Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Beauty Beyond Imagination

The review in The New York Times suggested that some of the images of undersea creatures captured in The Deep Book, by Claire Nouvian, "rivals artwork that might be seen in an upscale gallery." Well, you know I was gonna have to see that to believe it.

Turns out, that was understatement. The unimaginable beauty (and sheer hideousness) of some of these creatures surpasses what you'd be lucky to find in a dozen trips to any upscale gallery. Then again, the creator of these wonders, has no equals. Here are a few gems from the series (all images From “The Deep: The Extraordinary Creatures of the Abyss” by Claire Nouvian/Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute [buy the book!]:

Dumbo Octopus

Unidentified species

A stimias boas scaly Dragonfish

Labels: beauty


Anonymous bambino said...


5/23/2007 12:21:00 PM  
Blogger James said...

The Dumbo Octopus is so unreal. Straight from Pokemon.

5/23/2007 02:54:00 PM  
Anonymous god's critic said...

ho hum just walking through....
well the top example has some originality in form, but the artist doesnt seem to know what he's referencing and hence becomes lost in the execution. Is it a sly commentary on sci-fi Heavy Metal illustration from the 70s? or perhaps a nod to the excesses of an artworld that values a surfeit of organic form a la Chihuly's onanistic formalism fostered by the Marlborough potentate? With his selfcentered fascination with transparency and delicacy, the viewer may never get the priviledge to know the artist's intentions;perhaps he'll improve with the next show.
The Dumbo Octopus, again credited to an anon., belies an interest in the perversity of modern Otaku subculture, an absorption that is shared by much of the contemporary Japanese avant-garde currently being feted in chelsea and on Madison ave..However as this movement seems to be losing steam, perhaps as a result of the glut in the current market for anime-inspired work, the artist may be well-advised to heed Murakami's latest foray, and look towards past traditions as opposed to the latest cartoon craze sweeping Osaka.
The third example carries more promise, the artist clearly influenced by the late 90s craft-inspired movements emerging from the Rhode Island scene. Landing somewhere between Jim Drain and Jorge Pardo, the work displays an admirable convergence of functionalism and funky, topped off with a rather threateningly subtle blend of anthropomorphism. This one looks like an artist to watch out for.
Lastly the Dragonfish seems to get bogged down in its own set of aesthetics. The dying gasp of a ferocious creature, suitable to guide the inspiration of many (see Erick Swenson currently up at James Cohan), becomes a rather forced expression in this current pick. In the end, we are left only with a formalistic appreciation of anxiety, the emotional and conceptual content of the piece lacking in force.
I dont know if god makes the chelsea cut, quite frankly, as his/her craft quite often outshines his/her intentions, making for a somewhat onesided viewing experience. Besides, god probably would be a complete downer at the afterparty.

5/23/2007 07:07:00 PM  
Anonymous ml said...

Let's hope these survive our species' follies.

5/23/2007 08:12:00 PM  
Blogger milf-magic said...

I think I got bit by that last one on a recent visit to Boca...

5/23/2007 10:41:00 PM  
Anonymous all my marbles said...

God's critic, you are so depressingly self referential and reactionary. Actually, I think i might have had the same reaction as you,-- you know, when you realize you're in the presence of a better artist than you'll ever be. Except instead of trying to be a smartypants, I just meekly picked my jaw up off the floor.

5/23/2007 11:09:00 PM  
Blogger aurix said...

i was marveling at the pictures this morning, too!

5/24/2007 12:12:00 AM  
Blogger crionna said...

I was at the MBA a couple weeks ago. One of the most amazing things (besides the jellyfish and the giant sunfish) was the birth sac of a skate. it was about 4" x 2" and I first thought it was a replica. Then the skate inside moved...a lot! I was mesmerized.

5/24/2007 03:11:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

god's critic...that was hilarious! Sacreligious and sure to earn you a special place in Hell, but too freakin' funny.

Got a link for the "MBA" crionna? Which aquarium is that?

5/24/2007 07:58:00 AM  
Blogger Hungry Hyaena said...


Thanks for posting these here. They're all over the bio blogs, but I love seeing them in this context.


Actually skate egg sacs, or mermaid's purses, are common on beaches up and down the coast. (See pics here.) Next time you're at the beach, keep your eyes peeled for beached seagrass or other small debris. You'll almost always find some skate sacs nearby. Once in a while, you might even find a viable which case you should return it to the ocean.

5/24/2007 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger Thomas Hallas said...

Well, duh.

Nobody can rival nature with imagination.

we come from the same big bang, and there is no way we can seperate our humble beings from our molecular gatherings.

we simply can't bring ourselves to imagine more than has been put there(in our brain/being) already and we don't even know nothing of what there as it is.

5/24/2007 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger crionna said...


Thanks for the tip! I had no clue...

5/27/2007 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger crionna said...

Sorry E.

MBA = Monterey Bay Aquarium

5/27/2007 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous nicholas forrest said...

Those are amazing, i would love to have something like that on my wall. How could you not call that art!!

5/27/2007 09:35:00 PM  
Blogger Henry said...

Apparently there was a rare platinum arowana offered for sale recently for 200,000 UKP ($400,000). Is the aquarium market in a bubble???

5/28/2007 09:33:00 PM  

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