The wheel of life represented by 29 walking skeleton legs and feet. Monika Horčicová is a Czech artist who uses 3D printing to come up with the base of her sculptures. The legs are made out of plaster composite, molded and then casted into polyurethane resin. The legs are then assembled into one piece.
Symbolists, Buddhists and probably many more cultures and art movements have been using the wheel of life. It is the representation of the cycle of life and death. Usually depicted next to the Lord of Death; the wheel turns under his will. Birth and suffering, joy and sadness, alternatively march together. Thus, each of us has the liberty to interpret the meaning of life through the wheel. In this case, Monika Horčicová chooses to emphasize its morbid features.
By using skeletons, she takes a stand, and doesn’t give us the choice but to picture life as inevitably dark and painful. The direction, clockwise or counterclockwise, is important when looking at a wheel of life. Usually we are not given the choice but to visualize it going clockwise. Here, the artist has not set the orientation. As we move around the sculpture, we are free to give it our own meaning. Although death is predominantly present, we can choose to imagine the course of life going backwards. Our experiences and our knowledge as we move forward, are what make our inner self grow; allowing us to encounter the possibility of an indefinite renewal. (via Empty Kingdom).
New Zealand artist Ben Young’s most recent work is a series of hand crafted glass sculptures. Upon first glance, it is immediately possible to distinguish the sea as his main source of inspiration. His work consists of a collection of glass sculptures mainly revolving around the theme of water. The colors, patterns, and shapes present within his work are both in color and in form vivid and depict undulating curves and ridges similar to waves.
The sculptures, having been executed on glass emphasize this and work in perfect harmony with the shades of blue, green, and turquoise of the glass which perfectly mimic the colors of the sea. His work represents a fascinating combination of abstract geometrical forms, topography, and even the human body. Through these sculptures, his background as a boat builder and his affinity for surf shine through.
The lines, ridges, and circular shapes in his work give the sculptures additional complexity and detail. The fluidity and translucence of his sculptures add to the beauty and tranquility of his pieces to the extent that one might get lost in them. The way he has managed to transform the glass makes it almost impossible to remember the fact that it is a solid material. The fluidity of his sculptures is truly stunning to the extent that they almost look like they are made up of water, rather than glass.
For the last forty years, Stan Herd has been transforming open plots of land into stunning works of art. His medium, which he refers to as landscape or earthworks art, involves sculpting the terrain by mowing outlines, trimming grass for depth, and using various plants to create shade and texture. His large-scale projects have cropped up across Kansas, reinterpreting famous art pieces and even delving into important social issues, earning him coverage and accolades from publications around the world.
In a recent piece commissioned by the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), Herd reimagined Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 “Olive Trees” using an acre of land outside the airport. With expressive accuracy, Herd has transformed an otherwise flat, empty field into the likeness of van Gogh’s vision of nature and divinity, capturing the iconic, wistful trees and dancing sun. In the video above, Herd describes his inspiration and enduring admiration for the long-dead artist:
“The amazing thing about van Gogh’s painting is that there’s not a single straight line in the whole canvas; everything is organic and curved and flowing and it’s like a pulse. I’m just amazed that after months of looking at one painting that I continue to discover things in it. […] I think this is what van Gogh saw. Everything was moving for him, and everything was moving together.” (Source)
If you’re flying into Minneapolis this fall, be sure to keep an eye out for this masterpiece. You can learn more about Herd on his website and Facebook page. More images of “Olive Trees” and other works after the jump.
Michael Murphy is a Brooklyn-based artist known for his perception-challenging sculptural installations. Featured here is a new work titled “Branded,” commissioned by the Manhattan creative consultancy Lippincott. In an exploration of the term “brand identity,” Murphy used 100 laser-cut images of graphic logos to create a human face—more specifically, the face of his daughter, Iris Isadora. Portions of her photo where printed across each logo. From a distance, the image appears complete; move closer, however, and the portions break apart into distinct logos—Starbucks, Instagram, and KFC among them. Watch the video above and see how the installation changes form depending on one’s vantage point.
Lippincott believes that a company’s brand represents not only an identity, but a possibility; “it is who you are and who you aspire to be” (Source). By constructing a human face out of logos, Murphy’s work intends to represent how brands themselves can function similar to living entities, changing and growing along with the cultural trends. The fact that perspective changes the form and cohesion of the installation suggests that one’s own experience of a brand can function within a subjective framework.
In addition to Lippincott, Murphy’s other clientele have included TIME Magazine, Washington Life, and Art for Obama. For the past two years he has been collaborating with Michael Jordan and Nike in the creation of retail centerpieces for the Jordan Brand. View Murphy’s website to learn more. Isadora is a musician whose work can be heard here.
Burned heads on life-size matches. A representation of human kind living in today’s society by German artist Wolfgang Stiller. The artist works either from an established concept coming from his mind or from random pieces he finds wandering in his studio. The ‘Matchstick Men’ series got created from left over molds he once used while working in Beijing and thick bamboo woods lying in his studio. Wolfgang Stiller started out by playing around with the heads and the sticks until they both merged, the heads on top of the sticks. The artist is interested in in-situ (specific site) installations. Therefore, the need to build matchboxes and different heights of ‘Matchstick Men’ became obvious.
This faces lying on the bottom of a matchbox resemble vulnerable corpses lying in a coffin. Each face, each person has a similarity with its neighbor. They all experienced a tragedy and are now resting in piece. The fact that they seem to always be displayed as a group of more than two matches makes the process easier to contemplate. Because staring at these heads makes us feel compassion and care. Wolfgang Stiller is not looking for a general interpretation of his art. He creates for a reason and has his own intent but he prefers to leave a space for interpretation between the art piece and the viewer. (via Fubiz).
In her latest series of ceramic and underglaze sculptures entitled Habitats Collide, artist Crystal Morey underlines the role and impact of human beings on nature in the most melancholic sense. Her work represents human beings with stern looks on their faces “encased” in the bodies of animals. Morey states that the animals she has chosen for this series are either endangered or extinct, which adds to the thoughtful aspect of her project.
She states that her work is inspired by the Byzantine, Renaissance and Ancient Egyptian eras. It also bears a strong resemblance to Native American totem art, due to the visible ridges in the pieces which are designed to look like fur as well as the merging of human and animal forms. Her work, being inherently totem like is thought provoking on many levels beyond its aesthetic composition.
Her representation of human beings as both a part of nature and a problem for nature is in line with many current debates concerning the role of humans as linked to the impact we have had and continue to have on our environmental surroundings. She states that her work seeks to address “current psychological, environmental, and cultural feelings”, which she does perfectly through the facial expressions of the human components in her work. She hopes to create a dialogue centered on technology, progress, and, on a greater scale our relationship with nature.
Kris Aaron and Andy Walker are slightly modifying the purpose of fine China dishes. It’s now decorated with messages and gay illustrations. “Shit again”, “Cock monster”, “I’m going to fuck you” and pornographic images are hand drawn onto plates and kitsch ceramic ornaments. They either paint slogans or sexual images on small objets such as a tiger or a swan or desert plates. The couple just wanted to check “how cute it would be if they were more gay.”
All the pieces in the Pansy Ass ceramics series are one of a kind. Already collectors of similar items, they redoubled their research in thrift shops and vintage flea markets to find the perfect antique China dishes for their collection. Their intention was to accentuate the kitsch side of plates and objects. “For instance, we have this swan that’s the gayest thing I’ve ever seen,” Aaron says, “and we thought it’d be funny if we painted ‘masc’ (like masculine) on it.” The result is a weird combination of classic patterns and graphic scenarios.
Ideally, the artists would want their embellished dishes to be displayed at Macy’s. From porno chic to porno kitsch there could a part of the market interested in inviting their grandmother to a fancy cucumber sandwich tea party. (via Lost At E Minor).
Beijing based Ji Zhou’s latest photo series Civilized Landscape depicts models of urban and rural areas composed of books and maps he has modelled and rearranged into mountains, skyscrapers, and other landscapes. The models, placed on backgrounds made up of soothing, cool colors make for series of visually relaxing compositions full of original forms and reliefs. The textures of the various types of paper he uses in his models give the series a sort of irregular uniformity which brings the composition together in a perfect balance.
Civilized Landscape spans beyond aesthetics in the sense that the process Zhou goes through to create the models is also fascinating in its own respects. He creates the models by stacking sets of books and composing mountains from maps. He then photographs the models and creates a sort of in depth illusion that gives his work a sort of three dimensional aspect which in turn reinforces the nature of the optical illusion his project delivers. His work is centered on the idea of the “enhanced reality of illusion” , which he depicts through this series.
His project is also interesting from the perspective of the issues it addresses. Through his artificial depiction of familiar natural and urban landscapes, he raises questions of civilization and evolution as well as a debate on the place of human beings as both creators and destroyers of landscapes.