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Barry Underwood Illuminates Human Presence in the Landscape in Geometric Light Sculptures
A variety of landscapes set the scene for Barry Underwood’s vivid sculptures (previously), illuminating sites of human interference and destruction. Utilizing LED lights and reflective materials, he challenges perceptions of flatness and depth and invites us to consider the significance of our surroundings. “Our understanding of landscape is a construct based upon what we want from the land and what we have experienced,” he says.
Underwood’s latest series Linear Construction—to which many of these images belong—“focuses on visual illusions that reflect the land conservation paradoxes created by humans’ deep augmentation of the natural world,” he tells Colossal. While some images contain clear signs of intervention, such as a mown field or a stone wall, others require a closer look at a treeless river bank or a cleared meadow. The artist explores civilization’s impact on nature by superimposing geometric shapes onto landscapes, nodding to the precise angles of built structures and bright lights we might associate with warning flares or neon signs.
To achieve the images, Underwood experiments with what he calls “a catalog of visual devices. I try to find locations that I’m either shooting downhill or uphill to make the space look like it’s torqued,” playing with perception and taking multiple frames that are later stitched together in Photoshop to create what he describes as a “disruptive mood.”
Find more of Underwood’s work on his website, and learn more about his process on Instagram.
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The Other Art Fair Brooklyn Features Over 100 Independent Artists
The Other Art Fair returns to Brooklyn Navy Yard from May 18 to 21 with a new roster of more than 100 independent artists showcasing 1,000+ artworks. For the May edition, the fair has added the exhibition 3walls: Re McBride and Reid+Factor, an installation entitled “Backstage at the Drag Show” by artist Nonamey, and interactive art experiences, including tintype portrait sessions with Goodness + Truth and AI-generated tattoos with artist Evan Ishmael.
Presented by Saatchi Art, The Other Art Fair started in 2011 with its first fair in London and has since expanded to include local editions in Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, and Sydney. The fair aims to create an art marketplace for independent artists to sell directly to local communities. Its organizers are on a mission to break down traditional art world barriers and make art affordable and accessible to all.
During the four-day event, The Other Art Fair offers a diverse range of scenes. Opening Night on Thursday attracts industry professionals, collectors, and press while the Friday Late Party draws out Brooklyn creatives and the fashion set for live DJs and a bustling bar scene. The fair gets packed on Saturdays and Sundays, from serious art buyers and interior designers on the hunt for fresh artwork to casual flea market browsers looking for unique finds. With live performances, Instagram-worthy installations, popular local food trucks, and a bar running throughout the weekend, the fair has become popular among NYC experience seekers and art lovers of all levels—from the art-curious to the seasoned collector.
The Other Art Fair Brooklyn returns to Brooklyn Navy Yard from May 18 to 21. Tickets are on sale now.
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Hank Willis Thomas and Coby Kennedy Extend a Monumental Welcome to Travelers Transiting Through O’Hare
Travelers at O’Hare Airport’s Multi-Modal Facility in Chicago—an expansive parking structure that connects all of the airport’s ground transportation—are now treated to a large-scale, collaborative artwork by Hank Willis Thomas (previously) and Coby Kennedy as they move through a lofty atrium. Emerging from the walls of an escalator hall and measuring approximately 27 and 31 feet long, enormous arms extend across the space as if just about to clasp hands. Titled “REACH,” the piece takes cues from its site in a busy transportation hub, reframing a transitory space into a reminder of togetherness and connectivity.
“‘REACH’ is a connection point and large-scale gesture that inspires us to come together,” says Thomas, whose sculptures have often incorporated hands and arms in symbolic positons such as embraces, the Black Power fist, or hands-up defensive signals that evoke historical events and activism. The work is the newest of O’Hare’s major public art installations, which among many others includes “Palimpsest,” Nick Cave’s multi-story beaded tapestry installed in 2019 in another part of the same building.
See more of Thomas’ work on his website, and follow on Instagram for updates.
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Fluorescent Photographs by Tom Leighton Highlight the Remarkable Complexities of Plants After Dark
“Plants are incredible stores of energy,” says photographer Tom Leighton, whose fluorescent-tinged images of foliage highlight the incredible night life of plants in his ongoing Variegation series. He explores the detailed colors and textures of leaves and stems, accentuating an important counterpart to the complex daytime process of photosynthesis, which creates chemical energy and oxygen from sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide. “After the sun fades, the process of photosynthesis stops and respiration begins,” he says. “Plants begin to burn their stored sugars and breathe back in some of the precious oxygen they have created.”
Leighton primarily focuses on species found around his native Cornwall—often in his own garden—and captures contrasting venation patterns, serrated edges, and multiple colors. He digitally removes the green tones we associate with vegetation to reveal glowing violet, pink, and blue hues. “It is very experimental… There are limitless options and techniques that I combine to get to each finished image,” he says, sharing that a minor color choice or a small crop can transform the outcome.
Explore more of Leighton’s work on Behance, his website, and Instagram.
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Marine Animal Masks by Liz Sexton Spotlight Beloved Species in Lifelike Papier-Mâché
If you feel like a fish out of water, the saying goes, then you’re probably feeling a little confused or uncomfortable. St. Paul-based artist Liz Sexton gives the simile new meaning with recent marine-themed additions to her ongoing papier-mâché masks series, highlighting the distinctive faces of familiar creatures like walruses, manatees, and polar bears that find themselves out and about on dry land.
Sexton enjoys papier-mâché for its versatility and accessibility, using additional readily available materials like cloth, wire, and acrylic paint to build up each animal’s unique textures, patterns, and colors. Comprising her upcoming solo exhibition Out of Water at the Minnesota Marine Art Museum, the lifelike wearable sculptures draw attention to a variety of beings that rely on aquatic ecosystems for survival. Barnacles and belugas are photographed in atmospheric settings by the artist’s partner and collaborator Ben Toht, who captures each animal’s unique details and expressions.
Many of Sexton’s sculptures portray species that, in their native habitats, are under threat as they increasingly become entangled in nets and suffer the effects of the climate crisis. The delicate and often awkward balance between the human-made environment and natural ecosystems is highlighted in photographs of the masks in atmospheric settings by the artist’s partner and collaborator Ben Toht. The portraits playfully juxtapose the creatures with unusual locations like a grocery store freezer aisle, a campground, or a laundromat.
Out of Water opens May 6 and continues through September 3 in Winona, and you can find more work on the artist’s website and Instagram.
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Interview: Renata Cherlise On Her ‘Black Archives’ Project, the Credibility of Candid Photos, and the Look of Black Joy
Renata Cherlise’s recently released book, Black Archives: A Photographic Celebration of Black Life, makes clear that Black families have potent stories to tell. Cherlise says in a new Colossal Interview:
Spending time with these scenes of everyday life made me feel connected to my ancestors and inspired me to think about photography as a form of individual and collective history. I became interested in images of the Black experience that I had never seen in mainstream media or textbooks—pictures that capture the intimacy, beauty, and nuance of our everyday lives.
There are first dates, barbeques, trips to Paris, holidays. There is togetherness, laughter, love. These photos testify—through changing fashion, hairstyles, automobile models, photo types, and other markers of time—that Black families have always been part of history, and our stories, our celebrations, have always been an integral part of the historical record.
I spoke with Cherlise via e-mail about the origins of her love for family photos, her book project, and why she considers snapshots “the most authentic storytelling medium in the written and visual language.”
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Editor's Picks: Animation
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.