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    Antidote: Organic Lifeforms Rendered with Prussian Blue Create Vivid Ecosystems by Yellena James

    
    Art

    #acrylic
    #coral
    #flowers
    #gouache
    #ink
    #nature
    #painting

    October 6, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Yellena James, courtesy of Stephanie Chefas Projects, shared with permission
    Using a combination of acrylics, gouache, and ink, Yellena James cultivates brightly-hued ecosystems ripe with lines, patterns, and nature-based motifs. The Portland-based artist paints organic forms that resemble both marine species like coral and kelp in addition to full-bloom flowers, creating brilliant, labyrinth-like ecosystems. Although Prussian blue ink has been a mainstay in James’s practice for years, she recently discovered that the specific color serves as a remedy for certain toxic metal poisonings. This realization spurred the series shown here, which is aptly named Antidote. Each work features the vibrant hue in some capacity.
    If you’re in Portland, check out James’s solo show at Stephanie Chefas Projects through October 10. To see the artist’s works in progress, head to Instagram, and try your hand at similar drawings with James’s book, Star, Branch, Spiral, Fan: Learn to Draw from Nature’s Perfect Design Structures. (via Supersonic Art)

    #acrylic
    #coral
    #flowers
    #gouache
    #ink
    #nature
    #painting

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    Revealing Struggles and Joy, Expressive Portraits Are Superimposed onto Watercolor Foliage

    
    Art

    #flowers
    #plants
    #portraits
    #watercolor

    September 24, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “Being true to your nature III.” All images © Àngela Maria Sierra, shared with permission
    Spanish artist Àngela Maria Sierra, who works as Riso Chan, explores the human psyche through subtly layered foliage. “I always imagine that they are someone’s soul, what we don’t see, our nature,” Sierra says of the delicate botanical assemblages that she overlays onto her subjects’ faces and torsos. Each portrait begins with a focus on texture and pattern as the artist paints clusters of twigs and leaves with watercolor. She then scans those botanical elements and uses Procreate to superimpose the figure onto the original piece.
    Alongside their simple beauty, the pastel paintings, some of which are self-portraits, reflect the narratives and worries that consume the artist’s daily life. She describes her work as “a journal where I express moments or feelings that are important for me during those days. It’s a way to give those feelings space and then let them go.” Tied to both struggles and joys, topics include finding freedom through creativity during lockdown, growing up in an drug-filled home, and the bravery required to move forward.
    Based in Amsterdam, Sierra is the founder of Bloom Art House, which hosts creative workshops throughout the capital city. Keep up with her expressive artworks on Instagram.

    “Freedom”
    “Being true to your nature II”

    “Spring”
    Left: “Turning on the lights inside.” Right: “Being true to your nature I”
    “New Path”
    “Toxic home”

    #flowers
    #plants
    #portraits
    #watercolor

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    Subjects Undertake Futile Pursuits in Satirical Paintings by Artist Toni Hamel

    
    Art

    #flowers
    #humor
    #nature
    #painting
    #satire

    September 16, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “Loves Me Loves Me Not” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches. All images © Toni Hamel, shared with permission
    Based in Oshawa, a suburb of Toronto, artist Toni Hamel (previously) is concerned with human morality—or lack thereof. In her subtly hued artworks, Hamel portrays subjects in the midst of futile and trivial pursuits: children pluck stars from the night sky, a couple attempts to reconstruct a flower after its petals have fallen, and a young family literally watches wet paint dry. Many of the satirical pieces consider socially accepted anthropocentrism and the relationship people have with the surrounding environemnt.
    Since 2017, Hamel has been adding to High Tides and Misdemeanors, an ongoing series that is intentionally political. “It confronts us with the repercussions of our actions and denounces the current thinking models. In this age of alternative realities, ‘fake news’ and a culture that is increasingly more self-absorbed and superficial, I feel that it’s even more important for me to carry on reporting what I must,” she writes.
    Explore more of Hamel’s visual commentaries on culture and politics on Instagram.

    “The Harvest” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches
    “The Prototype 1” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches
    “The Spill” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 10 inches
    “Family Night In Kodachrome” (2020), oil on panel, 12 x 12 inches
    “The Replacement” (2019), oil on canvas, 14 x 18 inches
    “Ikebana 1” (2019), oil on canvas, 18 x 18 inches
    “Ikebana 3” (2020), oil on canvas, 18 x 18 inches

    #flowers
    #humor
    #nature
    #painting
    #satire

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    Layered Botanics Comprise Artist Vanessa Hogge’s Delicate Porcelain Assemblages

    
    Art

    #ceramics
    #flowers
    #plants
    #porcelain
    #sculpture

    September 1, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Vanessa Hogge, courtesy of Ester Segarra/Vessel Gallery, shared with permission
    Vanessa Hogge translates her lifelong fascination with flowers into monochromatic assemblages of hydrangeas, roses, and myriad blossoms. The London-based artist (previously) has been working on EFFLORESCENCE, which is comprised of three ceramics, since October 2019. Each of the delicate porcelain pieces is adorned with innumerable hand-sculpted florets and leaves that blossom from a central base.
    Rather than studying horticulture textbooks and the intricacies of plant life, Hogge works entirely from her memory and imagination and frequents gardens and other places where organic elements thrive for observation. “I’ve traveled to research in the Okavango Swamps in Botswana, the flower-filled valleys of the Northern Cape in South Africa, and this January (just before lockdown), to Southern India to be surrounded by the exotic vegetation there—just beautiful,” she tells Colossal.
    Hogge’s inspirations, though, are vast. She imbues elements of the funky textiles created in the 1970s, miniature depictions of Indian gardens, and Frida Kahlo’s iconic flowers. “As an artist, the variety of their forms and structures is immense and endless. People comment and wonder when I will move on and if I will tire of flowers, but how can I? This fascination is also steeped in my family matriarchs—strong women gardeners and the great outdoors,” she says.
    The artist offers a brief look into her studio and process in this short video and on Instagram. You also might enjoy Hitomi Hosono’s intricate vessels.

    #ceramics
    #flowers
    #plants
    #porcelain
    #sculpture

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    Step Inside Petrit Halilaj’s Monumental Nest of Oversized Flowers Within Reina Sofia’s Palacio de Cristal

    
    Art

    #birds
    #flowers
    #installation
    #love

    August 28, 2020
    Christopher Jobson

    “To a raven and hurricanes that from unknown places bring back smells of humans in love,” 2020. Exhibition view at Palacio de Cristal. All photos courtesy Petrit Halilaj and © Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. Photo by ImagenSubliminal (Miguel de Guzmán and Rocío Romero). Shared with permisison.
    Bowerbirds are renowned for one of the most unusual courtship behaviors in the animal kingdom, where males build elaborately decorated nests—called bowers—in an attempt to court a mate. Kosovar visual artist Petrit Halilaj drew inspiration from this unique ritual for his first solo exhibition at Reina Sofia’s Palacio de Cristal (previously) in Madrid. Titled “To a raven and the hurricanes which bring back smells of humans in love from unknown places,” the installation serves as a metaphorical nest that connects the inside and outside spaces of the palace and features several avian elements like trays of birdseed and a giant pair of bird’s feet that descend from above.
    The collection of artworks is actually a collaborative effort between Halijaj and his life partner artist Álvaro Urbano, who helped construct the oversized forsythia, palm seeds, cherry blossom, poppy, carnation, and lily that fill the space. “I wanted to conceive Palacio de Cristal as a place for the celebration of love,” Halijaj shares. From the museum’s release:

    There is something strange and disproportionate about the size of this nest, the gigantic scale of its flowers, and the comfort and centrality it offers the birds. The artist thus suspends the logo-centric perspective that makes us believe we are the center and measure of all things, encouraging us to recognize ourselves as just one more element among many. The nest is thus revealed as the setting for a ritual that lies in wait for encounters, alliances and unions among its different visitors, altering and changing with the space.

    “To a raven…” is open now through February 28, 2021 at the Palacio de Cristal, and you can see more views on Yellowtrace.

    #birds
    #flowers
    #installation
    #love

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    Vivid Botanics and Butterflies Encircle Photographer Fares Micue in Striking Self-Portraits

    
    Art
    Photography

    #butterflies
    #flowers
    #portraits
    #self-portrait

    August 26, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “Memories of a rainy day.” All images © Fares Micue, shared with permission
    Surrounded by monarchs or a blanket of blue leaves, Fares Micue (previously) captures vividly composed self-portraits. The Spain-based photographer conceals her face and instead focuses on the organic elements surrounding her torso. Whether a series of origami birds or yellow and red twigs resembling flames, the natural additions merge seamlessly with Micue, who bends and contorts her figure to follow the shapely forms of the arranged objects.
    In a note to Colossal, the photographer said she’s been more inclined to create since the onset of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, considering her work an invitation into self-reflection. “I am a firm believer that how we think and feel about life is how we will perceive reality. We must train our brain to always search for the bright side and find hope among the desolation,” she says. While people may not have control over global crises, they are not without agency. “I want them to feel powerful and (acknowledge) the power they have over their life experience and how to use that experience to grow and learn,” she writes.
    Find more of the Micue’s nature-infused photographs on Instagram, and pick up limited edition prints on Saatchi Art.

    “The power of becoming”
    “Imaginary prison”
    “Growing wiser”
    “Fly me away”
    “Defensive III”

    #butterflies
    #flowers
    #portraits
    #self-portrait

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    Lyrical Illustrations by Käthe Butcher Explore Femininity, Emotion, and Human Intimacy

    
    Art
    Illustration

    #drawing
    #flowers

    August 7, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    “A Hug In The Garden.” All images © Käthe Butcher, shared with permission
    As widespread lockdowns swept the globe earlier this year in response to the threat of COVID-19, intimacy became fraught. For artist Käthe Butcher, the loss of an embrace or casual peck on the cheek was incredibly difficult. “The pandemic affected everyone differently. I always thought I am not that kind of person getting scared or/and paranoid easily, but in March I did. I panicked and felt very alone, which was one reason why I left London at the end of March to go back to my family. It was definitely the right decision,” she tells Colossal.
    This desire for connection culminated in “A Hug In The Garden,” an emotional rendering of two women holding each other. Their botanical garments swaddle their individual bodies, and singular stems poke out from their sleeves, adding a bit of whimsy. Similar to her other drawings—explore a larger collection of Butcher’s work (NSFW) on Instagram—this illustration visualizes emotional depth and intimacy.
    Replete with floral motifs and delicate lines, Butcher’s pieces generally focus on one or two figures, who are simultaneously confident, carefree, and elusive. Rendered in thin, inky lines, the women portray a range of experiences, moods, and personalities. “Femininity can be everything and nothing. It’s individual. For me personally, it is something elegant yet strong,” she shares with Colossal.
    Currently, Butcher is in the process of leaving London permanently for her hometown of Leipzig, Germany, and has been reflecting on the role of artistic practices in the current moment. “As for a lot of artists, this situation was and is still blocking a lot of creativity. It’s draining. Like wading through mud. But at the same time, it feels like the beginning of something new, bigger,” she says.
    To purchase a print of the artist’s tender renderings, peruse what’s available in her shop.

    “Hey Girl”
    “Dreaming About Another World”
    “T.S. Girl (Sleep Well)”
    “Grass As Soft As Cotton Candy”
    “Setsuna”

    #drawing
    #flowers

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    Sprawling Floral Installations Spill Over Garbage Cans and Phone Booths on New York City Streets

    
    Art

    #flowers
    #installation
    #New York
    #public art
    #street art

    August 7, 2020
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Lewis Miller Design, shared with permisison
    Thanks to Lewis Miller Design, those passing through New York City have gotten some respite from the rank smells and soggy refuse of streetside garbage cans. For years, the florist (previously) has been planting guerilla installations of sunflowers, hydrangeas, and peonies in public areas, transforming trash receptacles, construction zones, and lampposts with sprawling assemblages. Check out some of the recent “Flower Flashes” below, and follow the designer on Instagram to see where the temporary bouquets pop up next.

    #flowers
    #installation
    #New York
    #public art
    #street art

    Do stories and artists like this matter to you? Become a Colossal Member and support independent arts publishing. Join a community of like-minded readers who are passionate about contemporary art, apply for our annual grant, and get exclusive access to interviews, partner discounts, and event tickets.

     
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