Working with vintage photographs, artist Julie Cockburn (previously) re-energizes images that have been lost to time with colorful overlays. Cockburn adds tightly stitched orbs, swirling marbled enamel, and architectural structures as overlays to black-and-white or softly toned studio portraits, candid snaps, and landscape photos.
The London-based artist’s current solo exhibition, ‘Telling It Slant’, is on view through November 2, 2019 at Flowers Gallery‘s Kingsland Road location. Cockburn’s show title alludes to an Emily Dickinson poem called Tell all the Truth but Tell it Slant. In a statement, the gallery describes the artist’s work as “excavat[ing] authentic stories by circuitous means… Cockburn embarks on a visual journey to delicately reveal narrative histories and layered meanings in lost and discarded images. Cockburn partially obscures the images in a process she describes as ‘paradoxically unmasking’ their intrinsic truths.”
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Open Call: The Elmhurst Art Museum Resurrects ‘Par Excellence,’ an Artist-Designed Mini Golf Course from 1988
In a unique collision of recreation and art, the Elmhurst Art Museum will commission an 18-hole artist-designed golf course in homage to the wildly popular 1988 exhibition Par Excellence at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The fully playable course will be conceived and fabricated by a new group of contemporary artists, designers, and architects selected through an open call process. Designed to fill the entirety of the museum’s interior galleries, the course will be comprised of a surprisingly varied collection of themes and forms, promising an unusual twist on a familiar pastime.
The extraordinarily popular exhibition was the brainchild of sculptor Michael O’Brien and opened to lines down the block. The show sold out daily and found its way to the pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, CNN, and the Chicago Tribune among others. The course went on tour to downstate Illinois before returning to Chicago as a rebranded commercial miniature golf course called ArtGolf at 1800 N. Clybourn in Lincoln Park (currently the site of Goose Island Brewery).
Artist-designed golf courses are now a popular addition to many Midwest museums such as the Walker Art Center, The Sheldon, and Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, but Par Excellence is widely believed to be the first.
Par Excellence Redux is curated by Colossal’s founder & editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson. To learn more about the open call process and submit your ideas for a hole, head on over to the Elmhurst Art Museum for more info.
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Pastel artist Zaria Forman’s subject of choice is the glacier. The natural phenomenon that occurs around the globe is a critical element of cold-weather ecosystems, as well as a barometer of global climate health. The Brooklyn-based artist travels worldwide, often accompanying scientific expeditions, to experience and document glaciers firsthand, taking thousands of reference photographs to inform her enormous pastel drawings.
In translating her real-world travels on to paper, Forman shares that she draws from memory as well as from her reference photographs. “Occasionally I will re-shape the ice a little, or simplify a busy background to create a balanced composition, but 90% of the time I am depicting the exact scene that I witnessed, because I want to stay true to the landscape that existed at that point in time.”
Forman shares with Colossal that her passion for remote landscapes was sparked in childhood, when she traveled the world with her family—including her fine art photographer mother. As an adult she has channeled this fascination with our planet’s vast and varied landscapes into her art practice.
Climate change is arguably the largest crisis we face as a global society. I feel a responsibility as an artist to address this in my work, especially since I’ve had the rare opportunity to travel to remote places at the forefront of the crisis. Psychology tells us that humans take action and make decisions based on emotion above all else. Studies have shown that art impacts our emotions. I convey the beauty as opposed to the devastation of threatened places in my work. If people can experience the sublimity of these landscapes, perhaps they will be inspired to protect and preserve them.
Many of the works shown here feature Greenland’s glaciers. Last winter, Forman also re-visited Antactica and Patagonia’s southern ice fields, and she has just started working on a series around Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina. “Impressively, Perito Moreno glacier is the third largest reserve of fresh water on the planet, surpassed only by the Antarctic and Greenland Ice sheets,” Forman explains to Colossal. “It also happens to be the only glacier in the southern ice fields that is not retreating. But it’s not advancing, either. I am excited to dive into its details and textures in these new compositions.”
Next summer, Forman’s solo show will be on view at Winston Wächter Fine Art in Seattle. The artist is also curating an exhibition for the National Geographic Endurance, a polar expedition ship, which will be installed in February, 2020. Follow along with Forman’s work and travels on Instagram.
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The anonymous artist duo MonkeyBird creates large-scale paintings of black-and-white cross contour depictions of mythical animals accented in gold. Most MonkeyBird artworks incorporate a humanoid monkey and bird, which represent “the two faces of humankind, the monkey being the realist, and the bird being a dreamer,” according to Paris-based 5Art Gallery. Old-world details like classical architecture, timekeeping devices, and weight scales add to the timeless look of the pair’s paintings. MonkeyBird’s members bring training in graphic design, as well as object and industrial design to their artistic aesthetic, which can be seen in their clean, technique-driven stenciling.
Based in Bordeaux, France, MonkeyBird travels widely to create outdoor murals as well as indoor installations. They’ll be working in Moscow from October 2 to the 11th. Follow along with MonkeyBird’s newest projects on Instagram, and pick up a limited edition print in their online store. (via Hi-Fructose)
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Tony the Frosted Flakes tiger sacrificed as a living room rug, wooden dolls handing their babies off to smugglers in freight truck trailers, and welcome mats stitched from life jackets: rather than offering an aspirational lifestyle, one South London storefront window depicts a capitalist dystopia. Created by Banksy and appearing overnight, Gross Domestic Product is the latest installation to critique global society’s major issues of forced human migration, animal exploitation, and the surveillance state.
The temporary installation, which will be on view for two weeks in the Croydon neighborhood, incorporates multiple window displays for a shop that is not in fact open to passersby. However, some of the items on display are available for purchase in GDP’s associated online store including the welcome mats, which Banksy hired refugees in Greek detainment camps to stitch; all proceeds go back to the refugees. Revenue from sales of the doll sets will also support the purchase of a replacement boat for activist Pia Klemp, whose boat was confiscated by the Italian government. The product line is rounded out with such oddities as disco balls made from riot gear helmets, handbags made of bricks, and signed—and partially used—£10 spray paint cans.
Tying this latest project to his larger body of work, Banksy incorporated familiar motifs. The fireplace and stenciled jacquard wallpaper from his Walled Off Hotel, the stab-proof Union Jack vest he created for Stormzy to wear at the Glastonbury Festival, and the Basquiat-inspired ferris wheel that appeared outside the Barbican all appear in GDP.
In a statement about the project, Banksy explains that the impetus behind Gross Domestic Product is a legal battle between the artist and a greeting card company that is contesting the trademark Banksy holds to his art. Lawyer Mark Stephens, who is advising the artist, explains, “Banksy is in a difficult position because he doesn’t produce his own range of shoddy merchandise and the law is quite clear—if the trademark holder is not using the mark then it can be transferred to someone who will.”
Despite this project’s specific goal of selling work in order to allow Banksy to demonstrate the active use of his trademark, the artist clarifies, “I still encourage anyone to copy, borrow, steal and amend my art for amusement, academic research or activism. I just don’t want them to get sole custody of my name.”
Per usual, Banksy shares updates on Instagram, where he claims recent projects, including GDP, which he just announced an hour ago as of press time.
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The U.K.’s Iconic Red Post Box Gets a Twisted Makeover in Alex Chinneck’s Surreal Urban Interventions
Master of distortion Alex Chinneck flips parking lots upside down, unzips buildings, and most recently has tied post boxes in knots. Chinneck traffics in everyday structures that are universally recognizable, which serves to unite passersby in reacting to the bizarre interventions. The post box series, which the artist calls ‘Alphabetti Spaghetti‘ has made appearances over the past week across the U.K., in London, Margate, and Tinsley, adding three bespoke boxes to the more than 115,500 traditional ones that exist across the kingdom. No word yet on whether postmarked letters placed in Chinneck’s sculptures will be delivered. You can see more of the artist’s mind-bending work on Instagram. (via It’s Nice That)
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Still life photographer Ellen Cantor meditates on memories imbued in familiar objects. In her series ‘Prior Pleasures’, Cantor uses her childhood book collection to create multiple exposure images documenting the literary loves of her youth. Each image features a single book on a black background, with the pages ablur between the illustrations, cover, and end page art.
The photographer shares that she finds inspiration in Abelardo Morell’s camera obscura work, challenging her to “explore the myth of the photographic truth and… create a new way of looking at childhood icons.” Cantor seeks to capture the pleasure of losing oneself within the page of a book, a tactile experience that has become more rare with the advent of e-readers and the competing content on smartphones.
“My photographs are about time, loss and memory. I seek to understand how life proceeds and then ultimately disappears, the artist explains. “I document the artifacts of the past to enrich the present. I am interested in reimagining the family photo album and objects that hold personal histories in order to explore the distillation and persistence of memory.”
Cantor is based in southern California, and is represented by dnj gallery and Susan Spiritus Gallery in California and Truth + Beauty in Vancouver. The ‘Prior Pleasures’ series was most recently exhibited at the West Hollywood Library in spring 2019. You can explore more of Cantor’s memory-soaked photography on her website.
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