Monthly Archives: May 2019
Boston-based conceptual artist Nathalie Miebach (previously) weaves colorful, complex sculptures using rope, wood, paper, fibers, and data from weather events. Two of the artist’s recent series explore the impact of storm waters on our lives and on marine ecosystems, with variables like wind and temperature (and the harmony of the composition) often informing the rainbow of colors used to translate the data into a three-dimensional structure.
The “Changing Waters” series uses data from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS) buoys as well as from coastal weather stations to show relationships between weather patterns and changes in marine life. Similarly, the artist uses meteorological data from recent storms including Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Katrina to inform her “Floods” series, which looks at the events both from scientific and human experience narratives. Cut and woven elements are connected to form geometric shapes and patterns that are as layered and in flux as our understanding of the storms themselves.
Miebach tells Colossal that her exploration of the intersection of science and art began while taking continuing education astronomy courses at Harvard University and basket weaving courses at a nearby school. As a tactile learner, she found it easier to understand the abstract concepts and ideas of the former by using the latter. “I was lucky to have a very open-minded professor who accepted it without any questions. I’m not sure if it hadn’t been for his openness to this somewhat unconventional way of learning astronomy, if I would have continued.”
See Miebach’s work in two solo shows opening this fall, at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Texas and the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Her work will also be exhibited as a part of group shows at Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology, at New Media Gallery in Vancouver, and at Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. Follow the artist on Instagram to see more of her sculptural work and for more details on upcoming exhibitions.
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Detailed Portraits of Tahiti’s Third Gender by Kehinde Wiley Challenge Gauguin’s Problematic Depictions
American artist Kehinde Wiley (previously) has unveiled a new series of paintings of Tahiti’s Māhū community, a group of Polynesians classified as a third gender between male and female. Presented at Galerie Templon in Paris, the colorful portrait series challenges a collection of 20th century works by Paul Gauguin, removing elements that Wiley considers problematic and exploitative side effects of colonialism.
Wiley takes issues with Gauguin’s depictions of the Māhū for being unrealistic fantasies that sexually objectify the community for the sake of his White audience back home. The paintings in his “Tahiti” series incorporate tribal patterns, bright colors, plants, and poses inspired by Gauguin’s work, but these distinctive elements were chosen by the models themselves as a form of “self-presentation.”
“I am interested in transformation and artifice,” the artist said in a statement. “My newest exhibition will engage with the history of France and its outward facing relationship to black and brown bodies, specifically relating to sexual proclivity. Gauguin features heavily in the imagination of France and her global interface–with that comes an entire history of complicated gazing. I interrogate, subsume, and participate in discourse about Māhū, about France, and about the invention of gender.”
The “Tahiti” exhibition opened on May 18 and will remain on view at the gallery (along with a new video work) through July 20, 2019. Follow Kehinde Wiley on Instagram to see what else he has been up to, including preparing for his upcoming Black Rock Senegal residency.
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Brooklyn, New York-based artist Dustin Yellin (previously) preserves three-dimensional photo collages in glass bricks to create what he describes as “frozen cinema.” Some of his more recent works feature landscapes only slightly more dramatic than our own natural and manmade world, often with groups of subjects working together to construct grand machines. Humans unite to build rockets under waterfalls and the sea, while a time machine is secretly constructed underneath a car junkyard. No matter the subject, each work explores our fate within the Anthropocene and the lasting impression we will leave on the Earth. You can see more of his scenes encased in glass on his website and Instagram.
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Murmuration: 10,000 Porcelain Birds Create a Calligraphic Landscape at the National Gallery of Victoria
As part of a new large-scale exhibit at Australia’s National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang (previously) has created a swarm of 10,000 porcelain birds, titled Murmuration (Landscape). The multi-part winter exhibition at the museum combines Cai’s contemporary work with the display of a selection of China’s famed ancient terracotta warriors. Cai, who is best known for his enormous artworks that utilize fireworks, assembled the vast quantity of birds and smudged them black with gunpowder. The installation fills an entire gallery and the birds are suspended to create a 3D impression of a calligraphic drawing of Mount Li, where the tomb of the ancient warriors was located. Terracotta Warriors and Cai Guo-Qiang opens to the public today and is on view through October 13, 2019. Watch a time-lapse of the labor-intensive installation here and explore more of the artist’s diverse works on Instagram.
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When Huang Yung-Fu learned that the village where he had lived for decades was slated for demolition, the Taiwan resident decided to showcase the continued vibrancy of his home. Huang was the last remaining resident of the community that had once housed 1,200 households, mostly Chinese Nationalist veterans like Huang, who had been defeated by Mao Zedong’s Communist regime. By the mid-2000’s, real estate developers had bought out many residents to be able to raze the area, with Huang as the last holdout. Left on his own, the elderly veteran, who also has a strong creative streak, started painting every available surface of his surroundings. Walls, rooflines, and pathways became canvases for multi-colored Chinese characters and figurative motifs.
Since beginning the open-ended project about ten years ago, Huang’s community has become known as Rainbow Village and he, the Rainbow Grandpa. In 2010 a local university student came across Huang’s vibrant paintings and helped raise awareness for the Rainbow Village. Over a million tourists visit each year and the Taiwanese government has since pledged to keep the village intact. (via My Modern Met)
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Feathered Skulls by Laurence Le Constant Serve as Objects of Memory Dedicated to Departed Loved Ones
Laurence Le Constant started working with feathers in the early 2000’s while employed as a sequins designer in haute couture workshops throughout Paris. Inquisitive about the meticulous art, she would ask embroiderers and feather workers to teach her the trade during breaks or her lunch hour. After her grandmother passed in 2010 she created her first skull as a memorial, spending hundreds of hours of works selecting and gluing feathers to a resin base. Since this first skull, her other pieces have also served as tools for memory, honoring prominent women in her family and beyond.
“With the series ‘My Lovely Bones,’ I became the Huesera, or the ‘bone lady,'” Le Constant told Colossal. “Like this mythical creature from the Mexican folk tales, which roams the desert to collect bones and bring back life through its singing, I bring the magnified skulls of women back from the afterlife, giving them a new life and a new voice.”
The artist sources feathers from animals farmed for the food industry in Europe and never uses feathers from protected or endangered birds. You can see more of her feather sculptures on her website and Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)
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Editor's Picks: Craft
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.