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    Reality and Imagined Meditative States Converge in Tomás Sánchez’s Tranquil Landscapes

    
    Art

    #acrylic
    #graphite
    #landscapes
    #nature
    #painting
    #trees
    #water

    November 16, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    “Light: Outside, Inside” (2021), acrylic on linen, 100 x 80 centimeters. All images © Tomás Sánchez, shared with permission
    Through serene, idyllic landscapes, Tomás Sánchez visualizes his long-harbored fascination with meditation. The practice, the Cuban painter says, is “where I find many of the answers to questions that transcend from the personal to the universal. Meditation is not always a fleeting time. Meditation is not a punctual exercise; it is a constant practice.”
    Rather than conceptualize the exercise as a temporary state, Sánchez views mediation as a lens to interpret the world, a recurring theme that has foregrounded much of his work during the last few decades. His acrylic paintings and hazy graphite drawings, which take months if not years to complete, highlight the immensity and awe-inspiring qualities of a forest thick with vegetation or a nearby waterfall and offer perspective through a lone, nondescript figure often found amongst the trees. Distinct and heavily detailed, the realistic landscapes aren’t based on a specific place but rather are imagined spaces available only through a ruminative state.
    If you’re in New York, stop by Marlborough Gallery to see Sánchez’s solo show, which is on view from November 18 to January 22. Titled Inner Landscape, the exhibition encompasses multiple pieces never shown before, including the pristine scenes shown here. Until then, explore more of his works on Instagram.

    “Inner Lagoon…Thought-Cloud” (2016), acrylic on canvas, 200 x 199.3 centimeters
    “La batalla” (2015), acrylic on linen, 200 x 250 centimeters
    “El río va” (2020), acrylic on linen, 121.3 x 99.1 centimeters
    “Aislado” (2015), acrylic on canvas, 199.7 x 249.9 centimeters
    “Diagonales” (2018), conté crayon on paper, 30.5 x 40.6 centimeters

    #acrylic
    #graphite
    #landscapes
    #nature
    #painting
    #trees
    #water

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    Artificial Neon Lights Illuminate the Idyllic Environments Painted by Artist Gigi Chen

    
    Art

    #acrylic
    #birds
    #nature
    #neon
    #painting

    October 8, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    “A Good Foundation” (2021), acrylic on wood, 20 x 20 inches. All images © Gigi Chen, shared with permission
    In her vibrant, neon-lit paintings, artist Gigi Chen intertwines ornate jewelry, graffiti, and glowing signs emblematic of urban life with foliage, feathers, and wide expanses of sky. Her acrylic pieces center on birds and other small animals in their natural environments with surreal, manufactured additions: a heron cradles a bright pink house on its back, two rabbits peer over a bush at an illuminated parking sign, and an owl carries an old payphone across a glacial landscape.
    A lifelong New Yorker, Chen tells Colossal that once her family immigrated to the U.S. from Guangdong, China, when she was eight months old, they didn’t often venture beyond the city’s confines. “The fear of not being able to communicate clearly with strangers was very prevalent growing up, and it really restrained us from doing too much traveling during my early childhood even though my parents could drive,” she says, noting that it wasn’t until an artist residency in Vermont when she was 18 that she found herself interacting with nature. “I realized how small the Big City really is. I was terrified of the pitch blackness, the dense forest, and the dirt and the bugs. But I was totally in love and overwhelmed by how sublime and random nature is.”
    These early experiences continue to impact Chen’s work as she confronts lush, forest ecosystems and cloudy sunsets through the lens of city life. “The dichotomy of the neon onto natural subjects like leaves and birds and trees makes for beautiful metaphors about how people relate to the flora and fauna,” she says. “Adding artificial light sources to a natural environment helped me to reimagine and expand the kinds of stories I could tell and broaden how I could convey personal messages.”

    “Home Away From Home Away From Home” (2021), acrylic on wood, 20 x 24 inches
    Many of the animal protagonists embody the artist’s experiences particularly those in her new series Light My Way Home, which is on view through October 24 at Antler Gallery in Portland. The metaphorical works are ruminations on home, family, and the security those two provide, and the pieces often portray the artist and her sisters as red-winged blackbirds with her late mother as the blue heron. “Home Away From Home Away From Home,” which depicts the three smaller birds encircling the other as she flies away, “represents what happened after the death of my mother,” Chen says. “Here, we are seeking the sense of safety and stability that my mother once represented to us and endlessly chasing the Ideal of Home.”
    In addition to Light My Way Home, Chen also has paintings available through Stone Sparrow Gallery and Deep Space Gallery, and you can follow her works on Instagram. (via Supersonic Art)

    “Curiously Illuminated” (2021), acrylic on wood, 16 x 20 inches
    “Finding A Spot” (2020), acrylic on wood, 11 x 14 inches
    “Three Voices & A Song” (2021), acrylic on wood, 20 x 24 inches
    “The Open Pigeon” (2020), acrylic on wood, 5 x 7 inches
    “Call Me” (2021), acrylic on wood, 20 x 24 inches
    “Lighting The Way” (2021), acrylic on wood, 16 x 20 inches

    #acrylic
    #birds
    #nature
    #neon
    #painting

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    Circular Masses of Coral and Leaves Form Sculptural Embroideries by Meredith Woolnough

    
    Art
    Craft

    #coral
    #embroidery
    #leaves
    #nature
    #video

    October 4, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    [embedded content]
    From swirls of eucalyptus leaves to perfectly round bodies of coral, the sculptural pieces by Newcastle-based artist Meredith Woolnough (previously) depict a range of textured, organic shapes. Each elaborately crafted work is drawn through free-motion embroidery, which involves using the most basic stitches on a sewing machine and moving a swath of water-soluble material around the needle. Once the form is complete, Woolnough dissolves the fabric base to expose the delicate, mesh-like structure, a process filmmaker Flore Vallery-Radot follows in the studio visit above.
    The resulting works either stand alone as sprawling clusters of veins and branches or are strung into larger displays, like the “carpet of embroidery” Woolnough is working on currently that involves more than 1,000 small pieces threaded together. No matter the size, each piece contrasts thick lines with fine, sparse patches to give the leaves or rocky formations shape, and the artist describes the balance between the two methods:
    Often when I depict solid subject matter, like coral which is often quite hard, I will stitch my design with dense areas of stitching. I like to put lots of small overlapping stitches very close together to form a solid structure where you can’t clearly see the individual stitches. This dense structure is needed to help the final embroidery hold its shape once I remove the water-soluble base material I stitch onto. With this dense stitching, I can also achieve subtle colour blending as I change thread colours.
    Alongside her practice, Woolnough teaches a variety of workshops and released a book back in 2018 titled Organic Embroidery that details her processes. Some of her smaller works will be included in a group exhibition at The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, which opens online on October 16. You also can find her available pieces on her site and watch for updates on Instagram. (via The Kids Should See This)

    Eucalyptus leaves. All images © Meredith Woolnough, shared with permission
    Corallite
    Red coral
    Eucalyptus leaf
    Coral
    Corallimorph
    Coral

    #coral
    #embroidery
    #leaves
    #nature
    #video

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    Baskets Made of Twisted Copper Wire Evoke Seed Pods, Marine Creatures, and Other Organic Forms

    
    Art
    Craft

    #baskets
    #copper
    #nature
    #seeds
    #wire

    August 16, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Sally Blake, shared with permission
    Whether standing a few inches tall or reaching more than a foot, the metallic vessels that Sally Blake weaves are all inspired by a single, skeletonized seedpod the Canberra-based artist found herself in possession of. “It was given to me by someone who understood my grief after my mother died, and it represented much of what I was feeling and experiencing,” she says. “It was vulnerable and yet resilient, and gently held its seed—the source of potential new life and inspiration.”
    That original pod has since spurred dozens of baskets in varying sizes that Blake molds from lengths of copper wire. She manipulates the pliable material with tight coils and twists that rely on pattern and sinuous lines, creating organic forms evocative of seeds, sea creatures, lungs, and other natural shapes. The metal’s durability juxtaposes with the ephemeral, delicate subject matter, a contrast the artist draws as a way to speak to life’s cycles.
    Blake’s works are on view through September 11 at Craft ACT in Canberra as part of the group exhibition Place Markers. Find baskets, pen-and-ink vessels, and printed cards in her shop, and keep up with her multi-media practice on Instagram.

    #baskets
    #copper
    #nature
    #seeds
    #wire

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    A Visit to Wangechi Mutu’s Nairobi Studio Explores Her Profound Ties to Nature and the Feminine

    
    Art
    Documentary

    #collage
    #colonialism
    #identity
    #nature
    #sculpture
    #video

    July 23, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    [embedded content]
    Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu made history in 2019 when her four bronze sculptures became the first ever to occupy the niches of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s facade. Stretching nearly seven feet, the seated quartet evokes images of heavily adorned African queens and intervenes in the otherwise homogenous canons of art history held within the institution’s walls.
    The monumental figures are one facet of Mutu’s nuanced body of work that broadly challenges colonialist, racist, and sexist ideologies. Now on view at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor is the latest iteration of the artist’s subversive projects: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening?  disperses imposing hybrid creatures in bronze and towering sculptures made of soil, branches, charcoal, cowrie shells, and other organic materials throughout the neoclassical galleries. The figurative works draw a direct connection between the Black female body and ecological devastation as they reject the long-held ideals elevated in the space.

    No matter the medium, these associations reflect Mutu’s deep respect for and fascination with the ties between nature, the feminine, and African history and culture, a guiding framework that the team at Art21 explores in a recently released documentary. Wangechi Mutu: Between the Earth and the Sky visits the artist’s studio in her hometown of Nairobi and dives into the evolution of her artwork from the smaller collaged paintings that centered her early practice as a university student in New York to her current multi-media projects that have grown in both scope and scale.
    Whether a watercolor painting with photographic scraps or one of her mirror-faced figures encircled with fringe, Mutu’s works are founded in an insistence on the value of all life and the ways the earth’s history functions as a source of knowledge, which she explains:
    I truly believe that there’s something about taking these bits and pieces of trees, and animals and completely anonymous but extremely identifiable items and placing them somewhere that draws their energy, wherever they were coming from, whatever they did, whatever molten lava they came out of a million years ago, that is now in my work and that little piece of energy is magnified.
    Dive further into Mutu’s practice by watching the full documentary above, and see a decades-long archive of her paintings, sculptures, collages, and other works on Artsy and Instagram.

    #collage
    #colonialism
    #identity
    #nature
    #sculpture
    #video

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    Translucent Textiles Cast Organisms and Mundane Objects as Dreamy Sculptures and Wearables

    
    Art
    Design

    #coral
    #fabric
    #fashion
    #nature
    #sculpture

    July 9, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Mariko Kusumoto, shared with permission
    From polyester, nylon, and cotton, Japanese artist and designer Mariko Kusumoto fabricates sculptural forms that resemble the creatures and everyday objects she finds most fascinating. She uses a proprietary heat-setting technique to mold the ubiquitous materials into undulating ripples, honeycomb poufs, and even tiny schools of fish that are presented in elegant and fanciful contexts. Whether a pastel coral reef or a fantastical bracelet filled with mushrooms, rosettes, and minuscule bicycles, Kusumoto’s body of work, which includes standalone objects and wearables, uses the ethereal qualities of the translucent fibers to make even the banalest forms appear like they’re part of a dream.
    You can find a larger archive of the artist’s pieces, which ranges from textiles to metal and resin, on her site and Instagram.

    #coral
    #fabric
    #fashion
    #nature
    #sculpture

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    Delicate Cross-Cut Pods Encase Seeds and Other Fruitful Forms in Porcelain

    
    Art
    Craft

    #ceramics
    #eggs
    #nature
    #porcelain
    #seeds

    June 30, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    All images © Sally Kent and photographer Matthew Stanton, shared with permission
    Melbourne-based artist Sally Kent visualizes the fleeting processes found in nature in her fragile porcelain pods. Cross-cut to reveal an inner seed, flower, or other fruitful organisms, the ceramic works compare the inner life-producing forms that are teeming with color and texture with their stark, smooth shells.
    Each piece, which ranges from just a few inches to about a foot, is composed of individual patterns, whether through minuscule orbs or with thin strips of ceramic hung from the outer edges. This use of repetition is a form of embodiment, Kent says, because it evokes the cycles that produce and sustain all life, no matter the species or age. “Each pod begins with an egg form—an archetypal symbol of the cycle of life, death, and renewal, but it also acts as a shell to delineate and protect, albeit fragile, the seen (physical body) and the unseen (the spiritual and emotional world),” she shares.
    If you’re in Sydney, you can see Kent’s Protection series, which includes human hands and busts embellished with mythological details, during the first weekend of August at House of Chu. Until then, dive into her process and see more of her hand-built works on Instagram.

    #ceramics
    #eggs
    #nature
    #porcelain
    #seeds

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    Flora and Fauna Converge as Fantastic Hybrid Creatures in Jon Ching’s Oil Paintings

    
    Art

    #animals
    #nature
    #oil painting
    #painting
    #plants

    June 7, 2021
    Grace Ebert

    “Mother Mycelium.” All images © Jon Ching, shared with permission
    Artist Jon Ching strikes a balance between texture and color in his meticulously detailed oil paintings that make fantastic creatures—owls with plumes of mushrooms and fuzzy molds, seahorses sprouting leafy twigs, and fish with striped tulip fins—appear natural in their environments. This vague distinction between the realistic and surreal saturates Ching’s body of work, which imagines a magical ecosystem that visualizes the symbiotic relationships between flora and fauna. “I am inspired by the worldview of many Indigenous cultures that revere the natural world and see god in every aspect of our living world,” he tells Colossal. “I believe that perspective is key to their sustainable societies and one that must be reawakened in our colonized societies.”
    While he dreams up the hybrid forms, the Los Angeles-based artist still roots each piece in the existing world. He has a keen sense for finding the enchanting and unusual in his own experiences, whether from watching David Attenborough documentaries or spending his childhood in Kaneohe, Hawaii. “My more surreal creatures, where the line between flora and fauna are blurred, is in part my attempt at depicting some of this unseen magic,” he writes. “By placing them in a realistic setting among species we’re familiar with, I’m envisioning them into the real world. Maybe if we look close enough or long enough, we’ll catch a glimpse of them and my work won’t seem surreal anymore.”
    You can see Ching’s paintings at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles starting August 14 and find prints, stickers, and postcards in his shop. Check out his Instagram for glimpses into his process and the real-life animals and plants that shape his works. (via Iain Claridge)

    “Sheila Ann”
    “Razzle Dazzle”
    “Sprite”
    “Aquaria”
    “Homestead”
    “Nectar”
    “Chasing Summer”
    “Puhpowee”

    #animals
    #nature
    #oil painting
    #painting
    #plants

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