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Mel Davis’ Begin Here

Berkeley based artist Mel Davis has just opened her latest exhibition at Eleanor Harwood Gallery entitled Begin Here. From the press release: “With these new paintings, Mel Davis explores the polarities between the natural and the allegorical, the decorative and the expressive, the representational and the gestural. She is engaged in a conversation that exists between these states, measuring the gaps between thought and language, trying to expand on her diverse visual vocabulary. Integral in Davis’s new paintings is the notion of foliage as a connecting thread, both pictorial and metaphorical, describing a taut emotional and private landscape that illustrates the potency of variation. The works are engaged in a simple pared down composition but push an expansive, dramatic and romantic use of language. Always with the goal of achieving visual pleasure, the paintings are calculations of light shifts, the space that trees occupy, the reverie that happens when looking out a window, reminding us of our fragile coexistence with the natural world and its everlasting powers.” The show is on view through April 27th, 2013.

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Cesar Del Valle’s Drawings Interact with the world

Cesar Del Valle’s drawings are not just exquisitely rendered but also interact with the very surface they are drawn upon. Rather than simply drawing the objects and places that the figures interact with Cesar creates unique situations where a figure might be holding up a crumpling part of the paper, jumping over an actual hole in the paper, or walking a tightrope that is constructed out of a pencil stuck through the paper. By creating these interactions Cesar not only wows the viewer with his ability to think outside the box begs the question did the drawing or the paper come first? More of Cesar’s interactions with the surface after the jump. (via illusion)

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Self-Folding Paper Robot Assembles Itself In Less Than 4 Minutes And Even Walks Away

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US-based team of scientists has built a robot that folds itself into an origami-inspired shape starting from a flat sheet. The assemblage of such robot doesn’t require any human intervention. It is made from a polymer material which shrinks when heated, also has electronics and motors attached to it. When the heating elements affect the hinges made in paper, the robot starts transforming into a crab-like machine. The whole process takes about 4 minutes before the robot can start walking.

The team behind the project said their inspiration came from the complex 3-D shapes in origami: like in the Japanese paper art, various three-dimensional shapes are constructed from a single sheet of paper. This robot takes origami a step further. According to the developer team, such self-assembling robots can be greatly employed in construction or rescue works.

“[They could be delivered] through a confined passageway, such as a collapsed building, after which they would assemble into their final form autonomously,” states Marc Lavine, senior editor at Science.

Robot‘s small size makes is what makes it very useful because of the easy transportation and storage. Apart from search-and-rescue missions, a more advanced version of the robot could be easily used construction works, especially in places that are hard to reach. The whole project is said to cost $11,000 but with the initial designs in place, the mass-production robots should cost around $100 each. (via NPR)

Watch a short video about the project after the jump.

Devin Crane

DC2Devin Crane recently released a new series entitled “Heaven Can Wait,” combining the unusual concepts of high fashion, sexuality and theology. Inspired by every day life, Devin states that he “wanted to bathe each painting in heavenly light and contrast with dark pieces of turmoil. This represents the choices we make in life that can either bring us absolute pleasure or confinement in our self-made prisons.”

Devin Crane is a well known computer animator working with the likes of Disney and Dreamworks. Some of his projects included Shrek 2 and Aliens 4. His use of rich color, highly stylized figures, and satire brings a heightened sense of awareness. Devin will be exhibiting “Heaven Can Wait,” at Galerie Arludik in Paris on May 25th, 2010.

Alessandra Maria’s Beautifully Eerie Drawings On Coffee-Stained Paper

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Artist Alessandra Maria uses tools like graphite, gold leaf, and black ink to produce her intriguing portraits. In addition to these traditional materials, she has an unconventional surface that she works on – coffee stained paper. The dark brown ground offers an entry point for these characters, and the gray pencil adds a soft touch to her realistic-looking figures.

Gold leaf is seen here as an accent for the butterflies, flowers, and intricate details. Their drawing style and symbolism conjure fairy tales and other fantastical stories. While there’s a lot of luscious, life-like drawing, the characters often have a blank stare. It’s hard to determine what they’re thinking, which makes Maria’s compositions all the more alluring. Here, beauty is a facade for a deeper, potentially darker  below.

Guerrero Gallery Show- San Francisco

For those of you in the Bay Area, Guerrero Gallery is having a group show of awesome artist featuring AJ Fosik, Ben Venom, and Erin Riley.  With a focus on traditional craft, a seemingly almost extinct skill in today’s highly digitized world, this exhibition aims to bring light and exposure to the hands-on work of each of these very distinct art. The show will run through until December 4th.

Ji Zhou’s Civlized Landscapes Create A 3D World Out Of Maps And Books

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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.

Kiva Ford’s Unbelievable Miniature Glass Jars And Bottles Fit Between Your Fingers

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Avid glass blower Kiva Ford spends most of his days making complex glass instruments for use in the science lab. After completing a college degree in Scientific Glassblowing, he creates some pretty wild creations. But not only does he do it as a professional job, Ford twists molten glass in his spare time too. As a hobby, he makes other kinds of complicated glass forms – these ones are geared more toward art and commerce. He crafts delicate, miniature versions of bottles, goblets, pendants, domes, vessels, Champagne flutes and vases, all made from glass. Any even though they are tiny in size, they don’t lack imagination or incredible details.

As a member of the American Scientific Glass Blowers Society, he creates custom made glassware for research and discovery. He makes things that can’t be made by a machine or mass produced – all of his creations are as artistic as the next. For Ford, there is no real difference between the two.

I get just as excited about scientific glass as I do artistic glass. The whole process is beautiful to me. (Source)

Enjoying a tradition started a few thousand years ago in Persia, Ford enjoys using the same techniques that haven’t changed – blowing glass over an open flame. He says he loves coming up with new ideas – trying to see what is possible, and what isn’t possible. He even manages to create tiny animals from glass and fits them into other glass containers – achieving something he says, he hasn’t seen anyone else be able to.

For Ford his main aim is to focus on one skill – and get good at what he does. And it is pretty obvious he is well on his way to being a full fledged master of glass. (Via Trenf)