Bird Portraits Painted On Secondhand Books Featuring Their Native Brazilian Habitats Carved from the Pages 

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Guy Laramée‘s (previously) new series Onde Elles Moran (Where They Live) captures the mystique of the native birds of the Brazilian region Serra do Corvo Branco (Range of the White Raven) through both portrait and carved landscape. The series contains nine sculptures sourced from secondhand bookstores within the country—tomes of the Classicos Jackson which is a series of literature classics published in the ‘50s in Brazil. The rich linen covers inspired the palettes of many of the portraits, the original colors working their way into Laramée’s artistic remodeling.

Although Laramée had originally planned to photograph the vast canyons of the region during his 4-month visit, the diversity, songs, and liveliness of the native birds kept persuading him to eclipse the beautiful scenes with their portraits. The series is dedicated to these birds and their habitat, each book containing a portrait of one on the cover against a faded background and an environmental carving into the pages of the book on the opposite side. The size ratio of the bird to corresponding landscape highlights the creatures’ importance, acknowledging their role as the true owners and rulers of the region.

“Being in the company of these lively beings were one thing, painting them was another story,” explained Laramée while discussing his process. “They became like ghosts on a theater backdrop, posing in front of wallpaper, looking at a vanishing scenery.”

Laramée hopes that this series exudes the stark differences between Man and bird, recognizing that we do not live within the same world. Man’s world has been transformed into an object from which we now feel alienated he explains—we live within our heads and books, not the canyons or earth. “Maybe where they live is where we should live,” says Laramée. “In the solitude of virgin landscapes, we might rediscover our intimate relationships to the world.”

Laramée is represented by JHB Gallery in New York City.

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City Museum: A 10-Story Former Shoe Factory Transformed into the Ultimate Urban Playground 

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Housed in the former home of the 10-story International Shoe Company, the sprawling 600,000 square-foot City Museum in St. Louis is quite possibly the ultimate urban playground ever constructed. The museum is the brainchild of artist and sculptor Bob Cassilly who opened the space in 1997 after years of renovation and construction. Although Cassilly passed away in 2011, the museum is perpetually under construction as new features are added or improved thanks to a ragtag group of 20 artists known affectionately as the Cassilly Crew.

So what can you find at the City Museum? How about a sky-high jungle gym making use of two repurposed airplanes, two towering 10-story slides and numerous multi-floor slides, a rooftop Ferris wheel and a cantilevered school bus that juts out from the roof, subterranean caves, a pipe organ, hundreds of feet of tunnels that traverse from floor to floor, an aquarium, ball pits, a shoe lace factory, a circus arts facility, restaurants, and even a bar… because why not? All the materials used to build the museum including salvaged bridges, old chimneys, construction cranes, and miles of tile are sourced locally, making the entire endeavor a massive recycling project.

If you have kids (or are a kid at heart) and live in the midwestern United States or have any other means to get to St. Louis, if you aren’t immediately planning a trip to City Museum, you’re missing out on life. On my first visit last year our family hardly left the museum for two days. It is the complete antithesis to commercialized theme parks like Disneyland.

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Incredible Balloon Sculptures of Animals and Insects by Masayoshi Matsumoto 

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Don’t show these to your kids unless you want them to be completely underwhelmed by every balloon animal they see for the rest of their lives. Japanese balloon twister Masayoshi Matsumoto makes some of the most intricate balloon sculptures I’ve ever encountered. From prickly iguanas to glowing sea creatures it seems no life form is too difficult for Matsumoto to faithfully interpret using nothing but balloons. You can follow more of his work on Tumblr and on FB. (via Neatorama)

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Mirror Installations by Shirin Abedinirad Reflect the Sky in Stairs and Desert Dunes 

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Iranian artist Shirin Abedinirad explores issues of gender, sexuality and human compassion through her site-specific installations, performances, and conceptual fashion designs. Seen here are two recent public works, Evocation (Iran, 2013) and Heaven on Earth (Italy, 2014) that utilize mirrors in both an urban and rural desert setting to reflect the sky above, perhaps mimicking the color or form of water. Abedinirad studied under Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami and now splits her time between Tehran and Florence. You can see more of her work on her website and on Tumblr. (via Cross Connect)

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Segmented Glass Sculptures by Jiyong Lee 

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Illinois artist Jiyong Lee uses a special glass technique called cold working to create his unusual segmented sculptures inspired by the growth of cells. The artworks, part of a series called Segmentation, are created without glass blowing or kilns, but instead through a labor-intensive process of cutting, sanding, laminating, and carving. Lee shares about his work via his artist statement:

The segmentation series is inspired by my fascination with science of cell, its division and the journey of growth that starts from a single cell and goes through a million divisions to become a life. I work with glass that has transparency and translucency, two qualities that serve as perfect metaphors for what is known and unknown about life science. The segmented, geometrical forms of my work represent cells, embryos, biological and molecular structures—each symbolizing the building blocks of life as well as the starting point of life. The uniquely refined translucent glass surfaces suggest the mysterious qualities of cells and, on a larger scale, the cloudiness of their futures. The Segmentation series is subtle and quiet yet structurally complex.

To be clear, the images you see here are photographs of Lee’s work and are not digital renderings. His extraordinary attention to use of color and translucency in each object creates surprising optical effects. You can learn a bit more about Lee’s work in the video below from the Corning Museum of Glass and see some of his recent sculptures at Duane Reed Gallery. (via Faith is Torment)

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