“Exquisite Corpse” Exhibition Explores What It Means To Be Human In the 21 Century

Alfred Steiner

Alfred Steiner

Michael Shaw, Dan Attoe, Austin Eddie

Michael Shaw, Dan Attoe, Austin Eddie

Exquisite Corpse Book

Tom Sanford

Tom Sanford

MASS Gallery in Austin, Texas recently opened its newest exhibition, Exquisite Corpse. The group curated by Beautiful/Deay’s founder Amir H. Fallah features a myriad of artists, with many that we’ve featured in Beautiful/Decay publications and on our site: Dan Attoe, Jay Davis, Bill Donovan, Austin Eddy, Amir H. Fallah, Chie Fueki, Joshua Hagler, Adam D. Miller, Kymia Nawabi, Christopher Pate, Max Presniell, Colette Robbins, Maja Ruznic, Tom Sanford, Alfred Steiner, Michael Shaw, and Dani Tull. In their own way, each artist explores the body and what it means to be human in the modern world.

Exquisite Corpse refers to the collaborative game whose origins are rooted among the Dadist writers as a poetic exercise and the Surrealist later turned into a drawing game. You might’ve played it before; when each person does their part well, it creates an alluring, sometimes grotesque body that was completely unexpected.

This exhibition brings together artists working in both Los Angeles and NYC. As MASS Gallery poetically describes:

A central problem of 21st century life is that the old, psychologically fortifying myths are fading.  Philosophers and scientists have described us as wet robots and biological algorithms, which is perhaps an intentionally shocking way to describe humanity, but these descriptions also seems to get close to a dangerous truth that contains a kernel of abject horror.  It is the artist’s job to create psychologically coherent images which look forward.  It is now a matter of viewpoint whether, when it is all said and done, you are a dead body or an Exquisite Corpse.

In addition to the show, the gallery also produced a full-color catalog that showcases all of the work and an essay by Bill Donovan. The limited-edition, 102 page publication features a beautiful spot UV with fluorescent cover. If you can’t make it to Austin for the show (it’s up until October 25), then the inexpensive-yet-high-quality catalog is totally worth it.

More work by the featured artists as well as sample spreads from the publication after the jump.

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The Surreal Landscapes and Labyrinths of Rafaello Ossola

Raffaello Ossola - Acrylic Painting

Raffaello Ossola - Acrylic Painting

Raffaello Ossola - Acrylic Painting

Raffaello Ossola - Acrylic Painting

Raffaello Ossola vibrant dramatism and invented landscapes create an exciting space for the viewer to explore and ponder. Each one offers an opportunity to imagine yourself in his universe, wandering through mazes or floating around trees. Although Ossola takes liberties with his compositions, ultimately they retain the verticality/gravity that we are familiar with. Where he leaves the laws of our world more readily are in his pools. They seem to be reflecting a cloud, moon, or other objects in the sky, but the eye reads it more as if the elements mentioned are situated in an environment within the water. The surface of the water appears more like a penetrable glass casing than a body unto itself. It’s mesmerizing to see.

Though most of his paintings don’t contain living creatures, occasionally Ossola will include a part of or even a whole figure, bug, or animal. His ability to render invented landscapes is more convincing than these living subjects, but it’s an interesting attempt. Sometimes the living creatures break the illusion of the scene, and they tend not to engage with the environment in a very natural way. On the other hand, these environments are very barren to begin with, and it may be for this reason that living creatures appear foreign or perturbing in some way. I enjoy the idea of seeing a person trying to scramble up the side of a tilting pool or interacting with the glassy water. I know also, though, that it might set stricter boundaries for my own imagination and experience of the paintings.

Visit his website to see his more recent maze paintings. (Via Melt)

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Julieanne Kost’s Hyper Color Aerial Photography Of Salt Lakes Looks Unreal

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Photographer Julieanne Kost‘s latest project takes a look at the Salt Lakes south of San Fransisco. Treating her photographs as abstract paintings, she chooses a very specific angle of the landscape to focus on. With the emphasis on the graphic nature of the lakes, they become something entirely otherworldly. Sky becomes water, the horizon is in the wrong place, power lines seem to float in mid air, clouds appear unexpectedly, and the colors are all wrong. That being said, these images are the result of something even more surprising – the intense shades are all a part of the salt evaporation process. The ponds can range in color from a rich navy blue to a luscious magenta, and are due to the salinity levels of the water and the micro organisms that live in each pond.

Kost is heavily involved in Photoshop and other Adode photo enhancing programs (and is also the publisher of the Daily Photoshop and Lightroom Tip), but has for a long time had an eye for interesting landscapes and their natural patterns.

In her work, Julieanne combines a passion for photography, a mastery of digital imaging techniques and knowledge gained from a degree in psychology, in order to construct a world similar enough to appear familiar, yet obviously an interpretation of the physical reality that surrounds us.

She wants her images to be abstract enough to allow viewers room for their own interpretation – to inject images from their own dreams into her snapshots. And she is able to do just that – turning a familiar type of landscape (albeit a very interesting process that is happening there) into something that looks like it is an image sent back to Earth from Rover exploring the surface of Mars.

(Via This Is Colossal)

Whimsical Animals Sculpted From Dreams By Wang Ruilin Carry The World On Their Back




Beijing artist Wang Ruilin dreams of animal/nature hybrids, surreal and beautiful, influenced by fine art techniques and aesthetics. In his ongoing series, “Pursuit of Dreams,” these unreal images come to life as large copper sculptures.

Some of the animals carry landscapes: cloud lined mountains rest on deer-like antlers; a relief map spreads across the back of a yak; the backs of a crocodile and a whale hold mountain ranges. In Ark, another whale serves as vessel, holding an ocean and icebergs on its back. The play of scale in familiar forms makes these sculptures somewhat whimsical, despite their literal interpretation. The integration of living creature with land mass and body of water lends an added dimension to the idea of “nature.”

“The Ark series is the result of my most recent efforts. Infused with my true feelings and emotions, they send the message that life sustains nature. As I grew older with more life experience, I started to doubt what I used to learn. These works are the denial of our current world and a depiction of an ideal one. I oppose the self-centeredness of human beings and the ruthless exploitation of other species and natural resources. I seek harmony with the nature. Nature’s greatness lies in her inclusion of everything on earth, while man’s greatness lies in his perception of his own smallness.”

Some of the “Pursuit of Dreams” sculptures are more streamlined versions of actual animals. With their smooth surfaces and self-contained air, the Horse, Rhino and Bird sculptures reveal Ruilin’s life-long interest in animals. His art influences are also long-standing:

“Eastern classical art also gives me inspiration. I like deep and pure Chinese flowers and bright and cool verdigris with rich colors and full of profoundness and uniqueness.”

(via This is Colossal)

Design Team Creating Portable Floating Sauna For Lake Goers

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Seattle’s goCstudio design team has cooked up a dreamy creation that is perfect for the moody weather in the Pacific Northwest. This piece, the “Floating Sauna,” offers a portable, wood-fueled sauna that can be taken and put onto a body of water. This project is nearing fruition as the team is in their final stages of fundraising and will soon begin construction. They have reached out into the community for support and have received an overall enthusiastic response.

GoCstudio was founded in 2012 by architects Jon Gentry and Aimee O’Carroll, who met while they both worked for Olson Kundig Architects.

This team, which has already produced some amazing projects, is moving to embrace a more unique and innovative path. Not only is the technical concept behind the sauna pretty astounding, but the aesthetic presence of it is simple yet elegant. It will add beauty to any horizon it sits on.

As for the logistics of the sauna, they sound pretty spectacular: ” The earliest concepts for the sauna were always focused on the journey to discover this place; creating a unique experience and refuge in the water that would offer a new perspective on the landscape. We imagine people kayaking out to the structure and tying off. The design has a deck, a wood-fired sauna, and a roof platform for canon balls. The rear ladder connects the water, dock, and roof platform. The ‘cool down hatch’ allows hot and sweaty visitors a chance to open the back door and cold plunge directly into the water.

The sauna is designed to fit on a standard size trailer. It can be transported and launched into any accessible still body of water, and when not in use, parked and stored on land.”

As they say on their Kickstarter page, “The sauna is an apotheosis of all experience: Purgatory and paradise; earth and fire; fire and water; sin and forgiveness. It is eternal new birth. You are healed, you are made new.” -Constance Malleson 1936

Mariell Amélie’s Surreal Self-Portraits Are A Bit Like Playing With An Imaginary Friend

Mariell Amélie - Photography

Mariell Amélie - Photography

Mariell Amélie - Photography

Mariell Amélie - Photography

Photographer Mariell Amélie‘s self-portraits are a bit like playing with an imaginary friend on the borderlands of fantasy and reality. They transport her to a dreamy limbo state, each looking like a snapshot from some noir-ish modern fairy tale. Some are haunting, others playful, but all have a sheen of melancholy, an icy veneer. This sensibility is perhaps explained partially by Amélie’s biography, which places her childhood on “a small island above the arctic circle.” A wind-blown isolation permeates her photography, no matter if the backdrop is breath-taking iceberg mountains or bright dollhouse interiors.

Her self-portraits are enigmatic. They are, to borrow a phrase from science, a bit of “spooky action at a distance” — in one, she contemplates her skates on a puddle-sized ice rink; in another, she pays no heed to the warnings of Narcissus, leaning down to kiss the marsh waters. The latter photograph is called “Part Time Lover.” All of Amélie’s photographs have similarly suggestive names: “She Had Just Left for Heaven, They Said,” is the name of one; “Alone and Unaware” is the name of another. As she tumbles from the driver’s seat of a car, vacant-eyed, the photograph’s name comments, “Someone Will Be Waiting at the Station.” These names, paired with the in media res nature of her photographs, give the unshakable feeling that there’s more to the story than meets the eye. If only it were possible to look beyond the veil.

Lifelike, Creepy Cakes By Conjurer’s Kitchen

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At first glance, these creations might only look like small sculptures. But, they’re more than that. UK-based Conjurer’s Kitchen crafted these impressive pieces that are actually cakes. The yummy sponge cakes are shaped like surgeries, skulls, and cross-sectioned bodies. They’re bloody, decrepited, and deliciously disgusting. Conjurer’s Kitchen has expertly colored and painted the tiny details like veins on a skull

Annabel de Vetten is the woman behind these fantastic creations. Not surprisingly, she was trained as a sculptor and previously made a living as a painter. Her foyer into food art started when she made her own wedding cake. Now, she draws inspiration from horror films, alternative art, and more; she has a variety of clients. “It’s great! One day I’ll be working on a full-sized replica of the actor from the TV show Dexter for FOX, then I’ll be doing a wedding cake for a couple who runs an S&M business, and the next I’ll be doing a dragon for a wedding at Warwick Castle,” she says.

Pawel Kuczynski Mocks Cultural Obsession With Facebook

Pawel Kuczynski- Illustration Pawel Kuczynski- Illustration Pawel Kuczynski- Illustration Pawel Kuczynski- Illustration

The Polish artist Pawel Kuczynski has created a new set of work themed around the megalomaniacal aspects of Facebook and social media in our lives. A prized satirical artist, Kuczynski has been winning awards for his work since 2004. Although the statements are not offensive, the themes are comical and instantly relatable, giving the viewer a humorous look at some of the harsh realities of our lives.

He covers a wide range of topics, “Pawel Kuczynski creates thought-provoking illustrations that comment on social, economic, and political issues through satire. The illustrator’s portfolio ranges from criticizing military practices and the incentives behind war, to themes of mortality and reinterpreting the uses of social media as elusive spying platforms. Each image reflects its fair share of serious issues balanced with whimsical illustrations.” 

These illustrations highlight how Facebook has saturated our way of living: from bringing us closer together at times, to further apart at other times, to being a way of judging one another, to being a catalyst of the spread of knowledge, misinformation, and gossip, to how it has morphed our entire concept of proximity, intimacy, and communication.

(Excerpt from Source)