San Francisco-based metalsmith and neon artist Meryl Pataky has shared with us some behind-the-scenes moments from her studio, as she gears up for her next solo project, Cellar Door.
Working exclusively with elements from the periodic table, Pataky uses a collision of phrase and loose linework to give life to her concepts—silver, copper, iron, carbon, neon and all of the noble gases are integral to her investigations. For her latest collection of work, Pataky is creating a series of signage-based installations that attempt to coexist with natural elements. Matching up blown glass with honey, and pairing neon lettering with leafy underbrush, she explores the effect that context and concept have on her luminous, typically commercial medium. The vivid colors and natural, flowing use of line in her pieces echo a mastery of medium, and her nods to just the right amount of science geekery are playful and perfectly timed.
Marco Mazzoni’s work softly drips with an exquisite ease of darkness. From blooming faces where birds gather to a rabbit draining with butterfly wings, each image surrealistically depicts folklore infused with spiritual healing properties that twist and twirl with our own imaginative connections to nature.
To elaborate, Jonathan Levine Gallery notes, “Mazzoni’s imagery references herbalist traditions and Sardinian folklore of mystical seductresses who enchant, curse and cure. His body of work is a tribute to the legacy of female healers throughout history. These women held an important role in medieval communities yet their ancient knowledge of the natural healing properties of medicinal plants was widely feared by the Church, viewed as witchcraft and cause for persecution.”
The sculptures of Naoko Ito are elegant in their simplicity. Indeed, these pieces are entirely constructed of only two materials: a tree and jars. A limb of a tree is cut into several segments and each segment, in turn, is placed in a jar. Naoko carefully arranges the jarred pieces to reconstruct the shape of the limb. A subdued commentary on the relationship between humans and nature, the imagery is immediate all the same. Though the shape and size of the tree limb is intact, the jarred branches are nearly gloomy.
Sven Lamme seems to playfully sit on the fence, so to say, between art and design. In collaboration with landscaper Terra Incognita, Lamme constructed these three “seating elements” throughout a nature preserve in the Netherlands. They at once serve as kind of landmark for the natural surroundings as well as a means to passively interact with the environment. Lamme also makes use of visual puns in the design of his seating elements. The first seat a literal interpretation of sitting on the fence, and the third resembling a buoy – a reference to the lands elevation below sea level.
Living in cities, not only do we forget that we’re a part of the natural world, but it’s easy to forget how truly awesome the natural world can be. Occasionally, though, we’ll get lost or go camping and see a world of seemingly inanimate structures that are not only alive but full of color and crawling in and over one another and feel like we have found another world. Allison Gildersleeve has definitely felt this way, as her paintings are all about the wild wild wilderness– its colors, life, fractal chaos–that we too easily overlook. From a distance, Allison’s work looks almost expressionist, but as you look more, you notice meticulously painted shapes that look more and more like trees and branches and realize what she really seems like she’s trying to express is the impression the awe of the natural world has on her. One kick back to living in the cities is that when you go back out to the wilderness, it really does seem wild. If you haven’t seen it for a while, get some camping and swimming in while you still can and take a few minutes to look at the world that’s living and breathing around you.
Kristine Five Melvær is a Norwegian designer who brings a really subtle, but affective approach to the table. This Bloom lamp series is great. Inspired by natural forms, the shades call to mind “buds, fruit, or water”. Each of the three lamps are a different height, which promotes a sense of organic incongruity. The shades are made of canvas, which, though a possible fire hazard, goes along nicely with the earthy vibe of each piece. (via)
These photographs are taken from two series by NYC photographer Amy Stein: “Domesticated”, and “Halloween in Harlem”. The photos were put together a while ago now, but I’ve always loved them. And, as Ms. Stein seems to be dealing with an issue involving use of her work without permission and $40,000, I figured she deserved some love.
“Domesticated” depicts real stories ivolving animals and humans culled from local news stories. Stein used often used taxidermied animals in her perfectly positioned shots, which include bobcats confused by newfound construction and curious bears checking out backyard pools.
“Halloween in Harlem” is pretty straightforward: Stein’s eye set to run freely capturing the spirit of the holiday and creepy children in masks on the street.
“Choosing to focus on natural elements that are not commonly appreciated or used for decorative purposes, my artwork is connected to the ‘wildness’ in nature even as it is taming it by the creation of formal patterning.”
Drawing on her background in textile design, Lisa A. Frank creates large-scale “repeating patterns”, “tapestry-like designs”, and “floor to ceiling ‘sections'” from her own nature photography. The artist’s works (some of which are composed of over 100 digital layers) obviously draw on a strong connection to nature and its various trappings: flaura, fauna, etc. Such elements are inherently wild and unpredictable. So Frank’s application of computerized media and pattern work, logical processes very unlike the mysterious mechanisms that govern the natural world, sets up a really interesting dynamic. And, like in the natural environment, there’s a lot going on in these works. The effort really shows and I could spend a long time looking at each one.
Great stuff. Definitely worth a click past the jump to check out more images of the artist’s work, which draws material from all four seasons.