Get Social:

This Is What Sand Looks Like Under A Microscope

o-sand-570Sand from Skeleton Beach in Namibia, Africa.Magnification 250xo-sand-570-1o-okinawa-570

With the help of a powerful 3D microscope, the Hawaii-based photographer Gary Greenberg shoots stunning macro images of grains of sand, dissecting the seemingly uniform material into otherworldly crystals. The microscope, which the artist himself invented after earning a Ph.D. in biomedical research, magnifies the microscopic to 300 times their original size; the machine also affords the resultant images an astounding depth of field, capturing the most subtle curves and structures of the minuscule grains of sand.

Greenberg derives pleasure from the unpredictability of his process; each beach has a diverse history and therefore produces unique sand. In Maui alone, the grain shapes range from cylinders to spirals; they can be vividly colored or more muted. In the same handful of sand, we might find a tiny shell beside a microscopic mineral section that resembles an eaten corn cob.

Sand, as a substance, often operates allegorically in art, representing the impermanence of man within the shifting tides. Greenberg’s images work powerfully against that notion; here, human innovation freezes time, if only for a moment, fixing even the most minuscule objects in place. These grains of sand, many of which are likely well over thousands of years old, are crystallized for our visual pleasure; in Greenberg’s glimmering rocks, we can find traces of organic matter, now fossilized. Torn into many pieces by the tide and surf, shells, volcanic remains, and coral all intermingle on the beach shore. In Okinawa, Japan, sand is formed in part by the skeletons of single-celled creatures, visible here like strange starfish. (via HuffPost, Lost at E Minor, and Bored Panda)

Advertise here !!!

Joel-Peter Witkin’s Grotesque Yet Beautiful Photographs Capture Private Erotic Longings

witjp10668-72-651x649

raftofgwbush

badstudent

witjp10678-72-651x673
The legendary photographer Joel-Peter Witkin, previously featured here and now on view at LA’s Jack Ruthberg Gallery, weaves strange erotic narratives through his staged images, some of which take weeks to complete. His body of work reads like a love poem to the grotesque, transforming what society deems taboo into miraculously beautiful scenes.

Witkin’s images avoid judging the body, opting instead to reveal mankind’s universal but most private erotic yearnings and fears. In his reinterpretation of Canova’s famously sensual yet demurely reclining Venus, for example, naked male genitalia slip from cover as if by accident, the organ poignantly vulnerable, delicate, and human, seemingly caught between erection and flaccidity.

Sexual hunger again becomes the subject of another image that seems to deconstruct Romantic paintings like Theodore Gericault’s The Raft of The Medusa, famed for its haunting depiction of dead, drowning flesh. Here, a suspenseful, tragic rescue effort is transformed into a sort of desperate orgie on the verge of climax; a pair of heaving breasts is grabbed like melons.

The erotic, though filled with the dangers of physical and spiritual nakedness, is often elevated to the divine. A shirtless woman, her breasts bared, inserts her finger into a book much like the Virgin Mary in Renaissance paintings of the Annunciation. In these photographs, nuns pose alongside nudes, and horns (symbolic of lust) are merged with crowns of thorns (symbolic of Christ)

The gorgeous set of images challenge societal ideas of social acceptability, implying that the most exquisite beauty is often found in our most frightfully private moments of lust and longing. Within all of us, lies erotic impulses that can manifest in magical and dangerous ways. Be sure to check out Witkin’s work at Jack Ruthberg Gallery, where he will exhibit alongside his long-estranged brother, the legendary painter Jerome Witkin. (via Lenscratch and Etherton Gallery)

Advertise here !!!

Todd Baxter’s Stylishly Retro Sci-Fi Utopias

baxter

baxter3

baxter5

baxter10

Multimedia artist Todd Baxter has created a retro futuristic image series inspired by narratives of science fiction utopia. Long fascinated with the technology and physics of the Space Race era, with “Project Astoria: Test 01,” Baxter tells a story that revolves around the experiences of children growing up in a an Earth-like world that has recently been colonized. Baxter’s wife, Aubrey Videtto, is writing the story that the two created together. They hope to collaborate with other artists for the project, including a graphic novelist and musician, to further execute their concepts and designs.  Of this project, Baxter writes, “With Project Astoria, I wanted to play with that childlike hopefulness — that anticipation of humans finally mastering our existence and our technology. Especially as we were reaching such new and magical realities as landing on the moon, the late 60s was the perfect period, in my mind, to add in this alternate history where we all get together and say, ‘Hey! We could go colonize this other Earth-like place and really do it right this time. It could be perfect. Utopia!’ Of course, it doesn’t go perfectly, which is good. Otherwise, it wouldn’t make for a very fun story.”

Baxter’s process is quite involved, but it starts with him pulling out sketches for ideas he’s had. He then browses the images on his computer for environment and landscape images he’s shot, and begins to weave together these environments with Photoshop. Baxter then plans the next elements based on these general compositions, producing photo shoots of his subjects that he continues to compose and retouch with Videtto until each image is fully realized. The result is a playful narrative with an almost kitschy aesthetic, evocative of the likes of Wes Anderson. (via behance and bleek magazine)

Melissa Cooke

Never were there lovelier tortured souls. Wisconsin-born and University of Wisconsin at Madison-trained artist Melissa Cooke works primarily in powdered graphite and often casts herself as the subject of her drawn musings. Striking in both subject matter and detail, her creations explore themes of violence, sexuality, and identity. The nuances of story and emotion evoked are powerful, often unsettling. All of this is made by the artist’s skillful hand, guiding her dry brush across thin layers of graphite on sizeable pieces of paper.

Steven Dupont’s Images Of New Guinea

Over the past six years, Stephen Dupont has traveled to Papua New Guinea, photographically documenting its changing face and the powerful impact of globalisation on the fabric of Melanesian society. From the effects of violence and lawlessness in Port Moresby to the westernization of traditional society in the Highlands, Raskols and Sing-Sing is an in-depth study of cultural erosion as well as a celebration of an ancient people.

Subscribe Today!

Book Two Reminder

If you weren’t lucky enough to subscribe to Beautiful Decay in time to get Book One: Supernaturalism, there’s still time to sign up and get our upcoming Book Two! Here’s a sneak peek of what Book Two will feature! But hurry, there’s only two months left to subscribe, so don’t dilly-dally, you don’t want to forget two months from now.

Subscribe HERE!

Willy Verginer Comments On Environmental Issues Using Delicately Made Sculptures From Tree Trunks

verginer sculpture

verginer sculpture

verginer sculpture

verginer sculpture
With razor-like precision sculptor Willy Verginer creates figures from a single tree trunk. He carves delicately made pieces which speak and brings to light important issues affecting living things. His latest delves deep into the environmental concerns of crude oil. Instead of overly stating the obvious Verginer makes subtle references to its affect. He places his latest figures including animals and people atop barrels of crude oil. Since oil is liquid the artist purposefully depicts the figures beginning to become stained or contaminated by the substance. This is graphically shown around their feet, hooves or paws and also in their faces. In some he will paint the base on which the figure stands in silver or gold signifying the value placed on the highly valued commodity which is gotten through sacrifice of both creature and environment. When a human figure is used he shows the gold or silver seeping into their shoes or clothes which signifies man’s greed.
The one lingering fact about crude oil responsible for almost every aspect of modern day living is that it is highly toxic and carcinogenic in every form. When it is burned the smoke it produces causes black soot in the air which gets captured in our lungs. If oil is accidentally spilled into the ocean it will kill fish and other sea life almost instantly. As we learn more about its ill effects scientists are looking to provide more alternative ways to produce power which include solar and wind energy. (via hifructose)