Polly Morgan Mixes Art And Taxidermy To Express The Triumph Of Life Over Death

Polly Morgan - Design

Polly Morgan - Design Polly Morgan - Design

Polly Morgan - Design

Polly Morgan’s freezer is not stacked with your typical content. It is comprised of dead animals in their primary state. She is a taxidermist, so that explains more. She mixes art and taxidermy to create beautiful and disturbing installations. Based in the up and coming art disctrict in East London she is collecting corpses of dead animals and arranging them to compose subtle pieces. Most often birds are the center of the pieces: birds and pigs, birds and a balloon, birds and a deer.

Behind the morbid scenes there is a desire to express the triumph of life over death. Something dead can, in a context become suddenly beautiful, poignant and touching.

Her inspiration is instinctive, directly coming from the animals. Scraping the skin from the flesh, the animals are a material and not dead corpses. Random people send her the animals they find dead on the road, always by accident. So the array of species she collects is large. Not interested in being a “classic” taxidermist, she wants to make her work more pop and modern. She has succeeded in creating a world of her own where a tiny bird sits delicately on a toothbrush or a nest of hungry baby birds are screaming from a deer’s stomach.

Polly Morgan’s most recent work has been featured in Berlin along with artists Bruce Nauman, Tim Noble & Sue Webster and is currently displayed in Washington DC’s National Museum of Women in the Arts until September 2015.

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Jim Houser Narrates Life Experiences Through Boldly Symbolic Paintings And Installations

Earth Seemed

Earth Seemed

Dosage

Dosage

Blue Dirges (detail)

Blue Dirges (detail)

Andenken/Battalion installation

Andenken/Battalion installation

Jim Houser is an American artist who combines lifestyle, experiences, and visual art into the creation of a personal iconography. Comprised of acrylic paintings on canvas and wood, his works are bold and symbolic: in blood reds and cool blues, images of severed heads and pill cases radiate anxiety, while elsewhere a drummer sits meditatively on the edge of a black pond. By arranging the paintings into installations, Houser narrates an inner dialogue that explores the interrelated joys and challenges of living, speaking to us through his art in poetic and metaphoric ways.

The images featured here are from his current exhibition called HUSH, featured at Andenken/Battalion in Amsterdam starting June 5th. In a recent interview with Hyland Mather, the owner of Andenken/Battalion, Houser explains his personal motivations in the creation of his art, beginning when he was a child:

I like that my art making is therapeutic for me. What is inspiring to me is that it contains a problem that never completely solves itself: me. From childhood on, I’ve used art to escape my reality, to help me define or explain my reality, and to meditate on my reality. […] I sort of lucked into it, making art. I was just as happy drawing as a kid as I was throwing rocks at cars. Anything to get out of my own head for a bit, skateboarding, taking drugs, all that stuff does the same thing to varying degrees of success, but luckily for me I was wired to have art making be the thing that quieted me down the most on the inside. (Source)

Scattered throughout Houser’s eye-catching colors, geometric forms, and clever assemblages are artifacts suggestive of personal means of “escape” — the pill cases and skateboard, for example. The simplicity and fearlessness of these images speaks to Houser’s brilliant distillation of life into one symbolic plane; in a holistic, meditative practice, he has arranged his personal story in a way that is courageously honest. As viewers, Houser’s works inspire us to imagine how we would visually narrate our lives, using pictorial language to explore emotions and unique personal histories.

Check out Houser’s website and Instagram to see more of his works. HUSH is being exhibited from June 5th to 22nd.

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Fiona Roberts’ Visceral, Surreal And Bodily Creations Might Gross You Out

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Fiona Roberts‘ new show Intimate Vestiges is a collection of wonderful and weird objects. She loves taking mundane items and adding creepy details to them. Items that we are used to seeing in our house everyday now seem to be encroaching on our personal space, and even seem to be a bit threatening. Roberts has transformed a simple chair into an anthropomorphized Frankenstein creature: the leather sections now feature tiny pink gaping mouths, baring their teeth and ready to chomp at whatever touches them. The menacing orifices are bordered by shiny plaited strands of hair; the legs of the chair wrapped in the same hair. The chair seems to have murdered the occupant of the house, and now wears the attributions of it’s victim on the outside.

Intimate Vestiges deals with questions of the ‘other’ – what is human, and where do our human bodies, memories and experiences end? We undoubtedly transfer these emotions into the objects around us – but what keeps them as foreign bodies? As writer Stephanie Lyall asks:

What can constitute humanity? At what point does a collection of disparate parts become a being? How much of a body can be rearranged before becoming something ‘other’? (Source)

Roberts’ sculptures have a beautiful philosophical poetry embedded in them. She has pillows made from plaster frozen in the middle of a kiss. They seem frozen and unable to enjoy their passion. They pillow lovers are able to extract empathy from us immediately. She has a rug made made from hundreds of ceramic fingers that might make us think twice about treading so heavily on our own carpets at home. Roberts has the power to make us re-evaluate the inanimate objects around us we take for granted and combines our outside worlds with our inside worlds.

Her exhibition is on at Kick Contemporary Arts in Cairns, Australia until June 13th.(Via Design Boom)

A2arquitectos’ Impressive Kaleidoscopic Installation On The Island Of Mallorca

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There’s a new attraction in Mallorca, Spain just in time for the summer hoards to experience and emerge themselves in. Architecture duo who work under the moniker A2arquitectos have been specializing in designing luxury urban oases for a while now, and have done it again with their latest project. They have dreamed up an immersive, super-size kaleidoscope-inspired installation at the Hotel Castell De Hams on the holiday island. In what used to be a children’s playground, the team have built reflective tunnels reaching 29 feet long and 6.5 feet wide and unreal spaces that visitors can explore their way through.

Strange doorways and circle cutouts in walls open up to larger spaces decorated with colorful patterns and infinity mirrors that spoil your sense of perspective. Staircases disappear into patterned gaps that appear around corners. A larger room has been painted hot pink with white dots of varying sizes with desks for people to rest at. The outside environment is also utilized to feed into the space inside – light, movement and color are all manipulated to produce an Alice In Wonderland effect.

The architecture team of Juan Manzanares Suárez and Cristian Santandreu Utermark enjoy building, urban planning, interior design, furniture design, and renovation. They specialize in project related to the tourist sector and have undertaken a project at the Hotel in Mallorca in the past. They created a Smile Pool for guests to swim in and laugh at. Basically, a neon yellow smiley face, it stood out in it’s surroundings and grabbed everyone’s attention for the right reason – making sure everyone there knew it was time to relax and enjoy themselves. 

Masters of relaxation – A2arquitectos are a team to keep watching what they will come up with next. They have an interesting collection of images from past projects and dream projects on Pinterest here. (Via Yatzer)

Zim and Zou’s Edible Cut Paper Monsters Reveal The Horrors Of Present Day Food Industry

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French artists Zim and Zou, comprised of Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmermann, took Spain by storm this May during EXPO Milan 2015 with their elaborate, thought provoking artwork. In store windows in the streets of Milan, the talented pair installed displays of intricate, three-dimensional work bursting with color and environmental messages. Created mostly out of carefully cut paper, Zim and Zou’s series illustrates the harmful effects GMO’s and aggressive farming can have on the environment, our own bodies, and the food industry as a whole. This fell in line with this years EXPO Milan theme for 2015, which is “Feeding the planet, Energy for life.”

The series in the display windows, titled Edible Monsters, reveals an array of sterile looking plants and animals, complete with mutant-like features and unnatural colors. Although these seemingly bright and cheery scenes evoke feelings of warmth and pleasantness at first glance, they all hold a bizarre aura, showing how the path that we currently are on can lead to terrible and irreversible effects on nature. One scene displays brilliantly colored, happy flowers that devour insects. In another window, one can see a fish swallowing harmful pills and a rabbit with a mutated third ear and crazed eyes. Each installation is beautifully done, but has a dark undertone of what effects chemical use and genetic manipulation can possibly have on our future. These eye-catching window displays shed light on the important subject of the world’s dietary habits and sustainability in a fantastical way. (via Design Boom)

Lea Anderson’s Propagating, Wall-Mounted Installations Explore The Multiplicitous Nature Of Thought And Memory

Rebirth of a Life

Rebirth of a Life

Rebirth of a Life

Rebirth of a Life

Memoryfeeld

Memoryfeeld

Memoryfeeld

Memoryfeeld

Lea Anderson is an American artist who creates beautiful and “propagating” wall-mounted installations. Exploding and evolving like particles, individually crafted parts (or “pods”) made of soldered tin cans, socks, wire, and flowery digital prints merge into beautifully flowing units, enveloping walls with an ecstatic, quasi-infectious fervor. Inspired by the unstructured nature of memory, thought, and hope, Anderson’s works represent the free-flowing multiplicities that compose our emotional lives. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, she explained her process:

My work is fertilized by personal fascinations with the parallels found between the tangible, biological world, and the world of ideas, thoughts, and emotions. My work begins with a question about how a particular unseen reality might present itself if it were actually re-produced in physical form: What surprising form would the energy of ‘creative intention’ take on if it were visible? How might your memories flex and intermix with one another if we could see them all at once? What does the cumulative energy of one’s entire life look like when, through the grief of loss, it is transformed into love?

Many of Anderson’s works emerge from pain as projects of healing. “Matters,” for example, is a tribute to the enduring memories and influences of her late mother and father; “Rebirth of a Life” grew as an artistic response to the possibility of never having another child. In each case, Anderson dismantles mazes of pain by “sprouting” matter in infinite directions; as in the natural world, there is always a way to initiate healing and renewal by embracing the ebbs and flows of uninhibited thoughts and ideas. Without a predictable structure, Anderson’s works provide visual environments for highly subjective interpretations:

I hope the works stimulate curiosity and resonate on both the most fundamental and highest levels. The meaning I personally infuse in the work isn’t required for a link to be established. The language of color, shape, and form are powerfully unifying and universal ways of communicating. Responses reflect who each individual is in that moment. In that way the ideas are germinated within the mind of another, and the evolution continues.

Visit Anderson’s website and Instagram to learn more about her work.

Anish Kapoor’s Dark Whirlpool Installation Churns Ceaselessly Beneath An Old Movie Theater

Anish Kapoor - Installation Anish Kapoor - Installation Anish Kapoor - Installation

In a place usually left to stillness and silence, black waters churn ceaselessly. Anish Kapoor, a London-based artist known for his sculptural installations using stainless steel, PVC, and other media, has created a whirlpool beneath the wooden floorboards of a former movie theater in San Gimignano, Italy. With a spine-tingling power that seems to suck your gaze to the center of the earth, the vortex pulls endlessly downward into a lightless void. Darkly beautiful and hypnotic, the waters evoke feelings of both admiration and fear. Appealing to the fascination we have for black holes and infinite space, Kapoor has created an existential zone of disturbing liminality, a place which exists between presence and absence, here and there. Speaking of his fascination for spatial emptiness in the press release, Kapoor explains:

“All my life I have reflected and worked on the concept that there is more space than can be seen, that there are void spaces, or, as it were, that there is a vaster horizon. The odd thing about removing content, in making space, is that we, as human beings, find it very hard to deal with the absence of content. It’s the horror vacui. This Platonic concept lies at the origin of the myth of the cave, the one from which humans look towards the outside world. But here there is also a kind of Freudian opposite image, that of the back of the cave, which is the dark and empty back of being. Your greatest poet, Dante, also ventured into a place like that. It is the place of the void, which paradoxically is full – of fear, of darkness. Whether you represent it with a mirror or with a dark form, it is always the ‘back’, the point that attracts my interest and triggers my creativity.” (Source)

By creating this zone of dread — a vacuum of inverted reality that threatens our mortal existences with its apparent soullessness — Kapoor’s whirlpool unveils a special form of significance. The whirlpool is a world “which is paradoxically full,” for instead of beauty and safety, we are confronted with a vital impulse: a void brimming with life-affirming fear that destabilizes our constructions of reality. The whirlpool evades all concrete meaning by always moving, existing beyond our knowledge, troubling us with the notion of infinite absence.

The show ran until May 9th. This whirlpool is an another version of Kapoor’s Descension, which was featured earlier this year at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale. Visit Kapoor’s website and Galleria Continua to learn more. (Via My Amp Goes to 11)

Flower House: Lisa Waud Fills Abandoned Buildings In Detroit With Thousands of Flowers

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There’s something delightfully creepy about an abandoned house in a remote part of the woods filled with several thousand flowers. A new project called “Flower House” by Artist Lisa Waud will explore this concept. Waud and a team of florists will proceed to fill a condemned structure somewhere in Detroit with several thousand wild petaled creatures. The purpose is an attempt to beautify and invigorate a run down and dilapidated environment and promote the native flowers of Michigan and beyond. 
 
When a flower is snipped from nature it exists in a state somewhere between life and death. Its beauty blooms for a short period mirroring life’s transience. The trial run of the project shows the flowers in a wild state in various sections of the house. It beautifies the worn down parts of the structure instantly with their beauty and also compliments the wildness of a house in disrepair. By showing the flowers as they would exist in nature gives them added appeal. Some of the installations created by local florists are quite beautiful looking almost painterly in the arrangement and placement. The main installation will take place between Oct 16-18th. (via mymodernmet)