Larger-Than-Life Hyperrealistic Portraits Rendered in Graphite and Charcoal by Arinze Stanley 

Till He Comes, 2017. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley works with graphite and charcoal pencils on large sheets of cartridge paper to render enormous portraits of his subjects. Spending upwards of 200 hours on an artwork, Stanley agonizes over the most minute details of each piece to painstakingly capture reflections of light, droplets of sweat, or tangles of hair.

Where some hyperrealistic artists lean towards idealized perfection, Stanley instead focuses on pure realism, infusing portraits with a raw sense of emotion and drama. The scale of each piece, always slightly larger than life, adds an uncanny three-dimensional aspect.

Stanley recently exhibited work at Omenka Gallery and you can see more of his works (and pieces in progress) on Facebook. (via ARTNAU, Juxtapoz)

Till He Comes, 2017. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

Till He Comes, 2017. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

Till He Comes, 2017. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

INSOMNIA, 2017. 27″ X 42″. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils on Strathmore 300 Bristol (smooth) paper.

INSOMNIA, 2017. 27″ X 42″. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils on Strathmore 300 Bristol (smooth) paper.

INSOMNIA, 2017. 27″ X 42″. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils on Strathmore 300 Bristol (smooth) paper.

Desolation, 2016. Progress photo. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

Desolation, 2016. Graphite and charcoal pencils.

FAMISHED (Disturbia series), 2016. Progress photo.

FAMISHED (Disturbia series), 2016. 26″ x 36″. Graphite and charcoal on Cartridge paper.

Innocence, 2016. 33” X 23.4″. White and black charcoal pencils and graphite pencils on Lambeth Cartridge paper.

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New Mixed Media Landscapes and Still Lifes That Merge Photography and Impressionism by Stev’nn Hall 

Stev’nn Hall (previously) blends photography and painting together in an impressionistic style, often focusing his works on the rural landscapes of his Canadian home, or images of flowers he takes in his studio. The pieces are built from images shot with a 35mm camera, and feature gestures on the surface in the mediums of acrylic, ink, and pastel. These markings serve as both complements to the landscapes and abstract bits of scrawl, simultaneously pushing the underlying photograph to appear more like a painting, and Hall’s painted additions to seem like photographic errors. You can see more of his mixed media works on Tumblr and Instagram.

Image by Alejandro Collados Nunez

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Abstract Aerial Photographs of Southern Africa by Zack Seckler 

Photographer Zack Seckler's latest series took him 2,000 miles through South Africa, each piece shot from the passenger seat of a two-seater sport plane. The works feature animal tracks and shadows as compositional elements, capturing herds of flamingos, gemsbok, and even a solo turtle resting in the dazzling blue water.

“From elevations between 50 and 500 feet, the landscape hovers on the line between things looking very real and recognizable and being more abstract,” said Seckler. “That’s what really draws me in—the line between reality and abstraction.”

Seckler’s aerial photographs will be exhibited in a solo show of his work titled Zack Seckler: South Africa at ClampArt in New York City opening April 13. You can see more of his work (including this series of horse portraits) on his Instagram and Facebook, and a behind-the-scenes video of the week-long journey below. (via Colossal Submissions)

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Minimally Painted Wood Sculptures That Highlight Environmental Decay by Willy Verginer 

Italian sculptor Willy Verginer (previously) creates figurative sculptures from wood, pieces that allow his carving skills to stand out with minimal additions of monochrome bands of paint. The oranges, greens, and blues he adds places his subjects into unseen environments, like his sculpture of a small child who appears to swim through detritus covered in dark blue paint. Other sculptures also point towards environmental decay, such as a figure that clutches a leaking gas can, and a stag that is altered by the oil canisters that serves as its base.

Verginer’s newest work is included in the group exhibition After Industry at Wasserman Projects in Detroit through April, 8 2017. You can see more of his minimally painted sculptures on his Instagram. (via Fubiz)

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The Vanishing Stepwells of India: A New Book by Victoria Lautman Documents the Fading Relics of Subterranean Wells 

Van Talab Baoli. Amer, Rajasthan. c. 1600/19th Century.

Scattered across India’s vast landscape of ancient architecture including temples, mosques, and palaces are an often overlooked relic of historic infrastructure called stepwells. These subterranean buildings, once numbered in the thousands, were originally dug into the landscape so residents could easily access water. Over time, stepwells grew increasingly elaborate in their construction, morphing from modest rock-cut holes into fully functional Hindu temples with ornate columns, stairwells, and shrines. Each well now serves as a fading structural fingerprint, diverse and unique as the communities that designed and built them.

Chicago journalist Victoria Lautman first peeked over the edge of a stepwell some 30 years ago and was immediately transfixed at the idea of staring down into an architectural wonder as opposed to looking up. She has since dedicated much of the last five years criss-crossing India over several years to locate and photograph as many wells as possible. We first mentioned Lautman’s discoveries back in 2015, after which she resumed trips to India to locate an additional 60 wells, bringing the grand total to over 200 sites she’s personally visited and documented.

“Descending into the earth is a profound experience, one in which sweltering heat turns to enveloping cool, and noises become hushed,” she writes about encountering the wells.

After centuries of neglect some stepwells are in perilous condition or have vanished altogether, while others have been thoughtfully maintained by surrounding communities or governments who recognize their significance and possess the will (and funding) to restore them. In an attempt to preserve their legacy, Lautman has gathered a visual tour of 75 of the more unique and interesting wells in a new book titled The Vanishing Stepwells of India. The book includes not only her original photography, but also her impressions about each well and the precise GPS coordinates of their locations.

It remains to be seen if the renewed interest in stepwells, as well as the accompanying tourist dollars, will drive the change to save them. “In the long-run,” Lautman tells Colossal, “I think the most helpful thing for stepwells is simply acknowledging their existence in history and guidebooks, through classes and specialized tours, and finally just seeing them up close, embedded in the landscape.” Another way to explore the wells is through the Atlas of Stepwells, a website where enthusiasts can share their own discoveries.

The Vanishing Stepwells of India with a foreword by Divay Gupta, is published by Merrell and is available now.

Ramkund. Bhuj, Gujarat. Mid-18th Century (c. 700 CE).

Mukundpura Baoli. Mukundpura, Haryana c. 1650.

Ujala Baoli Mandu. Madhya Pradesh. Late 15th/early 16th century.

Chand Baori. Abhaneri, Rajasthan. c. 800 ce/18th Century.

Batris Kotha Vav. Kaoadvanj, Gujarat c. 1120.

Dada Harir Vav. Asarwa. c. 1499

Navghan Kuvo. Junagadh, Gujarat. 4th/6th/Mid-11th Century.


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A Remarkable Time Lapse Video of Cell Division in a Frog Egg 

No, this isn’t digital. Filmed by documentary filmmaker Francis Chee, this amazing video captures the microscopic view of a frog egg as it begins to divide from two cells into millions over a period of about 33 hours. It’s astounding to think that each and every one of us started off just like this. (via Sploid)

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