Whoever said that the early bird gets the worm clearly did not know about the Beautiful/Decay online shop. So here we are, in the last fleeting days of 2010, announcing our newly released apparel for all you holiday procrastinators out there! What better way to bring in the new year than by joining the infamous cult of decay. We all know that fashion is a game of staying ahead, so why not update that decrepit looking closet of yours with a little bit of excitement.
And just to further reward all you late birds out there, we are now, through January 5th, 2011,offering free standard ground shipping on all orders to the Beautiful/Decay shop! Just use the discount code SECRETSHIP during checkout to save yourself some cash and worms for the holidays.
Pictures and descriptions of all the new styles after the jump!
The paintings of Whitney Van Nes are narrative portraits that recall the flatness and oddly elongated static figures of Byzantine art. Yet Van Nes’s unique aesthetic and iconography do not emulate any historical style — her approach is at once naïve and sophisticated. Van Nes paints from her imagination and her intimate personal knowledge of things, never drawing from found images, models or other visual references.
Her works are simultaneously autobiographical and universally relevant. While the images and narratives suggested in the work are drawn from the artist’s personal experiences, they serve merely as the impetus for the exploration of archetypal themes. One such issue prevalent in many of Van Nes’s paintings is the power struggle between authority and the subjugated. This adversity takes many forms, and Van Nes’s depictions of discontented figures leave the role of subjugator intentionally vague.
Zachari Logan is a Saskatoon-based artist who creates stunningly detailed drawings, installations, and ceramic works that explore representations of masculinity and queer identities. Proliferating throughout his works are thick amalgams of nature; beards and hair sprout into lush habitats for various animals (see the “Wild-Man” series); ceramic petals cluster together like piles of delicate, bleached bones (“Fountain 1”); and elsewhere, a mythological body composed entirely of flora and fauna melds with the surrounding forest (“Leshy 2”). Interestingly, the plants depicted are of diverse origins, sourced from images collected by Logan in North America and Europe. These beautifully-woven hybrid landscapes represent the liminal spaces inhabited by queer identities — that is, those vital spaces between “here” and “there” that unsettle the restrictive binaries of heteronormative gender and sexuality.
Many of these works are interpretative self-portraits of Logan, created in the exploration of his own body, memories, and sense of place. However, in his more recent works, Logan has portrayed the body more as a “catalyst,” thereby allowing him to “re-wild his body as a queer embodiment of nature” (Source). One of his most spectacular and ongoing works, the Eunuch Tapestry Series, exemplifies this shift from self-portraiture to a more objective exploration of identity, both corporeal and incorporeal. Based on the fourteenth-century FlemishUnicorn Tapestries, the Eunuch Tapestries feature camouflaged bodies (self-representations of Logan) crouching and searching amidst walls of dense, dark foliage. The newest work, “Tapestry 5” (shown above), features a nude, shadowy figure moving quietly through the hybridized forest. Whereas the Unicorn Tapestries represent a search for a mythical creature, Logan’s works metaphorically explore the liminal terrain of queerness, discovering new bodily narratives infused with history, myth, and presence.
Always investigating and expanding the boundaries between the physical and metaphysical, Logan’s ceramic works draw these two realms together. “Fountain 1,” for example, is a time-based installation whose bone-like flowers accumulate every time it is shown, proliferating like a living thing despite its sterile, ceramic composition. The Root Series also represents a philosophical blending of physical body and metaphysical time, place, and memory; detached body parts surrealistically sprout flourishing weeds. In these works, the body is both the adornment and the catalyst, the tangible and intangible vessel through which we derive personal meaning and identity.
For her series AMMO, Sabine Pearlman documented a collection of World War II era ammo with some 900 images. The bullets are bisected to reveal its inner workings, like some kind of munitions autopsy. The simple compositions burn off the vaguely violent shroud that envelops the images of bullets and their symbolism. Instead, Pearlman presents the purely technical mechanisms of war, a reification of weaponary. The photographs reveal the surprising amount of innovation and craft dedicated to causing physical harm. [via]
Though made of clay and designed as functioning vessels, the ceramic vessels created by Prague-based artist and designer Adam Železný are anything but ordinary. Using an innovative method of controlled detonation, Železný sends shockwaves into small refractory containers holding masses of clay to create unique works of art. Appropriately titled “The Blast,” this series of works offers an unconventional approach to a familiar art form— “a kind of punk analogy to an industrial porcelain production.”
Based on complex tests and intricate measures, Železný’s system of charges results in one-of-a-kind bowls spanning various shapes and sizes. While each bowl is undoubtedly a work of art in and of itself, to the artist, it is not the finished product that is key but, rather, the process itself.
In order to capture this fascinating method of production, Železný has documented the entire process in a video. Depicting the artist’s “alternative methods of ceramic shaping,” the short video shows Železný himself as he sets off the explosions and subsequently creates the sculptures. While the video also briefly depicts the project’s initial set up and final, tangible results, its focus remains on the process—which is, ultimately, presented as a work of art.
Chicago-based photographer Carrie Schneider has done some lovely work. She often incorporates sculptural/made pieces into a photograph, creating clearly staged moments that carry a lot of emotional resonance. I’m particularly fond of her use of dazzle camouflage, having experimented with it in my own work as well.
The artist Morehshin Allahyari has made a series called “Material Speculation ISIS” which are replicas of artworks destroyed by the Jihad extremist group. In a coo which recalls Nazi Germany and other Facist regimes ISIS has been systematically looting and destroying precious artifacts in Syria and Iraq. In response to this, Iranian-born Allahyari has produced a series which stands as a reminder of her culture’s history. Artwork serves as a link to a nation’s past. The ideas reflected in Allahyari’s work include that by taking over a nation you also destroy their history. The act by ISIS shows that art and artifacts are still seen as strong examples of ideas which can sway a nation. ISIS firmly rejects idolatry and is one of the reasons so many statues are being destroyed.
Allahyari’s pieces are produced using a 3D printing technique combined with plastic and each have a usb drive inserted. The usb carries all important information about the original piece and whether it was looted or destroyed. The artist sees this as an attempt at activism combined with archival importance. The pieces are beautiful replicas done with much care and meaning. Most are miniature versions of the original and possess a delicate vulnerability.
3D printing is a relatively new technique which takes a photographic image and prints it according to 3D standards. It is a breakthrough technology for many artists who see it as another way to execute drawings and sculpture effectively.
Feast your eyes on the highly amusing creations of Massachusetts-based photographer Nadine Boughton. When the artist came across a collection of vintage men’s adventure magazines (…think “Weasels Ripped My Flesh!” and “Chewed To Bits By Giant Turtles!”) at a flea market, she was inspired to combine their over-the-top renderings of burly men saving damsels-in-distress with the clean interiors spotted in contemporary Better Homes and Gardens.
About the series, the artist says: “Here is a collision of two worlds: men’s adventure magazines or “sweats” meets Better Homes and Gardens. These photocollages are set against the backdrop of the McCarthy era, advertising, sexual repression, WWII and the Korean War. The cool, insular world of mid-century modern living glossed over all danger and darkness, which the heroic male fought off in every corner.” (Via Flavorwire)