Art

Section



Art Illustration

Quaint and Deceptive Hand-Drawn Installations Question the Concept of Home and Belonging

September 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Anastasia Parmson, shared with permission

Our understandings of home are fundamentally personal, determined by an evolving mélange of factors like location, culture, and the people in our lives. Born in Estonia to a Siberian family and later educated in France, artist Anastasia Parmson has long considered this idea and what it means to feel at ease within a space. “I feel like my concept of home is always evolving alongside my practice and my personal experiences,” she tells Colossal. “I do still see drawing as a form of home that I create for myself—a little space where I feel like I truly belong.”

Now living and working in Sydney, Parmson continues to question what creates that sense of comfort and connection by envisioning living areas and bedrooms as a sort of blank canvas. She paints walls, furniture sourced from resale shops or trash bins, and domestic objects like coffee mugs and potted monsteras in white and then draws details in black. Custom vinyl flooring with hand-rendered wood grain and wall panels line the perimeters, and the life-sized works often feature quaint, cozy details like patterned rugs and billowing drapes, in addition to pop culture references through books and framed artworks.

 

Falling at the intersection of two and three dimensions, the immersive installations are minimal in execution—based on the humble line drawn in a monochromatic palette—in an effort to define the contours of the concept while leaving the specifics open for interpretation and evolution. She explains:

What if home is not defined by an address, a space, or a geographical location? What if, instead, it is defined by the people in our lives? Maybe home is not a place, but a person. That feeling of being truly seen and understood by someone. That feeling of timelessness and ease when you reconnect with an old friend after many long years and realise that you can pick up the conversation as if no time has gone by at all. Maybe home is inter-personal connections and a sense of togetherness.

Parmson’s works are on view in several group exhibitions this fall, including through October 30 at Bendigo Art Gallery, through December 11 at Grafton Regional Gallery, and from October 12 to November 20 at Woollahra Gallery. She will also host a studio sale of smaller pieces in the coming months, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates.

 

Anastasia Parmson. Photo by Maja Baska

 

 



Art

Everyday Objects and Buildings Float Atmospherically in Cinta Vidal’s Perception-Bending Murals

September 19, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Public Space” (August 2022) in Toftlund, Denmark, curated by Kunstbureau Kolossal. All images © Cinta Vidal, shared with permission

It’s all about perspective in the multifaceted murals of Cinta Vidal, several of which the artist recently completed in Italy, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark. While some works focus on architectural details such as gable ends jutting out at unexpected angles or clustered together in mind-bending proportions, other pieces emphasize the relationships between people and their interactions within space or with each other as they navigate their shifting surroundings.

In preparation for a new project, Vidal researches the history and culture of an area and the buildings that surround the wall where she plans to work. Her characteristically suspended structures, household objects, and geometric shapes (previously) cast shadows and appear to sail through compositions that connect thematically to neighborhood or special events.  “All my murals play with their surroundings, reflecting and honoring the aesthetics and culture that surrounds them,” she tells Colossal. “I always do research, study the wall context, and paint a detailed sketch before going.”

Vidal’s painting “On Chairs” is also featured on the album cover of Tears for Fears’ latest album The Tipping Point. She is currently working toward a solo exhibition with Thinkspace Projects in New York in autumn of next year, and you can find more of her work on her website and Instagram.

 

“At work” (June 2022) in Covilhã, Portugal, for WOOL Urban Art Festival

“Neighborhood” (August 2022) in Horsens, Denmark, curated by Kunstbureau Kolossal.

“Behind” (July 2022) in Ludwigshafen, Germany, for Muralu Street Art

“Nonna” (July 2022) in Civitacampomarano, Italy, for CVTà Street Fest

A painted door in Civitacampomarano, Italy

Detail of “Behind”

“Neighborhood” in progress

“Public Space” in progress

 

 



Art

Chaotic Facial Markings Express the Wildly Varied Emotions of Reen Barrera’s Imaginative Ohala Dolls

September 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Reen Barrera, shared with permission

Growing up in the Phillipines in the 90’s, Reen Barrera would often repurpose scraps of fabric and wood into imaginative figures that became central to his play. The constructions were stand-ins for what the Filipino artist considers a “toy-deprived” childhood, and today, Barrera continues the visual language of those early sculptures in his recurring Ohala characters.

Often dressed in stripes and animalistic patchwork hoods, the wildly expressive figures are covered in a chaotic mishmash of symbols and patterns. Barrera likens these markings to the idiom “it’s written all over your face,” a concept that, similar to his earlier figures, continues to ground his practice. “Regardless of what we say, our true feelings can still be emancipated by our facial expressions,” the artist says. “For me, it’s a silent way of communicating something without noise.”

 

Barrera pairs this concern with fleeting emotion and more personal experience with larger themes about class and social standing. While some of the wooden figures are rich with colorful fabrics and splotches of acrylic, oil, and aerosol paints, others are more minimal. “One thing that I want to emphasize is the amount of detail each Ohlala artwork has. Like humans, some have little while some have more,” he shares, explaining further:

Some people are born rich, some are born middle class, some are born poor. But the common ground for everyone is, we all have to deal with it… I cover all the Ohlala dolls heads with canvas cloth to give a freedom to paint their own symbols on their heads, as if they are designing their own fate. I guess that’s what we all have in common; the power to make things happen for ourselves.

In a collaboration with Thinkspace Projects, Barrera’s solo show Children of Divorce is on view through January 15, 2023, at Mesa Contemporary Art Museum. For more of the artist’s works, visit his site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft History

A New Book Explores the Practices of 38 Black Ceramicists Working Across Generations to Define the Medium

September 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

Morel Doucet, “Skin Congregate on the Eve of Every Mountain” (2019), slip-cast porcelain with decals. Photo by David Gary Lloyd, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Myrtis

Ceramics is both versatile and enduring, allowing for myriad aesthetic sensibilities, degrees of functionality, and the ability to last lifetimes. A new book published by Schiffer Craft gathers the practices of 38 Black Americans who have harnessed the broad potential of clay as they explore various aspects of history, politics, craft, and culture.

Ranging from the colonial east coast and the Harlem Renaissance to the current century, Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists compiles interviews, photos, and short essays into an expansive, diverse survey. In addition to artists working today like Morel Doucet (previously), Chotsani Elaine Dean, and Danielle Carelock, the book also recounts earlier generations who used the medium as a catalyst for their creative practices. Augusta Savage (1892-1962), for example, is known for translating the humanity of her subjects into figurative clay forms. She also went on to found the Savage Studio for Arts and Crafts in 1930s New York and helped secure funding for her students as part of the Works Progress Administration.

The book also recognizes the contributions of nearly 200 ceramicists who were enslaved and working in commercial potteries in Edgefield, South Carolina. Among those is David Drake, who is thought to have produced more than 100,000 stoneware vessels throughout his lifetime.

Contemporary Black American Ceramic Artists, written by donald a clark and Chotsani Elaine Dean, is currently available for pre-order on Bookshop.

 

Morel Doucet. Image © David Gary Lloyd

Paul S. Briggs, “Double Cuttle” (2011), stoneware, glaze, 12 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

Chotsani Elaine Dean, “Plantation Sugar Jar: ‘for Chloe Spears’ (1750-1815),” (2019), porcelain and paper clay, 5.5 x 3.5 x 3.75 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

Danielle Carelock, “Foliage Mugs,” earthenware, hand-painted luster overglaze, 2 × 4 inches. Photo courtesy of Saltstone Ceramics

Keith Wallace Smith, “Dream Dancer” (2009), porcelain, terra-cotta, and rope, 21 × 13 × 17 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist

 

 



Art

Translucent Textile Sculptures by Do Ho Suh Explore the Familiarity of Quotidian Objects

September 15, 2022

Gabrielle Lawrence

Detail of “Jet Lag” (2022). Photo by Jeon Taeg Su. All images © Do Ho Suh, courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong, Seoul, and London

Rather than portray the everyday objects that make up the routine of our lives as immovable or simply structural, Do Ho Suh (previously) captures their sentience. This is not to say that the objects around us are alive but that perhaps our familiarity with them holds a kind of energy to reflect on. In “Jet Lag,” for example, a light switch or a door is made of potently colored translucent fabrics. This invites the viewer to consider the feeling of and the attachment to these small, insignificant companions.

In “Inverted Monument,” Suh similarly captures the energy beneath the eye’s limits of a common object through the structure. What would typically be formed from concrete or some stubborn, weather-proof metal is comprised of adventurous red lines that better capture the materials’ complexity, and in this case, also its context. Again, Suh constructs a radical shift of perspective. An object characteristic of place, history, and the communities it’s formed around is constructed according to the messiness of memory and is turned upside down. The pedestal reaches for the ceiling, and the head sweeps the floor. This subtlety introduces enormous questions about not only the significance of the object and how we interact with it but why it got there in the first place.

See more of Suh’s time and geography-bending sculptures through October 29 at Lehmann Maupin in New York.

 

Detail of “Jet Lag” (2022)

Detail of “Jet Lag” (2022)

Detail of “Jet Lag” (2022)

“Inverted Monument” (2022)

Detail of “Inverted Monument” (2022)

“Jet Lag” (2022)

 

 



Art Craft

Ancient Design Motifs Meet Contemporary Ceramics in Maxwell Mustardo’s Glowing Sculptures

September 14, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Maxwell Mustardo, shared with permission, courtesy of Culture Object and Jody Kivort

Gadrooning, an ornamental motif consisting of a series of tapered convex or concave curves, is derived from the decorative exteriors of Roman sarcophagi and antiquities. Renaissance artisans revisited it in the 16th century, and it re-emerged in the neoclassical revival of the 18th and 19th centuries. Referencing ancient designs and what he describes in a statement as the “broad, reverential notions of the vessel,” Maxwell Mustardo playfully examines the function of containers and earthenware over time.

In his gourd-like Gadroons and pudgy Anthropophorae—a series of bulging amphorae—a range of stippled lava glazes complement shocking hues or shimmering PVC coatings. Vibrant colors and swollen forms resemble balloons or 3D renderings displayed on a bright screen, and the resulting perception-bending, flocked-like surfaces make the pieces appear to be floating, wobbling, and glowing.

You can see Mustardo’s work at Culture Object through October 28 in a solo exhibition titled The Substance of Style. More information can also be found on his website and Instagram.