Don’t you hate it when this happens to your desk. Too hard to get any work done with all the commotion. By Alex Varanese.
Allie Pisarro-Grant is an artist I was very delighted to have met here in New York. She attended RISD and has been working in New York City for the past 7 years. One day while commuting to work I saw Allie holding a Pearl Paint bag, so I decided to talk to her. Since then I’ve caught her work at The Brucennial and we’ve been friends ever since. She also coincidentally showed last New Years with some of my friends in Milwaukee. Recently we met up to do a studio visit and I got to know her work a little better.
Tokyo’s subway is infamous for its cramped conditions but the psychological effects of the uncompromising close human proximity experienced daily by thousands of workers are rarely depicted. Michael Wolf’s Tokyo Compression captures the moment and reaction when individuals are forcefully sandwiched between their fellow commuters and the parameters of the carriage. Heads are bowed, sometimes contorted unwillingly into unnatural positions of supposed rest. Noses, fingers and knuckles are compressed against the glass, eyes are almost always shut.
New York City-based design studio SOFTlab combines technology and craft with an installation titled We Are Flowers. Inspired by nature, the beautiful large-scale funnels are comprised of over 20,000 translucent flowers that create an immersive sculpture in the New York flagship store for Melissa shoes. It appears in the Melissa Gallery and was specifically created for the space. If you aren’t familiar with the brand, it’s funky, colorful, and playful rubber footwear that evokes a childlike feel (although marketed to adults).
SOFTlab’s sculpture is both precisely engineered yet enchanting at the same time. It’s whimsical and not over thought, which is how the designers want you to feel. They write:
Although we used cutting edge digital technology to develop this installation, we hope it remains mostly hidden in order for everyone to experience the magic of a hanging garden of flowers. We imagine this installation as an extension of the We Are Flowers collection by Melissa: technically innovative with attention to every detail, but first and foremost a design that expresses sensuality through its form and brings joy and color to the Melissa experience. (Via Ghost in the Machine)
Andy Gilmore is a draftsman and designer based in Rochester, NY. His work looks like a more sophisticated and colorful version of the spirographs from our youth. Gilmore’s use of repetitive shapes creates a kind of Faux gradient that I’m quite fond.
Carol Milne fires up small structural sculptures of knitting made entirely of glass. Though there’s no mistake that this is no ordinary yarn — unless it’s the crystalline yarn of some mystical other plane — it’s still incredible to see the amount of detail and the illusion of malleability.
The technique Milne uses involves wax, refractory molds, molten glass (at a startling 1,400 to 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit), and a steady hand; once the initial process is done, Milne has to carefully free her work of art from its mold, piece by piece.
The sculptures are at once whimsical and delicate, poised as though mid-conversation during a most magical knitting club session. Her sculptures, on average never exceeding 12 inches, are also flavored heavily with surrealism; one sculpture pays homage to M.C. Escher who, no doubt, would have appreciated her clean, understated lines.
There are, too, some sociological undertones; Milne says in an artist’s statement:
“I see my knitted work as metaphor for social structure. Individual strands are weak and brittle on their own, but deceptively strong when bound together.” (via This Is Colossal)