Call me old fashioned, but when I think of a sand castle competitions my mind is filled with images of giant structures adorned with mermaids, pirates, and sand dollars, enormous boat-devouring sharks, and faithful replicas of Mount Rushmore or the Leaning Tower of Pisa. How pleasantly surprised I was to find these striking figurative sculptural works by Cleveland-based sand sculptor and woodworker Carl Jara, who says his intention is to sculpt things with sand you would never expect to see at a sand castle competition. His work is so accomplished you almost forget the medium you’re looking at, the pieces appearing as if carved from marble or wood.
Jara began working with sand in high school when a desperate art teacher, afraid Carl’s insatiable hunger for art might lead him to re-take the available art classes a third time, connected him with sand sculptor Tom Morrison. Once in college he studied fine arts, mainly illustration and graphic design, but when it came time for his degree show at Meyers School of Art in Akron, he realized he possessed neither the desire nor talent to become a designer, and decided to focus his efforts on a 15-foot sand sculpture. The response was overwhelming and landed Jara on the evening news and served as the formal launching point of his career that now includes nine World Championship medals. You can see much more of his work here.
London-based artist Zadok Ben David created this incredible installation using 12,000 cut steel botanical specimens modeled from old textbook illustrations, each embedded in a thin layer of sand. On first encountering the sprawling array of plants they appear completely black, thus the installation’s title: Blackfield. However when viewed from the opposite side, a field of black turns into a wall of color. I would love to encounter this first-hand. A circular version of Blackfield is currently on display at Artclub 1563 in Seoul through February 2012. If you liked this, you’ll love Eiji Watanabe’s paper butterflies. (via collabcubed)
This December, in a surprisingly simple yet ridiculously amazing installation for the Queensland Gallery of Modern Ar, artist Yayoi Kusama constructed a large domestic environment, painting every wall, chair, table, piano, and household decoration a brilliant white, effectively serving as a giant white canvas. Over the course of two weeks, the museum’s smallest visitors were given thousands upon thousands of colored dot stickers and were invited to collaborate in the transformation of the space, turning the house into a vibrantly mottled explosion of color. How great is this? Given the opportunity my son could probably cover the entire piano alone in about fifteen minutes. The installation, entitled The Obliteration Room, is part of Kusama’s Look Now, See Forever exhibition that runs through March 12.
For the past several years Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang have been collecting tons of plastic debris off a small stretch of beach near their Norther California home. The plastic is cleaned, categorized and stored before its utilized in their assorted projects including sculptural work, photography, large-scale museum installations, jewelry and art prints. Learn more here. (via vimeo)
I love the subtle effect of this installation by Patrick Bérubé. At a distance it looks simply like a white toy container ship resting on the gallery floor. On closer inspection you realize the entire gallery floor has been modified, the gaps between the wooden floorboards mimicking the ocean wake behind the lumbering toy vessel. The piece is part of the Fenêtre sur cour exposition at Gallerie SAS in Montréal that runs through January 12.
Made in China is a recent piece by artist Joe Black depicting a portrait of Chinese soldier by photographer Robert Capa that appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine in 1938. Black glued over 5,500 multi-colored toy soldiers to a vertical surface to achieve the pointillistic effect. The artwork was on display last October at the Moniker Art Fair in London. (images via piers mason, annar_50, and the artist)