Twisting into subtle backbends or hunching into a cross-legged crouch, the faceless women that find themselves at the center of Hanna Lee Joshi’s practice all personify an aspect of the artist herself. Conveyed through vibrant gradients in gouache and colored pencil, the figures shown here are companions to those the Korean-Canadian artist created last year, although they plunge deeper into themes of loss, acceptance, and inclusivity. “The magic and mystery of life can seem very fleeting when you’re in the pits of depression. I wanted to reconnect with that spark of fire within,” she says, explaining:
I’m working on pieces that explore finding my identity and the nature of the self. Reconnecting with my Korean heritage and accepting all the things that make up who I am. In the end, I am just a piece of this earth having an experience of the self, and I’m trying to make a visual representation of some of it.
The introspective subjects have signature features like elongated torsos and limbs, dark, glossy locks, and large hands gesturing yogic mudras that further visualize emotion and feeling. The women are subversive in color and form, deviating from the skin tones and body shapes typically associated with nude figures.
Joshi, who’s based in Vancouver, is preparing for upcoming exhibitions at Spoke Art SF on August 7, at Thinkspace Projects in October, and later in fall at Hashimoto Contemporary. Prints are available in her shop, and you can see a few works-in-progress on Instagram.
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Sometimes help comes from unexpected sources, especially when you need it most. That’s the central message behind a heartfelt stop-motion short written, directed, and animated by Dunedin, New Zealand-based Claire Campbell. “Winter’s Blight” follows an elderly man named Bill, who struggles to heat his home during a harsh cold spell. After he runs out of wood entirely, he’s forced to chop down the lone evergreen still standing in his yard, only to encounter an enthusiastic pine cone that begs him to stop.
Produced by Jon Wilson of Shine on Films with music by Hanan Townshend, the animation took more than five years to complete and is replete with meticulously crafted details, like Bill’s hand-knit sweaters and an elaborate set built true to scale. Watch this making-of video and check out Campbell’s Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at how it came together.
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Artist Sui Park (previously) zips together simple nylon cable ties to create sprawling biomorphic sculptures and site-specific installations that resemble heaving nighttime seas, prickly moss, and vibrant amorphous creatures. Park, who was born in Seoul and currently lives in New York, started hand-dying the uniform fasteners a few years ago to deepen the contrast between the mass-produced material and her spiky organic masses. “Each has a subtle difference in shape and angle, and when grouped and connected together to develop into a larger form, the subtlety creates a dynamic and a characteristic of my work,” she says.
Whether suspended in a gallery or staked into a patch of grass, Park’s abstract pieces are porous, each revealing the surrounding environment through its body. This focus on permeability “opens the inner space of my work and makes the inside visible. At the same time, I think it opens and creates a moment to pause, reflect, and ponder personal imageries surrounding nature. Different shapes and angles of modules provide various perspectives of the inner space,” she shares.
Park has multiple upcoming exhibitions, including shows running August 11 to November 27 at Cahoon Museum of American Art, September 7 to December 11 at Suwon Museum of Art, September 2021 to August 2023 at the Site-Responsive Art Biennale at I-Park Foundation, and another at Poikilo Museot starting in September. Until then, explore more of her sprawling installations and standalone pieces on Behance and Instagram.
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Takeout Containers and Worn Sketchbooks by Artist Yoonmi Nam Explore the Permanence of Everyday Disposables
A kitchen table, countertop, or cluttered desk are all likely spots to encounter a piece by South Korean artist Yoonmi Nam. Encompassing ceramic sculptures and sparse lithographs, Nam’s body of work evokes “an ever-present, yet always changing still life,” one that displays the ubiquitous objects of her everyday in more permanent forms. A deep well to hold a bouquet carves out a stack of porcelain take-out containers, minimal prints depict a leafy branch resting in a fast-food cup, and splayed sketchbooks are covered with graph paper-style inlays that appear punctured, leaving frayed ends and stray lines.
Nam’s subject matter, whether a disposable container or notebook with a cracked cover, always has a limited lifespan, a recurring theme that tethers each of the works to questions about ephemerality and value. The artist elaborates in a statement:
I am drawn to man-made spaces and objects that we surround ourselves with, especially when they subtly suggest a contradicting sense of time that seems both temporary and lasting. In the arranged flower imagery, the flowers, once cut from their roots, have only a short remaining time to live. They will quickly wither and die, but before they do, they are elegantly and elaborately arranged, as if time will stand still for them. The containers that hold them are disposable objects, such as a yogurt cup, a Styrofoam take-out box, and an instant noodle bowl. These throwaway objects and cut flowers engage in a dialogue that speaks about impermanence and persistence.
Nam has a few ceramic pieces and lithographs available from Paradigm Gallery in Philadelphia, and some of her new delivery box-inspired sculptures are on view as part of 2021 Kansas City Flatfile + Digitalfile, which runs through October 14 at the Kansas City Art Institute. You also can explore a larger selection of her works on Instagram.
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Pastoral landscapes and quiet domestic scenes stitched into vintage textiles envelop Ulla-Stina Wikander’s needlepoint sculptures. Using rotary phones, kitchen appliances, or an antique gramophone as her foundation, Wikander (previously) molds the cross-stitch works around her chosen object, cloaking it in a blanket of color and texture while preserving its original shape. Multiple facets of domestic life intersect in the revitalized pieces, which bring the age-old craft traditionally associated with home decoration and items commonly found in kitchens and garages together into reinterpreted forms.
Splitting her time between Stockholm and Kullavik, Wikander shares that she’s started to work with sports equipment and more elaborate tools, which you can see on Instagram. You can browse her available works at Philadelphia’s Paradigm Gallery, and see her pieces in person through August 6 at Jane Lombard Gallery in New York and at M Contemporary Gallery in Sydney in the coming months.
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An unlikely sight was spotted hovering over Tokyo earlier this month in a disorienting installation by the Japanese collective 目 (Mé). Titled “Masayume” or “prophetic dream,” the eerie artwork featured a giant human face printed on a balloon, which launched above the city on July 16 as part of the Tokyo Tokyo Festival, an event organized to coincide with the start of the Olympics.
Bizarre and unexpected for most passersby, the single-day piece was derived from a dream Mé artist Kojin Haruka had as a teen. “‘Masayume’ will be carried out suddenly and without prior notice nor a clear reason, just like an image a 14-year-old Japanese girl saw in a dream, momentarily disabling the ordinary,” a statement reads. “The face will be gazing back at us from the sky in the midst of this pandemic. It is as though we are a part of the spectacle.”
“Masayume” is a follow-up to a 2013-2014 project titled “Day with a Man’s Face Floating in the Sky” (shown below) that floated a similar black-and-white balloon over Utsunomiya City, Tochigi. Each of the anonymous figures depicts a real person, and about 1,400 people applied to have their faces loom over Tokyo this round.
Mé’s work is on view at the Towada Art Center in a three-part group exhibition that runs through May 29, 2022. Check out the collective’s Instagram for more of its large-scale projects, including a massive wave sculpture rippling through a museum. (via Spoon & Tamago)
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Editor's Picks: Illustration
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