This short video from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology documents the spectacular plumage and mating dance of the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise. In order to catch the attention of its female counterpart, the male Bird-of-Paradise flips its cape of black feathers into a large ruff that surrounds its head, while also fanning out an iridescent azure blue skirt of feathers from its breast. In a paper published by Timothy G. Laman and Edwin Scholes, this Indonesian bird was recently confirmed as a separate species based on its courtship behavior. You can learn more about the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise in another video from Cornell and watch more videos about all things avian on the Lab’s YouTube channel. (via The Kid Should See This)
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Allan Rubin‘s aptly named series CANON presents a range of famous artists throughout history, all rendered from an amalgamation of tin cans. The works are each painted in the style of the artist’s self-portrait, such as a Post-Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh or Neoclassical Angelica Kauffmann.
The body of work grew out of the painter’s desire to work on a smaller scale in his cramped studio. The can sculptures proved to be a perfect solution, and provided an intriguing challenge for Rubin to transform flat images into three-dimensional works.
Throughout the years he has learned the best formula to build his portraits, like realizing that the shape of tomato sauce cans are well suited for heads. “Cookie tins sometimes make good torsos,” he told Hyperallergic. “Bean cans are just right for arms and necks. Sardine cans make great hands. Lids have rings embossed on them that work perfectly for ears, and also become noses that I have learned to bend, slot, and tab onto the faces.”
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Artist Hope Gangloff captures the personalities of her friends and family in brightly colored large-scale portraits. Gangloff’s acrylic and collage paintings show her subjects in intimate settings—often domestic interiors—in poses of relaxation or quiet focus. The artist’s strong but gestural lines create defined shapes that are filled with repetitive marks and bright patterns. Gangloff gives equal textural attention to all areas of the painting, which draws the viewer’s eye to every detail and also contextualizes each portrait sitter in a unique set of surroundings. (If you’re intrigued by this flat field patterning, also take a look at Édouard Vuillard‘s paintings).
The New York-based artist’s large body of work consists of a substantial number of these vibrant portraits. In an interview with Vogue, Gangloff describes her choice of subject as akin to rock climbing:
An outsider who doesn’t look at a lot of art might not understand why I paint similar things over and over again… But there are always micro movements. I’m always working through problems. Rock climbers look for little changes in rocks to help them climb and keep going. When I look at a painting, I’m also looking for the move that’s going to set off something else. The whole painting is like a problem I’m trying to solve.
Gangloff studied at Cooper Union and is represented by Susan Inglett Gallery in New York. In 2017 she was the inaugural artist selected for Stanford University’s Diekman Contemporary Commissions Program, which included a solo show and a weeklong artist residency during which Gangloff painted publicly in the Cantor Arts Center atrium. You can see more of the artist’s portraits, as well as her still life paintings, ink drawings, and political posters on her website and Instagram.
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Artist Dylan Martinez combines several glassblowing and sculpting techniques to form hyperrealistic plastic bags from molten glass. Through these works, Martinez creates scenarios that obscure the viewer’s interpretation of reality and illusion. His curiosity in this subject matter is sparked by the fact that he was born red-green colorblind. This has presented Martinez an alternative way of seeing, and encourages his fascination with obscuring common perception in his glass-blown works.
“The trapped movement of the rising bubbles and the gesture of the forms convince the eye that the sculptures are just as they seem,” says Martinez in his artist statement. “What is fascinating is that our desires often override our true perception of reality and you believe what you think is visible as the truth.”
To begin, Martinez sculpts the solid glass or “water” that appears within each bag. Next, he adds a blown bubble to the top which is then smoothed out before he begins to hand sculpt each fold and wrinkle. Once complete, the sculpture is placed in an annealing oven at 950° F and allowed to cool for 120 hours.
Martinez recently opened a glass studio in White Salmon, Washington near his home in Hood River, Oregon. He has an upcoming self-titled solo exhibition at Echt Gallery in Chicago which opens on July 13. You can view more of the artist’s glass-based sculptures on his website and Instagram.
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Poet and textile artist Miranda van Dijk prints found images onto delicate faux floral arrangements made from canvas, cotton, or voile. The vintage images are transferred onto the textile plants using a digital printing technique, and are either hidden in the curve of a petal or are displayed prominently on one of the plant’s leaves. These works are then imbedded in a natural environment, allowing her sculptures to blend into wildflower gardens and other lush scenes.
For her series Sensitive Survivors, van Dijk modeled her pieces on twelve different forms of weeds. “Before the idea came up, I was obsessed by weeds,” the Dutch artist tells Colossal. “I saw them everywhere. Between my tiles in the garden, the playground. I found them so strong yet so fragile at the same time.”
Recently van Dijk published a book titled Sensitive Survivors (written in Dutch) which presents poetic connections between her handmade plants and the individuals printed on their forms. You can buy select pieces from Miranda van Dijk from her Etsy store, and learn about about her work on her website and Instagram. (via Anna Marks)
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Famed Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama (previously) is known for her color explosions, light matrices, and proclivity towards covering many of her works in a dazzling layer of dots. In one of her most interactive installations, the artist hands her interest in dot making over to the visitor. The Obliteration Room invites guests to “obliterate” a domestic interior by placing colorful stickers onto the walls, furniture, and floors.
For her recent commission for the inaugural National Gallery of Victoria Triennial, the artist transformed this concept to include a flower motif. For Flower Obsession (2017) guests were given artificial gerbera daisies and flower stickers to place on any surface of their choosing, completely covering the faux-apartment by the end of the triennial’s four-month run. This floral theme taps into the beginning of the artist’s art-making, referencing a memory from her early childhood.
“One day, after gazing at a pattern of red flowers on the tablecloth, I looked up to see that the ceiling, the windows, and the columns seemed to be plastered with the same red floral pattern,” Kusama explains in a press release for the triennial. “I saw the entire room, my entire body, and the entire universe covered with red flowers, and in that instant my soul was obliterated … This was not an illusion but reality itself.”
The NGV Triennial closed late last week. You can view more documentation from the inaugural exhibition, including this massive installation of hyperrealistic human skulls by Ron Mueck, on the National Gallery of Victoria’s website.
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Photographer Mandy Barker creates deceptively eye-catching images to document the pandemic of plastic debris in the world’s waterways. Barker, who is based in Leeds, UK, works closely with scientists to collect trash from our oceans and beaches on the edges of nearly every continent. One research expedition covered the debris field (stretching to Hawaii) that resulted from Japan’s 2011 tsunami and earthquake; she has also explored the Inner Hebrides in Scotland with Greenpeace.
Barker manipulates her findings in Photoshop, mimicking the manner in which ocean water holds these objects in suspension. Swirls of colors and patterns draw in the viewer’s eye, only to realize that these visually appealing compositions consist of garbage that animals have attempted to chew, plastic pellets, tangles of fishing line, and water-logged soccer balls. The artist describes her work in a statement on her website:
The aim of my work is to engage with and stimulate an emotional response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction along with the subsequent message of awareness. The research process is a vital part of my development as the images I make are based on scientific fact which is essential to the integrity of my work.
Barker is currently a recipient of a 2018 National Geographic Society grant. Her work is on display through April 22nd at Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art, at Photo London Art Fair in May 2018, at the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg in June, 2018, and at BredaPhoto in The Netherlands in September 2018. The artist’s book, Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, was named one of the ten best books of 2017 by Smithsonian. You can see more of Barker’s photographs on her website as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
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Editor's Picks: Illustration
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.