San Francisco-based artist Alexis Arnold (previously) looks to isolate the material rather than the content of the books she freezes in time, calling attention to both their physicality and quickly diminishing presence in our day-to-day lives. Utilizing borax crystals Arnold sprouts hardened, iridescent forms from a publication’s pages, posing the work more like a natural artifact rather than human detritus. Culling through discarded and found texts, she chooses those that seem to hold the greatest metaphorical weight. These selected titles are often those centered around advances in technology or wonders of our natural earth—Arnold subtly gesturing to how many experiences we leave behind as computers continue to gradually store the bulk of our collective knowledge. You can see more of Arnold’s crystallized works on her website and Instagram.
Photographer David Burdeny, whose photo of a towering iceberg we featured last month, has been working on another large-scale photography project. Burdeny began the series SALT: Fields, Plottings and Extracts in 2015, using aerial photography to explore some of the world’s most vibrant salterns in Utah, Mexico, and Australia. Gazing upon the images it’s difficult to determine whether the expressive boxes of color are produced with a camera or paintbrush, or if the gestures were made by hand or nature.
“In their use of amorphous shapes, elongated fields of color and vertical, jagged and sinuous lines, Burdeny’s images suggest the painterly expressiveness of Rothko, Still, Newman, Diebenkorn and late career Willem de Kooning,” explains an essay written about the project. “The effect is less intentional than it is available—Modernism’s abstracted reordering of the visual landscape…permits a non-objective reading of these compositions.”
These works, along with a selection of Burdeny’s aerial photographs from Dutch flower fields, will be included in the solo exhibition Salt and Veld opening December 15th at Gilman Contemporary. The exhibition runs through January 20, 2017. You can see images from Burdeny’s SALT series, as well images from Cuba, Russia, and Brazil on his website.
Israeli artist Sigalit Landau's love affair with the Dead Sea stretches back decades, having grown up on a hill that overlooks both the Judean desert and the northern part of this hypersaline lake that is among the saltiest on Earth. In her artistic practice she utilizes the lake both as a backdrop—one of her most iconic artworks involves a video portrait of herself floating in the lake with an unraveling string of 500 watermelons—as well as a means to produce sculptural objects encrusted with thick layers of salt. Sigalit has created salt sculptures of violins, bicycles, boots, and fishing nets covered in carnallite crystals.
Her latest photographic work titled Salt Bride takes us several meters underwater to view the gradual crystallization of a 19th century dress weighted to the floor of the Dead Sea. The dress was inspired by S. Ansky’s famous play The Dybbuk about a young woman possessed by an evil spirit. From Marlborough Contemporary:
Written by S. Ansky between 1913 and 1916, The Dybbuk tells the story of a young bride possessed by an evil spirit and subsequently exorcised. In Landau’s Salt Bride series, Leah’s black garb is transformed underwater as salt crystals gradually adhere to the fabric. Over time, the sea’s alchemy transforms the plain garment from a symbol associated with death and madness into the wedding dress it was always intended to be.
To achieve the photographs, Landau collaborated with photographer Yotam From who had to wear over 150 pounds of weight just to submerge himself in the harsh saline water. The final installation incorporates a series of 8 life-size photographs currently on view at Marlborough Contemporary in London through September 3, 2016. You can read more about the exhibition on Artsy. (via My Modern Met)
Motoi Yamamoto (previously here and here) meticulously sculpts large scale installations formed from salt, tiny lines delicately arranged on the floor of galleries and museums. In his latest exhibition titled “Univer’sel,” Yamamoto has created two pieces in a 13th-century medieval castle in Aigues-Mortes, located in the south of France.
The first piece, ‘Floating Garden,” is installed in a circular room, appearing like swirling clouds or thick ocean foam. Without a walkway it is impossible to view the piece up close, viewers only able to view Yamamoto’s labor from afar. The second piece, “Labyrinth” is arranged in a stone passageway within the castle’s ramparts. The appearance of the work mimics the title, a maze that becomes more detailed the further it grows from a mountain-like pile of salt towards the back of the installation.
First the sea gave birth to life. Now, thanks to a trio of Philippine-based inventors, it is giving birth to light as well. Led by engineer Lipa Aisa Mijena, the team has developed a lamp that’s capable emitting light for 8 hours on just 1 cup of saltwater. Not only are the Philippines prone to natural disasters like typhoons and earthquakes but the country is made up of over 7,000 islands, most of which do not have access to electricity, says the team. But one thing they do have is the sea, an abundant source of saltwater that can now be used to light homes and, in emergencies, power cell phones.
The saltwater-powered lamp uses the same science that forms the basis of battery-making. Where they differ from batteries is that the entire reaction is safe and harmless. Moreover, there are no flammable materials or components that go into lamp. Used 8 hours a day, every day, the team says the lamp can provide light for 6 months (or even over a year if used more efficiently) without having to replace any parts.
Over the past year or so SALt (Sustainable Alternative Lighting) has won 7 different sustainability and entrepreneurial awards. If interested, you can enter your name and email on their website to receive product updates but right now the team is focusing on building lamps for their target communities. (via Web Urbanist)
While flying south of San Francisco recently, photographer Julieanne Kost managed to capture this beautiful series of photographs that look like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. The color in the photos isn’t altered, nor were the images taken with an infrared lens, instead what you’re seeing are countless trillions of microorganisms thriving away inside shallow salt ponds. It takes an average of five years to transform bay water into salt brine, during which the various organisms that live in the ponds undergo a dramatic chromatic shift as the salinity increases. You can a bit more about the process over on Amusing Planet, and see more of Kost’s photographs on Behance. All photos courtesy the photographer. (via This Isn’t Happiness)