Starting with layers of Finnish birch plywood artist Ron Isaacs builds elaborately designed constructions onto which he paints, in a trompe l’oeil fashion, the delicate details of leaves sprouting from clothing or the textured surface of twigs and bark. Each piece merges three recurring subjects found in most of his works: vintage clothing, plant materials, and found objects. Isaacs shares via his artist statement:
My three primary recurring subjects are vintage clothing (for the way it continues the life of the past into the present, for its rich structures and colors and shapes, and for its anthropomorphic presence as a stand-in for the figure); plant materials in the form of sticks, leaves, and flowers (for too many reasons to list); and found objects. They combine in appropriate or surprising juxtapositions, sometimes purely as a visual “poem” of sorts and (if I’m lucky) sometimes as an image with real psychological resonance. Objects occasionally reappear in other contexts and take on new meanings, like a repertory company of actors playing different roles in different plays.
Created by Amsterdam-based director and animator Andre Maat, this quick animated short titled Woodoo relies on impressive sequences of laser-cut wood to create the illusion of a malliable substance. (via Booooooom)
Japanese sculptor Yoshitoshi Kanemaki chisels these life-sized figurative sculptures out of giant pieces of camphor wood, a kind of evergreen. The strange pieces frequently involve two or more characters merged into a single form, which could been interpreted as commentary on mortality, or multiple personalities/perspectives. You can see much more over on Fuma Contemporary, Art Emporer and Elsa Art Gallery. (via Empty Kingdom, Juxtapoz,
Colourblind is the latest stop-motion short from Australian animation firm Oh Yeah Wow (previously here and here). While the animators have previously worked with light, textiles, clay and other materials, this piece was constructed from geometric wood pieces to tell the story of two beautifully imagined characters. The video was created for alternative rock band Elliot the Bull’s latest single by the same title, Colourblind.
This little wood automaton is meant to mimic the effect of a water drop hitting a body of water, all using concentric rings cut from wood that are manipulated by a hand crank. The piece was created by UK-based designer Dean O’Callaghan, inspired by the work of Reuben Margolin (most likely his round wave sculpture). (via The Automata Blog)
Inspired by various stages of his life, from skateboarding to breakdancing and rock climbing to the experiences of fatherhood, New Jersey-based artist Joe Iurato creates tiny wooden figures and sets them loose in public places. The daring little people dangle from bridges, swing from street signs, and often create their own “art” in the form of painted slogans left of sidewalks and curbs. Iurato discusses his work in this 2013 interview with Brooklyn Street Art:
The pieces I’ve been making are small, spray painted wood cutouts. No bigger than 15” in size. The subjects vary, but they’re all very personal – they sort of tell the story of my life in stages. From break dancing to skateboarding to rock climbing to becoming a father, all of these things have helped define my character. For me, it’s just about revisiting those moments in a way that’s familiar. I’ve always appreciated seeing architecture and nature in a different light. As a skater, the tar banks behind a local supermarket, a flight of stairs, a parking block, a drainage ditch, a handrail, a wall – they all present possibilities for interaction and fun in ways they weren’t intended to be used.
Iurato frequently leaves the artworks to be discovered by the community, where depending on their location, they may only last a few days or even hours. The artist will have work at R.Jampol Projects starting March 9th, 2014 and you can follow him on Flickr and over on Facebook. (via Junk Culture, Visual News)
First: watch the video. Created by Swedish designer Erik Åberg the Ghostcube is a fascinating system of interlocking wood cubes that can be twisted, turned, and folded to create increasingly complex shapes reminiscent of origami. The Ghostcube variations demonstrated in the video above seem to rely on hinges that connect all of the various pieces together. Åberg appears to have open-sourced the design in 30 minutes of video footage which you can purchase from his website. (via The Awesomer)
For the past several years researchers have been trying to crack a Viking rune alphabet known as Jötunvillur, a perplexing code dating back to the 11th or 12th century that’s been found in some 80 inscriptions including the scratched piece of wood found above. Recently runologist (!) Jonas Nordby from the University of Oslo managed to crack the code and discovered the secret message etched into this particular 900-year-old object reads “Kiss me.” Via Medievalists.net:
For the jötunvillur code, one would replace the original runic character with the last sound of the rune name. For example, the rune for ‘f’, pronounced fe, would be turned into an ‘e’, while the rune for ‘k’, pronounced kaun, became ‘n’.
“It’s like solving a puzzle,” said Nordby to the Norwegian website forskning.no. “Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was apparently meaningless combinations of runes.”
However, those thinking that the coded runes will reveal deep secrets of the Norse will be disappointed. The messages found so far seem to be either used in learning or have a playful tone. In one case the message was ‘Kiss me’. Nordby explains “We have little reason to believe that rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages.”
The act of coding secret messages appears to have been a leisure activity amongst the Vikings, as some of the other translated inscriptions turned out to be playful taunts at the person doing the decoding. The story was originally reported on forskning.no. (via Erik Kwakkel, Neatorama)
Update: Ida Kvittingen wrote to clarify several aspects of this piece that appears to have been lost in translation from the original article in Forskning.no. Specifically:
The inscription “kiss me” is NOT written using the jötunvillur code. This is a well-known code called cipher runes. Nordby did not crack this code, it was deciphered by others years ago. In my article, it is used as an example of how people often used codes in everyday messages. [...] Only 9 of the 80 or so runic writings that Nordby investigated are written using the jötunvillur code.
For further information you can see more the article in an English version on ScienceNordic.