Art Photography

New Miniature Post-Apocalyptic Environments by Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber

February 15, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber (previously) collaboratively produce detailed dioramas caught in the throes of natural or manmade chaos. From 2005 to 2015 the pair created a series titled The City, which imagined the post-apocalyptic interiors of abandoned violin shops, malls, and natural history museums. Empire, a follow-up suite of miniature scenes, serves as a companion to this series by looking at the same imagined future from an exterior point of view.

Nix and Gerber’s new scenes move away from a focus on water-damaged and rusty interiors to explore broad outdoor environments recently devoid of civilization. Scaffolding and bridges crumble as plants begin to poke back through cement cracks, subtle hints that nature has begun to reclaim its land.

Empire presents a world transformed by climate uncertainty and a shifting social order as it stumbles towards a new kind of frontier,” the pair explain in a statement. “These places are eerily beautiful but also unsettling in their stillness and silence. Long ago, man entered the landscape and forced nature to his will. Once grand and emblematic of strength and prosperity, these landscapes now appear abused and in decay, and it is uncertain how they will continue to (d)evolve.”

Each labor intensive model can take up to 7 months to produce, which often means that Nix and Gerber will only finish two photographs a year. The handcrafted dioramas are built from cardboard, foam, and glue—impermanent supplies which are deconstructed and recycled after each shoot.

“I am afraid of what the future holds if we do not change our ways regarding the climate, but I am also fascinated by what a changing world can bring,” Nix told Colossal. “I think this is part of why we make the work we do, to try to reconcile these different attitudes.”

The pair will exhibit images from Empire at their upcoming show at Chicago-based Catherine Edelman Gallery from March 2 to April 28. You can see more of their miniature scenes from both The City and Empire on their Instagram and Facebook.

 

 



Art

Anonymous Figures Struggle Against Nature in Porcelain Sculptures by Claudia Fontes

February 15, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Since 2013, artist Claudia Fontes (previously) has been investigating the use and meaning of the word “foreigner” in a series of small figurative sculptures. Each sculpture, which is about the size of Fontes’ hand (about 23 x 5 cm / 9 x 2 inches) is made with flaxseed paper porcelain. Anonymous figures, alone or in groups, are consumed by or emerging from organic textures that resemble grass, sea sponges, and thin shards of stone. Fontes has been based in England for the last ten years, where ‘foreigner’ is a popular pejorative term. She was born and raised in Argentina, and has also lived and worked in the Netherlands. The artist describes the process and inspiration behind the series on her website:

I began to make [Foreigners] in response to the English landscape that surrounds me and to my cultural understanding of it as a foreigner. I generally find the images out of which they are born during walks in the nearby forest and in the field that begins as soon as I cross the street where I live. During these walks, I concentrate in observing the process of transformation, interaction and the mechanisms of adaptation that happen amongst the creatures that share this particular bio-political system.

You can explore more of Fontes’ body of work, which includes other sculptures as well as conceptual pieces, on her website. (via Womens Art)

 

 



Art

A Single Book Disrupts the Foundation of a Brick Wall by Jorge Méndez Blake

February 14, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

The Castle is a 2007 project by Mexican artist Jorge Méndez Blake that subtly examines the impact of a single outside force. For the installation, he constructed a 75 x 13 foot brick wall that balances on top of a single copy of Franz Kafka’s The Castle. The mortarless wall bulges at the site of the inserted text, creating an arch that extends to the top of the precarious structure.

Although a larger metaphor could be applied to the installation no matter what piece of literature was chosen, Méndez Blake specifically selected The Castle to pay tribute to Kafka’s lifestyle and work. The novelist was a deeply introverted figure who wrote privately throughout his life, and was only published posthumously by his friend Max Brod. This minimal, yet poignant presence is reflected in the brick work—Kafka’s novel showcasing how a small idea can have a monumental presence.

 

 

 



Art

A Menagerie of Ceramic Beasts and Curiosities at Messums Wiltshire’s ‘Material Earth II’

February 14, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Caribou Antler and Bone Handled Forks by Ann Carrington, 210 x 127 x 20cm

In Material Earth II, a group show that just opened at Messums Wiltshire, artists explore how materials can be used to morph the meaning of traditional narratives—particularly in the context of Northern European myths and fairytales. In a statement on the show, Messums describes the exhibition as “an ode to all those that are magical, fantastical and ever-changing.” Artists include Livia Marin, Ann Carrington, Bouke de Vries, and Jessica Harrison. The works span a range of materials, with an emphasis on ceramics, which is unsurprising given both the fluid nature of the material and its historic prominence in narratives of everyday life. Material Earth is on view at Messums’ 13th century exhibition barn and adjoining modern space in southwest England until April 2, 2018.

Nomad Patterns (i) by Livia Marin, 2017, Ceramic, 38 x 21 x 10

Broken Things (i) by Livia Marin, 2018, Ceramic, 15 x 10.5 x 5cm

Royal Doulton Figurine ‘Elaine’ by Jessica Harrison, found ceramic, glaze, H19 x W18.5 x D13.5cm

The Polar Bear by Barnaby Barford, 2016, Porcelain, sculpted foam, steel frame, enameled wire, painted plywood, H245 x L85 x D135cm

Troll #8 by Marlene Hartman Rasmussen, 2017, H51 x W42 x D11cm

Sissure (ommateum) by Kate MccGwire, 2016, Mixed media with goose down and pigeon quills, H42 x H42 x D6cm (framed)

Still Life with Kinfisher, 2017 by Bouke de Vries, 17th century Chinese porcelain bowl, taxidermy, wax fruit and mixed media, H33 x W33 x D24cm

Forest Fruits – Bear by Claire Partington, Earthenware, Glaze, Enamel, Lustre & Mixed Media with two interchangeable heads, 2017, H62 x W39 x D20cm

 

 



Amazing Photography Science

Photo of a Single Atom Wins Top Prize in Science Photography Contest

February 13, 2018

Christopher Jobson

Image © David Nadlinger / Oxford University

You might need your glasses for this one. Quantum physicist David Nadlinger from the University of Oxford managed to capture an image that would have been impossible only a few years ago: a single atom suspended in an electric field viewable by the naked eye. The amazing shot titled “Single Atom in an Ion Trap” recently won the overall prize in the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) science photo and imaging contest. You can see the atom in the shot above, the tiny speck at the very center.

To be clear, the photo doesn’t capture just the atom, but rather light emitted from it while in an excited state. From the EPSRC:

‘Single Atom in an Ion Trap’, by David Nadlinger, from the University of Oxford, shows the atom held by the fields emanating from the metal electrodes surrounding it. The distance between the small needle tips is about two millimetres.

When illuminated by a laser of the right blue-violet colour the atom absorbs and re-emits light particles sufficiently quickly for an ordinary camera to capture it in a long exposure photograph. The winning picture was taken through a window of the ultra-high vacuum chamber that houses the ion trap.

Laser-cooled atomic ions provide a pristine platform for exploring and harnessing the unique properties of quantum physics. They can serve as extremely accurate clocks and sensors or, as explored by the UK Networked Quantum Information Technologies Hub, as building blocks for future quantum computers, which could tackle problems that stymie even today’s largest supercomputers.

“The idea of being able to see a single atom with the naked eye had struck me as a wonderfully direct and visceral bridge between the minuscule quantum world and our macroscopic reality,” shared Nadlinger. “A back-of-the-envelope calculation showed the numbers to be on my side, and when I set off to the lab with camera and tripods one quiet Sunday afternoon, I was rewarded with this particular picture of a small, pale blue dot.”

You can follow more of his discoveries—large and small—on Twitter. (via PetaPixel)

 

 



Art

New Textural Sculptures Made With Swirls of Seashells by Rowan Mersh

February 13, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Pithváva Praegressus II 2017, H30 X W19 XD17cm, Dentalium Shells

Rowan Mersh (previously) creates textural artworks that toe the line between two and three dimensions, using carefully placed swirls of seashells. Each artwork is made up one only one kind of shell, which the artist uses in multiples as he explores the physical qualities and hidden beauties of the material. Mersh explains his process to Colossal:

On beginning a new project I first make a small sample to understand how best to work with the material, using elements of my chosen material such as size, shape and colour of the material to inform surface pattern. This gives me a guide as to how scale and shape the resulting project. My aim with every project is to expose the true and often hidden beauty of the material I am working with and I feel this is only possible by listening to the material from day one.

The seashells are sourced from sustainable shell farmers and harvesters around the world, and Mersh creates his sculptural pieces in London, where he lives and works. Mersh is represented by Gallery FUMI and currently has new work in the gallery’s winter group show, up until February 24th.

Asabikeshiinh IV, 2017, Sliced Turritella Shells, Fluorocarbon

Asabikeshiinh IV (detail), 2017, Sliced Turritella Shells, Fluorocarbon

Pithváva Praegressus I, 2017, H40 x W21 x D27.5cm, Dentalium Shells

Pithváva Praegressus I (detail), 2017, H40 x W21 x D27.5cm, Dentalium Shells

Asabikeshiinh V, 2017, H155 x W137 x D0.07cm, Sliced Doxander Vittatus Shells, Fluorocarbon

Asabikeshiinh V (detail) 2017, H155 x W137 x D0.07cm, Sliced Doxander Vittatus Shells, Fluorocarbon

Asabikeshiinh V, 2017, H155 x W137 x D0.07cm, Sliced Doxander Vittatus Shells, Fluorocarbon

Echinothrix Imaginem Sui, 2017. H125 x W80 x D27cm, Tiger Sea Urchin Spines 

Echinothrix Imaginem Sui (detail), 2017. H125 x W80 x D27cm, Tiger Sea Urchin Spines

 

 



Photography

The Blinged-Out Work Trucks of Japan Photographed by Todd Antony

February 13, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

For more than 40 years Japanese truck drivers have been piling on lights, patterned fabrics, and other over-the-top adornments to their work trucks, creating moving masterpieces covered in LEDs. This tradition of decorated trucks or “Dekotora” originated from a 1970s Japanese movie series inspired by Smokey and the Bandit titled Torakku Yaro or “Truck Rascals.” Drivers first began decorating their vehicles in the style of the comedy-action films in hopes of being cast in upcoming films. Eventually the extravagant trucks became a way of life for many workers, with decoration costs to produce such elaborate vehicles sometimes running over $100,000.

Although the art form is now seeing a decline after it reached its peak in the ’80s and ’90s, the Utamaro-Kai Association of Dekotora drivers has begun to help raise funds for various charity initiatives, including areas of the country that have been hit by the recent Tsunami. Photographer Todd Antony‘s latest photographic series documents the men behind the association, taking a peek inside their cabs to view the personalization that goes into each piece of machinery. You can view more of Antony’s recent projects on his website and Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)