Art Craft

Stacked Chevron, Multi-Colored Stripes, and Ornamental Motifs Detail Frances Priest’s Meticulous Ceramics

April 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Gathering Places Collage” (2015). All images © Frances Priest and by Shannon Tofts, shared with permission

Based in Edinburgh, artist Frances Priest merges stripes, chevron, and asanoha designs into impeccably complex motifs. Generally utilizing bold color palettes, Priest’s hand-built vases and bowls begin with sketches on paper before being transferred to test slabs of clay. The artist says she treats “the surface much like a sheet of paper,” as she inscribes each vessel using scalpels, patterns, and aluminum stamps.

The entirety of the piece is enveloped in the surface design so the works appear to wrapped in, or constructed out of pattern. I think it is a real treat to pick up an object and find that the base has been treated with the same care as the rest of the work, it makes the form complete and also allows for the group works to be re-arranged into different compositions.

Much of her intricate work is derived from The Grammar of Ornament by British architect Owen Jones, which her father gifted her as a child. The classic text focuses on ornamental design spanning multiple regions and periods. “I can distinctly remember spending hours as a child tracing the designs with my fingers, leafing from page to page and absorbing the visual languages on display,” Priest said in a statement. Her most recent vases from her Grammar of Ornament series directly reference the marble and tile mosaics found in the book’s Byzantine section, the artist tells Colossal.

Priest, though, doesn’t limit herself to representing only singular styles or eras. Her ongoing Gathering Places project serves as a collection “extracted from my sketchbook and collaged together into my own new designs—parquet, tiles, parasols, and swags. I use the title gathering places for all the half-sphere vessel forms because they are just that, places to gather together collections of decorative motifs,” she says. For example, “Architekten” is based on stark angles in buildings by the architecture firm Saurebruch Hutton, in addition to the natural foliage she discovered in illustrations of Vienna’s Villa Primavesi.

If you head to Instagram, you’ll find more of Priest’s elaborate ceramics, in addition to a coloring book she created that’s free to download.

“Gathering Places Collage” (2015)

“Chevron/Stripe/Asanoha” (2019)

“Gathering Places Architekten” (2014)

“Parquet & Yellow Dots” (2013)

Left: “Grammar of Ornament – Byzantine No. 3 Polychrome” (2020). Right: “Grammar of Ornament – Byzantine No. 3 Monochrome” (2020)

“Chevron/Stripe/Asanoha” (2019)

“Chevron/Stripe/Asanoha” (2019)

 

 



Dance Music

A Trio of Dancers Brave Icelandic Temperatures in a Stunning New Music Video for Pianist Hania Rani

April 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

Set against a snow-sprinkled mountain range in Iceland, composer and pianist Hania Rani plays meditative sostenutos on a lone piano in an enthralling new project. Directed by Paris-based filmmaker Neels Castillon, F Major begins with Rani and a figure in the distance before turning its focus to three dancers shot in succession. Their bodies swell and dip across the wind-blown landscape, similar to the musical dynamics.

In a note on the piece, Castillion said Rani’s prolonged runs, the dancers’ hypnotic moves, and the serene landscape proved an unparalleled combination.

Listening to Hania’s music over and over, I began to dream of a single sequence shot that would follow her music floating in the wind of an unreal Icelandic landscape. I asked each dancer to give a personal interpretation of Hania’s song. We were very lucky to succeed in this insane artistic performance despite the great cold (minus 7 Celsius). It was such a moment of truth.

“F Major” is part of Rani’s anticipated album Home, which is scheduled for release in May. More work from the pianist, who splits her time between Warsaw and Berlin, can be found on Instagram and Spotify. To keep up with Castillion’s dreamy pieces, check out his Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 



Art

Two Curious Gerbils Visit (and Chew on) a Miniature Art Museum Made by Their Quarantined Owners

April 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Filippo and Marianna

Stay-home orders around the world have inspired people to fill their time creatively—think the recreations of well-known artworks and “Coronavirus Tourism Bureau” posters we mentioned last week. But rather than fashion a mock art exhibition for themselves, this London couple thought a little bit smaller. Filippo and Marianna created The Gerbil Museum, a miniature gallery space for their two 9-month-old gerbils, Pandoro and Tiramisù.

Complete with cardboard benches and scribbled museum labels, the wood-floored gallery houses humorous versions of iconic works. The couple told Hyperallergic that at first they hoped to paint miniature productions of more obscure pieces but decided that portraying  “The Kiss,” “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” and other classics with gerbil subjects would be funnier.

As you can tell, though, Pandoro and Tiramisù lack museum etiquette and have been chewing on some of the furniture, despite the sign that advises restraint. (via Hyperallergic)

As promised, this is the full video of our gerbils visiting the museum. No gerbils or gallery assistants were harmed in the making of this. from r/aww

 

 



Art Design History

Artist Ruth Asawa’s Mesh Wire Sculptures Adorn New Stamps from USPS

April 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © United States Postal Service

Soon you’ll be able to mail a letter to a friend—or realistically, pay a bill—with a hint of art history. The United States Postal Service announced this week that it’ll be releasing 10 stamps inspired by renowned sculptor Ruth Asawa. The neutral-toned collection contains mostly her bulbous hanging pieces that appear to swell and contract in vertical lines.

Born in 1926, Asawa was forced into a Japanese internment camp by the U.S. government with her family during World War II. She learned to draw during her detainment, before eventually attending Black Mountain College, where she studied with Josef Albers and began to delve into wire weaving and sculpture. Later in her career, Asawa described her looped artworks as “a woven mesh not unlike medieval mail. A continuous piece of wire, forms envelop inner forms, yet all forms are visible (transparent). The shadow will reveal an exact image of the object.”

The forthcoming stamps feature photographs by Dan Bradica and Laurence Cuneo, with the selvage image taken by Nat Farbman for a 1954-issue of Life. To see more of Asawa’s wire works before you pick up the postal packet, check out the Instagram account that her estate manages. (via Artsy)

 

 



Design

Eight Modern Puzzles, Games, and Creative Kits to Keep You Busy and Offline

April 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

If you’re on the internet these days—since you’re reading this, we’ll guess you are—you’ve seen countless lists outlining shows to watch, books to read, and craft projects to undertake to distract yourself for an hour. You probably saw our Skillshare picks, too.

Today, we’re inspired by Jackie Buddie over at Etsy to gather activities that require no internet connection because we know how it goes: you mean to listen to that audiobook you just downloaded, but all of a sudden, you’re back on Twitter devouring bad news and realizing that you need to plant a victory garden. In an effort to distract your hands and your mind, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite games, puzzles, and kits currently available on Etsy. Another perk? You’ll support artists with your purchases, too.

Part toy and part wildlife painting, these brightly colored puzzles from Saint-Paul based artist Megan Bakke are appropriate for small children and beautiful enough to be displayed once complete. Each set is divided into large chunks that form delicately feathered flamingos and emus and detailed portraits of gorillas and llamas.

 

We’re loving these modern dominoes and geometric puzzle pieces from Montreal-based Jonathan Dorthe. Using a series of lined shapes, the wooden puzzle doesn’t have a strict formation and can be arranged to create a rectangle, a house, or any of the other 36 combinations. On the dominoes, each concentric hexagon represents a dot. Finally learn the rules to the game or simply line them up and watch them tumble one-by-one.

 

Illustrated by Barbara Dziadosz, these colorful playing cards feature kings, queens, and jacks decked out in modern garb. A heads up if you’re in the U.S., though: the Germany-based artist says your shipment might be delayed due to the ongoing pandemic.

 

For those looking for a solitary activity, Dziadosz also creates these woodblock stamps designed to shape robots and other geometric creatures, depending on their combination.

 

An actual trip to the lake or woods—not to mention outer space—might not be feasible right now, but these model kits by the Portland-based shop Houha Designs provide a small escape. All you need is glue (the shop recommends Elmer’s) to fix each laser-cut piece to the next to create a fishing boat, fire tower lookout, or circular spaceship.

 

An impressive upcycle by Calgary-based designer Adrian Martinus, this cribbage board is made from old hardwood and repurposed skateboards. Detailed with chevron and stripes, the classic game comes with nine metal pegs that are stored separately.

 

Correctly assembling all 500 pieces of this varicolored, impressionist puzzle is sure to be meditative. Titled “Moonlight Over Euclid,” the abstract landscape jigsaw is based on a painting by Milwaukee-based artist Karen Williams-Brusubardis.

 

 

 



Art

A Dense Cluster of Birdhouses by Artist Bob Verschueren Rests in a Treetop

April 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Annecy Paysages

Hopefully, the birds flocking to Bob Verschueren’s wooden housing complex won’t mind if their neighbors stay up late chirping or make too much noise as they head out in the morning to look for worms. Resembling a dense apartment building with shared walls and common perches, Vershueren’s “Implantations” features rows of stacked homes that vary in size for multiple birds to live in simultaneously. They’re a stark contrast to traditional single-family birdhouses.

The Brussels-based artist erected the tree-like pillar—which also bears a likeness to the Tower of Babel—in the Jardin de l’Europe as part of Annecy Paysages 2017, an annual festival that embeds art throughout the French city. After its debut, the work was installed permanently.

For more of Verschueren’s work, check out the book he released in 2013. You also can find future installation plans that merge art, nature, and landscapes on Annecy Paysages’s Instagram. (via Jeroen Apers)

 

 



Art

A Massive Wave of Luminous Figures Scales a Dark Wall in Ataraxia by Eugenio Cuttica

April 6, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Eugenio Cuttica

One-hundred five fiberglass figures stand atop white chairs in rows that extend from the floor to the ten-meter high ceiling. Part of an exhibition titled Ataraxia, the LED-lit installation invokes the ideas behind the Greek word, which roughly translates to imperturbability, equanimity, and tranquility. The glowing project by Argentinian artist Eugenio Cuttica was on view in 2018 at the MAR Museum in Buenos Aires and explored the ways subjects can achieve balance and happiness through freedom from desire.

Ataraxia, the artist said in a statement, “points to a calm beauty, a calm but agitating act, moves the spirit and can even cause fear. It is an art that refers to the observer’s consciousness in its own insignificance and in unity with nature.” In addition to the expansive wave, the exhibition also featured a series of wooden boats and paintings meant to reflect on fertility, abundance, the sublime qualities of Argentinian landscapes, and the ways art and food intersect. The same feminine form is interspersed throughout and can be seen standing in one of the suspended vessels.

Cuttica currently splits his time between his studios in Buenos Aires, New York, Miami, and Milan. For more of the artist’s figurative projects, follow him on Instagram. (via Sophie N Gunnol)