Photography

Containing 80 Portraits, ‘Stop Tanks with Books’ Pleas for Broad, Sweeping Action in Ukraine

May 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

Lina in a national costume, Orihovo-Vasylivka village, Donetsk (2018). Images © Mark Neville, courtesy of Nazraeli Press

Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, British artist Mark Neville moved to Kyiv, a city he traveled to frequently from his home in London since beginning Stop Tanks with Books in 2016. The project, which culminates in a new 180-page volume edited by David Company and published by Nazraeli Press, involved documenting life in the country through portraits of passersby on the street, families lounging at the beach, and others dancing among energetic nightclub crowds.

Each photograph tethers a human face to the entirely inhumane atrocities of war and “(weaponizes) the medium to effect change.” The images are intimate and profound, showing a young girl screaming into a toy phone following shelling in 2016 or a father and son cradling goats in their home in Decyatny.

 

Alexsandr Konokov and Sasha on their Goat Farm in Decyatny, Zhytomyr Oblast, 2017

Neville’s intention for the project has always been twofold. He hoped to inspire broad, international support for Ukraine’s independence in Donbas and Crimea and to offer a necessary corrective to the stereotypical information and images disseminated by the Kremlin, which he saw Western media sources often redistributing without context. “Stop Tanks With Books was my attempt to fight Russian aggression,” Neville says.

Eighty of his portraits are positioned alongside research from the Centre of Eastern European Studies in Berlin about the 2.5 million people who had already been displaced by 2018, in addition to short stories by Ukrainian poet and novelist Lyuba Yakimchuk that detail life under Russian occupation in Donbas.

The pairings lead to a call to action written in both Ukrainian and English, one made more urgent by the full-scale assault on the nation that’s taken thousands of civilian lives alone in the last three months. “I wonder what the international response would be if Stockholm, London, Paris, or New York were threatened with an unprovoked and imminent invasion by Russia? Our book is a prayer and a necessary plea to the international community,” Neville wrote before the war officially began, when he also sent copies of the book to 750 policymakers, ambassadors, media members, and those involved in peace talks. He hoped to raise awareness about the immediate threat the people of Ukraine faced.

There are a few copies of Stop Tanks with Books available from Setanta Books, although a second edition with a new foreword by Neville is in progress. You can find much more of the photographer’s activist-centered work, in addition to more images from the series, on his site. (via Lens Culture)

 

Boy with dog, Troitske, Luhansk (2019)

Couple at Stanytsia Luhanska Bridge (2019)

Ukrainsk, Donetsk (2021

Three Kilometres from the frontline, Donetsk (2019)

Policewomen, Mariupol (2019)

Kristina in Troyitske, Eastern Ukraine, an hour after the shelling (2016)

Maria Holubets, Natalia Tarasenko, Rozalia Boiko, Maria Shvanyk, and Rozalia Mahnyk at the Greek Catholic Monastery, Zvanivka (2018)

 

 



Art

Paper Constructions Confine Skeletons to Uncanny Spaces in Jason Limon’s Paintings

May 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Cramped” (2022), acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches. All images © Jason Limon, shared with permission

San Antonio-based artist Jason Limon (previously) conjures paper sculptures of 18th Century-style gowns, organs, and hollowed skulls with acrylic paint. The uncanny structures trap his recurring skeletal characters in cramped boxes and funhouse-esque constructions, where they attempt to disentangle themselves from their surroundings. Rendered in muted pigments, or what the artist calls “repressed tones,” the paintings utilize the anonymity and ubiquity of the bony figures to invoke emotional narratives. Limon explains:

Paper allows us to know the stories of the past, and I’ve always been drawn to that notion… I use paper to build the shapes to tell my thoughts. In most instances, I will use box-like or folded paper shapes, but more recently I want to explore the insides of these containers to see what complexities I might find.

The pieces shown here are part of Limon’s ongoing Fragments series and are part of Stripped Down on view through June 5 at Haven Gallery in Long Island. Limon also has another solo show slated for November at San Antonio’s BLK WHT GRY, and until then, you can browse originals and prints in his shop and follow his works on Instagram.

 

“Look at Me” (2022), acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches

“Bisected” (2022), acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches

Left: “Feel” (2022), acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches. Right: “Perplexed” (2022), acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches

“Elegance” (2022), acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches

“Outlines” (2022), acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches

Left: “Inside Out” (2022), acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches. Right: “Unseen” (2022), acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches

“Stripped Down” (2022), acrylic on panel, 12 x 16 inches

 

 



Art

The Precious Nature of Water Ripples Through Maya Lin’s Sprawling Installations

May 26, 2022

Gabrielle Lawrence

“Marble Chesapeake & Delaware Bay” (2022), glass marbles and adhesive. Image courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery. All photos by Echard Wheeler, shared with permission

Water is both versatile and undisguised. Its magnitude is only made possible by its minute, microscopic makeup, and this equilibrium is what carries its message. It’s what makes water so precious, so fluid.

Maya Lin’s A Study of Water mimics these qualities in scale, subject, form, and material. Lin has previously erected public land sculptures from the earth’s materials, called “Wavefields,” that speak to the interconnectedness of natural systems. Through this new exhibition, she takes these motifs even further by focusing on the liquid’s melodious nature.

In fact, Lin’s works are their own kind of harmony. Several of her pieces are made with recycled silver, a precious and reflective natural material, as a counterpart to water that emphasizes its value. In “Flow,” she uses salvaged wood to mimic wave textures. The specific combinations of natural and rescued materials—each imbued with weighted meaning—create a chorus the same way that climate change (the root note), deforestation and over mining (the third), and an increase of water-based natural disasters (the fifth) creates a triad.

 

“Flow” (2009), FSC-certified spruce, pine and fir 2 x 4s. Image courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery

Lin’s practice is a swirl of decades of research, her architectural background, and poetic expression, and she speaks the language of nature and the human heart. Each piece is made to amplify the gravity of humanity’s environmental impact on this treasured resource and each other. For example, in “Marble Chesapeake & Delaware Bay,” the artist expands notions of connectedness by changing the perspective. The unification of the two waterways as marbles challenges us to think beyond the small, contained bites of our everyday interactions with the liquid and instead, see it as the celestial force that draws us to each other.

A Study of Water, which is on view at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, literally sits between the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay. These bodies are not only central points of Lin’s fascination with the subject, but they also provide a physical locale to ponder the unseen connections humanity often takes for granted. Her career is a bridge between architecture, art, and activism—expanding always like water but never too detached from its simultaneous nature.

For more of the artist’s works, visit her site.

 

Detail of “Marble Chesapeake & Delaware Bay” (2022), glass marbles and adhesive

Installation view of Maya Lin: A Study of Water

Detail of “Dew Point 42” (2016), blown glass. Image courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery

Installation view of Maya Lin: A Study of Water

 

 



Art

Tiny Human Activities Erupt into Vast Celestial Nightscapes in New Paintings by Oliver Jeffers

May 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Oliver Jeffers, courtesy of Praise Shadows Art Gallery, shared with permission

Whether working in acrylic on panel or illustrating a scene for one of his children’s books, artist Oliver Jeffers is fascinated by positioning. He returns to questions about perspective and finding a place in the world amidst chaotic politics and an overwhelmingly vast universe.

In The Night in Bloom, a series of ten works soon to be on view at Praise Shadows Art Gallery in Brookline, Massachusetts, Jeffers imagines explosive astronomical scenes and impeccably aligned constellations. One work shrouds an abandoned picnic in deep blues and purples before erupting into a bright nebula, cradling stars between the soft glow of city skylines. Another piece, which the artist will replicate at a massive scale on a facade at Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, depicts a figure at home underneath a colorful expanse of galaxies and celestial bodies.

Each of the stellar works, which are the artist’s first rendered in acrylic, celebrates the possibilities of the unknown. He explains:

The worlds beyond our world, whose clues only reveal themselves when the light of our day grows low enough to view the dramatic and brilliantly colorful heavens after dusk, suggest a vastness we cannot possibly comprehend above our heads. These are the same heads that grow bored of looking for what to play on the radio, wonder when our internet purchase will arrive, or what activity we will use to pass the time this weekend. Perhaps there is more to this business of being alive than we give ourselves time (and perspective) to enjoy.

Jeffers, who splits his time between Belfast and Brooklyn, recently unveiled Our Place in Space, a series of sculptures that bring the solar system to Northern Ireland and Cambridge. This immersive experience complements The Night in Bloom, which will run from June 3 to July 10. Explore more of the artist’s dreamy paintings, sculptures, and illustrations on his site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

Don’t Look Down! The World’s Longest Suspension Bridge Opens in the Czech Republic

May 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

Sky Bridge 721 opened earlier this month in the Czech Republic and is claiming its title as the longest suspension walkway in the world, a record held previously by a similar design in Portugal. Strung between two peaks of the Kralicky Snezník mountain, the pedestrian path stretches an incredible 721 meters and reaches 95 meters above ground at its highest point. Two years in the making, the steel construction weighs 450 tons and relies on 66 ropes for support. For the fearless, height-loving adventurers wanting to take the nearly half-mile trek over the Mlýnský Stream valley, the Dolní Morava resort is coordinating access and tours. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Art Design

Influential Artworks Find Wearable Interpretations in Handmade Garments by Ariel Adkins

May 25, 2022

Kate Mothes

Ariel Adkins in a skirt inspired by Hilma af Klint, “The Ten Largest” (1907) at the Guggenheim Museum. Image by Allison Chipak. All images courtesy of Ariel Adkins, shared with permission

After a museum visit, we might pick up a postcard or T-shirt as a memento of the artworks we’ve enjoyed most. Brooklyn-based blogger Ariel Adkins, who is also Curator of Art, Culture & Community at Twitter, takes her love of masterpieces to the next level by creating one-of-a-kind apparel inspired by some of the world’s most influential artists. Donning capes, dresses, and coveralls in bright colors and bold patterns, Adkins draws inspiration from a variety of aesthetics and eras to make garments for herself and for people she meets who share a similar love for the power of expression. Painting directly onto the fabric of the clothing, she translates the forms and hues of specific artworks into wearable compositions.

Adkins is the creator of Artfully Awear, which began as a way of responding to grief and healing in response to the loss of her mother, who was an artist. Through the language of fashion, both a personal and public assertion of identity and style, she continues the project as an embodiment of joy and a unique way of kindling togetherness. She also admires iconic fashion like designer Michelle Smith’s dress worn by Michelle Obama in Amy Sherald’s portrait, utilizing her platform to share stories of groundbreaking moments in art history.

You can follow more of Adkins’ apparel adventures on Instagram.

 

A cape inspired by Etel Adnan, “Mont Tamalpaïs” (1970/2017) at the Guggenheim Museum. Image by Olivia Manno

Dress by Michelle Smith worn by God-is Rivera in front of Amy Sherald’s “First Lady Michelle Obama” (2018) at the National Portrait Gallery. Image by Ariel Adkins

Dress inspired by Yayoi Kusama, “Yellow Pumpkin” (1994) at Benesse Art Site. Image by Meri Feir

Dress inspired by Seward Johnson, “Welcome Home” (2014) at Grounds for Sculpture. Image by Will Sealy

Coveralls worn by Chet Gold inspired by Claude Monet, “Water Lilies” (1914-26) at the Museum of Modern Art. Image by Gina Tatianna

Top inspired by OSGEMEOS exhibition ‘Portal’ at Lehmann Maupin Gallery. Image by Will Sealy

Image by Will Sealy