Design History

A Glass Floor in a New Dublin Grocery Opens a Window to Medieval Viking History

October 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Embedded in the architecture of a new Lidl store in Dublin is a glass floor that allows shoppers to peer down into medieval history. During the supermarket’s construction, archaeologists discovered a 1,000-year-old home of Hiberno-Norse Dubliners, who were ancestors to the Vikings, in addition to a 13th-century wine jug and the below-stage trap of the former Aungier Street Theatre. Rather than excavate the items and build on top of the site, covering the ruins, the store installed glass flooring that provides shoppers with a literal window into local history. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 

 



Art

Multi-Story Murals Showcase Domesticity through Elegant Ceramic Tableware

October 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Oviedo, Spain. All images © Manolo Mesa, shared with permission

Spanish street artist Manolo Mesa merges public and private spheres through large-scale murals that highlight simple domestic objects. The multiple-story artworks depict traditional dining scenes, from an elegant porcelain tea set to a lone jug with swirling flourishes to another vessel resting on a saucer.

To complete a recent tableau in Oviedo, Spain, for Parees Fest, Mesa explored the history of an abandoned pottery factory in San Claudio. Event organizers gathered tableware from local residents, a collection that informed the shapes and exterior motifs of his work. “I was able to see all the evolution of this earthenware in the houses of Oviedo. I found postwar pieces, which were inherited and preserved with great affection by collectors. We saw (the) tableware of a lifetime from the middle of the century,” he writes on Instagram. Showcasing a delicate collection of vessels, the resulting mural explores an otherwise hidden facet of local history.

Find Mesa on Instagram to view some works-in-progress and follow his ceramic-centric projects.

 

 

 



Craft Design

Rollerskating Poodles and Croissant Characters Form an Adorably Eccentric Cast of Felt Characters by Cat Rabbit

October 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Cat Rabbit, shared with permission

Working out of her studio in Melbourne, textile artist Cat Rabbit (previously) felts a quirky troupe of characters complete with distinctive garb and accessories. A croissant-headed figure dons a striped skirt and floral hat, Pomeranians carry pin cushions on their backs, and four swaggering poodles outfitted with roller skates appear ready to compete in the rink.

Some of the anthropomorphized creatures are particularly personal to the artist, like the blanket-enshrouded toad (shown below) that was inspired by a friend’s love for the children’s series, Frog and Toad. Similarly, the George Eliot-esque pug is a nod to writer Zadie Smith and her pup, Maud, who Cat Rabbit met last year. “I presented it to her when I went up to get my book signed. She was amazing and kind, and when the writer next to her at the table asked me, ’so what is it that you do, actually?’ Zadie immediately said, ‘this, obviously.’ Being validated by your hero! I was on a cloud for months,” she says.

Shop eccentric characters, prints, and wearables on Cat Rabbit’s site, and follow her work on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Textural Sculptures by Artist Jessica Drenk Use Junk Mail, Book Pages, and Q-Tips to Explore Materiality

October 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Dendrite” (2019), Q-tips and plaster. All images © Jessica Drenk, courtesy of Galleri Urbane, shared with permission

Montana-born artist Jessica Drenk (previously) employs simple materials, like shopping flyers and standard No. 2 pencils, to create organic sculptures that are chaotic and arresting explorations of the substances themselves. Bundled Q-tips spread across a site-specific installation like the roots of a tree, a carved section of plywood reveals concentric patterns, and strips of junk mail are plastered together in long waves.

While Drenk’s latest series, titled Transmutations, is diverse and ranges from wall pieces to cavernous sculptures, each artwork explores materiality and how disparate shapes and textures combine to create forms that are new both physically and conceptually. The artist explains in a statement:

In treating everyday objects as raw material to sculpt, I practice a form of conceptual alchemy: through physically manipulating these objects their meanings become transmuted. Each piece is a direct response to material—a subversion of the meanings associated with it, and a reference to the life cycle of objects through time.

If you’re in Dallas, Transmutations is on view at Galleri Urbane through October 31. Otherwise, follow Drenk’s textural works on Artsy, and watch an interview with the artist at her studio below.

 

“Contour 3” (2020), carved plywood, 47 x 38 x 3 inches

“Implement 68” (2020), pencils, 22 x 18 x 17 inches

“Cerebral Mapping” (2020), books and wax, 132 x 80 inches

“Compression 3” (2020), books, wax on wood panel, and wood frame, 44 x 38 x 2 inches

“Dendrite” (2019), Q-tips and plaster

Top: “Aggregate 3” (2020), junk mail, 28 x 130 x 2.25 inches. Bottom: “Aggregate 2” (2020), junk mail and plaster, 20 x 78 x 2.5 inches

Left: “Circulation 18” (2020), books and wax, 31 x 29 x 1.5 inches. Right: “Circulation 19” (2020), junk mail and cardboard, 36 x 36 x 1.5 inches

 

 



Photography

Cloaked in Thick Smoke, Submerged Foliage Breaches the Water's Surface in Mysterious Photographs

October 22, 2020

Anna Marks

All images © Robert Peek, shared with permission

Rotterdam-based photographer Robert Peek creates ghostly photographic stills of botanical forms that wouldn’t look out of place on Miss Havisham’s festering dining room table. On first inspection, Peek’s work resembles paintings with smoke dripping from the flowers’ petals and leaves. Colors are drawn out and enhanced, while other hues are shrouded in the white veil. With his perception-bending methodology, close-ups of lavender and thistle heads are transformed into mythical creations that peek out from the hazy background.

Having trained at the Royal College of Art, Peek developed an interest in using light as a tool to change the composition and texture of his pieces, turning photographs into painting-like artworks. Many of his projects, which he shares on Behance, are inspired by an interest in loneliness and isolation, and his photographs capture a melancholic rawness of natural blossoms frozen in time.

To create his eerie works, Peek submerges his chosen flowery forms in a fish glass before adding white ink to the water, then employs two Profoto lamps to manipulate the lighting, sometimes using a high speed to freeze the image in time. The results reveal bold, still forms steeped in mystery. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

 



Art Craft

Oversized Spiders by Mister Finch Transform Vintage Textiles into Fairytale Sculptures

October 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Mister Finch, shared with permission

Leeds-based artist Mister Finch (previously) thrifts scraps of brocades and cottons to shape into fantastical creatures that are both whimsical and slightly unnerving. His recent pieces include a series of oversized spiders that the artist photographs suspended from the ceiling or scaling his workshop wall. “The past few years my work has become more sculpture-based with my creatures pretty much all stood up and attached to bases.” Finch writes. “I love the way this looks and enables me to dress and humanize them, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Although the ongoing pandemic has stifled the artist’s foraging of fabrics and other materials in recent months, Finch notes that he’s been pulling textiles from his home stash and occasionally visiting fairs and markets. He’s also been scaling down his sculptures so that they’re easier to handle without assistance.

Finch published two books filled with his fairytale-style sculptures and settings in recent years—and currently is working on a third—which you can purchase in his shop along with cards and totes. Dive further into his eccentric projects on Instagram.