From the kabillions of likes on YouTube and Tumblr this project has apparently circumnavigated the internet already, but for some reason it’s been entirely off the Colossal radar. A collaborative installation between Mike O’Toole, Andrew Ratcliff, Ian Charnas and Andrew Witte, the Waterfall Swing is an intelligent swingset made from mechanical waterjets (solenoids) that create a falling plane of water in the path of the swinger. However just as the rider reaches the rainfall the water parts briefly ensuring nary a drop dampens their swinging. The swing was unveiled at the 2011 World Maker Faire, and you can find additional videos and specifications to build your own here, and for more intelligent rainfall goodness checkout the Rain Room. Photos above courtesy Paul Sobota.
Two weeks ago I was fortunate to spend a few days in Grand Rapids, Michigan at ArtPrize 2012, a sprawling international art fair featuring over 1,500 installations by more than 1,700 artists in venues throughout the city including the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, as well as countless art galleries, cafes, sidewalks, and even smack dab in the middle of a river. The entire affair centers around popular vote that determines ten winners (a maximum award of $200,000) as well as several juried awards. You can see the 2012 winners here. It was a great trip and I saw more art three days than I’ve seen in person in the past year.
One of the most outstanding artworks I encountered in Grand Rapids was this gargantuan drawing on exhibit at the GRAM by artist Chris LaPorte who attended the New York Academy of Art and now lives and works in Michigan. By day he works as a caricature artist, having drawn some 85,000 portraits over the last 18 years, but he also spends significant hours in his studio where he labors over gargantuan life-size pencil drawings, one of which actually won the top ArtPrize honor back in 2010. This latest work, City Band, began when LaPorte discovered an 80-year-old photograph of his grandfather’s high school marching band while rummaging through his mother’s basement. The photograph is somewhat blurry and damaged with age, but he decided to use the piece as inspiration for a drawing that now spans 13 x 26 feet and was drawn with over 100 2H pencils spanning roughly 1,200 hours of drawing time.
It’s important to note that City Band is not a photo-realistic interpretation of an old photograph, a suggestion that’s often made by other who describe LaPorte’s work. The ratio of photo to drawing is 1/540 meaning that the quality of the original image was so poor in relation to the scale of the canvas that the vast majority of details came from the artist’s head as he worked. In that sense the drawing becomes a sort of historical fiction, where LaPorte added myriad details, stories, and patterns all of which center around a theme regarding the unrelenting passing of time, a sort of visual rhythm that pulses through the entire piece.
I urge you to watch the video above by filmmaker Mary Matthews to learn more about the artwork and you can see many more photos over on his recently updated website.
Artist Asbjørn Skou lives and works in Copenhagen where he creates all matter of prints, drawings, and occasionally public light installations. The images above are from a 2010 series called Markeringer where the artist projected a collection etchings at the Sjaeloer railway station. To me it looks almost as is the drawings have been etched into the building’s surface causing the light from the inside to creep through. See much more from this installation here. (via ruines humaines)
I am completely unable to resist posting new work from photographer Albert Seveso (previously here, here and even here), and this continuation of his experimental underwater ink photography is no exception. For this new series, Il Mattino ha l’oro in bocca, Seveso uses accents of metallic inks to accentuate the rolling plumes of color as they disperse underwater. All photos courtesy the artist.
Earlier this week London-based duo Tim Noble and Sue Webster opened their first solo show since 2006 at Blain|Southern in London. Titled Nihilistic Optimistic, the exhibition includes six large-scale sculptures built from what appear to be haphazard clumps of discarded wood but when illuminated by a light projector create uncannily accurate self-portraits of the artists. Via their artist statment:
Tim Noble and Sue Webster take ordinary things including rubbish, to make assemblages and then point light to create projected shadows which show a great likeness to something identifiable including self-portraits. The art of projection is emblematic of transformative art. The process of transformation, from discarded waste, scrap metal or even taxidermy creatures to a recognizable image, echoes the idea of ‘perceptual psychology’ a form of evaluation used for psychological patients. Noble and Webster are familiar with this process and how people evaluate abstract forms. Throughout their careers they have played with the idea of how humans perceive abstract images and define them with meaning. The result is surprising and powerful as it redefines how abstract forms can transform into figurative ones.
If you’re in London the next few weeks I think this is a must-see, if not here are some more installation views. The show runs through November 24.
Sydney-based artist Catherine Nelson refers to herself as a painter with a camera, in that she doesn’t see the world as a photographer does but instead uses photos as a medium with which she creates these fantastic miniature worlds. Each work is comprised of hundreds of photographs which she digitally stitches together, drawing from an extensive background in visual special effects having worked on such films as Moulin Rouge, Harry Potter and 300. Of her work Nelson says:
When I embraced the medium of photography, I felt that taking a picture that represented only what was within the frame of the lens wasn’t expressing my personal and inner experience of the world around me. With the eye and training of a painter and with years of experience behind me in film visual effects, I began to take my photos to another level. The ‘Future Memories’ series comprises of 20 floating worlds, meticulously composed with thousands of assembled details. Visual poetry, nature photography and digital techniques blend together to give shape to these transcendental landscapes. The result is a contemporary pictorial mythology that subtly reminds the viewer of a profound truth: that it is in the flourishing variety of the local that the fate of the world resides.
Although the pieces are quite gorgeous to look at right here on Colossal, it’s hard to convey the resolution and scale of each piece which measures about 40×40″ (100x100cm), a level of detail that requires Nelson to spend nearly a month on each piece. It was my assumption based on the perspective and detail that some of these works must be somehow partially rendered in 3D, however she assured me via email that this is not the case. Though she uses digital editing to assemble them, they are almost purely based in photography. Incredible.
Another Place is a collection of 100 cast iron figurative sculptures by artist Antony Gormley that was installed at Crosby Beach, England in the mid-2000s. The giant figures each weigh upward of 1,400 lbs (650 kg) and are spread across an area of beach nearly two miles long. Photographer Paul Sutton has spent the last few months capturing these wonderful images of the works, many more of which you can see over on his 500px page.