Melbourne, Australia’s Beinart Gallery is gearing up for an exhibition of small scale paintings, scratch-built models, and tiny sculptures. Co-curated by artist Joshua Smith (previously), the Miniature Art Group Show features impressive works by a group of around 30 artists from around the world.
Close-up photos of the architectural models and other miniatures in the show highlight the level of detail that the artists pack into every square inch. Cardboard, plastic, and paper are painted to resemble weathered wood and metal, while breath mints become the canvas for portraits of The Beatles. Each piece reflects the dozens of hours that went into its meticulous production.
“Art in miniature is inherently impressive by virtue of the precision and patience demanded by its very creation, but that is not where its magic lies,” reads a statement from the gallery. “The magic is in the invitation extended to the viewer to reimagine the world on an entirely different scale[…] Miniature art delights the eye and teases the brain with possibility.”
Miniature Art Group Show opens with a reception on March 7 and the exhibition runs through March 29. For more information and to see the full list of contributing artists, head over to Beinart Gallery’s website.
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In 1832, artist John Jesse Barker added depth to a drawing by Philadelphia-based William G. Mason to create an optical illusion titled “Horizontorium.” Part of a tradition of anamorphic works, this depiction of the Bank of Philadelphia is one of the two surviving works looking at the historic financial building designed by architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe. At the time, it was the unofficial bank of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that sat at the southwest corner of Fourth and Chestnut streets. The structure was razed in 1836.
Horizontoriums became popular throughout England and France in the 18th century, although this piece is the only one known to be made in America. Viewers would set the lithograph on a flat surface and perpendicularly position their face at the center of the work (note the semicircle on this lithograph suggesting a spot for a chin) to peer over the image. The sharp angle would produce a distorted perspective that appears to project the building and its passersby upward. Sometimes, viewers even would peek through a small hole carved out of paper or cardboard to block out their peripheral vision and give the work a more distinct look. (via Graphic Arts Collection, The Morning News)
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A Parade of Earthly Delights: Floating Bosch Parade Celebrates Painter Hieronymus Bosch in Spectacular Aquatic Event
A floating parade dedicated to painter Hieronymus Bosch (previously) honors the artist’s fascination with the fantastical and absurd in an annual event that embodies his philosophy and aesthetic. The 2019 occurrence of the Bosch Parade included a musical performance played on a partially submerged piano and a scene with two people straddling enormous horns, just two of fourteen vignettes devoted to an evolving story about “power and counterforce, battle and rapprochement, chaos and hope.”
Bosch is known for his symbolic paintings often tying in gruesome representations of the afterlife and human desire and fear. He is also regarded as one of the earliest genre painters, depicting common people and their everyday experiences. The annual Bosch Parade is described by organizers as “a theatrical and musical art spectacle on water,” drawing thousands of visitors to the southern city of ‘s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, where Bosch was born and eventually got his name from.
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Japan-based artist Ayumi Shibata (previously) constructs intricate paper cities and natural landscapes that both fit in the palm of her hand and are expansive enough to pass through on foot. Using dozens of layers of paper for a single project, Shibata carves miniature houses, clouds, and tree-filled forests that eventually are illuminated in glass vessels, stored safely in a book, or erected in large-scale installations.
The artist tells Colossal that she doesn’t use pencil outlines, in part because the white paper isn’t durable enough to be erased if there’s an error. Instead, she envisions the three-dimensional shapes she wants to create and begins cutting. “White paper expresses the yang, light, (and) the process to cut expresses the yin, shadow. When the sun shines upon an object, a shadow is born,” she writes. “Front and back, yin and yang, two side(s) of the same coin.”
Shibata also relies on the Japanese word “kami”—which translates to paper but also to god, divinity, and spirit—as she considers the relationship between humans and nature that turns up in her work. “The world of paper that unfolds within the glass expresses the micro world, which is our human world, the Earth, the universe, and other universes and dimensions. The life-sized forest installation expresses the macro world, which is outside of our universe and the unknown worlds.” Each time someone walks into a room with one of her more expansive pieces, she thinks it’s possible “we could meet, communicate and coexist with Kami, which exists but we can’t see.”
To check out more of Shibata’s structural projects, head to her Instagram.
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Finnish artist Ritta Ikonen has a rare relationship with postal services around the globe because of her ongoing Mail Art series. The documentary project started in 2003 when Ikonen was a student at the University of Brighton. She began crafting and sending A6-sized packages relaying her travel experiences to her illustration instructor, Margaret Huber. Since then, Ikonen has sent hundreds of parcels constructed with human hair, fish, and broken bits of a record, among countless other objects. “All the cards are snapshots from the everyday: materials that float my direction from the sea/ streets/ subway, finds from mushroom forays or other people’s parties,” the artist tells Colossal. “Sometimes the postcard is a test on a new adhesive or a snapshot of a larger project that I cannot store in its entirety.”
Despite her unusual packaging, the artist says only a few pieces haven’t reach their destination, although works arrive in various conditions often accompanied by an apology from the mail carrier for the “damage” done.
I have discovered that my crocheting skills aren’t yet at the point where I can produce a legible address and fluff from the dryer breaks down too easily in international mail. Most everything that I have considered risqué (white powder packet during anthrax scare, shrimp, small fish, film camera (filled with selfies by the postal workers on its arrival), acupuncture needles, etc.) have all been dutifully delivered to Margaret Huber’s mailbox.
In 2018, Ikonen began sending the mail pieces weekly, although before they head through the postal service, they’re put on view at a PO Box in Rockaway Beach, New York. The artist also is part of a group exhibition at Gallery 8 in New York that’s open through March 8. If you can’t see Ikonen’s unconventional work in person, though, some of her documentary projects are featured in a book devoted to postcards.
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In late January in Salinas Grandes, Jujuy, Argentina, artist Tomás Saraceno (previously) launched a black air balloon powered only by the sun and air, forgoing lithium, helium, or fossil fuels. By absorbing ultraviolet rays to heat the air and allow it to raise, the balloon can hold 250 kilograms, or about two people. The project, titled “Fly with Aerocene Pacha,” became the world’s first sun-powered flight with a pilot and was exhibited as part of Connect, BTS, an arts initiative organized by the South Korean boy band. The global project has connected five cities with 22 artists who have helped fulfill the mission of redefining “the relationships between art and music, the material and immaterial, artists and their audiences, artists and artists, theory and practice.”
Breaking six records with the World Air Sports Federation, Aerocene Pacha eclipsed previous markers in altitude, distance, and duration for both men and women, thanks to pilot Leticia Marques. During its flight, it reached an altitude of 272.1 meters above ground and crossed 2.56 kilometers. The longest flight lasted an hour and 21 minutes.
In a statement, Saraceno added context to the project that falls at the intersection of art, culture, and environment, speaking to the abundance of lithium in the area that’s being mined for use in batteries. “This extractivist attitude is evidenced in the Salinas Grandes by the recent rush to mine lithium, furthering the man-made violence that incites climate change and mass extinction, the race to colonize space and disturbed balance of interconnected ecosystems,” he writes. The ballon prominently displays the phrase, “El agua y la vida valen más que el litio,” or “Water and life are worth more than lithium.” Activists from indigenous organizations attended the launch of the balloon, protesting the extraction process.
The Kirchner Cultural Center in Argentina is hosting a special exhibition, which includes video of the historic flights, devoted to Saraceno’s work through March 22. To see more of the artist’s ethically minded projects, check out his Instagram. (via Hyperallergic)
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Belgian artist Élodie Antoine understands the behavior of fibers, controlling them in ways to produce textile designs that are organic, fungal, and oftentimes anatomical in nature. Her anatomies emerge from taut lycra, dense felt structures, and an impressive number of zippers. The pieces are as much a reflection of the numerous tissue types in the human body as the textiles themselves.
Antoine shares with Colossal her view on the connection between textiles and anatomy. “Textile is a soft material, very sensual and transformable. Felt especially is very interesting for making sculptures because it allows to make forms without sewing, without suture, like the organs of the human body,” she writes.
From a young age, Antoine remembers a fondness for textiles, saying, “using it was obvious for me as both my parents were very interested in knitting and sewing—it was all around me.” She familiarized herself with classic sewing techniques, mastering them to create contemporary forms that transcend technique and fiber. Particularly interesting are her felt sculptures that take on the form of teeth, lower limbs, bones, and other peculiar organic forms. Antoine uses a kitchen knife to slice through the unassuming masses to reveal vibrant anatomical-like cross-sections.
She currently teaches textile design at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels (ARBA-ESA) and is represented by Aeroplastics Gallery. Keep an eye on Antoine’s latest textile endeavors, including watching her cut through her felt sculptures, on Instagram.
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