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.
Unbounded will remain on display at Rice University Art Gallery in Houston, Texas until August 28, 2015. (via designboom)
Over the last year, Belgian painter and sculpturor Stefaan De Croock aka Strook (previously) began working with repurposed wood panels, doors, and furniture to construct giant faces on the side of buildings. The recycled wood surfaces are cut into precise geometric shapes and pieced together like a tangram puzzle, leaving the original paint and textures untouched. His most recent piece, Elsewhere, was a collaboration with his 69-year-old dad for Mechelen Muurt. You can see more of Strook’s paintings, sculptures, and other artworks on his website. (via Colossal Submissions)
As part of a long series of functional sculptures by New York artist Sebastian ErraZuriz, the Wave Cabinet merges the form of a credenza with an elaborate system of 100 wooden slats that allows the piece to open in rolling, wave-like patterns. Like many of his other novel designs, ErraZuriz says his intention is to elicit curiosity and cause viewers to do a double-take when looking at a recognizable object that suddenly behaves in new ways. “I am inviting people to look at one of the simplest forms of furniture design and to forget that we’re talking about furniture, instead to see it as a way of breaking a box.” Watch the video below to see it in action, and also see his equally fun Explosion Cabinet. (via The Kid Should See This, Prosthetic Knowledge)
Designer Joseph Walsh believes that the quality of life can be improved by surrounding ourselves with work that is valued beyond both its form and function, an idea manifested through his functional art and sculptures embedded with calculated chaos. Walsh designs and produces pieces that stimulate the mind, entice the senses, and exist as more than our traditional view of furniture and design objects.
Walsh designs one-of-a-kind pieces like the enormous desk he produced as a part of the Design Show exhibition at the New Art Centre in Roche Court in 2014. At its center the pieces looks almost like a traditional work surface, then it spirals upward, engulfing visitors and ending in a very large shelf that extends against one wall of the gallery.
In Walsh’s Lilium series he explores the relationship between the geometric and the organic, mixing symmetrical repetitions with elaborate abstract shapes. Through each of these techniques Walsh captures natural growth, calling forth nature’s sometimes random generations and curious patterns.
“In ‘Lilium’ I explore the relationship between the ordered and chaotic; the geometric and the lyrical; the perfect, effortless symmetry of the bulb, the regulated, controlled element and its freed form as it reaches through and beyond,” says Walsh. “The Lilium series is both a study and an expression of the relationship between the beauty we create and the beauty we allow to happen; the beauty we participate in creating and the beauty we quietly observe.”
Walsh founded his studio and workshop in 1999 in Co. Cork, Ireland. Self-taught, he continually seeks inspiration for his pieces in patterns of growth and evolution. Walsh does not work alone, but with a team of master makers and technicians, helping to both engineer and craft the final pieces that come out of the studio. You can see more images of his elegantly designed furniture and decorative pieces on his Facebook page. (via My Amp Goes to 11 and My Modern Met)
Stefanie Rocknak’s pieces are slightly larger than lifesize, torsos and heads twisted into intense expressions that can be seen in both the face and body. Each work is incredibly serious, the pupil-less eyes seeming to look right through the viewer.
The Swimmer is one of Rocknak’s most active pieces, her subject carved into an environment of rough waves, fighting for a breath while they are caught mid-stroke. Details can be seen down to the swimmer’s wristwatch and veins, palpable adrenaline coursing through the subject’s body.
The New York-based artist’s sculptural practice is highly influenced by her many trips to Europe, especially by Michelangelo, Donatello, and Bernini who she experienced in Rome. Although trained as a painter, she fell in love with the warmth and unpredictability of wood, preferring three dimensional work over two. Rocknak likes to stick to the detail of the work’s physical creation explaining that “conceptual art leaves me cold. So my figures, quite intentionally, are immediate and obvious; ideally, they do not need a theory to do their talking.”
Rocknak has a solo exhibition this spring at the The New York Sculptors Guild Gallery titled The Royal Family. (via Artist a Day)
Tasmania-based furniture and lighting designer Duncan Meerding highlights the naturally occuring cracks in sustainably sourced logs by inserting warm yellow LEDs that illuminate each piece of wood from within. Meerding, who is legally blind, is fascinated by unusual light applications which he refers to as his “alternative sensory world.” Each cracked log lamp can be used as a stool, table, or simply a light accessory, and the pieces are available through a number of shops throughout Australia. Photos by Jan Dallas. (via My Modern Met, Inhabitat)
Last year around this time, Zuzia Kozerska of Valek Rolling Pins (previously) practically set the internet on fire with lasers, more specifically her laser engraved rolling pins that imprint different patterns in cookie dough. Kozerska has been hard at work creating increasingly more complex designs as well as special mini pins just for kids. You can see more in her Etsy shop.