Global Architecture Rises from Resin Hermit Crab Shells in Aki Inomata’s Consideration of Home and Borders
When hermit crabs outgrow their shells, they participate in an encouraging act of resource sharing. The crustaceans line up by size and swap homes, and hopefully, each creature finds an appropriately sized shelter. Options tend to be limited to the shells washed up on shore, unless Tokyo-based artist Aki Inomata is involved.
Since 2009, Inomata has been designing tiny homes for hermit crabs topped with towering skyscrapers, windmills, and churches. Part of an ongoing series titled Why Not Hand Over a ‘Shelter’ to Hermit Crabs?, the 3D-printed resin works resemble urban landscapes and draw similarities between human and animal environments. Inomata’s designs, although not released into the wild, evoke the species’ organic exchanges as a way to consider the evolving nature of home.
The artist shares in a statement that the project was born out of her participation in the 2009 No Man’s Land exhibition at the French Embassy in Japan, the final show in the space before the building was demolished. She elaborates:
This work was inspired by the fact that the land of the former French Embassy in Japan had been French until October 2009, and then became Japanese for the following fifty years, after which it will be returned to France…A piece of land is peacefully exchanged between two countries. While it is the same piece of land, our definition of it changes. In the same way, the appearance of hermit crabs changes completely as they exchange shelters. The hermit crabs in my piece, who exchange shelters representing cities of the world, seem to be crossing over national borders.
Now more than a decade since Inomata began the series, the project takes on additional significance given the surge in migration and refugee crises around the world. The array of global architecture allows individuals to seamlessly swap Western streets for Eastern palaces or capacious spaces for dense cities, emphasizing the potential for more communal, cooperative living.
Head to Vimeo to watch the crustaceans scuttle along wearing Inomata’s works, and follow additions to the project on Instagram.
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A Short Art History Lesson Explores the Realistic Impressionism of John Singer Sargent
A new video from Evan Puschak, the creator behind the Nerdwriter YouTube channel, delves into the uniquely blended style of the American painter John Singer Sargent (1856-1925). Described by Kottke as “realism through impressionism,” Sargent’s approach centers on accurately capturing the tonal value of a scene, the spectrum of light to dark, rather than on faithful depictions of objects, figures, or shapes. “Everywhere you look,” Puschak says, “you see his supremely confident looseness, a kind of painting you maybe wouldn’t think to associate with a realistic representation of the world. And yet that’s exactly the final effect—a realism that is somehow more true than finely detailed painting.” Watch the short art history lesson above to learn more about Sargent’s training, work, and process and how “the impressions of light and color were his subjects.”
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Shishi San’s Vibrant Tufted Sculptures Celebrate the Colorful Motifs of Chinese Vases
The soft pile of tufted yarn meets vibrant color in Brussels-based artist Shishi San’s bold sculptures. She began tufting in 2019, working on two-dimensional pieces that feature playful flowers, insects, and other creatures, and last year, she propelled her practice into the three-dimensional realm. Inspired by the shape, hues, and patterns of Chinese vases, she began a series of nine voluminous vessels that draw on traditional motifs in a series titled Fluffy Collection. “I wanted to create my own version of them, inspired both by my own experiences and by their visual identity,” she tells Colossal.
San is currently working on her biggest project to date, so you can keep an eye out for updates on Instagram, and find more on That’s What X Said.
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In a 100-Day Printmaking Project, Lisa Stubbs Reflects on the Holme Valley from a Bird’s-Eye View
Artist Lisa Stubbs is in the midst of a 100-day project that both explores unusual printmaking materials and recalls the topographical allure of her hometown. Working from her studio in Slaithwaite, West Yorkshire, Stubbs began the series as a way to experiment with utilizing cleaned and flattened Tetra Pak cartons in place of wood or metal plates. She layers ink onto the plastic-coated cardboard and uses a type of gauze known as a scrim to wipe away the excess pigment. “For me, this is the playful part of the process as the scrim creates beautiful gestural marks on the Tetra Pak surface,” she says. “It’s very organic and intuitive, making each print unique despite using the same plate.”
Set on vintage and hand-painted papers, the resulting works feature a recurring house with a small door on the bottom right, a chimney, and an oversized bird perched on the roof. While the ink colors and images change, the central structure remains constant and evokes the homes of Stubb’s native Holmfirth, a small town nestled in the Holme Valley. The land’s steep elevation means that many houses are built on angles, with their backyards at window-level rather than ground. “The beauty of this is when you’re sitting in your back garden, you enjoy breathtaking views over your rooftop,” the artist says, sharing:
‘Ova tops,’ to be said in broad Yorkshire tones, you can see a bird’s eye view of the Holme Valley and Black Hill, part of the Peak District and the rough fringe of Saddleworth Moor, a view that’s become a comforting touchstone and one I never tire of. I wanted my printmaking to illustrate the character of the homes embedded into this landscape, along with the birds which sit on their stone rooftops mulling over life below.
Stubbs has finished 36 of the 100 prints in the series, many of which she shares on Instagram along with glimpses into her process and studio. Shop available works on Etsy.
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Illuminating Remote Landscapes, Rune Guneriussen Tells a Story of Nature and Transformation
Tucked away in forests and along shorelines, Norwegian artist Rune Guneriussen’s mystical, illuminated installations appear to spontaneously emerge from within the landscape. Lamps, blocks, and salvaged wood comprise an array of elaborate sculptural works that he meticulously arranges among trees, along bluffs, and in the sand. He is interested in a process that explores the relationships between objects, location, narrative, and the time that the work is made.
As the environment is increasingly altered by the effects of the climate crisis, Guneriussen’s observations have gradually transformed how he translates those relationships in his practice. During the past four years, the artist (previously) transitioned from using obsolete products to creating all of his sculptures from scratch with primarily reclaimed wood. He increasingly incorporates stark, geometric forms evocative of high-rise buildings or office lighting. By contrast, in “Fiery wingless and into growing regard,” a group of luminescent, spirit-like forms drifts across the forest floor as daylight fades.
While still using lamps, Guneriussen says, “for me, it has been a process of developing a scenery which has evolved with the time we live in. Being an artist for 20 years, always working in and with nature, it has been a story of going from optimism to seeing our nature in a dystopian manner… I have felt nature change to a degree I cannot recognize.”
Explore an archive of the artist’s work during the past two decades on his website, and follow updates on Instagram.
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Expressive Women Emerge through a Haze of Oil Paint in Rosso Emerald Crimson’s Portraits
Against backdrops of streaky paint strokes, scratches, and remnants of patterned wallpaper, Rosso Emerald Crimson (previously) depicts women at ease, their figures emerging from a haze of gauzy gowns and masses of hair. The London-based artist is interested in women’s psychology as she visualizes aspects of the feminine that vacillate from the confident and assured to the demure. Dressed in full garments that mask much of their bodies, the subjects’ facial expressions and comportments are the central focus. Crimson elaborates:
The field of emotions that I represent fluctuates from the plein naïf to the melancholic to the bold and fierce, and these are purely based on my very personal state of being while I create. That is why, paradoxically, the more colourful and outspoken the paintings appear, the more introspective they are. I do feel like subconsciously I am funnelling all my experience as a woman, with my failures, and success, my irrationality and wisdom, my fears and dreams.
Crimson’s painting “Waiting for my Valentine” is on view at MEAM in Barcelona through June 25, and she was recently chosen to participate in Artdom, a program matching artists from two different countries, which will open its next exhibition on April 22 in Oslo. For more from the artist, visit her site and Instagram.
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