Every month, Beautiful Bizarre Magazine chooses one of our favourite artists to TAKE OVER our social media for the day. Just in case you missed it, below we present the full TAKE OVER from our March artist, Lori Nelson.
“Feedback loop” // Lori Nelson// When Beautiful Bizarre handed me the keys to their social media, I couldn’t wait to take it for a joyride tour of longtime and newly developed art crushes for the day. It wasn’t easy to choose only seven artists, but here we go. You’ll probably notice a strong narrative bent in my selections. I’ve always been a fool for a good story.
I am a Brooklyn and Catskills, NY-based painter. In my work you will see reflections of urban life and technology mashed up with references to the natural world. For the past few years, I have mostly painted monster-y, magical adolescents or “Cryptotweens” in the moment when they discover their power. This is a kind of wish for all the youth, especially the strugglers, who will become our much-needed future: discover the strength in your strangeness and wield it mercilessly against evil.
The painting I chose to represent my own work here, Feedback Loop, has a circular movement that I feel symbolizes the structure of many traditional stories. The journey the viewer takes is almost physical as they move their eyes around the composition. As I said, I really enjoy narrative.
“Socky’s Hot Wax” // Matt Gordon // Matt Gordon is one of those guys who, by his work, I could have grown up with, even though I never met him in real life. His references to 70’s style bikes, records, and clothes give me a pleasant but disturbing sense of deja vu which is hard to understand since so much of his characters and “technology” are pure invention. Matt’s mastery of graphite, figure, and movement measures right up to his imagination. How does he do it? I call a wizardry or dark magic with a hint of backmasking. Matt crawls the forests of Plymouth, Michigan, much as I crawl the Catskills Forest of New York. We both love fungi, and he created a fungus-centric drawing for my daughter this year.
“The Eclipse of Reason” // Sean Mahan // The first time I met my art-pal, Sean Mahan, he was completing a door sized panel for our the gallery that represented us both, The Cotton Candy Machine, in Brooklyn.
If you had the opportunity, you know you’d sit in on a session like that, chatting with Sean while he did his work, and covertly try to glean some of his paint secrets, wouldn’t you? Well good luck with that! I found Sean, the nicest and funniest Florida painter, actually had a stapled sheaf of papers detailing the schedule for every action he was going to make on that painting for the day. This is why Sean’s work is so tight I suppose. It’s a bit of a bummer when somebody’s big secret to success is diligence, hard work, organization, and talent, but that’s how Sean achieves the sweet and melancholy vibes in his work. I’m a fan of the retro-tech he includes in many pieces, so expertly painted.
“Hole and Eye” // Stickymonger // I first knew Stickymonger’s work back when it was primarily room-sized black adhesive decal installations and fell right in love on the spot. We were both exhibiting on Governors Island, NYC, in the broken, abandoned Colonels’ homes pictured above with 4heads Governors Island Art Fair and became friends immediately. She would eventually start to include smaller painted works in vibrant color of her signature melting, dreamy girls swimming in polka dots, embedded within the strange black and white landscapes she invents.
I am smitten with the immersive world Stickymonger creates full of protagonistas in a jam (literally) or making their way through a graphic wonderland in bandages and eyepatches. I feel lucky to call this artist a friend. I’ve learned so much over the years about pushing yourself harder and harder to do ever trickier work.
“The Boy in the Yellow Shirt” //Marek Wurfl // I first happened on self-taught Slovakian artist Marek Wurfl’s photography on the sometimes-miracle that is Instagram. The image that caught my eye was a boy in a yellow shirt whose look of despair seemed tempered with determination. Hey, I feel that everyday! It was one of those moments when, as an artist, you (I) say, I wish I’d made that. The poetry, starkness, and perfect color of Marek’s work is not unlike a melancholy dessert; bittersweet and irresistible.
I had to contact this artist! Marek is as nice as I’d hoped. He told me that he’s always been influenced by early Netherlandish painters because of the awkward, unnatural posing of their subjects rendered in such precision. He is inspired by a similar, mysteriousness in his own subjects. About the people he chooses to photograph, he told me, “My models are usually people I found to be mysterious, strange, different in any way. It could be a fashion model or construction worker…Sometimes I even stalk strangers on street, just to ask them if they are willing to be my models.” About the haunting feeling of his work, Marek continues, “I like to capture intimacy, calm and still moments of solitude, almost voyeur like view of the subject. I would like the viewer to feel like he is hidden, surveilling. Maybe for a moment, make him feel a little bit uncomfortable that he will get caught.”
I love this strange and beautiful work.
“Bang” //Kerry James Marshall // I had the opportunity of seeing Kerry James Marshall’s work with my own eyes at the Met Breuer last year. As an artist, all I could do was whistle quietly with appreciation each time I stood in front of yet another perfectly composed, giant painting. As a human, I had to salute this artist for addressing what it is to be black in America in a way that I could feel in my soul, vibrating from each work. People who say racism isn’t an issue in the US anymore need to wake up and face the facts. It is still a massive issue – so much so that POC often find it difficult to use normal dating sites as they suffer abuse on them. They have to resort to Black Dating Sites where they can truly discover how being black is beautiful. Imagine being unable to even find love simply because of the color of your skin. These pictures serve as a haunting reminder that although we have come a long way, the end isn’t in sight yet. The great thing about larger-than-life art sometimes is that it’s possible to literally find yourself in the artist’s world for the moment, looking around from their viewpoint at their experience. Marshall’s work is an experience. Doesn’t hurt that Marshall is so deft at painting his distilled, almost abstracted reality. Color, composition, narrative, subject matter…Marshall pretty much owns all that and is shares it generously through his work.
“Sprout” //Sui Park // Sui Park’s sculptural work, comprised entirely of cable ties, falls under the what-is-that?-oh-no-way! category. What I love about Sui’s work is its ability to transcend its own utilitarian reality using some strong artistic alchemy to become lovable, beautiful, and nearly organic.
Sui, another New York art friend I’ve worked with at 4heads Governors Island Art Fair, creates pieces so individual and full of personality in their own amoeba-like way.. I always love it when an artist uses a common everyday object in a manner that helps us see better, bigger, and more openly. Her work reminds me that humble, everyday objects or subjects can be re-seen in a new way if you’re open minded.
“Jeune Fille et son Chien”, 1770 // Jean Honoré Fragonard // Ok, so I have a dog. Any more explanation of why I love this (and other Fragonard dog paintings) is probably unnecessary. Nevertheless let me say, Fragonard, that Rococo hedonist, always tickled me and my kids when we’d see his work in museums. His work is a giggly breath of fresh air. He seems to be having so. much. fun. with his art, revelling in excess ruffles, pink cheeks, and frothy foliage. I like to recall Fragonard’s levity in subject and brushstroke when I get too thinky about my own work. Artists, let’s not take ourselves too seriously. Also? Let’s remember to play airplane with our pets in various states of undress, regularly.
Thank you to the Beautiful Bizarre folk for this opportunity to share art that inspires and motivates me. Also, thanks for always supporting artists, established and new.
This was the last piece chosen by Lori Nelson for her TAKEOVER. Thank you again Lori, we really appreciate you taking the time to put this day together.