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Maggie West Captures The Tenderness And Eroticism Of Kissing

Maggie West, Kiss - Photography Maggie West, Kiss - Photography Maggie West, Kiss - Photography Maggie West, Kiss - Photography

Kissing is an act of intimacy that has been iconically portrayed throughout art history — take the sculptural power of Auguste Rodin’s The Kiss, for example, or Gustav Klimt’s own interpretation of the erotic gesture at the dawn of modernism. Fast forward over a century later, and photographer Maggie West has revisited this tradition with her own contemporary style. Described as “dreamy” and “hallucinatory,” West’s debut book KISS is a sensual photo diary of LA-based artists. Dripping in a haze of neon eroticism, the gentle lovers in West’s photos embrace and engage each other with intense intimacy. In a statement provided to Beautiful/Decay, West explains the concept and creation of KISS:

By placing a common activity in such a dreamlike setting, I wanted the readers to reexamine the energy and intimacy taking place each time a couple embraces each other. Through the color choices and extreme close up angles, I hope that the viewer can appreciate specific aspects of a kiss that they may not have otherwise noticed.

[…]  One of the objectives of the book was to examine the dynamic between a variety of relationships — not just established couples.  Some couples had been dating for years, some were just friends, some barely knew each other, etc.

Initially everyone, no matter their relationship, was a little nervous.  However, kissing is such a physical act that within a few minutes the models were so engrossed in each other that they seemed to forget they were being photographed.

Most of the models were chosen from among West’s friends who she knew in the LA community — “models, musicians, artists, porn stars, dancers” and more make up the group. Portraying the kiss as an act that knows no distinctions of identity or lifestyle preferences, KISS features a variety of ethnicities and sexualities, celebrating diversity and the fluid nature of attraction, desire, and love. “The kiss is a beautiful exchange regardless of the relationship,” West writes. And this is what KISS allows us to focus on: the gentleness of the moment, the tantalizing hesitation, and the oscillation of desiring energy and tenderness that makes kissing one of the most powerful ways to connect both flesh and heart.

KISS features a foreward by artist and journalist Hannah Stouffer. The launch party for the book is taking place on the rooftop of The Ace Hotel in Los Angeles on June 14th at 8pm. Visit West’s website, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to view more of her work. (Via Juxtapoz)

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Brian Vu’s ‘No Bad Days’ series

 

Brian Vu’s latest collage series, No Bad Days, cleverly juxtaposes religious iconography with skyscapes to shield the identity of its subjects. Stunning!

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Two Rabbits 4th Of July Open Studio Sale

 

Our good buddies over at Two Rabbit Studios is having a big ol’ 4th of July print sale and BBQ. Go hang with them, listen to some good music, get some food, and most importantly get some amazing prints and posters for your walls at a fraction of the price!

Liz Hickok

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It’s possible this is the most intriguing food-as-art I’ve seen yet!  San Francisco artist Liz Hickok sculpts, molds and casts scale models of urban city landscapes using Jell-O.

Adrian Dutt

Fantastic work by English illustrator Adrian Dutt. They feature exceptionally beautiful, detailed line work and a wonderful (slightly twisted) sense of humor.

Thomas Allen’s Pulp Fiction Pop-Up Photographs

Always Fascinated by pop-up books, Thomas Allen displays an infallible talent for the creation of the illusion of three dimensions, using old pulp fiction books as the subjects for his sets.These books tattered covers and yellowed pages are not mere objects to display on a shelf, for the artist but a prodigious inventory of actors and scenes, just waiting to be directed.

Allen patiently cuts out the figures, freeing them from their two-dimensional state: the actors are then raised from the covers and come alive thanks to skillful use of lighting and the camera’s lens. Bent and positioned, the scripted drama is staged, bringing to life the stories written and not written in the books that act now as the stories stage.

Sol Calero’s Neo-Folk Sculpture and Installation

Sol Calero‘s work investigates the ancestral through a visual language which includes fabric constructions, found objects and images, archives, painting and drawing.  Family clippings and photos overlap with house-plants and altered images of ancient ruins, tools for remembering and misremembering.  Her recent project “Column Study” includes research into the origins of found West German ceramics, notated on their bases, which are assembled and disassembled, unclear if they constitute an ancient column discovered by archaeologists or a domesticated kitsch Brancusi sculpture.  Her fabric works include capes used in abstract ritual performances and also wall pieces which operate in the vernacular of painting, often created with the discarded clothing of her family members.  The work is often balanced between worlds, warm traditions with cold minimalism, personal narratives with pages torn from children’s craft books, the hot chaos of Venezuela with the cold European winter.  Her project-based practice also includes running the gallery space Kinderhook & Caracas in Berlin with frequent collaborator Christopher Kline.