Perth-based artist Paul Kaptein works with large blocks of laminated wood to reveal warped and distorted human figures, some pierced with a smattering of holes linked with drawn lines like star constellations. The hand-carved busts and figurative sculptures are additionally punctuated by gaps formed from the laminating process, creating the impression of digital glitches or images skewed by poor reception. Kaptein says he’s interested in examining the undefined area between expansion and contraction, or interconnection and incompleteness. Even as the viewer walks around each piece, it continues to surprise as the warped nature of each artwork continues to push and sink in seemingly every direction.
Kaptein currently has work on view as part of an exhbition titled “Future Perfect” at Krause Gallery in New York through January 26, 2016, and you can see more in his online gallery. (via Booooooom, Designboom)
Artist Victoria Wagner works with large pieces of reclaimed wood sliced into geometric forms and painted to resemble large gemstones. Titled Woodrocks, the cut facets of each piece are covered with delicate oil paint gradients that evoke mostly natural tones found in sunsets, water, or outdoor landscapes. The incongruous nature of wood and stone is something that fascinates Wagner. “There is something confusing to the senses in combinations that vacillate between interval and tone, allowing for optical engagement and a perceptual unpredictability,” she says. You can explore more of Wagner’s work on her website and on Instagram. (via Cross Connect, Supersonic)
Brooklyn-based furniture and woodworker Daniel Moyer uses leftover scrap wood to build minimalistic toys under the brand fdup.toys. The first series was a quirky edition of superheros to which he’s since followed up with a fun duck sidekick. Moyer calls the project “a small scale production employing oldschool workflow and jig techniques, and a nice way to salvage and purpose the trimmings that would normally end up in the woodshop dumpster.” You can see more in his shop. (via Design Milk)
UGEARS are a series of 11 new mechnical models built from wooden pieces that spring to life with the help of rubber band engines, cranks, or with the assistance of gravity. Similar to balsa wood insects, the laser-cut pieces assemble like a puzzle without need for glue or adhesives. The most impressive design is an elaborate 480-piece steam locomotive that’s 12″ long and propels itself up and down a provided track with an internal engine.
UGEARS was designed by Kiev-based Ukrainian Gears and all of the models seen here are currently funding on Kickstarter for another 6 days.
Artist Darryl Cox fuses ornate vintage picture frames with tree branches found in the forests of central Oregon. The branches serve as a simple reminder of the materials used to build picture frames, but also create an unusual form factor where clean lines and ornate moulding patterns seem to naturally traverse the bark of each tree limb. Each piece involves many hours of woodworking, sculpting, and painting.
You can explore many more pieces by Cox on his website, on Facebook, and in his online shop. (via Quipsologies)
Inspired by the relics of his parents’ past as Czech publishers and book smugglers, Martin Tomsky (previously) produces laser-cut illustrations that introduce depth with several layers of plywood in varying tones. Originally immersed in drawing detailed scenes on paper, Tomsky transferred his skills to the 3D, creating stories that seem tangled in lore and feature the outlines of animal skeletons, dense forestry, and mythical beasts.
The London-based artist aims to create work that speaks to craft, illustration, and sculpture, each piece serving as both a decorative object and wall-mounted story. Although many of his works are large and intricate productions, he also works small, singling out animal characters like owls, rabbits, and badgers in necklace pendants and brooches. You can see more of Tomsky’s laser-cut tales on his Etsy and Facebook page here.
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)