Vicki Ling is an artist that creates graphite drawings of surreal landscapes. Chock full of symbolism and mystery, Ling’s images are cryptic. Part of their appeal is trying to solve the visual puzzle that she’s constructed.
Ling briefly speaks about her work, writing, “…fictional landscapes and constructions shift between two and three dimensions, creating a sensation of movement and evolving forms.” The places depicted are liminal spaces, meaning they are in transition, somewhere between what they began as and what they will become. This is made inherent in the movement and tension created by the textures and forms in the work. They are reminiscent of the ocean. We can imagine the crashing waves, tides, and the inhabitants of the sea. There is tension in Ling’s work, and it is easy to feel like at any moment waves will rush in and fill the rooms that she’s so carefully rendered. But, considering Ling’s intent, perhaps she wants an environment that could suddenly be swept away. This notion is refreshing, but also sad knowing that this environment is fleeting.
I am personally intrigued by Ling’s drawing that features a sinkhole. In this image, it looks like the top of the landscape has been punctured. The surface is fragile and looks like it is going to cave in on itself. What would it become? I imagine it to be a black hole, drawing everything in until nothing is left. Or, it could be a portal to another world. The places in Ling’s drawings could exist anywhere. They are surreal and conjure the feeling of a dream, so this could all exist in someone’s head. As the artist spoke of moving and evolving forms, these drawings are all metaphors; not only a shifting environment, but personally as we grow, change, and confront obstacles. If we are willing, we evolve just as Ling’s landscapes suggestively do.
Ladies and Gentlemen! The latest issue of Beautiful/Decay is upon us! Sent to the printers in the last weeks, there will be only 1000 copies produced (all of which are ad-free) and only subscribers will receive their copy before it ships out to stores. You also save 33% by subscribing versus going to the newsstand (plus you don’t have to go past your mailbox to get it!). Subscribe today and secure your newest addition to the Beautiful/Decay series.
To get you ready for the release of Book 5 dust off your tablets and fire up your copy of Photoshop because today we continue the contest to give away a free copy of Beautiful/Decay Book: 5 to the fastest gun in the wild west. Each Tuesday for the next 3 weeks we are going to be releasing a new piece of Beautiful/Decay cover to get you guys ready for the upcoming issue. The rules are simple: Be the first person to piece together the cover of the Book:5 and email the completed image to [email protected], and your speed of hand will be rewarded with a free copy of the book you just solved. In case you are just tuning in, be sure to check out the B/D blog for the previous missing pieces. So wrangle up your magic lassos and get busy winning!
Lesser Gonzalez Alvarez, of Baltimore, produces sculpture, collage (see above), and illustration. But the majority of his fine arts output is done through digital media. His digital compositions aren’t really like any I’ve seen before. They combine a far out, cosmic sensibility with soft, colorful gradients and textures. I could meditate on these for a while. Some of Alvarez’ works are so simple, yet they maintain a lot of gravity, as though they hold something really important just beyond your grasp. And the creepy smiley faces he repeats throughout his work really get to me. Click past the jump for more collage, couches floating in space, and a workbench installation.
Maja Daniels, a Swedish photographer based in London, compiled the series “Monette & Mady”, a photo collection of identical twin sisters, Monette and Mady.
Daniels approached the identical twins in 2010 after years of watching them from afar in the streets of Paris. The photographer was intrigued by their way of being and coexisting with each other. Neither Mady nor Monette have married or had children, they always eat the same kind of food in identical portions, they dress the same, and they move in similar ways. If they ever go out dressed in different outfits, people stop and ask why they argue- there is no room to be different from each other.
With the beauty of the Parisian sidewalks as her backdrop,Daniels shoots photos of the twins’ interactions and eerie resemblance. Some may look at the collection as a classy lookbook, others may find that there is something quite peculiar and surreal about their ways with each other. Many will wonder about the mysterious bonds between twin siblings.
This addition of fiction makes for a dreamy atmosphere, a bit like a mirage that reflects my initial impression of them. The streets of Paris make the perfect backdrop for such ambiguity to be played out, confusing us with its references to fashion, film and art. It makes the documenting of everyday events somewhat surreal.
Artist Patricia Piccinini has a very impressive and eclectic range of artistic talents. Her body of work includes drawings, installations, and even a giant hot-air balloon that has floated across Australia. Her astonishingly hyper-real sculptures, however, truly give you an image that you will not soon forget. Made from silicone, acrylic, and fiberglass, Patricia Piccinini forms creatures that appear to be somewhat human, but altogether alien. They seem to be alive, as they stare back at you with emotion-filled eyes. They exhibit traits of humans, like lifelike hair and fleshy skin, but are unmistakably not. It is as if they are hybrid animals living amongst us. Many of her sculptures include one of her hairless, mutated creatures alongside of what appears to be a real human. The dichotomy between this possible mutated creatures and a “human” is interesting, because neither one is actually real.
Patricia Piccinini’s work explores ethical issues surrounding cloning, DNA, and genetic mutation. Her shocking sculptures point a firm finger at human kind’s manipulation of nature and the possible consequences. The effect science has on the natural world and the creatures inhabiting it are a reoccurring theme in Piccinini’s work. We see her sculptures that look so realistic; it is as if these grotesque creatures really do exist. Portraying them with human-like features gives way to pity and empathy for the creatures. The artist’s incredibly intriguing work is one of unbelievable skill that holds a strong, often controversial, message on genetic alteration and mankind’s hand in nature.
FAIRspot and Beautiful/Decay are hooking-up one fabulous reader with a treasure chest of assorted tees and magazines. To enter, all you have to do is follow this link. One grand prize winner will be picked at random at the end of the contest period. Contest ends April 15, 2009.
Haunting and provocative, “Ghosts” South African artist Ralph Ziman’s recent photography exhibition addresses the international arms trade. The series features 200 beaded gun and ammunition sculptures created by 6 Zimbabwean artisans who were commissioned by Ziman. The sculptures are made from traditional African beads and wire and are replicas of AK-47s and general purpose machine guns (GPMGs). The artists are also the subjects of Ziman’s photographs, alongside some construction workers, and a member of the South African Police Services who just wanted his picture taken. The idea for the project began as a series of murals in Venice that were a response to the international arms trade and Africa. The result is a powerful representation of the intimate relationship between Africa and arms trading.
“In bringing his exhibit to the US, ‘the world’s biggest arms exporter,’ Ziman goes some way to redirecting the one directional flow of the arms trade, inviting viewers to consider the original source of the guns on display.” “Ghosts” features the gun sculptures, installations, and photographs, and is on display from February 8 through March 2 at C.A.V.E. Gallery in Los Angeles. (via hi fructose and okay africa)
Steven Kenny’s portraiture and figure paintings form a vibrant commentary on the nature of balance, sexuality, and that fickle concept: transcendence. Controlling a unique penchant for lighting and surrealism, Kenny has filled a rich portfolio with figures and dynamic echoes that pervade every sense with which we associate being alive.