Trying to pin down exactly what makes these urban landscape paintings by British artist Nathan Walsh (previously) so unusual is difficult, in part because of the variety of techniques he employs to get from a vision in his mind to the final, exacting artwork.
Starting with his own photographic references, Walsh first draws an elaborate blueprint of sorts by establishing a horizon line and a host of perspective strategies that varies from piece to piece. This is followed by several months of painting with oils to achieve the final landscape that appears to be a strange hybrid of both illustrative and photorealistic styles. Photography, architecture, and painting converge to create a “painted world which in some ways resembles the world we live in,” says Walsh. “The work aims to create credible and convincing space which whilst making reference to our world, displays its own distinct logic.”
Walsh is currently preparing for a group show titled “Cityscape Paintings: Looking from the Outside In” at Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in October, followed by a solo show during the same period in 2016. You can follow more of his work in progress on Facebook.
Artist Calvin Seibert (previously) recently completed a new series of his geometrically precise sand castles on the beaches of Hawaii. A professional sculptor, Seibert seems to borrow angular ideas from Bauhaus architecture or the flair of Frank Gehry. How he’s able to control the sand so perfectly is anyone’s guess, it certainly puts my traditional upside down bucket method to shame. You can see more of his work over the last few years here.
For his ongoing series The Fourth Wall, Hamburg-based photographer Klaus Frahm shatters the illusion of stagecraft by taking us behind-the-scenes of several European theaters. Shot from the vantage point of the stage looking toward the audience, the photos reveal the stark contrast of ornate auditoriums and the technological scaffolding that facilitates a major theatrical production. Frahm captures the elaborate configurations of lights and the surprising enormity of the fly space hidden just behind the red curtain that can be up to three times larger than the seating area.
Frahm says the intention behind his photography “is to give way for a new perspective, to entertain, to offer a fresh sight on familiar things,” and to “reveal something laying under the surface.” The Fourth Wall project began in 2010 when he was documenting a new theater for an architect which involved a series of shots facing the wings and other angles from the stage. When reviewing his polaroids later that day he was immediately struck by the image-within-an-image contrast of the warm, fully-lit theater seats and the cold, hidden infrastructure. Klaus had ingeniously turned the tables: suddenly the audience was the spectacle and the stage was reality.
Located in the same island country that the Lord of the Rings trilogy was filmed is a structure that, like the hill-secured homes of the hobbits, also seems to hide within its natural environment. The Tree Church is formed almost entirely from living trees with thick leaves covering its shady interior. The New Zealand-based church can seat a hundred people and was first planted by Barry Cox on his property near Cambridge beginning in 2011.
The original inspiration behind the structure was a means for Cox to “retreat from society.” However, after others caught word of his living church as it grew into completion over the last 4 years, he decided to open it and the surrounding gardens for public and private events. The Tree Church is now set within three acres of extensive shaded gardens, including a labyrinth walk based on the ancient city of Jericho from 460 BC.
An iron frame is at the core of the church, as Cox wanted the walls and roof of the natural building to be distinctly different, “just like masonry churches,” he said. Cut-leaf alder was chosen for the roof as it is flexible enough to be trained over the frame which will be removed when the branches become strong enough to support the church themselves. (via Faith is Torment, Inhabitat)
Brooklyn-based experimental studio Snarkitecture is bringing the ocean indoors, transforming water and waves into nearly one million recyclable translucent plastic balls. Covering 10,000 square feet of the National Building Museum in Washington D.C., the interactive installation titled “The BEACH” will include white beach chairs and umbrellas to simulate seaside vibes, while maintaining the monochrome feel that Snarkitecture has become known for.
Snarkitecture primarily works within the space between art and architecture, blending experience and design. The collaborative firm was started by Alex Mustonen and Daniel Arsham and they explain that their focus is “on the viewer’s experience and memory, creating moments of wonder and interaction that allow people to engage directly with their surrounding environment.”
A unique experience is achieved in their latest installation, the museum inviting visitors to wade within the sea of plastic spheres, relax in one of the many chairs at the “shore’s edge,” and grab drinks at the snack bar. You can visit The BEACH through September 7 or visit it virtually with the museum’s live stream.
All included images are by Noah Kalina, more of his work can be seen here. (via designboom)
Ben Butler (previously) is fascinated by the complex structures that emerge from simple and delicate processes. This phenomenon can be found in the elaborate systems produced by ant colonies to human cities, small quotidian actions accumulating into overpowering structures. Unbounded, Butler’s installation on display at Rice University Gallery in Houston, Texas, uses this same idea by assembling over 10,000 pieces of poplar wood into a matrix-like structure. This massive arrangement coalesces into an unexpectedly mesmerizing array of grids that stretch to fill the gallery space.
Butler approached this installation, as he commonly does within his practice, without initial sketches or ideas of what he would like the structure to look like. He played with the materials, discovering configurations on the spot. Although the grids within Unbounded were pre-made in his studio, the way they were configured and connected horizontally was all in response to the space. This way of acting in the present ensured that the structure’s outcome would be organic, and not purely responding to a preconceived shape.
Poplar wood was chosen for the installation because of its malleability and abundance, which gave Butler the ability to fiddle with a material that seemed endless. This idea of endlessness also tied into the title he chose for the piece. Butler wanted the piece to have no defined boundary or vantage point, but encourage the audience to walk around and within the structure, discovering it from all angles.
Butler received an MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003. He currently lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee and Quogue, New York and has an upcoming exhibition of his sculptures and drawings at The University of Mississippi Museum, Oxford opening in September 2015.
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. You can see more photos at Gallery Hip.