When European settlers arrived throughout the 18th and 19th centuries and rapidly expanded their territory across North America, the prevalent belief was that of Manifest Destiny. Specifically, that American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent by any means necessary regardless of cost, environmental impact, or the devastating harm to Native American populations. The artwork of the period, primarily sweeping landscapes influenced by the European pastoral tradition, did well to capture the pristine beauty of the previously undocumented continent, but completely glossed over the reality of what was really happening.
In her log paintings, artist Alison Moritsugu faces that strange juxtaposition head-on by choosing a literal meataphor—the remains of downed trees—as a canvas for her bucolic oil paintings of the countryside where that very tree may have once originated. A fantastic collision of art history and environmental awareness. The rough edges of the cut branches and trunks appear like windows into the past, telling a story that the tree’s rings alone cannot. She shares via her artist statement:
Painters throughout art history from the Northern Song, Baroque, Rococo and Hudson River School tailored their depictions of nature to serve an artistic narrative. Today, photoshopped images of verdant forests and unspoiled beaches invite us to vacation and sightsee, providing a false sense of assurance that the wilderness will always exist. By exploring idealized views of nature, my work acknowledges our more complex and precarious relationship with the environment.
It should be noted that Moritsugu uses salvaged log segments from naturally fallen trees, or trees that would otherwise be turned into mulch. You can see a collection of new work starting November 12th at Littlejohn Contemporary in New York. (via My Modern Met)
Here’s a lovely series of swimming figures painted by Colombian illustrator and painter Pedro Covo. Covo splendidly captures the obscuring nature of water as splashes are rendered in frenetic splatters of paint, and the sinuous lines of bodies seem to evaporate into brush strokes. The artist most recently exhibited at Río Laboratorio, and has also worked as an illustrator for the Walt Disney company. You can see a bit more over on Instagram and at the Colagene Creative Clinic. (via The Daily Blip, Empty Kingdom)
Self-taught embroidery artist Lauren Spark was asked by her mother to create an embroidery of Van Gogh’s Starry Night. Over the next month, Spark spent almost 60 hours working on the piece, using the Google Cultural Institute’s website to explore extremely high resolution views of the iconic painting to better mimic the strokes of paint, stitch by stitch (double-click the painting on Google’s site, the level of detail is incredible). The final piece is a surprisingly faithful interpretation, full of motion and color much like the original.
Famous oil paintings cover the surface of limited edition boards in both triptych and diptych variations in Boom-art and UWL's newest collaboration. The French skate and surf gallery teamed up with surf company UWL to produce the ‘504’ series that includes the work of Jan Davidsz. de heem (1606-1684), Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), Jan van Huysum (1682-1749), and more.
The centuries old twist adds a modern pop of rich colors and patterns to the surf and skateboards, each board handmade and individually numbered by UWL. For the series, each skateboard has been produced in an edition of 80, and the surfboards come in an edition of just 10. (via Designboom and This Isn’t Happiness)
As companies like Crayola dream up more inventive and brandable colors for their crayons like “inchworm” or “mango tango,” a young designer duo from Japan created this alternative way of exploring colors by doing away with names altogether. Nameless Paints are a set of 10 paint tubes designed by Yusuke Imai and Ayami Moteki that replace more familiar color names (which can be a tad more ambiguous, see: “jazzbery jam!”) with visual depictions of the primary colors magenta, yellow, and cyan mixed inside. The visual labeling system also relies on proportion to depict more or less of different colors to create additional shades of green, orange, or blue.
“By not assigning names to the colors we want to expand the definition of what a color can be, and the various shades they can create by mixing them,” says Imai.
While using written names may ultimately prove more useful (and more fun) in the long run, Nameless Paints are a fun way to explore how color works. The design originally won a 2012 Kokuyo Design Award, and has undergone refinements over the last few years. The set finally go on sale in October of 2015 in Japan for roughly $15. (via Spoon & Tamago)
Three clips from 1915 and one from 1919 show legendary artists within their celebrated environments—Claude Monet creating work in his garden at Giverny, Pierre-Auguste Renoir painting at home, Auguste Rodin sculpting in his studio, and Edgar Degas taking a leisurely stroll through the streets of Paris. Each of the silent short films showcases the artists instead of the work we have come to associate them with, cameras focusing on the men rather than canvas or sculpture. The cinematic choice is an interesting one, giving us a peak at the techniques and facial expressions of the artist instead of any expression made within the work. (via Neatorama)