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Martin Strauss Infuses Fashion Photography With Dark Beauty And Biomechanics

Martin Strauss - Photography Martin Strauss - Photography

Martin Strauss - PhotographyMartin Strauss - Photography

Martin Strauss is a Berlin-based photographer whose artistic imagination knows no limits; whether he is shooting high fashion, lingerie, or creative portraiture, he always aims to “push the boundaries of photography a bit further” (Source). His images are consistently beautiful and surreal — two words which describe this particular series, entitled Irresistible. Throughout the images, models wearing leather and couture dresses pose in front of gothic backdrops; with their faces ensconced in masks suggestive of barbaric torture devices, they resemble predatory machines. The result is a set of photographs that are both realistic and fantasy-like, beautiful in the danger they pose.

As a long-time admirer of fashion photography, Strauss wanted to create his own vision of it by adding a new, experimental dimension: a style that he identifies as “dark beauty.” At the core of his concept was a biomechanical theme, a violent and industrial aesthetic in harsh juxtaposition with the soft beauty that often characterizes fashion photography. Strauss was not alone in the creation of this dynamic and narrative-rich series; working alongside him was Fercho Ma Do — an artist known in Berlin for his theatrical and SFX makeup — who helped design the masks and also provided ideas of his own. “Our creative work was kind of irresistible,” Strauss explains, speaking of their collaborative effort, and also of the reasoning behind the title, which was well-chosen; the series’ brilliant combination of beauty with dark eroticism and the macabre makes it visually and mentally engrossing.

The dresses featured in Irresistible were provided by Nicole Hellrung from Struppets, an avant-garde German fashion label. The model was Deborah Frey, who played the role of the biomechanical “mistress” perfectly. Check out the rest of Strauss’ work on his website and Facebook, and more images after the jump.

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Alex Da Corte’s Dollar Store Art

Alex Da Corte is an artist who makes incredible sculptures and images out of what looks to be the items he finds in the dollar store. They’re reminiscent of Daniel Eatock‘s sculptures, but  with more of a fine-arts bend as opposed to Eatock’s design/humor approach. Not that Eatock isn’t a serious artist, or Da Corte is humorless, they’re just two ways of interacting with similar materials, both of which produced phenomenal results.  Rozalia Jovanovic gives a great description for the Gallerist:

“Mr. Da Corte’s work revisits the objects and fascinations we’ve left behind by using low-cost items the way Jim Hodges uses bodily fluids. However, while Mr. Da Corte references Abjection, and artists like Mr. Hodges and Eva Hesse, the approach is different.

“It’s kind of that romanticism with objects,” said Mr. Sheftel, “but in a different way. Rather than bodily fluids, [Mr. Da Corte’s] looking at things like shampoo. Shampoo is a really intimate substance. We put it on our bodies, it seeps into us. It gets under our skin. So it’s not really abjection, but it’s related—it looks at the things that are close to us now. It’s a different conversation when Alex is going to the dollar store in Philly and using that as his art supply store and looking at off-brand soda, shampoo, and low-level items that engage in a conversation about class and race.”

“I am attracted to these items for their accessibility,” Mr. Da Corte told Gallerist via email. “Despite their common place, they offer promises of escape and pleasure through smell, color and texture. Framing shampoo, removes its utility, allowing me to reconsider it as a voyeur and scientist.”

Mr. Da Corte’s upbringing also heavily informs his work. “There’s a Philly bent too, I think,” said Mr. Sheftel. “Looking in Fishtown, Philadelphia. He grew up in Camden and went to Philly for school.” Mr. Da Corte, who divides his time between New York and Philadelphia has an upcoming solo presentation at its Institute of Contemporary Art.”- Gallerist NY (via)

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Fintan Magee’s Street Art Installations

Fintan Macgee’s work is an interesting mix of street art and installation. My favorite works are the ones featuring the piles of both painted and real trash bags. When I lived in NYC I used to always take photos of the piles of trash that show up in Manhattan at the end of the day. I figured I’d do something with the images one day but apparently Fintan beat me to the punch.

Pixels and Polaroids

Pixels and Polaroids is a series of images created by Jherin Miller that combines pseudo-Polaroid photography and retro 80s era video game graphics. The concept behind Pixels and Polaroids was to blend these two elements into one world where pixelated characters live through the eye of a Polaroid camera. Miller’s goal was to combine retro film photography and retro digital graphics into one interesting world, where you get to view this world and it’s inhabitants through these this hybrid of new and old. (via oriental)

Stuntkid

farmville Jason Levesque aka Stuntkid is having an upcoming show May 4th – May 29th at the Jfergeson Gallery in VA.

Martin Roth Creates Captivating Installation With Debris And Displaced Animals From War-Torn Syria

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Martin Roth’s installation (untitled), debris, re-creates a site of war-torn Syria. Through scattered debris and rescued animals, he allows the viewer to experience a sense of destruction on a more personal note. He aims to materialize a war that, despite its large spanning presence in the news, is still quite intangible for those in the Western world. The physicality of the installation, absent of the gory images often presented in the media, explore a means to understanding the conflict on a more tangible, yet subtle manner.

When entering the gallery, the viewer is confronted by a visually familiar, but perhaps physically unknown territory. The space has been covered in dirt and rubble directly taken from the border areas of Syria and Turkey. The experience of discomfort is furthered by a reverberating ambient noise; the sound of a siren blaring in the distance. The downstairs room has been flooded in three inches of water, smelling of mold.

However, there is more to this work than just a presentation of the wreckage. Roth has also allowed his installation to become a platform for the living. Within the main installation site, the viewer is greeted with the flight and chirps of small green parakeets that have been rescued from abandoned pet shelters. The downstairs is inhabited by toads that were to be sold in Chinatown to be consumed.

The presence of animals take us out of the realm of the polarized, politicalized war, and bring us into a softer, yet more complicated truth. Here, we see a quieter realm, without images of death. The removal of human reality, somehow, speaks even more frankly about the true human condition; without the complications of ideology, scenes as these would not exist. What do sites of war really mean, free from philosophy, ethics and misunderstanding? (via: The Creators Project)

Rob Matthews

Rob Matthews is an east coast designer (I’ve noticed a lot of good work coming from Minneapolis!) with a penchant for the ironic. His “Wikipedia” project takes articles from Wiki’s Wikipedia’s featured articles. Other projects include: T-shirts and posters that wrap around your head to make you become his friend ‘Trevor Burks’ (who he misses), and turning drawings into photographs which is kind of like the opposite of what people are used to when they’re first practicing art.

Edit: Friend & video artist Party Food (Joe) has sent me a map to show me where MPLS is, thank you. If you are like me, geographically challenged, please refer to this image.

Disturbing Portraits Of Disney Characters Living “Unhappily Ever After”

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As children, Disney movies provide us with an idealized portrait of adulthood, full of adventure and happy endings. The artist Jeff Hong provides an alternate narrative in “Unhappily Ever After;” here, our beloved Disney princesses and animals are subjected to the realities of a cruel, dark world. Set against moody, disturbing backdrops, the animated characters appear entirely out of place, stunned by the state of the human condition.

Unlike the work of Dina Goldstein, a photographer who imagined the heartbreaking fates of Disney princesses, Hong’s images preserve the two-dimensional form of the famed Disney characters, a choice which heightens the drama of each piece. As if hurled from an easily understood storybook fairytale, the princesses suffer within a more realistic (and three-dimensional) photographic space.

Throughout “Unhappily Ever After,” the artist pointedly draws attention to current social injustices. These characters, with whom we associate our own wide-eyed innocence, are placed within a a racially-segregated America (Tiana) or a casino that now occupies a Native American reservation (Pocahontas). Animal cruelty and environmental negligence are laid bare as Dumbo suffers the life of a circus animal, Bambi is hunted and stuffed, and Ariel’s lungs fill with polluted water. Simbo is held captive in a zoo. Alice forsakes Wonderland to maintain her drug habit in the streets, and Cinderella is left in a dark alleyway, her clothes ripped from her body. It is profoundly unsettling to witness these childhood symbols in such a difficult world; more distressing still is the fact these injustices and hardships happen every day. Take a look. (via Design Boom)