its own design.
Plageman titles of all her pieces as “Response to…” I see the the way she manipulates her photographs as a way of responding to the environment that she’s captured. These aren’t negative interpretations or an ill-will towards these landscapes. Instead, they add another layer of story-telling to what already exists. The creased paper adds depth, and tearing adds a new horizon line. What exists beyond what we now can’t see. Rather than showing us a landscape we’ve seen many times before, Plageman creates a totally new narrative by just a few considered folds.
An unusual, but symbolic and versatile medium, several artists have integrated books into their practice. Sometimes selected for their formal elements, other times for their content, books have a wide-ranging appeal for artists. The five artists listed below have employed books in varied and distinctive ways to create remarkable works of art.
Abelardo Morell is a Cuban artist who incorporates books into his photography in beautiful and creative ways. For example, he used Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland to create photographs uniquely including the book. Jonathan Callan is drawn to books as a medium and creates amazing, formal sculptures that resemble tree stumps, or other organic forms. Cara Barer is an artist who transforms books by sculpting, dying and then photographing them. About her work Barer says, “Books, physical objects and repositories of information, are being displaced by zeros and ones in a digital universe with no physicality. Through my art, I document this and raise questions about the fragile and ephemeral nature of books and their future.” Robert The is a New York-artist best-known for his Gun Books, which usually play a title cleverly off the book carved into the shape of a gun. Isaac Salazar rescues books that have been discarded and carves words out of the pages.
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Photography has long been used to document the scientific process and display visual evidence, so when Ulric Collette began to use the medium to show how genetics can exhibit itself, it was both the obvious similarities, and differences, that caught everyone’s attention. Working out of Quebec, Canada, Ulric, a self-taught photographer and graphic designer, began the photoseries in 2008 where family member’s faces were spliced together to create portraits that compared physical appearance with contrasting ages. The process seems like a no-brainer, but it was truly born from an accident. The photographer explains, “I was attempting to create something totally different with another project, and in the process I came up with the first picture, me and my then 7-year-old son,”. Realizing the easily viewed comparison between generations when shown spliced together, Ulric began to enlist the help of others to show the effects of genetics. He continues, “I decided to try the same process with a few family members and the project was born.”
Collette uses specific portraits edited down from hundreds of tightly-controlled photos, to create his finished works. Acknowledging that even with the advances of editing software, it is still very difficult to find an appropriate match that works, he explains the difficulty of the project, “I need to take a lot of pictures in a controlled environment of each model, compare the picture to one another, chose the right ones and stick them together in Photoshop” .
The photographer used many of his own family members to investigate these connections, including his daughter and mother (above, Ginette & Ismaëlle), and even himself and his own brother (below, Christopher & Ulric). Collette explains, “The reaction to the project never ceases to surprise me…A few of the ones I’m in shocked me – me and my brother Christopher, for example, we totally look the same!” (via huffington post and bbc)
Korean illustrator Kim Dong-Kyu gives technological updates to Girl With A Pearl Earring and other iconic works in Art History.
Kyu’s images, although hysterical, are quite critical of the way smartphones/gadgets have dramatically changed today’s social interaction. Themes of alienation, avoidance, self-centerness, and attachment prevail through the series of images. It is interesting to think back on the cultural history of most of these works [mostly the 19th and 20th century works on here]; the juxtaposition of the cultural implications of the scenes of each painting and today’s conception of socialization is quite amusing and very different, yet, at some points, very similar.
For instance, Degas’ The Absinthe Drinker’ from 1876, reveals the increasing social isolation in Paris due to a stage of rapid growth and confinement brought forth by the highly urbanized and elite-driven atmosphere of the new Paris. The woman, actress Ellen Andrée, blankly stares into the walls of a Parisian café. With a glass of absinthe in front of her, she solemnly contemplates the nothingness of what is going on around her. The man, painter Marcellin Desboutin, sits next to her but glaces towards the opposite direction, looking to catch on to something interesting outside of his close quarters. Similarly, on Kyu’s rendition, the woman find herself ignored and in a state of alienation as she is the only one not using a gadget.
These definitely leave us wondering if social interaction has been one of those things that evolve to become more of the same thing. With or without technology, it seems clear to me that the urban, and the elite societies, both rendered in these paintings (with and without Kyu’s additions), look to the outside, and inside, towards their phones, in order to fill some sort of void, and/or escape whatever lies in font of them. If this is true or not…that is up to you to decide.
Linda Gass stitches together hand-painted silk crepe de chine to create these colorful aerial representations of the topography and geography of the San Francisco Bay. Some of the image designs she sources from other publications, while others are completely her own, like her depiction of an imagined restoration of Bair Island. Other land features represented include the original Dumbarton bridge (opened 1927), the Southern Pacific Railway bridge (opened 1910), the Fields of Salt, the South Bay, and salt ponds. In addition to these quilts, Gass also uses paint, mixed media, and even the land itself to create work that consistently addresses issues of land and water use.
From her artist statement, “I use the lure of beauty to both encourage people to look at the hard environmental issues we face and to give them hope. My paintings are done on silk, a naturally beautiful surface, and I gravitate towards luminous, saturated colors, giving my work an optimistic feeling. Although many of the landscapes I depict are ugly in reality, my landscapes are beautified as I prefer to engage the viewer through pleasure. I am trying to create an attitude shift from feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems to feeling inspired and empowered to take action through the experience of art.” (via skumar’s)
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