Artist Hillary Waters Fayle creates delicate stitched collages using found leaves, branches and pods. The artist’s work transforms natural elements into tiny keepsakes using traditional methods of needle work. She coats her source material with a non-toxic preservative, allowing each piece to remain unharmed. The use of her hands during her artistic process invites in a recognition and romanticization of man’s interactions and relations with the nature. Her work aims to explore and encapsulate the complexity of this relationship, proving it to be one that is simultaneously “tender” and “ruthless.” Each of Fayle‘s pieces, with their intimate details and delicate disposition, almost create an aesthetic of Victorian jewelry, yet are in of themselves completely timeless. Each work truly acts like a tiny object that can transcend the notion of time and place. Within her artist statement she notes:
“The way I think about and make art mirrors the way I think about my life and how I walk through the world. What I do is about elevating details. It is about noticing cycles and connections. It is about regarding a familiar object in a new way. It’s about seeing things and considering their connection to you, their potential futures and possible pasts. There is a depth and an importance to what is present, and what is absent. Invisible narratives are woven into and around each piece, each interaction. As I gather materials with which to work, I consider what connections might exist between us, or how each object might be related to another.”
This winter, frozen castles made from innumerable icicles are available for your full exploration. It all started with Brent Christensen, a devoted dad. He moved to Utah with his family, where he built an elaborate winter playground for his daughter, complete with an ice slide, cave, and castle. From there, the concept of Ice Castles was born—a beautiful, crystalline landscape for families to enjoy. There are four locations this season: Midway, Utah; Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Lincoln, New Hampshire; and, for the first time ever, Edmonton, Alberta.
Each awe-striking structure is built by hand. The architects “grow” 10,000 icicles every day, which are then placed throughout the castles for the water to freeze to. As time passes, each individual piece becomes a part of the icy walls and caverns, creating a megalithic labyrinth of tunnels and caves. The structure appears blue, due to the deep thickness of the ice, and the quality of water to absorb all colors of the spectrum. At night, the castles are illuminated with different hues, making it resemble a fairy-tale landscape. Watch the video above for a tour of the Eden Prairie location.
Visit Ice Castles’ website and Facebook to learn more. The sites are open until March, 2016. (Via Fubiz)
Andrew Firth is an Australian artist who turns skulls into creepy, lush landscapes. His work started in 2013, when he decided to channel his ingenuity and spare time into something creative. Each “Bonsai Skull” is artificial, made of PVC plastic cast off of a real human skull. Firth than adorns the dead visages with verdant grass, miniature trees, and graveyards. In one piece, named the “Spring Bonsai Mountain Skull,” a waterfall appears to pour like tears from an empty eye socket. No skull is identical.
Firth’s works are like dark “Treasure Islands,” deriving from his imagination and experience as a boat builder. He creates under the title “Jack of the Dust,” which refers to an obsolete US Navy job designation from the 1800s; this person was the ship’s steward, who worked with the dusty ingredients of flour and biscuits. In Firth’s adaptation, Jack is the name of the skull, and “dust” refers to the matter of death. By upholstering “Jack” in foliage, Firth’s works convey the relationship between rot and rebirth.
Rein Vollenga is a Berlin-based artist who sculpts edgy, lacquer-coated masks and headpieces. Each one is unique, blending imagery that’s both sensual and animalistic; plates cover the eyes, horns grow from the temples, and tentacle-like arms extend in writhing directions. As captured by photographer Jonas Lindström, the masks appear to possess the nude models, turning the architecture of their faces into beautiful, alien forms that crumble humanity into a raw manifestation of itself.
As Vollenga explains in an interview with Yatzer, his inspiration derives from memories of his youth, when he explored the forests of Eindhoven in Holland; the wild animals and dark landscapes became his muses. Using found items, such as toys and dolls, Vollenga cuts and glues them into organic forms, essentially “birthing” new objects. He describes his process further:
“The [new object] is then covered in a layer of epoxy and obsessively sanded and polished until it reaches ‘perfection’ before finally being painted in several layers of colour and lacquer for a glossy finish. My process is very visceral, as I need to feel the shapes. I never make drawings beforehand, because that just doesn’t communicate my three-dimensional thinking—and besides that, it’s great when unexpected things happen during the making of a piece. These surprises can change your perception and perspective in the working process.” (Source)
Vollenga’s works have an erotic flair, coupling the aggressive, smooth-and-sharp forms with the vulnerability of the nude, blinded models. His works are currently on display at the Gewerbemuseum in Winterthur, Switzerland, as part of an exhibition titled Nirvana: Strange Forms of Pleasure. This show features a collection of artists who, similar to Vollenga, explore the influence of the erotic on contemporary art. The show runs until May 8th.
Nebraska based artist Cindy Chinn carves unbelievable miniaturized objects within the lead of carpenter pencils. Chinn’s starting material is less than an inch wide, yet using an X-Acto knife and a magnifying glass, the artist is able to achieve intricate details with a charming folk art-like character. Her most involved piece of the series features a tiny locomotive train that scales the whole pencil. This work even includes a cut out carved portion that acts like a bridge crossing, exposing the train to be the full length of the pencil. The work was created through a process of collage; she carved the 3/16 inch train from the lead of one pencil and then fashioned it within the center of another pencil, adding two other small pieces of lead as rails. Due to the unique size of her work, Chinn incorporates a tiny magnifying glass as a part of her pieces, glorifying the work’s preciousness and inviting the viewer to have a personalized and intimate experience of the minuscule details. Her work tends to portray every day and perhaps even nostalgia provoking objects. For example, a tiny Chuck Taylor shoe, a darling fall leaf, and a hockey stick with a puck. This pencil carving project is just a side project; she is also a multimedia artist with many focuses such as larger scale wood carvings, murals, and paintings. (via My Modern Met)
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg uses DNA extracted from items like chewing gum and cigarettes to create three-dimensional portraits. For her project, “Stranger Visions,” Dewey-Hagborg collected discarded trash from the streets of Brooklyn, New York and sequenced them at a biotechnology lab. Through this process, she was able to isolate specific DNA strands, which helped her unravel the ethnic-gender identity of the past users. She used that information to create a sketch of what each of these people might have looked like. This information was then relayed via three-dimensional printer into the final hanging works.
As an information artist, Dewey-Hagborg is interested in the intersection between technology and art but her work is more complex than that. Through “Stranger Visions” Dewey-Hagborg confronts the impossibility of privacy. If even the smallest bit of rubbish can detail what we look like, what else could be used to expose us to the world at large? Is DNA the identity theft problem of the future? (via Design Faves)
Artist Chris Maynard creates tiny ethereal designs on feathers. His process begins by collecting feathers of birds (usually not of North America descent) from aviaries and zoos. He uses delicate, detail oriented tools such as eye surgery scissors, forceps, and magnifying glasses that have been passed down to him through his family. With these tools, he is able to achieve intimate levels of detail, crafting miniaturized fantastical avian worlds. His uses his work to transform the ordinary into something surreal and perhaps a bit magical. He explains that he would like the viewer
“to take away being able to look at the world in a different way…I want people to be able to take a breath and look at something a little differently, something that they know. Feathers are a universal symbol. Feathers for different people will mean different things, but generally, it means flight, it can mean escape, something we want to strive for, a bridge between here and the heavens. I want people to take their own message from it, but I think what comes out are some of those themes.”
The original integrity of the feathers is important to the artist. He does not manipulate the color or over arching shape with the aim to “honor the birds and the feathers.” Maynard, having a strong background in biology and ecology, has published a book titled Feathers: Form & Function. He uses his work not only to express artistic notions but also explains origin and function of his material. Each work is intricate, delicate, and whimsical.
Walter Oltmann is an artist from South Africa who weaves together aluminum wire “doily” segments to create gauzy, black-and-white images. His more recent works—which were featured recently in an exhibition titled Cradle at the Goodman Gallery in Cape Town—depict skulls and sleeping children. Through tonal layering, Oltmann creates a ghostly, semi-transparent depth, and each of the drawings are their own sculptural objects. The result is a series of eerie, ancient-looking images that invoke a theme (and contemporary relevance) of ideas surrounding death, the fragility of life, and the passage of time.
Oltmann is fascinated by the processes of geology, evolution, and human history. As the press release for Cradle informs us, his work draws on the ideas set forth by Simon Calley in Sculpture and Archaeology (2011), which describes archeology as a discipline of “examining our relationship to time and our place to its continuity [. . .] It is an activity concerned with the present [and] with projecting ourselves into the past” (Source). Historically and culturally, skulls have been enduring symbols of death and transience; the image of a sleeping child, which has been used as a grave marker, is representative of tranquility, rest, and the final “long sleep.” By finding and exploring the similarities in these motifs, Oltmann unearths an age-old melancholia and retrospective on the finitude of human life.