Tucson boy Andrew Hayes creates industrial sculptures from books. His work, reminiscent of minimalist pieces from the 1960s and 1970s, uses seemingly simple manipulations to create beautiful compositions employing the use of color blocking and the glorification of materiality.
Drawing inspiration from the American desert landscape in his earlier works, Hayes created the foundation of his style through fabricating steel. After his studies, Hayes worked as an industrial welder. While bouncing between jobs, he found himself as a Core Fellow at the Penland School of Crafts in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Bakersville, North Carolina. During this time, Hayes began to explore with various materials and forms, eventually finding his way to the book. He states,
“The book is a seductive object to hold and smell and run your fingers through. I am drawn to books for many reasons; however, the content of the book does not enter my work. The pages allow me to achieve a form, surface, and texture that are appealing to me. The book as an object is full of fact and story. I take my sensory appreciation for the book as a material and employ the use of metal to create a new form, and hopefully a new story.”
Sticking true to the celebration of form and material, Hayes work is truly striking and exudes a sort of power associated with fabrication. However, the introduction of the book allows a softness that is not only a fun play on an aesthetic staple, but also hints at a element of elusiveness — as he does not use the contents of the books — his work invites an aspect of imagination for the viewer. (via iGNANT)
Haitian born American artist Morel Doucet sculpts ceramic timepiece odes to coral reefs. His work simultaneously touches two seemingly unrelated issues, both of which have been created by constructs of complicated and sensitive histories ingrained into reality over time: climate change and societal taboos. His series, titled Clock Work,“examines the relationship between the dying of our environments (coral reefs) and skin color (Melanin) as a device for the passing of time.” Just as climate change manipulates elements of the environment, the conditioning of history’s exploits that have been created by unequal distribution of power and inequitable actions has influenced the way human tonality is considered. His work pairs moments of nature with notions of flesh tone. For example, his piece titled Blanc refers to how the solar irradiance is bleaching the coral reefs, as well as “how prevalent skin whitening cosmetic products are popular in the Caribbean and parts of Southeast Asia. Four out of ten women surveyed in Jamaica, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Korea used a skin whitening cream.”
Using various forces, including personal and cultural histories, dreams, and the “paradoxical beauty of nature,” Doucet’s quiet work finds a delicate manner in which to speak of overtly complex topic areas that are often let down by semantics. He states;
“I aim to create work that not only stands out for its regal impact but also for its sensitivity. My inspiration comes from an ongoing interest and profound respect for indigenous tribal cultures of the Amazon, Aboriginal natives of Australia and the Yoruba tribe of West Africa. I am fascinated with garments and textiles of Native Americans and Afro-futurism. With this vocabulary of indigenous art, along with my personal dreams, I make whimsical forms resulting in a diary of my personal mythology.”
His work, rooting in self exploration, effortlessly offers a soft platform to speak about the complex.
Inner architectural worlds open up in the works of Matthew Simmonds. Beginning his career as a student of art history at the University of East Anglia, the artist gradually moved into sculptural and architectural work, studying stone carving at Weymouth College and later participating in the restoration of several notable monuments, including Westminster Abbey and the cathedrals of Salisbury and Ely. Following these experiences, he began working on his stone sculptures, applying his combined knowledge of history, architecture, and stonework to carve miniature sculptures depicting hallowed interiors.
Simmonds’ works are masterpieces of perception. Despite their small scale, his sculptures absorb the viewer’s imagination with illusions of infinite space; under sunlit arches, through dark corridors, and up monolithic steps, one can almost hear the reverberation of the voice, the lifting of the soul as it passes through deep, sacred spaces. Light plays an important role, warming and chilling the stone and accentuating the finely-hewn details. Invoking architectural styles from ancient and medieval histories, Simmonds visually and emotionally connects us with a Western cultural past; as his artist’s statement compellingly describes, “Drawing on the formal language and philosophy of architecture, the work explores themes of positive and negative form, the significance of light and darkness, and the relationship between nature and human endeavour “ (Source)
Visit Simmonds’ website to see an impressive collection of his work.
Alison Moritsugu is an artist based in Beacon, NY, who paints pieces of fallen trees with scenes of idealized nature. Her works recall the landscape paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly those of Albert Bierstadt and Frederic Edwin Church. Following the contours of the logs, she revisions their origins as trees, painting deep forests, still lakes, mountain waterfalls, and autumnal skies. The log paintings serve a dual function: first, to acknowledge and meditate on the beauty of nature, much like the artists of the Hudson River School did; second, to contrast this romanticism with the signs of its destruction—the dead wood on which the scenes appear.
“My work reveals how idealized images of the land shape our concept of the natural world—in essence, how our experiences are mediated by the mechanisms of art and culture,” Moritsugu writes in her artist’s statement (Source). Throughout history, artists have appropriated and interpreted nature, turning lush imagery into cultural symbols of peace, exploration, sublimity, and abundance. These were the types of stories that fostered an idea that nature was somehow separate from us, a land of fantasy that eventually grew to be exploited. Today, as Moritsugu points out, “photoshopped images of verdant forests and unspoiled beaches invite us to vacation and sightsee, providing a false sense of assurance that the wilderness will always exist” (Source). By producing a conflict between the serene imagery and the dead wood, Moritsugu faces us with our roles in the environment’s uncertain future.
Looking into Rogan Brown’s artwork is like diving into a microcosm of ultra-detailed organisms. The artist creates a myriad of tiny sculptures made out of paper, arranged into one piece which he calls a ‘Magic Circle’.
The sets of paper sculptures are hand and laser-cut. With a scalpel or a knife, Rogan Brown cuts out patterns and motifs inspired from cell structures, tree moss, bacteria, coral, diatoms and radiolaria. The work is laborious and meticulous, taking up to several months for the artist to complete. The choice of paper is deliberate. This mean represents within a same concept, both the fragility and durability of nature. By looking at the infinite details comprised within the final piece, we understand the slow process of growth and decay, life and death which characterizes the cycle of nature.
The artist wishes to mix science and art to metaphorically suggest that a vast range of observations is subconsciously modified by individual imagination. The complexity of nature attracts human curiosity and its need to observe, analyze and classify. A process endeavored by science which is often stopped by too much existing data. Rogan Brown says his “work similarly attempts to frustrate categorization”.
The artist reveals in the profusion of his artistic microorganisms his main belief. Nature can be the source of infinite imagination. (via This Is Colossal)
Brooklyn based artist Russel Cameron creates lifelike sculptures of amputated human body parts. Displayed almost like trophies, Cameron’s on gong series, Flesh and Bone, acts like a collection of the living bizarre. Using classic materials such as clay, paint, wood, and metal, Cameron, a self taught artist, is able to perfectly achieve the goal of many artists: he attains the ability to accurately mimic human flesh. This handiwork allows his work to truly provoke, probe and disturb; each piece acts as a slight ode to the abnormal, forcing the viewer to imagine the the entire creature attached to the individualized parts. The details are what allow the work to feel so real — his minor hints of flesh tonality and careful placement of wrinkles and creases give enough information to perhaps create a full narrative for every piece. His work is influenced by artists specializing in dark and fantastical subject matter such as Zdzislaw Beksinski, the Polish dystopian surrealist painter, Hieronymus Bosch, the Dutch painter known for his detailed absurd landscapes, and H.R. Giger, the Swiss “biomechanical” surrealist painter and special effects artist known for Alien. He also takes inspiration from classicists such as the infamous Spanish romanic painter Francisco Goya. Through his work, Russel Cameron aims to glorify the beauty in what can be often found as grotesque.
Tiny humans wearing animal heads. Crystal Morey creates porcelain sculptures to represent her personal connection to nature. The little characters, part of her ‘At the Edge of Time’ new series are full of meaning and power. The artist envisions them as talismans meant to deliver a message and protect their owners.
Each naked human body has its top part covered with an animal head; an eagle, a bear or a deer. The texture of the skin, the eyes, the teeth are intricately depicted. The sculptures are left white, a color associated with fragility and purity. And their height doesn’t exceed a few inches, which emphasizes their dainty and frail look.
Crystal Morey symbolizes nature and the role the environment has on humanity. The humans forced to live with an animal appearance unveil the deep and dark feeling of being trapped. A sentiment the artist is experiencing while watching human kind forcing its destiny on nature.
Questioning this relationship is the purpose of Crystal Morey’s art work. She wishes that the viewer will come across the sculptures and take the initiative to contemplate the world they are living in. And hopefully reconsider their role within this planet or envision new perspectives on how to create a better place for both species. (Via Hi Fructose)
Crystal Morey’s ‘At the Edge of Time’ series will be displayed at the Antler Gallery in Portland until December 31st 2015.
Climate control has been a controversial and momentous topic, well, for at at least two decades, but, the issue of global warming seems to be re-trending in light of the the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. One tactic of addressing the issue’s importance, as we have seen, has been the thousands of activists marching all over the world (and the silent protest in Paris due to recent events). However, a Chinese performance artist who goes by the name “Nut Brother” has decided to take a more quantitative and perhaps informative approach. Beijing, the capital of China (the country that has largest CO2 emissions in the world), is a city of industrial smog. The artist announced a plan to literally vacuum the dust from the Beijing’s air for four hours a day, for 100 days in a row. As a performance, the artist walked the streets, starting in late July, with a pony tail, often a respirator mask, and vacuum with suction nozzle held in his hand to collect debris. On November 30th, the last day of his project, he gathered all 100 days worth of dust and brought it to a brick factory to be mixed with clay and turned into an alarming soot filled brick. Nut Brother is aware that he is not actually changing the air quality, however, he hopes his project will provoke passerby’s to consider their relationship to the environment and their surroundings. (via QUARTZ)