Category: Art

Delicate Pencil Lead Sculptures Carved by Salavat Fidai

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Starting with carpenter and art pencils containing thick leads, Russian artist Salavat Fidai uses an X-ACTO knife to carve miniature renderings of hands, buildings, and various characters from pop culture. The delicate process requires a good understanding of how much pressure the lead can withstand, but even then mistakes are inevitable. The Ufa-based artist is fascinated by all things miniature, and also paints on seeds and matchboxes. Watch the timelapse below to see his process for carving an entire replica of the Eiffel Tower.

You can follow Fidai on Instagram, and some of his pieces occasionally end up in his shop. If you liked this, also check out pencil carvings by Diem Chau and Dalton Ghetti.

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Globalization and the Environment Collide in Mary Iverson’s Mixed Media Paintings of Shipping Containers

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Mary Iverson fills natural and manmade landscapes with colorful shipping containers, objects haphazardly stacked on each other and taking up a majority of the otherwise tranquil scenes. The containers and boxes are cross-hatched with overlaid lines, connecting them a predetermined pattern seemingly known only by the artist.

Iverson explains her work by saying, “My paintings are colorful abstractions that spring from the theme of the industrial shipping terminal. The canvases feature mass accumulations of shipping containers and container cranes in various perspectives. My work employs a network of searching perspective lines and layers of interlocking, colorful planes and rectangles that suggest both deep space and flat surface.”

Part painting and part collage (the pieces often incorporate found photography), her artworks address what happens when globalization and the environment collide, material possessions doubling and tripling until they spill into the natural world around them. The Seattle-based painter gathers the bulk of her source imagery for her sketches through yearly trips to parks across the country, camping and photographing the landscape around her.

Iverson received her MFA in Painting from the University of Washington in 2002 and currently teaches painting and drawing at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, WA as a tenured faculty member. Iverson has two upcoming October exhibitions, one at Gallery FB69 in Munster, Germany and another at G. Gibson Gallery in Seattle. Check out more images of Iverson’s work on her Instagram here. (via Juxtapoz where she’s the cover artist for the August issue)

Valley 8 x 10, collage on panel, 2010, Iverson

Settlement,12 x 12 inches, acrylic, ink, found photograph on panel, 2014

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Grand Canyon, 8 x 10 inches, collage on panel, 2010, Iverson

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New Ethereal Watercolor and Black Ink Cats That Fade into the Canvas by Endre Penovác

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We continue to be awed by Serbian artist Endre Penovác's ability to somehow control the unforgiving nature of water on paper to produce ghostly paintings of felines. As the mixture of water and black ink bleeds in every direction it appears to perfectly mimic the cat’s fur. In his newest pieces Penovác introduces elements of color and negative space to add a slightly new dimension. You can see more of his recent work on Facebook and Saatchi Art.

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A Monumental Scaffolding of Poplar Wood at Rice Gallery by Ben Butler

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Ben Butler (previously) is fascinated by the complex structures that emerge from simple and delicate processes. This phenomena can be found in the elaborate systems produced by ant colonies to human cities, small quotidian actions accumulating into overpowering structures. Unbounded, Butler’s installation on display at Rice University Gallery in Houston, Texas, uses this same idea by assembling over 10,000 pieces of poplar wood into a matrix-like structure. This massive arrangement coalesces into an unexpectedly mesmerizing array of grids that stretch to fill the gallery space.

Butler approached this installation, as he commonly does within his practice, without initial sketches or ideas of what he would like the structure to look like. He played with the materials, discovering configurations on the spot. Although the grids within Unbounded were pre-made in his studio, the way they were configured and connected horizontally was all in response to the space. This way of acting in the present ensured that the structure’s outcome would be organic, and not purely responding to a preconceived shape.

Poplar wood was chosen for the installation because of its malleability and abundance, which gave Butler the ability to fiddle with a material that seemed endless. This idea of endlessness also tied into the title he chose for the piece. Butler wanted the piece to have no defined boundary or vantage point, but encourage the audience to walk around and within the structure, discovering it from all angles.

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Butler received an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003. He currently lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee and Quogue, New York and has an upcoming exhibition of his sculptures and drawings at The University of Mississippi Museum, Oxford opening in September 2015.

Unbounded will remain on display at Rice University Art Gallery in Houston, Texas until August 28, 2015. (via designboom)

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Urban Diversion: Playful Street Art Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak

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Street artist OakOak (previously) continues to bring smiles and double-takes to his hometown of St. Etienne, France, an old industrial town with drab facades and cracked sidewalks ripe for his unique brand of visual jokes. He shares his love for superheroes, the Simpsons, Bruce Lee, and other pop culture references through mostly non-destructive, temporary interventions that interact with the immediate environment. Some of OakOak’s best works have been gathered into a new book, Urban Diversion (in French), and the artist had an exhibition earlier this year at le cabinet d’amateur earlier this year.

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A Library That Plummets into an Abyss by Susanna Hesselberg for Sculpture by the Sea

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Susanna Hesselberg, “When My Father Died It Was Like a Whole Library Had Burned Down” (2015) / Photo by Claire Voon for Hyperallergic

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For her entry into the biannual Sculpture by the Sea in Aarhus, Denmark, Swedish artist Susanna Hesselberg installed this ominous library that plumments into the ground like a mining shaft. While visually arresting, the piece has a somewhat somber intention. Titled “When My Father Died It Was Like a Whole Library Had Burned Down,” the artwork makes reference to lyrics from Laurie Anderson’s song World Without End. The piece joins an additional 55 sculptures on display right now at the 2015 Sculpture by the Sea through July 5, 2015. (via Hyperallergic)

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The Meticulous 10-Month Restoration of a 355-Year-Old Painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Completed in 1660, Charles Le Brun’s painting of Everhard Jabach and His Family had seen better days. The 355-year-old family portrait was covered in a badly tinted varnish, had multiple superficial scratches and structural damage had split the painting nearly in half. This video documents the 10-month restoration at the Metropolitan Museum of Art lead by Michael Gallagher that involved retouching, structural work, re-varnishing, and numerous other conservation techniques to bring this giant painting back to life. The Met also documented the process in some 20+ blog posts over on their website. (via Sploid)

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