Art

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Art

Spirited Narratives Drive Whimsical, Patterned Paintings by Monica Rohan

May 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Kate, awkward” (2015), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches. All images © Monica Rohan, shared with permission

Whether unwrapping themselves from textile folds or balancing atop spindly stools, Monica Rohan’s figures are perpetually in motion. The painter depicts adventurous subjects set amongst whimsical worlds of overgrown bushes, vibrant seas of fabric, and cloudless skies rendered in patches blue. “The figure brings tension, the possibility of a narrative,” she tells Colossal. Rohan envisions each character as the impetus for action in her playful landscapes and thickly decorated domestic scenes.

Each piece begins with the artist exploring a photographic catalog she maintains with imagery of nature, interiors, and self-portraits.

These are developed through photo sessions which last anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour. I then translate this content into sketches and studies, finding different ways to pull patterns out and manipulate the figure before moving forward with the painting proper…The first marks on the board are a transfer of a sketch for the figure. I’ll then start painting and slowly work my way across the surface in a single layer, constantly making micro-decisions and balancing the image as I go. The figure in this way acts as a sort of anchor that the rest of the painting moves around.

Often drawing from texts she’s reading—Charlotte Brontë’s Villette is one—the artist imbues fictional tales into her works. “I’m interested in when real life and fiction bleed into one another. I’ve always been an avid reader, but happily, nowadays I can read and paint at the same time thanks to audio-books. Often whatever I’m reading filters through into titles for works and indirectly into the paintings themselves,” she says. 

To see more of Rohan’s densely patterned paintings, head to Artsy and Instagram, where she also shares progress shots and some of the original photographs that inspire her dreamlike pieces.

 

“Of course not” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

“Deliberating” (2015), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

Left: “Unshrinking unthinking” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches. Right: “Turn me down” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

“Re-appear” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

Left: “Flung” (2015), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches. Right: “Peak drag” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

“Humming” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

“Polite decline” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

 

 



Art

Spirals and Loops Twist Through Wooden Sculptures by Xavier Puente Vilardell

May 22, 2020

Anna Marks

All images © Xavier Puente Vilardell

Xavier Puente Vilardell (previously) transforms blocks of coffee-colored wood into eye-catching sculptural forms, some of which resemble architectural structures and other natural forms shaped by wind, rain, and the sea’s turbulent waves. The Brussels-based artist uses pinewood, a malleable material that enables him to make precise and curved structural forms. 

In a series of Youtube videos, Vilardell shows his virtual visitors around his studio, which features various axes mounted on the wall and a pile of wooden logs, a raw material from which he crafts his artwork. To create his sculptures, Vilardell uses traditional cutting tools and crafts each piece by hand. His skill and patience enable him to turn the blocks of wood into sculpted forms that twist in every direction, almost appearing to defy gravity. 

To view more of Vilardell’s spiraling sculptures, visit Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Photography

Women in Motion Energize Dreamy Photographs by Kylli Sparre

May 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Wonder Wheels.” All images © Kylli Sparre, shared with permission

Often blurring or concealing the faces of her dramatically posed figures, Kylli Sparre (previously) captures magical portraits of young women and girls. The fine art photographer, who is based in Tallinn, captures her lone subjects amidst swirling swaths of fabric or perched atop a towering mass of bicycle wheels. Many are in motion, whether dancing against hazy landscapes and or scooting across calm waters.

Sparre tells Colossal that she’s begun to experiment with technical aspects of her process by using a scanner, piecing together images in collages, and experimenting with movement and exposure time. Although she notes that many of her forays into underwater photography “will never see the light of day,” she’s “trying to be as open as I can… I think what has demanded me to grow, is the wish to keep finding the “something” in an image, that would touch a chord in me. Because what I find interesting, slightly changes over time. It is not always an easy task to be truthful to this inner scale, but still essential.”

To see more of Sparre’s conceptual projects focused on the female figure, head to Instagram.

 

“Disquiet”

“Learning Wheels”

“Modest Troubles”

“Mismeeting”

“Wild Things in Mild Wind”

“Line in Time”

“Excusing Shadows”

 

 



Art Craft

Precise Angular Stitches Encase Found Twigs in Natalie Ciccoricco’s New Embroideries

May 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Natalie Ciccoricco

Stitching lengthy, varicolored rows around found twigs, Natalie Ciccoricco juxtaposes the organic forms of nature with her meticulous embroideries. The California-based artist has been crafting her Nesting series on white, handmade paper with unfinished edges. The stark backdrop complements the precisely laid thread that seems to suspend each twig, while the natural borders offer an additional organic element.

An extension of her stitches on vintage photographs, Ciccoricco’s lastest series was born out of her time quarantined at home. “While being under quarantine at home, I started creating embroidery artworks using materials found in our yard, on our deck or nature walks,” she writes on her site. “Exploring the juxtaposition between geometric shapes and organic elements, this series is an ongoing exercise to find beauty and hope in challenging times.”

Although each piece from Nesting is sold out in her shop, some prints of her other embroideries are available on Society6. Follow Ciccoricco’s progress and see her latest works on Instagram. (via Jealous Curator)

 

 

 



Art

A Kinetic Sculpture by Felipe Pantone Slides into a Hypnotizing Kaleidoscope of Color

May 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Subtractive Variability Manipulable 3” (2020), UV paint, PMMA, MDF, and linear slide bearings, 21.5 x 50.0 x 7.2 centimeters. All images © Felipe Pantone

Argentinian-Spanish artist Felipe Pantone makes the relationship between color theory and human action tangible. His latest kinetic sculpture, titled “Subtractive Variability Manipulable 3,” features three translucent slides that shift to create hypnotic gradients. In cyan, magenta, and yellow, each piece visualizes the variances of subtracted color when affected by human touch.

In a statement, Panton said he “evokes a spirit in his work that feels like a collision between an analog past and a digitized future, where human beings and machines will inevitably glitch alongside one another in a prism of neon gradients, geometric shapes, optical patterns, and jagged grids.” Many of his colorful works appear pixelated in the physical form of a mural or sculpture.

A limited-edition run of the artist’s kaleidoscopic sculpture will be released by Configurable on May 26. To see more of his vivid projects, head to Instagram. (via Street Art News)

 

 

 



Art

A Three-Story Tree Acts as a Scaffold for a Growing Community in a Mural by Ethan Murrow

May 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

“The Garden” in Seattle. All images © Ethan Murrow, by Julia Featheringill and Stewart Clements

In a 53-foot mural of exposed roots and tangled branches, Boston-based artist Ethan Murrow (previously) situates an energetic construction site manned by human workers, who heave their materials and balance across taught ropes. “The Garden” is replete with scaffolding, small tool sheds, and suspended orbs of sod and lumber among the sturdy boughs. With flags staked on its top, the tree serves as an organic backdrop for the humans’ manufactured expansion. Evidenced by the figure raising a tree branch to the sky in the top left corner, though, the workers’ actions often appear peculiar and inconsequential.

In a statement, Murrow explains that his scenic works are rooted in United States history and culture. Whereas traditional narratives are founded on the idea that progress and human superiority are natural, the artist works to subvert those assumptions.

As our world leaks and creaks forward, landscape can act as the ultimate term and representation of the joys and foibles of our actions. Landscape is an aesthetic ideal, an edited view of reality that suits the maker—in essence, a fiction. For me, the word has come to define our use of images and stories to convince ourselves of who we are, what we know to be true, and what we wish was fact.

Rendered in high flow acrylic and paint pens, “The Garden” is installed at Expedia Group headquarters in Seattle. Many of Murrow’s projects that are concerned with historical narratives and human progress can be found on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Tuxedoed Penguins Plunge into A Private Tour of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

May 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Nelson-Atkins Museum, by Gabe Hopkins

On a recent trip to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, three penguins from the Kansas City Zoo were keen to ruffle some feathers. As they waddled along their private tour— the museum currently is closed to humans due to COVID-19—Bubbles, Maggie, and Berkley served some polarizing opinions. Executive director and CEO Julián Zugazagoitia said the tuxedoed guests “seemed to react much better to Caravaggio than Monet,” whose work they only glance at in a video of their trip.

Despite the cold shoulders that they gave the French painter, zoo officials said the penguins enjoyed interacting with some new faces. “Unfortunately, our penguins can’t speak for themselves, but we think they found the experience at the museum very enriching.”

Zugazagoitia also noted that he spoke Spanish to the three birds, who are native to Chile and Peru, in order to break the ice and make them feel a little bit more comfortable in the space. All three are Humboldt penguins under eight years old, meaning that they’ve got more time to refine their tastes. The South American birds generally live more than 30 years.

The museum’s resident photographer Gabe Hopkins captured much of the sophisticated guest’s visit, which he’s shared on Flickr. (via ArtNet News)