Art

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Art

Expressive Portraits Made as Scrap-Metal Mosaics Question Societal Notions of Value

July 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Matt Small, shared with permission

At the heart of Matt Small’s practice is the idea that “there’s always potential within everything.” The British artist gravitates toward an overarching theme of disregard in both subject matter and material, choosing oxidized hunks of iron, bits of patinaed copper, and crinkled aluminum strips that have been relegated to the trash to construct his metallic portraits.

Expressive and emotionally charged, the corroded mosaics link rampant overconsumption and widespread tendencies to throw away what’s deemed obsolete or undesirable to the ways adolescents are marginalized and subsequently not seen as viable members of society. “Because of the social backgrounds they come from, young people find themselves overlooked, disregarded, and left uninvested in,” the artist says. “Marrying the discarded item and painting a portrait of a young person on it or utilizing the material to construct a mosaic face, I hope that the viewer sees that everybody and everything has a right to be viewed as valuable and of worth. It’s just up to us to see that.”

 

Detail of “Jake” (2020), assembled metal on wooden board, 35.5 x 35.5 inches

In a conversation with Colossal, Small references Marcel Duchamp’s urinal and the way that readymade sculpture upended long-standing notions of worth as a foundational concept he draws on his own practice. By turning debris and seemingly useless materials into works of significance, he hopes to prompt questions about the arbitrary values assigned to objects and people alike, explaining:

The scrap metal has worth because of what I did with it, not because I say it is of worth. The rusted tin can becomes a tone in the face. The shiny metal brings out a highlight on the forehead. All these worthless items have been incorporated into something that someone may now appreciate, and the potential of this scrap item can now be realized.

Small, who lives in his hometown of Camden, currently has work on view as part of Vanguard, which is considering the role of Bristol-area artists who’ve had an outsized impact on British street art since the 1980s. The extensive exhibition, which includes memorabilia and dozens of originals works, is open at M Shed through October 31. If you’re in London, watch for a large-scale mural portrait of the young British entrepreneur Jamal Edwards that Small is working on in Acton, and follow the artist on Instagram to stay up to date with his latest projects.

 

“Jake” (2020), assembled metal on wooden board, 35.5 x 35.5 inches

 

 



Art

Lush Tropical Plants Sprout from Brightly Colored Murals by Thiago Mazza

July 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

Lisbon. All images © Thiago Mazza, shared with permission

In his brilliantly hued murals, Brazilian artist Thiago Mazza recreates the dense foliage and thick, fleshy petals he encounters in tropical forests and other verdant areas. Prickly thistles, striped leaves, and seemingly endless varieties of flowers spring up in wild masses that crawl down sidewalks and engulf entire buildings.

In a note to Colossal, Mazza shares that all of his large-scale projects start with a carefully arranged photograph of the flora he finds during his forest excursions. “When I photograph the compositions with real plants, I do under a strong natural light so I can capture the light and the shadow, the contrast that I search in my compositions,” he says. The resulting works bring the otherwise remote plants to urban areas, transforming stark facades into lush gardens celebrating nature’s diversity.

Based in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, Mazza is currently painting an installation in the middle of a field as part of a residency at Campidarte in Sardinia, which rounds out a months-long expedition around Europe where he completed murals in Sintra, Lisbon, and Civitacampomarano. Keep an eye on his Instagram for his upcoming works, which are slated for Foz do Iguaçu, Tbilsi, and Madrid this fall. (via Street Art News)

 

Lisbon

Bertioga, Brazil, with the help of Drin Cortes

Poços de Caldas, Brazil, with the help of Drin Cortes

Belo Horizonte, Brazil, with the help of Drin Cortes

Vukovar, Croatia, with the help of David Arranhado

 

 



Art History

'Fantastic Landscapes' Surveys the Vivid Use of Color in Hokusai and Hiroshige's Woodblock Prints

July 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

Utagawa Hiroshige, “Yamashiro Province: The Togetsu Bridge in Mount Arashi (Yamashiro, Arashiyama Togetsukyo),” from the series Famous Places in the Sixty-Odd Provinces (Rokujuyoshu meisho zue), 1853

An exhibition opening this weekend at the Art Institute of Chicago plunges into the vast archives of renowned Japanese ukiyo-e artists Katsushika Hokusai (previously) and Utagawa Hiroshige (previously). Fantastic Landscapes brings together the vivid scenes created by the prolific printmakers through the first half of the 19th Century with a particular focus on their innovative uses of color. Peach skies, grassy bluffs in chartreuse, and their extensive applications of Prussian blue—Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa” famously layers the chemical pigment—mark a broader shift in the artform. Today, the pair are largely attributed with sparking a worldwide fascination with Japanese prints.

Explore some of the woodblock works on view as part of Fantastic Landscapes below, and see them in person between July 17 and October 11. You also might enjoy this monumental book compiling Hokusai’s Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji and Hiroshige’s delightful shadow puppets.

 

Katsushika Hokusai, “The Back of Mount Fuji Seen from Minobu River (Minobugawa Urafuji),” from the series Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjūrokkei), about 1830/33

Katsushika Hokusai, “Amida Falls in the Far Reaches of the Kisokaido (Kisoji no oku Amidagataki),” from the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces (Shokoku taki meguri)

Utagawa Hiroshige, “Plum Garden at Kameido (Kameido Umeyashiki),” from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (Meisho Edo hyakkei)

Utagawa Hiroshige, “Awa Province: Naruto Whirlpools (Awa, Naruto no fuha),” from the series Famous Places in the Sixty-odd Provinces (Rokujuyoshu meisho zue), 1855

Katsushika Hokusai, “A Mild Breeze on a Fine Day (Gaifu kaisei),” from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjurokkei), c. 1830/33

Katsushika Hokusai, “Kirifuri Falls at Mount Kurokami in Shimotsuke Province (Shimotsuke Kurokamiyama Kirifuri no taki),” from the series A Tour of Waterfalls in Various Provinces (Shokoku taki meguri), c. 1833

 

 



Art

Unruly Metals and Barbs Repair Broken Porcelain Dinnerware by Glen Taylor

July 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Glen Taylor, shared with permission

Ohio-based artist Glen Taylor (previously) mends porcelain dinnerware with brutal bits of metal and soldering that starkly contrast their smooth, delicate counterparts. Lengths of rusted barbed wire bind two halves of a teacup, sharp spikes border a saucer painted with flowers, and mangled silverware is piled in messy assemblages reminiscent of dinner-party aftermath. In recent months, Taylor’s repaired interventions have grown in size and scope, from single-serving dishes patched with a pair of jeans to full-scale tables set for eight.

In a note to Colossal, the artist shares that he’s in the midst of preparing for an exhibition this fall, and you can keep an eye out for details about that show on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

An Eclectic Group Exhibition Brings Together Contemporary Interpretations of the Archetypal Vessel

July 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

CHIAOZZA, “Bouquet Sculpture No. 2” (2021), acrylic paint on paper pulp, 36 x 23 x 9 inches. All images courtesy of Hashimoto Contemporary, shared with permission

A group exhibition at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco offers a new perspective on the enduring legacy of the vessel as both standalone object and motif. Spanning ceramic vases, oil-based works on canvas, and sculptures made of paper pulp, the show explores the myriad ways the ubiquitous container has appeared throughout art history and how two dozen artists working today interpret the classic form. Included are the minimal, ritualistic paintings by Laura Berger (previously), Stephanie Shih’s sleek Molotov cocktail inscribed with a strikingly hopeful message, and Katie Kimmel’s zany dogs. We’ve gathered some of our favorite works below, and stop by the gallery before Vessel closes on July 31 to see them in person.

 

Laura Berger, “Vessel 1” (2021), oil on canvas, 42 x 32 inches

Left: Munisa, “La bonga de la vida ‘Josefina'” (2021), clay, wire, and glaze, 18 x 11 x 6 inches. Right: Stephanie Shih, “Molotov Cocktail (A Better World Is Possible)” (2021), 10 x 4.5 x 2.5 inches

Leif Zikade, “Emergence” (2021), acrylic yarn, 24.5 x 16.5 inches

Hilda Palafox, “Cosecha” (2021), high temperature ceramics, 12 x 12 x 12 inches

Left: Katie Kimmel, “Nosferatu vase” (2021), ceramic, 13 x 7 x 3.4 inches. Right: Katie Kimmel, “Camelot vase” (2021), ceramic, 11 x 6 x 3.4 inches

Lorien Stern, “Ready for the Afterparty” (2021), ceramic, 14 x 14.25 x 8.5 inches

 

 



Art Craft

Precise Replicas Cast Wildlife and Plants as Delightfully Tiny Sculptures

July 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Fanni Sandor, shared with permission

Fanni Sandor (previously) melds her background in biology with a decades-long enthusiasm for miniatures by creating an adorable menagerie of minuscule wildlife. Based in Hungary, she sculpts 1:12 scale models of leaping squirrels and multicolor tree frogs from clay and soft fibers and more recently has ventured into larger ecosystems populated by speckled mushrooms, ferns, and the tiniest tulips. Sandor’s biologically accurate models are sold out on Etsy right now, but keep an eye on shop updates by following her on Instagram.