Art Colossal

Interview: Artist Roberto Benavidez Shares His Fascination with Paper Sculpture and the Stories Behind His Fantastical Piñatas

May 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

From the Hieronymus Bosch Piñatas series. All images © Roberto Benavidez, shared with permission

Harboring an ongoing fascination with the piñata, artist Roberto Benavidez (previously) centers his practice on translation as he crafts fantastical creatures and scenes from Hieronymus Bosch’s paintings, medieval manuscripts, and landscape photographs.

When it comes to the form, that’s the challenge for me. The sculptor in me wants to not necessarily replicate the reference material but to capture the spirit of it. At times making adjustments that are either self-referential or just a play on the history of the piñata.

In the most recent interview available to Colossal Members, Benavidez dives into religion, sin, and how conceptions of his own identity impact his sculptures, no matter their original sources. He speaks with managing editor Grace Ebert about the joys of working within the constraints of paper and limiting himself to traditional aspects of piñata making.

 

From the Illuminated Piñata series

 

 



Amazing Science

Deep-Sea Exploration in the Ningaloo Canyons Unveils Gripping Footage of Undiscovered Aquatic Life

May 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

Plunge into the serene depths of the Indian Ocean through new 4K footage from the Schmidt Ocean Institute’s recent dive into the Ningaloo Canyons off the western coast of Australia. Previously unseen by researchers, the exploration captures aquatic life and swaths of the seafloor that have gone unexplored for years. Spanning 180 hours in total, the underwater adventure led to the discovery of more than 30 new aquatic species, in addition to the longest animal ever recorded. A member of the Apolemia genus, the record-breaking organism reaches an unprecedented 154 feet.

The humanless dive used the ROV Sebastian, a robotic underwater vehicle that can bear the pressure of 14,750 feet below water for lengthy durations, far more than people are capable of. See more of the institute’s mesmerizing videos on YouTube and find an extensive collection of deep-sea footage on its site. (via PetaPixel)

 

 

 



Art

Spirited Narratives Drive Whimsical, Patterned Paintings by Monica Rohan

May 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Kate, awkward” (2015), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches. All images © Monica Rohan, shared with permission

Whether unwrapping themselves from textile folds or balancing atop spindly stools, Monica Rohan’s figures are perpetually in motion. The painter depicts adventurous subjects set amongst whimsical worlds of overgrown bushes, vibrant seas of fabric, and cloudless skies rendered in patches blue. “The figure brings tension, the possibility of a narrative,” she tells Colossal. Rohan envisions each character as the impetus for action in her playful landscapes and thickly decorated domestic scenes.

Each piece begins with the artist exploring a photographic catalog she maintains with imagery of nature, interiors, and self-portraits.

These are developed through photo sessions which last anywhere between 10 minutes to an hour. I then translate this content into sketches and studies, finding different ways to pull patterns out and manipulate the figure before moving forward with the painting proper…The first marks on the board are a transfer of a sketch for the figure. I’ll then start painting and slowly work my way across the surface in a single layer, constantly making micro-decisions and balancing the image as I go. The figure in this way acts as a sort of anchor that the rest of the painting moves around.

Often drawing from texts she’s reading—Charlotte Brontë’s Villette is one—the artist imbues fictional tales into her works. “I’m interested in when real life and fiction bleed into one another. I’ve always been an avid reader, but happily, nowadays I can read and paint at the same time thanks to audio-books. Often whatever I’m reading filters through into titles for works and indirectly into the paintings themselves,” she says. 

To see more of Rohan’s densely patterned paintings, head to Artsy and Instagram, where she also shares progress shots and some of the original photographs that inspire her dreamlike pieces.

 

“Of course not” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

“Deliberating” (2015), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

Left: “Unshrinking unthinking” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches. Right: “Turn me down” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

“Re-appear” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

Left: “Flung” (2015), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches. Right: “Peak drag” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

“Humming” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

“Polite decline” (2019), oil on board, 31 1/2 × 23 3/5 inches

 

 



Art

Spirals and Loops Twist Through Wooden Sculptures by Xavier Puente Vilardell

May 22, 2020

Anna Marks

All images © Xavier Puente Vilardell

Xavier Puente Vilardell (previously) transforms blocks of coffee-colored wood into eye-catching sculptural forms, some of which resemble architectural structures and other natural forms shaped by wind, rain, and the sea’s turbulent waves. The Brussels-based artist uses pinewood, a malleable material that enables him to make precise and curved structural forms. 

In a series of Youtube videos, Vilardell shows his virtual visitors around his studio, which features various axes mounted on the wall and a pile of wooden logs, a raw material from which he crafts his artwork. To create his sculptures, Vilardell uses traditional cutting tools and crafts each piece by hand. His skill and patience enable him to turn the blocks of wood into sculpted forms that twist in every direction, almost appearing to defy gravity. 

To view more of Vilardell’s spiraling sculptures, visit Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

This Japanese Zoo is Using Stuffed Capybaras to Visualize Social Distancing

May 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images by @chacha0rca

Take a seat for lunch at Izu Shabonten Zoo in Shizuoka, Japan, and meet your plush dining partners. To help restaurant patrons visualize social distancing guidelines, the zoo has occupied chairs with stuffed capybaras. The soft toys encourage diners to space out among the tables and maintain an appropriate distance.

With only a few other cuddly creatures in the mix, the institution’s main choice is a nod to its decades-long fascination with the giant rodent. Izu Zoo boasts a plethora of capybara-themed programming and souvenirs and also is credited with creating open-air hot baths in 1982 that offer the animals, which are native to South America, a place to bathe, relax, and warm up during cold winters.

Although many of us won’t be visiting the wild creatures in the near future, you can get a glimpse at their steamy retreats below. For similarly visual social distancing, check out Singapore’s tape demarcations. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

 



Art Photography

Women in Motion Energize Dreamy Photographs by Kylli Sparre

May 22, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Wonder Wheels.” All images © Kylli Sparre, shared with permission

Often blurring or concealing the faces of her dramatically posed figures, Kylli Sparre (previously) captures magical portraits of young women and girls. The fine art photographer, who is based in Tallinn, captures her lone subjects amidst swirling swaths of fabric or perched atop a towering mass of bicycle wheels. Many are in motion, whether dancing against hazy landscapes and or scooting across calm waters.

Sparre tells Colossal that she’s begun to experiment with technical aspects of her process by using a scanner, piecing together images in collages, and experimenting with movement and exposure time. Although she notes that many of her forays into underwater photography “will never see the light of day,” she’s “trying to be as open as I can… I think what has demanded me to grow, is the wish to keep finding the “something” in an image, that would touch a chord in me. Because what I find interesting, slightly changes over time. It is not always an easy task to be truthful to this inner scale, but still essential.”

To see more of Sparre’s conceptual projects focused on the female figure, head to Instagram.

 

“Disquiet”

“Learning Wheels”

“Modest Troubles”

“Mismeeting”

“Wild Things in Mild Wind”

“Line in Time”

“Excusing Shadows”

 

 



Art Craft

Precise Angular Stitches Encase Found Twigs in Natalie Ciccoricco’s New Embroideries

May 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Natalie Ciccoricco

Stitching lengthy, varicolored rows around found twigs, Natalie Ciccoricco juxtaposes the organic forms of nature with her meticulous embroideries. The California-based artist has been crafting her Nesting series on white, handmade paper with unfinished edges. The stark backdrop complements the precisely laid thread that seems to suspend each twig, while the natural borders offer an additional organic element.

An extension of her stitches on vintage photographs, Ciccoricco’s lastest series was born out of her time quarantined at home. “While being under quarantine at home, I started creating embroidery artworks using materials found in our yard, on our deck or nature walks,” she writes on her site. “Exploring the juxtaposition between geometric shapes and organic elements, this series is an ongoing exercise to find beauty and hope in challenging times.”

Although each piece from Nesting is sold out in her shop, some prints of her other embroideries are available on Society6. Follow Ciccoricco’s progress and see her latest works on Instagram. (via Jealous Curator)