Thanks to the Library of Congress, you can browse and download high-resolution copies of more than 2,500 Japanese woodblock prints and drawings from the library’s online collection. The prints, most of which are dated before the 20th-century, were amassed from a large group of collectors, including notable donors such as President William Howard Taft and Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.
Despite the diversity of genres and traditions represented by the library’s large collection, the most prolific works are ones created in the tradition of the Japanese art form of Ukiyo-e or Yokohama-e. Ukiyo-e was developed in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) between 1600 and 1868 during a relatively peaceful period. The subject and inspiration for many of the prints includes that of entertainment and leisure, such as scenes from kabuki theater and fashionable restaurants.
The style of Yokohama-e was built on methods of production from Ukiyo-e around the time that American naval officer Matthew Calbraith Perry (1794-1858) led an expedition to Japan in the mid-1850’s. New trade agreements between Japan and the West brought travers to the country, inspiring Japanese artists to capture tourists walking throughout the port city, and borrow images from Western newspapers.
You can see the entire collection of historic works on the Library of Congress’s website. (via Open Culture)
“Bird by bird I’ve come to know the earth,” said Pablo Neruda in his book Art of Birds, a quote that has since inspired artist Dina Brodsky to begin her own exploration of birds in an ongoing miniature painting project by the same name: Bird by Bird. The artist first began the project last year as a way to explore the native birds around New York city as her now 18-month-old baby napped in a stroller. The endeavor has since grown to incorporate more rare and exotic birds depicted in everything from ballpoint pen to watercolor and gouache. The bird paintings have become so popular with fans that she’s created a dedicated Instagram account to collect them all.
Heads facing downward, eyes closed, the figures inhabiting the world of painter and sculptor Jaime Molina (previously) seem to be in a state of deep contemplation or sorrow. Or maybe they’re just hungover and taking a nap. The mystery is part of Molina’s intention as he assembles these strange characters from found wood to inhabit his fictional world called “Cutty Town” — he refers to the objects themselves as “Cuttys”. At once strangely familiar and approachable, the pieces sprout hairdos of bent nails, cacti, and leaves that add more questions left only to the viewer to answer.
The Colorado-based based artist most recently exhibited several works with Stefanie Chefas Projects in Portland and Galería UNION in Buenos Aires, and he has a few works available through Thinkspace Gallery. (via Juxtapoz, Creators Project)
Twisting long strips of paper into thin string-like rolls, artist Gunjan Aylawadi (previously) begins a long process of weaving and layering to create designs inspired in part by the geometry, architecture and arabesque patterns found in her native India. Now based in Sydney, the computer science engineer turned self-taught artist has produced a new body of work titled Place for Prayer inspired by her own search for incorporating “personal meditative contemplation” into her life. The pieces will be on view at the Koskela gallery space starting June 24th, 2017. You can follow more of her work with paper on Instagram. (via Hi-Fructose)
Spread across the opened pages of books pinned against the wall like insect specimens, artist Ekaterina Panikanova (previously) creates ink paintings that appear like fragments of memory. As with the content of old books, the subjects of each work appear from a different era, engaged in mysterious activities or moments while accompanied by recurring images of lace, layer cakes, animals, and explosions of ink. Occasionally an image is permitted to span several book spreads, but is often interrupted by a new idea that appears to be inserted like a misplaced puzzle piece.
Panikova was born in Russia and now lives and works between between St. Petersburg and Rome. You can see more of her recent work at Z2O Galleria.
World Tree, 2012. Soil, water. 10m (32 ft)
World Tree is a 2012 land art installation by Hungarian artist Krisztián Balogh. Dug into the ground like a network of roots or tree branches, the piece measures nearly 32 feet (10m) across and has the uncanny perfection of a digital rendering, though it’s most certainly a physical artwork. You can see more views on Behance.