Art

Contemplative Works by Ali Cavanaugh Consider Vulnerability and the Sublime Through Watercolor

January 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Steep” (2017), 16 x 20 inches. All images © Ali Cavanaugh, shared with permission

Through delicate washes of peach, aqua, and smoky gray, St. Louis-based artist Ali Cavanaugh (previously) renders watercolor portraits that lay her subjects’ spirits bare. “I’m continually searching for something complex in human expression,” she tells Colossal. “Curiosity, sadness, wonder, hesitation, peace, and acceptance all in one glance.”

Cavanaugh paints her dreamlike works on wet clay panels, allowing the bright backdrops to illuminate the translucent pigments. The resulting works are introspective and intimate while simultaneously harnessing the universal experience of the sublime. “I want the viewer to look at one of my portraits and say, ‘What are they thinking?,’ and also at the same time say, ‘This is so familiar and is exactly how my loved one looks at me when they are vulnerable,'” she says.

If you’re in New York, you can see Cavanaugh’s portraits through January 28 at Salmagundi Club. Otherwise, shop available originals on her site, and keep an eye out for future print releases on Instagram. She also shares videos chronicling her process and tutorials on some of her techniques on Patreon.

 

“Above,” 12 x 12 inches

“Smolder” (2017), 12 x 12 inches

“Only Once” (2015), 18 x 18 inches

“Confidante” (2017), 12 x 16 inches

“One to Listen and One to Love”

“Rest on Water” (2017), 12 x 12 inches

 

 



Art

Sculptural Kinetic Lifeforms by Choe U-Ram Sway and Flutter in Hypnotic Motion

January 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

With assistance from embedded CPU motors, Seoul-based artist Choe U-Ram (previously) mimics the lithe movements of animals and plants with his mesmerizing kinetic sculptures. The large-scale pieces are often suspended from the ceiling and illuminated by LED lights that cast glimmering reflections on the metallic components.

Included in his most recent works is the frayed, Tyvek-coated sculpture titled “One,” which imitates the lifecycle of a flower as it opens to a bright, full bloom before retreating to a smaller, darker form associated with decay. “Orbis” and “Song of the Sun” conjure more animalistic motions that evoke long fins gliding through the water and flapping wings, respectively, although the latter’s petal-like elements produce shadows that fill the gallery space with silhouettes of thick foliage.

Watch more of the artist’s sculptural creatures in action on his site and YouTube.

 

 

 



Art

Tender Embroidered Portraits by Ruth Miller Are Tinged with Expressive Colors

January 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Congregants,” 20 x 35 inches. All images © Ruth Miller, shared with permission

Beginning with a line drawing in pencil, U.S.-based artist Ruth Miller renders hand-embroidered portraits based on photos. Her wool tapestries and thread drawings layer stitches in yarns of both realistic and fanciful colors, creating expressive depictions that use the material’s texture to enhance light and shadow. “Coupled with realistic drawing, that tiny amount of physical depth brings the images closer, giving them a more immediate sense of presence… In the months that they’re still in my studio, the stories they tell become more concrete and nuanced in my mind, just as they would in a steadily lengthening conversation,” the artist writes.

Miller’s works are often life-sized and take months to complete, a process she details on her site. “At work, I spend a good deal of time simply looking; first seeing, then wondering,” she shares. “Each of the pieces you see on this page changed me as the narratives within them took form within me.” (via Women’s Art)

 

“The Impossible Dream is the Gateway to Self-Love”

Left: “Teacup Fishing,” hand-embroidered wool on fabric, 58 x 31 inches. Right: “Our Lady of Unassailable Well-being,” hand-embroidered wool on fabric, 19 x 21 inches

Detail of “Teacup Fishing,” hand-embroidered wool on fabric, 58 x 31 inches

“Duafe”

Sketches for “Congregants”

Detail of “Unspoken Truths”

Photo by Ann Madden

 

 



Design Food

Have Your Bread and Read By It Too: PAMPSHADE Turns Leftover Loaves into Offbeat Lamps

January 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © PAMPSHADE

Yukiko Morita works against the grain with her collection of bread-based home goods. The baker-turned-designer launched PAMPSHADE back in 2016 after nearly a decade of experimenting with the doughy material, and today, the brand creates a variety of quirky, functional objects, including croissant nightlights, baguette chandeliers, and naan timepieces that appear to be the leavened counterpart to Salvador Dalí’s melting clocks.

Each design utilizes leftover pastries and loaves sourced from nearby retailers that are then treated with antiseptic and a mildew-deterrent and hollowed out to fit an LED light. “By purchasing the unsold bread, the bakeries are happy, and it leads to a sustainable creative activity,” she tells Creative Boom. “Within the scope of normal use, (the lamps) can be used semi-permanently. However, be careful not to break them!”

Head to the PAMPSHADE site to pick up a crusty ciabatta or slice of toast, and follow the latest upcycled designs on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Diminutive Figures Traverse Vibrant, Post-Climate Disaster Environments by Seonna Hong

January 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Kid World” (2021). All images © Seonna Hong, courtesy of Hashimoto Contemporary, shared with permission

In Late Bloomer, Los Angeles-based artist Seonna Hong wades into landscapes filled with amorphous swatches of color and marred by climate disaster. Her acrylic, oil, and pastel works are on view through February 5 at Hashimoto Contemporary in Los Angeles in an introspective solo show that considers her place in an ever-evolving world. Set against abstract, blurred backdrops, Hong’s distinctly rendered animals and anonymous subjects navigate distorted terrains of once-familiar architecture and natural landmarks.

Many of the stylized compositions evoke traditional Korean landscapes from the Joseon period—these are known for their asymmetrical forms, vibrant brushstrokes, and skewed perspectives—that contemplate the human-nature relationship by placing miniature figures among formidable environments. “I’m a second-generation Korean American that is surprised to be making identity-based work but realizing I’ve been making it all along. I’ve spent my entire life between the push and pull of being Korean and American, never feeling quite Korean enough or American enough,” Hong writes on Instagram. “I’ve realized the inherent connection between my work and my history, a belated but cherished revelation.”

 

“Granny Square” (2021)

“In The Joseon Period” (2021)

“The View From the Studio” (2021)

“Sunset Stone” (2021)

“Gumball Dystopia” (2021)

“Like Minded” (2021)

 

 



Craft

Hundreds of Tiny Patchwork Bubbles Form a Colorful Geometric Quilt

January 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Tiny Bubbles,” hand and machine pieced, hand and machine quilted, 44 x 44 inches. All images © Marla Varner, shared with permission

What began as an early pandemic project designed to use up scrap fabric has resulted in an ingeniously designed field of color and geometries. “Tiny Bubbles” is a kaleidoscopic work by Marla Varner of Penny Lane Quilts in Sequim, Washington, that’s comprised of hundreds of curved pieces stitched into an abstract, variegated pattern of tiny rounds nestling into larger forms.

In total, the sewn work utilizes 1,320 individual pieces and took more than a year to complete. “Quilted during the pandemic, these tiny bubbles kept me occupied while isolated in my own small bubble. All of the quarter circles were traced from templates, cut with scissors, and pieced by hand. The curved units were then assembled by machine,” she says.

Varner will show “Tiny Bubbles” and the colorfully meandering patchwork titled “Crevices” at QuiltCon 2022 in Phoenix next month. In addition to those pieces, she’s also been working on a temperature quilt and smaller functional goods like potholders, which you can see below. For more on her meticulous process, head to Instagram and her site. (via Kottke)

 

Detail of “Tiny Bubbles,” hand and machine pieced, hand and machine quilted, 44 x 44 inches

“Crevices,” 40 x 45.5 inches

Temperature quilt in progress

“Meander,” 38 x 37 inches

“Tiny Bubbles” in progress

“Tiny Bubbles” in progress

Small quilted potholders

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Sailing Ship Kite