In her delicate crafted porcelain sculptures conceptual artist Kate McDowell expresses her interpretation of the clash between the natural world and the modern-day environmental impact of industrialized society. The resulting works can be equal parts amusing and disturbing as the anatomical forms of humans and animals become inexplicably intertwined in her delicate porcelain forms. Via her artist statment:
In my work this romantic ideal of union with the natural world conflicts with our contemporary impact on the environment. These pieces are in part responses to environmental stressors including climate change, toxic pollution, and gm crops. They also borrow from myth, art history, figures of speech and other cultural touchstones. In some pieces aspects of the human figure stand-in for ourselves and act out sometimes harrowing, sometimes humorous transformations which illustrate our current relationship with the natural world. In others, animals take on anthropomorphic qualities when they are given safety equipment to attempt to protect them from man-made environmental threats.
This impeccably detailed ceramic sculpture called Cycles of Decay was created by ceramicist Christopher David White who works out of Bloomington, Indiana. Even on close inspection the knotted and twisting veins of the tree branch look almost exactly like old wood, take a closer look on his website. (via sweet station)
The medium of choice for artist Robert Wechsler is U.S. pennies, tens of thousands of which (the largest uses 26,982 coins) he has carefully cut and assembled into a latticework forming perfect cubes. Weschler says of the penny:
With fifty billion currently in circulation, the penny is one of humanity’s most numerous objects, but despite its commonality, it is an extraordinarily rich artifact. As a symbol of American culture, it is on par with the Statue of Liberty. It is a monument to a beloved president. It is a proclamation of a national faith and creed. It is a time stamped record of our civilization. As much ornament as legal tender, the penny is equal parts form and function. It defines elegance just as its ubiquity, low monetary value, and high symbolic value defines humility.
Botanical artist Makoto Azuma (previously here and here) just completed work on this lovely bonsai tree made entirely from LEGO bricks. The excruciating detail from the undulating moss surface to the craggy, multicolored tree branches is clear evidence of Azuma’s intimate understanding of the botanical world. If I encountered an actual set like this you couldn’t take my money fast enough. See a bit more detail here. (via spoon and tamago)
Sand castle artist Calvin Seibert manages to construct nearly impossible shapes from one of the world’s most delicate mediums. While Colossal has seen its fair share of art made with sand I’ve never seen anything so perfectly angular and geometric. See much more of his work over on Flickr. (via fasels suppe)
Chicago-based jeweler Justin Gershenson-Gates recently grew a bit tired of creating jewelry after a show this summer and while experimenting with some watch part anatomy he decided to try his hand at spider and insect legs. One thing led to another a new series of small sculptural arthropods and insects was born. Justin tells me via email that each piece takes several hours to make and being unable to leave things unfinished he generally makes an entire new creature in one sitting, a monumental feat considering the scorpions can take an entire 12-hour work session as the watch springs, stems, gears and straps are assembled and soldered together (nothing is glued). I love the idea of the tiny light bulb for the spider abdomens.
If you’d like to see these crawly pieces up-close, you can see a few at the Bucktown Holiday Art Show December 8th and 9th, and you can also pick up some of the spiders on Etsy, at least for the moment. Tons more photos on Facebook. (via neatorama)
Aside from being consistently ranked as one of the best countries to live in on Earth, file this as reason #4,123 to stop by the Netherlands: Bloemencorso, the annual parade of flowers in Zundert. That’s right, every float here is made from natural flowers, specifically dahlias. From twisting architectural structures the size of houses to bizarre animatronic birds and puppets, and even animals made from swooping gestures reminiscent of graffiti, Bloemencorso seems to have a little bit of everything. Despite the relatively small nature of Zundert (a small town north east of Belgium with a population of about 20,000) the variety of and ingenuity of these sculptures seems to know no bounds. I’ve embedded an hour-long video of the entire parade from 2012 above, it’s worth skipping around a bit to see everything, and you can see more videos on the event website and in this gallery. Want to see it in person? You’ll need to wait until next year, the next event happens September 1 and 2 of 2013. (thnx, kjeld!)
Portland-based Artist J. Shea (previously) says he was influenced from a young age by the art found in comic books, animation, and classic science fiction movies which is immediately apparent when encountering his mixed media sculptures that blend his affinity for painting, clay molding, assemblage, and found object recycling. Shea opens a solo show at Springbox Gallery in Portland this Saturday.