Rebekah Bogard‘s cute, pink and white, rabbit-like ceramic sculpture creatures, arranged in installations, explore themes of gender, femininity, and sexuality. As Rebekah says in her artist statement on her Website, “I enjoy utilizing animals because they are beautiful and mysterious creatures, vulnerable to relations with humans. This susceptibility gives them a sense of benevolence that is often lacking in human associations….Some pieces look cute, sweet and innocent, but upon closer inspection, one realizes that the piece is conceptually more complicated. They may be read simultaneously as happy-go-lucky as well as melancholic and out of place. I blend the beautiful with the sad, fantasy with reality, idealism with truth as well as the sexual with the innocent.”
Tags: animals, ceramic, ceramics, creature, cute, cute n creepy little creatures, fauna, femininity, fleshy, flora, flowers, innocence/menace, installation art, sculptures, sexuality, sweet/melancholy, weird sculptures, woodland creatures
These eerie, alluring, adolescent life-size dolls were created for the theater/performance pieces collaborated on by writer Dennis Cooper and Gisèle Vienne since 2004. As Cooper says, “We consider the dolls to be actors in our works almost on a par with the human performers, and, although the dolls aren’t credited individually in the works, they each have names and fictional biographies constructed by Gisele. These biographies are used to determine which roles might be suited to their ‘personalities’. Some of the dolls have been featured in multiple works, and several have played both male and female roles.”
Femme Fatale, a show exhibiting the work of over 35 contemporary artists, curated by Nicole Bruckman and Stephanie Chefas, is open at Cella Gallery in Los Angeles from February 25th to March 17th. A sample of the works featured is below.
L’ingenue by Stella Im Hultberg
A Letter to Three Wives by David Bray
Tags: 1950s, alien beauty, art shows, enlarged eyes, femininity, hauntingly beautiful, innocence/menace, lolita-esque, lolitaism, otherworldly, pop surrealism, queens, realism, religious imagery, retro, sexuality, stella im hultberg, sweet/melancholy
Esao Andrews combines a colorful palette with a Gothic sensibility. Some of his paintings are twists on traditional portraits from earlier epochs akin to the work of Nicola Samorì. Wildly dilapidated and foreboding houses are a recurring motif, and, reminiscent of Shirley Jackson‘s psychological horror stories, depict the inner, psychical falling apart, decay, distortion, and warping. Fairy tales and folklore, including Pinocchio and Thumbelina, loom in the forefront with menacing or perverted appeal. In some works, his vibrant style illustrates the bizarre, the obscene, and aberrations, contrasting atrocious or monstrous things such as a giant, bloated black spider with a symbol of sweetness, purity, and elevation such as a child or an angel. Some of his illustrations are cartoonish, charmingly retro, with a dark, whimsical sense of humor, while others are realistically rendered and Dali-esque, while yet others are macabre and lovelorn, bloody tale-telling depictions.
Tags: (twists on) traditional art, dark, illustrations, innocence/menace, macabre, modern fairy tales, monsteresque, neo-victorian, pop surrealism, portraits, realism, religious imagery, spiders, surreal, symbolism, victorian
Tags: butterflies, dollflesh, emotive, expressive, flowers, hair, hauntingly beautiful, illustrations, innocence/menace, modern fairy tales, otherworldly, soft color, strings, sweet/melancholy, unnaturally colored flesh, visceral, wounded
1990′s The Reflecting Skin, directed by Philip Ridley, is a weird movie and rather obscure. It’s very interesting, and quiet, bizarre, grotesque, over-the-top, and terribly beautiful, all at once. Visually, it’s amazing. The cinematography is gorgeous, very unforgettable. It has such atmosphere… Eerie, chilling, ominous, cryptic, ascetic yet lush. Admittedly some of the acting is just god-awful (especially the child actors!), but the movie overall is kind of brilliant. Destined to be thought terrible and intolerable by many, I loved it. It is quite possibly the movie that most embodies an “American Gothic” quality/aesthetic, a haunting sense of desolation and hopelessness, mirrored by the land, and a hypocritical, unforgiving puritanism.
Taking place in rural America in the 1950s (whose landscape of yellow wheat fields and desolate, isolated, gray wood frame houses standing in the midst of them is shot very impressively and gorgeously), The Reflecting Skin is, sort of, about child abuse, innocence, imagination, death, mortality, and love. The main character is a young boy named Seth Dove who creates an elaborate fantasy around a mysterious, otherworldly-seeming English widow who lives nearby, believing her to be a vampire who is preying on his loved ones. I suppose it’s partly about the unimaginable innocence of youth… Instead of registering and owning a sense of evil in the world, Seth displaces it onto this mysterious figure, a source of external, supernatural evil, thus allowing him not to understand these strange, horrific, traumatic events around him.
The “vampire,” pale, regal, and obsessive, is such a strange, lovely, macabre, spectral, enigmatic character, with the most absolutely haunting speeches, remote yet intense, vehement, and unnerving meditations on aging and love. Icily menacing yet alluring, preternaturally quiet with sudden outbursts of piercing, violent, grotesque, deeply primal, forlorn emotion, mercurial as a madwoman, she was played pretty much to perfection by Lindsay Duncan. She should be an iconic figure, in my opinion.
This movie is fascinating, and even if you end up not liking it, you should definitely see it. The cinematography alone is worth it.
The entirety of the film (from the Japanese DVD) is up on YouTube.
Tags: 1950s, abuse, bizarre, children, cryptic, dark, film reviews, fragility, hauntingly beautiful, innocence, innocence/menace, macabre, metaphors, puritanical, religion, sexuality, strange beauty, surreal, surreal horror, trailers, vampires, visceral, witchy
These beautiful images are from the book Alice, à travers le miroir, a French edition of Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There illustrated by Lost Fish (see my previous post on her).
Tags: (twists on) traditional art, alice in wonderland, children, cute little girls, dollflesh, fragility, historically inspired, illustrations, innocence/menace, lolita-esque, lost fish, neo-victorian, pop surrealism, porcelain, precious, queens, red and white, surreal, sweet/melancholy
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