Vivid Foliage Suspends Xiao Wang’s Portraits in Uncanny Tension

May 2, 2023

Grace Ebert

A woman peers through violet tinged gingko leaves

“Portrait, October” (2022), oil on canvas, 41 x 54 inches. All images © Xiao Wang, shared with permission

Gingko leaves laced with violet, eucalyptus sprigs in blue, and ferns glowing with bright orange veil Xiao Wang’s portraits with a sense of subtle unreality. As if illuminated by fluorescent light, the oil paintings depict quiet, introspective, and intimate moments between the artist and subjects, who rest among lush plant life.

In a note to Colossal, Wang shares that he continually strives for both contrast and balance. He has relationships with each person he paints, whether it be friends, his partner, or himself, and their real-life bonds emerge through the unearthly palettes. “I want to create an uncanny feeling through distorting natural colors and creating sharp contrast,” he shares. “That’s why there are so many dark tones against light tones, violet and red against green and blue.”

The use of vivid color also energizes the works and adds to the underlying unease and anxiety of the otherwise languid subjects, who appear suspended in daydreams and transitory states. “I think I’m trying to walk between realism and expressionism, meaning that my work is deeply based on naturalistic observations and oftentimes maximalist technique, but also heightened by expressive colors and surreal settings,” he says.

Wang, who was born in China and is currently based in New York, has a solo show slated for July at PM/AM in London, and you can find more of his work and glimpses into his studio on Instagram.


One person rests on a table while another peers into a mug against a backdrop of cacti

“Hangover” (2021), oil on canvas, 44 x 40 inches

A woman rests her head on her arms on a table with a plum tree above

“Spaced in, Space out #2” (2023), oil on canvas, 40 x 32 inches

A cat walks atop a table with a lush bouquet, a man sitting at the right edge

“Monkey Mind” (2022), oil on canvas, 58 x 44 inches

two people rest their heads on a tabletop with a taper candle burning at the center

“Passing Hours” (2022), oil on canvas, 60 x 48 inches

Two people embrace in front a tree covered with violet tinged ivy

“Sound of Cicadas” (2022), oil on canvas, 60 x 80 inches

A man sleeps on a tabletop with orange foliage in the backdrop

“Slumber-Dusk” (2020), oil on canvas, 44 x 58 inches





Dozens of Photographers Gather For ‘100 For the Ocean’ to Support Marine Research and Advocacy

May 2, 2023

Kate Mothes

A seal with seaweed in its mouth.

Tom Cannon, “Playtime” (2019), Jurien Bay, Australia. All images © the photographers, courtesy of 100 For the Ocean, shared with permission

Bringing together 100 wildlife photographers from around the world, 100 For the Ocean is a month-long fundraiser “to empower those on the frontlines of ocean conservation and to create a powerful, collective voice to impact policy and drive change.” During May, prints featuring André Musgrove’s underwater dives, Dmitry Kokh’s atmospheric documentation of polar bears, and Caine Delacy’s encounters with curious whales are available for purchase, with all proceeds going to research charities.

100 For the Ocean was established by photographers and marine biologists Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier, founders of SeaLegacy, a visual storytelling and advocacy platform with a mission to restore ocean habitats and reduce pollution in response to the climate crisis. For this special project, the duo collaborated with Chase Teron and invited Kathy Moran, the former National Geographic Deputy Director of Photography, to curate the selection.

Prints start at $100 and are available on the project’s website through May 31. See more on Instagram.


Two whales.

Caine Delacy, “Curiosity” (2023), Dominica

A polar bear and her two cubs.

Ruth Elwell Steck, “A Mother’s Love” (2020), Wapusk National Park, Manitoba, Canada

A leaping penguin.

Paul Nicklen, “Icy Flight” (2011), Ross Sea, Antarctica

A close-up of a tropical bird's eye and feathers.

Joel Sartore, “Edward’s fig parrot (Psittaculirostris edwardsii),” Loro Parque Fundacion

A grizzly bear half-submerged in a stream.

Lianna Nixon, “Emerald Dreams” (2019), Katmai National Park, Alaska, U.S.

A breaking wave.

Andrew Semark, “Distance”

An abstracted surge of water.

Chris Byrne, “Medusa”

A surfer in front of a mountain.

Chris Burkard, “Aleutian Juice” (2013), Aleutian Islands


Jean Simon Begin, “Strong Together” (2022), Ontario



Art Craft

Three-Dimensional Narratives Spring from Antique Books in Emma Taylor’s Meticulous Paper Sculptures

May 2, 2023

Kate Mothes

A sculpture of a ship made from an atlas.

“Sailing the Seven Seas.” All images © Emma Taylor, shared with permission

From the pages of history books, novels, and atlases, Cambridgeshire-based artist Emma Taylor (previously) unfurls the written word into three-dimensional narratives. In one work titled “Sailing the Seven Seas,” a wooden ship glides over rippling pages. Others feature a woodpecker knocking at the side of Bird Life and Bird Lore or a tiny mouse curling up for a nap with Beatrix Potter. Using materials from vintage world maps to The Lore of the Falcon, the artist constructs paper sculptures in painstaking detail, which appear to surface organically from the contents.

During the past few years, Taylor has experimented with different ways to position each copy, focusing on a variety of arrangements and expanding her earlier emphasis on building upward from an open spread. More valuable titles with colorful cloth covers form the basis for pieces, while others are deconstructed, reassembled, and given a new chapter. “I spend hours scouring antique shops, market stalls, and online bookstores in order to source topical books, typically dating to the first half of the 20th century,” she says. “I instantly know the right book, as I can picture the sculpture as if it has been laying dormant, just waiting to be given form.”

Taylor recently showed some of the work you see here at Byard Art in Cambridge, and you can find more on her website or Instagram, where she shares updates and insights into her process.


A sculpture of a woodpecker on the side of books about birds.

“Drumming of the Woodpecker”

A book sculpture of a tree.

“From Little Acorns”

A book sculpture of insects on a stack of books about insects.

“The Fascination of Insects”

A book sculpture of a robin and a nest of eggs.

“The Robin’s Nest”

Detail of a book sculpture of a robin and a nest of eggs.

Detail of “The Robin’s Nest”

A book sculpture of St. Paul's Cathedral.

“The Architect of St. Paul’s”

A book sculpture of a mouse curled up in a nest.

“Mouse Tales”

A book sculpture of two birds.

“Water Music (Great Crested Grebes)”

A book sculpture of a bird of prey landing on a stack of books.

“The Art of Falconry”

A book sculpture of a lion leaping out of an open book.

“Hear Their Roar”




May 2023 Opportunities: Open Calls, Residencies, and Grants for Artists

May 1, 2023


Debra Broz's sculpture of a human dancer with a dolphin head

“Dancing Dolphin II” by Debra Broz

Every month, Colossal shares a selection of opportunities for artists and designers, including open calls, grants, fellowships, and residencies. If you’d like to list an opportunity here, please get in touch at [email protected]. You can also join our monthly Opportunities Newsletter.


Spring Open Call for the Hopper Prize GrantsFeatured
The Hopper Prize is now accepting entries for Spring 2023 artist grants. The program offers two awards of $3,500 and four of $1,000. Submissions will be juried by Emily Edwards, assistant curator at Dallas Contemporary, and Inês Costa, curator at Focal Point Gallery, Southend-on-Sea. This is an international open call, and all visual media is eligible.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. PST on May 16, 2023.

ON::View Artist Residency Program, Fall 2023Featured
Applications are now open for the On::View Artist Residency Program in Savannah, Georgia. The residency supports artists from across the globe, working in all media, for periods of one to three months. Selected artists gain access to a high-visibility studio space to complete a new project, continue an in-progress endeavor, or to conduct research exploring conceptual, material, performative, and social practices.
Deadline: June 1, 2023.


Open Calls

Art in Odd Places (AiOP) 2023: DRESS (International)
Running from October 13 to 15, 2023, and curated by Brooklyn-based artist Gretchen Vitamvas, Art in Odd Places invites artists who are using dress as a medium to apply for its 18th annual festival taking place along 14th Street in Manhattan. Works may take the form of garments, textiles, fashion design, costume, performance, sculpture, and installation.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 14, 2023.

A.I.R.’s CURRENTS 2024 Curatorial Open Call (International)
A.I.R. Gallery invites curators to submit proposals for the next CURRENTS exhibition, which will run from January 6 to February 4, 2024. The chosen applicant will receive a $1,500 curatorial fee, WAGE-certified artist fees, a $3,000 artwork shipping budget, and a $500 production budget. There is a $10 to $30 application fee.
Deadline: 11:00 p.m. on May 15, 2023.

Abandoned Open Call (International)
Abandoned is an international juried group exhibition at The Chateau Gallery exploring abandoned and rediscovered objects, spaces, and structures. All two-dimensional, conventional, and nontraditional images with a subjective analog or digital photographic base are eligible for submission.
Deadline: 11:59 PST on May 15, 2023.

Descanso Gardens Open Call (International)
Curators, artists, collectives, cultural producers, and thinkers of all kinds are encouraged to submit preliminary proposals for exhibitions and programs at Descanso Gardens. Curatorial proposals will be considered for Descanso’s Sturt Haaga Gallery, the Boddy House, and satellite locations throughout the botanical gardens.
Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Meantime, Institute of Contemporary Art San Francisco (Bay Area)
This open call is for Bay Area artists, performers, activists, collectives, and others making new work and focused on public engagement and activation of the space. The ICA is looking for pop-ups—performances, workshops, events, and one-time activations—and artist residency projects using the museum as a studio space. Project budgets are $1,500.
Deadline: May 21, 2023.

All About Photo Solo Exhibition (International)
Photographers of any level are encouraged to submit six to 14 cohesive works for this open call. There is a $45 submission fee.
Deadline: May 23, 2023.

Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise (U.S.)
The Vilcek Prizes support emerging to mid-career immigrant designers who have demonstrated exceptional achievements early in their careers. Three winners working in digital design, graphic design, product design, or social design will receive $50,000.
Deadline: 5 p.m. EDT on June 12, 2023.

SaveArtSpace This Place Meant Open Call (International)
Curated by Sadaf Padder, This Place Meant is an open call for third-culture artists and descendants of mass displacement. Artists of all ages are eligible, and chosen projects will be displayed on a billboard in New York City. There is a $10 application fee.
Deadline: June 19, 2023.

CUE Open Call for Solo Exhibitions and Curatorial Projects (U.S.)
CUE’s annual open call provides emerging and underrepresented artists and curators the opportunity and necessary resources to realize an exhibition at CUE’s storefront gallery space on West 25th Street in Manhattan. Artists receive a $5,000 honorarium and curators $2,500, and there is a $10 application fee.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. EDT on June 30, 2023.



California Arts Council Individual Artists Fellowship Program (California)
Artists living in central California are eligible for awards in three categories: Emerging Artist Fellows receive $5,000, Established Artist Fellows receive $10,000, and Legacy Artist Fellows receive $50,000.
Deadline: 5 p.m. PDT on May 5, 2023.

Fundación Botín Art Grants (International)
Fundación Botín will award six grants worth € 23,000 to support individual projects that may consist of training (academic or not), research (non-academic), and production.
Deadline: May 5, 2023.

New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Arts in Health Project Grants (New Hampshire)
These project grants for nonprofits are designed to aid the elderly, people with disabilities, people in recovery, incarcerated individuals, and people with mental health diagnoses. Awards range from $1,000 to $6,000.
Deadline: May 5, 2023.

New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Artist Entrepreneurial Grants (New Hampshire)
Open to artists, performers, crafters, creatives, and art teachers, these grants range from $250 to $1,000 and support awardees’ careers.
Deadline: May 5, 2023.

The Tournesol Award (Bay Area)
One emerging Bay Area painter will receive a $10,000 stipend, a private studio, and a culminating exhibition or project.
Deadline: May 8, 2023.

Grants Fundación Ama Amoedo (International)
Ten $10,000 grants will be awarded in four categories: four grants for artists, two grants for art and social engagement, two grants for organizations, and two grants for publications. Awards are intended for artists, artistic collectives, nonprofits, associations, institutions, and foundations with a significant connection to Latin America, either by nationality, cultural heritage, and/or the site where the project will be carried out.
Deadline: May 15, 2023.

Jerome Foundation Arts Organization Grants (New York City and Minnesota)
These two-year flexible grants are designed to support Minnesota and New York City-based arts organizations that offer ongoing programs, services, and/or opportunities for multiple early career generative artists.
Deadline: 4 p.m. CDT on May 18, 2023.

VIA Art Fund Artistic Production Grant (International)
These grants, ranging from $25,000 to $100,000, commission new works exhibited beyond museum walls and in public spaces.
Deadline: May 18, 2023.

Rauschenberg Medical Emergency Grants (U.S.)
One-time grants of up to $5,000 are available for artists with recent unexpected medical, dental, and mental health emergencies.
Deadline: 5 p.m. EDT on May 19, 2023.

Artadia San Francisco (San Francisco)
The Artadia Awards provide $15,000 unrestricted awards, exposure, and recognition to artists in partner cities each year.
Deadline: May 31, 2023.

NYSCA/NYFA Artists with Disabilities Grant (New York)
The program will distribute $1,000 to visual, media, music, performing, literary, and multidisciplinary artists living in New York State with a disability who have experienced financial hardship due to COVID-19.
Deadline: 5 p.m. EDT on June 6, 2023.

Laura Patricia Calle Grant (U.S.)
This $20,000 grant awards an artist or collective the opportunity to paint a mural in the Metro Atlanta region. The work should inform and promote awareness of social equality, feminism, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, and cultural diversity.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. on June 30, 2023.

Illuminations Grant for Black Trans Women Visual Artists (U.S.)
Now in its fourth year, this annual $10,000 grant draws attention to early-career Black trans women visual artists, highlighting an existing body of work and providing critical support for their practice. The winning artist will complete a studio visit with our rotating panel of judges, and four distinguished finalists will receive $1,250 awards.
Deadline: July 12, 2023.

Adobe Creative Residency Community Fund (Ukraine or refugee)
Adobe’s Creative Residency Community Fund commissions visual artists to create company projects on a rolling basis. Awardees will receive between $500 and $5,000.
Deadline: Rolling.


Residencies, Fellowships, & More

Lillstreet Art Center Artist-in-Residence Program (International)
Lillstreet Art Center in Chicago offers residencies in ceramics, metalsmithing, textiles, drawing & painting, and printmaking & book arts beginning in September every year. Residents receive a $400 monthly stipend, studio space, access to the center’s facilities, an exhibition, and paid teaching opportunities.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. CDT on May 1, 2023.

Irene Yamamoto Arts Writers Fellowship for Emerging Writers of Color (U.S.)
Two writers of color with under five years of experience who are focused on art criticism and/or reporting about the visual, performing, or media arts are eligible for this fellowship. Chosen applicants will receive $5,000 unrestricted awards.
Deadline: May 7, 2023.

BRIClab Residency (International)
A multi-disciplinary residency divided into four tracks (Contemporary Art, Film + TV, Performing Arts, and Video Art), BRIClab offers emerging to mid-career artists $2,500 stipends, studio space, mentorship, professional development, and documentation of their work.
Deadline: May 8, 2023.

Triangle Arts Residency (International)
Triangle offers studio space and a community for artists participating in its three-month residencies in Brooklyn. There is a $20 application fee.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 11, 2023.

Velvetpark LGBTQ+ Visual Artists Residency (International)
Artists at any point in their careers are welcome to apply for this six-month residency in Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. on May 12, 2023.

Women’s Studio Workshop Studio Workspace Residency (International)
The Studio Workspace Residency is an opportunity for artists working in intaglio, letterpress, paper making, screen printing, darkroom photography, or ceramics. Housing and studio space are provided.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 15, 2023.

Women’s Studio Workshop Art-in-Education Workspace Residency (International)
The Art-in-Education program operates in conjunction with the Kingston, New York School District, and residents must be able to teach intaglio, silkscreen, or hand paper making. This is an opportunity for artists with a range of teaching experience, from seasoned teachers and professors to those with minimal experience and an interest in gaining skills and knowledge.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. EDT on May 15, 2023.

Mandel Institute Cultural Leadership Program (International)
This two-year fellowship is designed to support artists and cultural producers working in Jewish communities. Fellows receive a $20,000 yearly stipend to support their time in the fellowship’s educational program and independent work on a creative project.
Deadline: May 17, 2023.

Peyton Evans Artist Residency Program (International)
The Studios of Key West invites nearly 35 visual artists, writers, composers, musicians, media artists, performers, and interdisciplinary artists to its residency each year. Studio space and lodging are provided. There is a $45 application fee.
Deadline: May 17, 2023.

McKnight Fellowship for Ceramic Artists (Minnesota)
Minnesota-based mid-career ceramic artists working in functional, sculptural, and other techniques are eligible for this fellowship, which offers two $25,000 grants and a culminating exhibition.
Deadline: 5 p.m. CDT on May 19, 2023.

2023 [email protected] Fellowship (International)
Artists, activists, musicians, writers, and scholars are eligible for this fellowship centered around understanding women in MIT’s history and the broader science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Fellows will conduct archival research, and proposed projects should apply interdisciplinary lenses of women’s, gender, and/or race and ethnic studies. Each fellow receives a $5,000 stipend.
Deadline: Midnight on May 20, 2023.

Cavendish Arts Science Fellowship at Girton College (International)
Artists whose practice resonates with the Cavendish Arts Science ethos of questioning, collective imagining, and decentering are encouraged to apply for this one-year fellowship in Cambridge. One fellow receives a £10,000 stipend, lodging and meals, a £10,000 production budget, and £3,000 for travel.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. BST on May 21, 2023.

Studio Museum in Harlem Artist-in-Residence (International)
For this 11-month residency, three artists working in any media will receive institutional guidance and professional development, research support, private studio space, and a $37,500 stipend. The residency culminates with a group exhibition.
Deadline: May 22, 2023.

McColl Center Artist in Residence (International)
Emerging and mid-career artists are encouraged to apply for this McColl Center residency. Chosen applicants receive a $6,000 stipend, housing, studio space, and access to a 30,000-square-foot facility with a woodshop, ceramics and sculpture studio, and printmaking, media, and 3D labs. There is a $35 application fee.
Deadline: May 26, 2023.

Residencies at Marble House Project (International)
Marble House Project is a multidisciplinary artist residency that integrates sustainable practices, including small-scale organic food production and waste conservation. Open across disciplines, this program accommodates eight artists each cycle who live and work communally. There is a $35 application fee.
Deadline: May 30, 2023.

Eliza Moore Fellowship for Artistic Excellence (International)
The fellowship is open to early-career artists, writers, dancers, and musicians developing new works that address plants, gardens, or landscapes. One fellow will receive $10,000 and a two-to-five-week stay at Oak Spring.
Deadline: 11 p.m. on May 31, 2023.

PLAYA Residency (International)
PLAYA’s residencies are open to naturalists, biologists, musicians, designers, sustainability leaders, social practitioners, musicians, visual artists, writers, and performing artists whose work promotes dialogue and positive change in the environment. There is a $40 application fee.
Deadline: 11:59 p.m. PDT on May 31, 2023.

New York Foundation for the Arts JGS Fellowship for Photography (New York)
This fellowship awards $7,000 to five New York State photography artists living and working outside New York City.
Deadline: 5 p.m. EDT on June 14, 2023.

ICCI Art Valley Program (International)
The USC-SJTU Institute of Cultural and Creative of Shanghai Jiao Tong University is recruiting five international artists and scholars to participate in the ICCI ART VALLEY PROGRAM from November 1 to December 15. Visiting artists will hold exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and/or other public programs and will receive accommodations, airfare, and a stipend of at least 10,000 RMB.
Deadline: July 15, 2023.

The Farm Margaret River (International)
Open to all disciplines and individuals and collectives, this residency focuses on site-specific projects created during eight weeks at The Farm Margaret River in Australia. Chosen applicant(s) will receive lodging, studio space, and a $7,500 grant.
Deadline: August 1, 2023.



Art Photography

Barry Underwood Illuminates Human Presence in the Landscape in Geometric Light Sculptures

May 1, 2023

Kate Mothes

A photographic light sculpture.

All images © Barry Underwood, shared with permission

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 belongfocuses 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.


A photographic light sculpture.

A photographic light sculpture.

A photographic light sculpture.

  A photographic light sculpture.

A photographic light sculpture.

A photographic light sculpture.

A photographic light sculpture.



The Other Art Fair Brooklyn Features Over 100 Independent Artists

May 1, 2023

The Other Art Fair

A woman looks at a painted portrait on a gallery wall

All images © The Other Art Fair

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.


Four people stand in a group at an art fair

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.


two people pose for the camera at an art fair

A crowd walks through an art fair

A nighttime scene of people gathering and eating from food trucks



A Colossal


Artist Cat Enamel Pins