These days you don’t see enough printmaking in galleries. You may see a silkscreen here or there but when was the last time you saw some wood block prints that are 3×4 feet? I’m glad to know that Katrina Andry is not only making interesting work using this old school art making tradition but is also raising the bar by going big.
B/D pal Lyndsey Lesh recently created a series of illustrations for The Rattling Wall, a literary journal published by the PEN Center USA & Narrow Books. To kick off the books release Lyndsey has teamed up with our favorite alternative art venues Synchronicity Space for a one night show of artworks from the book. Come see a selection of works by Ms. Lesh, get a signed copy of the book, and eat some free Strawberry Chardonnay Ice cream from LA’s best ice cream shop Scoops! If doing all the artwork for the book wasn’t enough Lyndsey decided to add more work to her plate by creating a writing and drawing process blog of her very own called Off Thee Wall. Read more about Off The Wall and see more of Lyndsey’s illustrations after the jump.
LYNDSEY LESH: THE ART OF THE RATTLING WALL
featuring the art pieces from the journal’s second issue.
Synchronicity Space | 7-10 PM
713 N. Heliotrope,
Los Angeles, CA 90029
While living in Germany for the past seven years, photographer Samaneh Khosravi noticed that there were many misconceptions within the Western understanding of Iranian culture. In a project titled “Among Women,” Khosravi seeks to shed new light on a lesser-known facet of modern Iran: its diverse women’s fashion and beauty scene. In the photos, Khosravi accompanies the women as they shop, socialize, and even visit with their plastic surgeons. The images were compiled into a book titled Among Women, which Khosravi describes below:
“This photo book documents the beauty ideals of today’s Iranian society, which are hardly known outside of Iran. It focuses on the young, confident Iranian women, who define their ideal of beauty with the interplay between modernity and tradition. More often, the simple beauticians are not enough for the young Iranians, and therefore the plastic surgeons need to lend a hand sometimes.” (Source)
In a world wherein the media is so often dominated by Western standards and perceptions, Khosravi’s project is important in providing us with an authentic glance into her culture—one that hasn’t been filtered through a Western lens. We see familiar images—the nail salons, the shopping arcade, the self-conscious glance in the mirror—but Khosravi’s candid style reveals a cultural distinctness in Iran’s approach to beauty, one that has its own nuances, such as the combination of traditional head scarves with modern makeup styles. “Iran is different,” she writes. “Iran is not only different from Germany, but also from the image presented by mainstream media” (Source).
It is Khosravi’s dream to disseminate this detailed perspective of Iran to the world. She is currently seeking support to publish her book with Kerber Verlag, which means it would reach a greater number of people. If you’re curious about Iran and you wish to support an image of the country that doesn’t fall under the umbrella of Western unilateralism, be sure to visit her crowdfunding page and help her reach her goal. The book is aimed for publication in October 2015. Visit Khosravi’s website, Facebook page, and Instagram to follow her progress and learn more.
Many of you might not know that–in addition to carrying a wide variety of t-shirts, hoodies, and prints–Beautiful/Decay also boasts an equally neat zine library, some of which include ABC Graffiti Zine #2, Hero Land #2, Unlovable #5 (Pick-N-Flick), No Fancy cover, T-REX COLORING BOOK vol. 1, and A Great Big Stillness.
For the surrealist painter Vincent Castiglia, his “work is literally a blood sacrifice on the altar of art;” using up to 30 vials of his own blood for his darkly sprawling paintings, he hopes to imbue his richly philosophical work with his own living tissue. The artist’s blood shares the same iron oxide pigment as many commercial paints, lending each image its dark rusty tone and heightening the drama of Castiglia’s macabre scenes.
For this blood artist, the unusual medium works in service of larger themes. In extracting blood from his own body, sometimes 15 vials at a time (less than a blood donation), he allows the literal life-giving substance to more deeply examine fertile powers of mankind. With the careful painting of milk-filled breasts and deliberate vaginal imagery, Castiglia celebrates the allegorical implications of motherhood and childbirth. A female figure rises from the earth, howling like the ancient Greek goddess Gaia, who birthed the entire world.
The idea of human creative potential becomes complicated with the dark suggestion of our mortality. A mother nurses from a wheelchair, her skeletal legs and decaying infant painted in dried blood, reminding viewers that with life comes inevitable ruin. Laid upon a cross, a woman bears the suffering of Jesus, her abdomen radiating light while her vulva appears to be ominously stitched shut.
The introduction of religious imagery helps resolve the tension between death and birth. Borrowing shapes and floral imagery from early Christian painting, Castiglia implies a connection between death and eternal life. In sacrificing his own blood, the artist fills not a Holy Grail but a canvas, elegantly preserving his own flesh for our consideration. (via HuffPost, ABC, Oddity Central, and Tumblr)
For photographer Ellie Davies, the forest is her studio. Her images are an immersive mix of realism and heightened fantasy. In a mossy clearing, for example, galaxies have been interposed with the landscape like clouds of will-o’-the-wisps, while elsewhere, stars resembling flaxen particles drift down in a column, illuminated by the sunlight. Her landscapes are not only places of mysticism and beauty, but of darkness, as well. Fog and clouds drift amongst the trees like ghostly breaths expelled from the twisted, bronchiole-like branches. In one particularly haunting photo from Between the Trees Triptych (2014), skeletal trees flank a spectral cluster of mist.
Whether glowing bright or cast in shadow, all of Davies’ images reveal a reverence for the forest, as well as her intimate understanding of the way such landscapes have manifested themselves in our cultural imaginations. As she writes in her Artist’s Statement:
“UK forests have been shaped by human processes over thousands of years. […] As such, the forest represents the confluence of nature and culture, of natural landscape and human activity. Forests are potent symbols in folklore, fairy tale and myth, places of enchantment and magic as well as of danger and mystery. In recent cultural history they have come to be associated with psychological states relating to the unconscious.”
And it is true; all of these cultural legends, practices, and traditions have made the forest — indeed, “nature,” as a concept — a construction, a story we tell ourselves to try and understand our individual connection with it. We imagine the woods as a symbolic place of “elsewhere” and “otherness,” and this cognitive distancing allows us to romanticize it, fear it, and/or exploit it.
Davies wants to confront us with these fictions “by making a variety of temporary and non-invasive interventions in the forest, which place the viewer in the gap between reality and fantasy” (Source). She creates her scenes in what she calls “small acts of engagement [that] respond to the landscape” — she builds things, creates pools of light, incorporates craft materials such as paint and wool. As I read it, the images have several effects. They resonate with our fantasies about the forest, but at the same time, we recognize their construction, which helps us to perceive that our cultural relationships to the forests of the real world are also constructed. In unveiling such narratives, Davies’ work encourages a more ethical connection to the woods: we recognize “reality” as a series of stories that have been told to us, we sense that we are not truly separate from what we call “nature,” and we accept that we can never fully understand it — an acknowledgment that fosters both respect and peaceful coexistence.
Japanese photographer Daisuke Takakura creates a carousal of interactive humans. Double your pleasure. Double your fun. His pieces challenge you to focus and rest your amygdala—puzzling you with more questions than answers; energizing your eyeballs to pounce in all directions. His reproduction of clones create a maze-like quest in his photography.
The duplicated self is positioned in a variety of stances; each with their own agenda. Whether a day in the office, playtime in the city, resting on dinosaurs or in a female basketball court frenzy—the multiplication of bodies in these settings create an unbalanced curiosity in trying to interpret what each person is doing. Repeating the “self” into many selves provides more than one imagination to be analyzed or identified with.
In one of his monodramatic photos, women are seen running from a building covered in scarlet red, which appears to be blood down the front of their dresses. In the background, other women rest at the building entrance parading sea foam green umbrellas over their heads.