Design History Illustration

An Early 20th Century Guide to Wave Designs for Japanese Craftsmen is Now Available Online

September 26, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

In 1903, Japanese artist Mori Yuzan’s wave designs were published in a resource guide for Japanese craftsmen looking to add aquatic motifs to their wares. The three-volume series, titled Hamonshū, includes variations on contained and free-form wave patterns suitable for embellishing swords, religious objects, and ceramics. The collection has recently been digitized and is available for free on Internet Archive, a non-profit digital library of free books, movies, and software. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Photography

Black and White Analog Photographs Explore the Serenity of Long Meandering Roads

September 26, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Swedish photographer Håkan Strand works with old analog cameras and black and white film to capture landscapes that exude the serenity of a time past. The photographs often center around rural roads and explore the stillness that exists when one reaches the fringes of civilization. His recently published book Silent Moments will soon be available to purchase on his website, where you can find further studies of back roads and long desert highways in landscapes in the US, UK, and throughout Scandinavia. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Art

Miniature Installations Built Inside Suitcases Detail the Homes That Refugees Leave Behind

September 26, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Syrian-born, New Haven, Connecticut-based artist and architect Mohamad Hafez compiles found objects and scrap metal to construct miniature recreations of homes, buildings, and landscapes left by refugees in the Middle East and around the world. The dioramas for his series, UNPACKED: Refugee Baggage, are built into suitcases to pay tribute to the difficult journeys forced by the ravages of war. Miniature cars, tiny living room sets, and even fake plants adorn the open luggage—installations which each take Hafez several months to complete.

The detailed works are paired with audio recordings from refugees from Afghanistan, Congo, Syria, Iraq, and Sudan. The stories are recorded by Admed Badr, an Iraqi refugee and Wesleyan University student, and illuminate the struggles faced by those who have had to leave their homes. You can listen to the recordings on Hafez and Badr’s website for the project, and see more of Hafez’s suitcase dioramas on his Instagram. You can also see the work in person at DePauw University‘s group show “Baggage Claim,” on view until December 9, 2018.

    

 

 



Art

Sculptural Assemblages by Thomas Deininger Are Three-Dimensional Tricks of the Eye

September 25, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Thomas Deininger creates mind-bending optical illusions in his found object sculptural assemblages. The Rhode Island-based artist shares with Colossal that he began creating work from found objects in 1994, when he was “experimenting with the physical qualities of paint and abstraction in both material and imagery.” He continues,

Most of the content I was exploring involved mass consumerism, pop culture and environmental concerns. So really the medium easily became the message. I question beauty, value, and perception and how the three concepts do this little dance that changes how we all relate to the (physical and spiritual) world and how reality is just an illusion we all settle on for a time.

Deininger also explores assemblage in two-dimensional paper collages. Throughout his various mediums, he uses photographs and materials from popular culture, including Barbie dolls and trolls, and has re-created famous paintings by Diego Velázquez and Vincent van Gogh. You can see more of his work on Instagram.

 

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Art Photography

A New Three-Dimensional Installation by Chris Engman Invites the Viewer to Step Inside a Photograph

September 25, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

"Containment" (2018), site-specific installation created as a part of FotoFocus Biennial 2018 exhibition "Chris Engman: Prospect and Refuge" at the Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery, photo by Tony Walsh

“Containment” (2018), site-specific installation created as a part of FotoFocus Biennial 2018 exhibition “Chris Engman: Prospect and Refuge” at the Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery, photo by Tony Walsh

Artist Chris Engman transports natural landscapes such as waterfalls, caves, and vast deserts to domestic interiors by securing large-scale photographs to the room’s walls, ceilings, and floors. “I believe photography derives its power precisely from the fact it can’t be entered, however much we may want to,” Engman tells Colossal. “When I make photographs I try to be mindful of this, even to exploit it.”

His most recent work, Containment, is his first installation which allows visitors to step inside. The work features a rushing stream surrounded on two sides by dense forest, and on the top by a branch-covered sky. Engman thinks of the work as a singular photograph, even though it consists of more than three hundred individual prints applied to the surface of the installation’s temporary walls. Although the piece can be entered, unlike his other works, there is still a hesitation on the part of the viewer. Engman explains that once one enters the work its believability as a singular landscape becomes penetrated. Each step deeper inside the work makes the photographed landscape appear  increasingly warped and unreal.

“Even so,” says Engman, “compared to a singular framed photograph the experience of this installation for the viewer is much more physical and immersive. The structure is a room, not an image of a room. The photograph is an object, in addition to being an illusion. It has weight, and volume, and changes as you walk around it. Making this installation has been a  thrilling process, and this new way of working seems to afford many new possibilities.”

The work is curated by Carissa Barnard of FotoFocus and is exhibited alongside several of his photographs at the Cincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio through November 18. The exhibition is a part of the 2018 FotoFocus Biennial, a photography and lens-based presentation of over 400 artists at art spaces across Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Northern Kentucky. You can visit exhibitions and attend programming for the biennial through January 2019. Engman will have his third solo exhibition with Luis De Jesus Los Angeles in February 2019.

"Containment" (detail) (2018), photo by Tony Walsh

“Containment” (detail) (2018), photo by Tony Walsh

"Containment" (detail) (2018), photo by Tony Walsh

“Containment” (detail) (2018), photo by Tony Walsh

"Landscape for Candace" (2015), Digital pigment print, 43 x 55½ inches, courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

“Landscape for Candace” (2015), Digital pigment print, 43 x 55½ inches, courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

"Containment" (2015), Digital pigment print, 43 x 58 inches, courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

“Containment” (2015), Digital pigment print, 43 x 58 inches, courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

"Landscape for Quentin" (2017), Digital pigment print, 43 x 55½ inches, courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

“Landscape for Quentin” (2017), Digital pigment print, 43 x 55½ inches, courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

"Prospect" (2016), Digital pigment print, 43 x 55½ inches courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

“Prospect” (2016), Digital pigment print, 43 x 55½ inches courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

"Refuge" (2016), Digital pigment print, 43 x 53 inches, courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

“Refuge” (2016), Digital pigment print, 43 x 53 inches, courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

"Equivalence" (2017), Digital pigment print, 43 x 55½ inches, courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

“Equivalence” (2017), Digital pigment print, 43 x 55½ inches, courtesy of the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles

 

 



Art

Garment-Like Sculptures by Susie MacMurray Explore Perceptions of Female Identity

September 24, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Chain mail, needles, and dishwashing gloves: though not the materials you’d expect a dress to be made from, British artist Susie MacMurray uses them in her garment-inspired sculptures. MacMurray’s first piece in this body of work was Gladrags, made in 2002 from 10,000 pink balloons. Since then, the artist has produced several other seemingly wearable sculptures including Medusa (copper chain mail), Widow (leather and 100,000 dressmaker needles), and A Mixture of Frailties (1,400 household gloves).

“They have all been more concerned with the perception of women, their power and their vulnerabilities,” she explains to Colossal. “I am interested in how human strengths and frailties can often be one and the same thing. I suppose you could almost call them portraits… Much of my sculpture and drawing practice is concerned in one way or another with the perception and negotiation of female identity, both internal and external.”

MacMurray was formerly a classical musician, and she retrained as an artist, graduating in 2001 with an MA in Fine Art. In addition to her garment sculptures, MacMurray also creates drawings and architectural installations. You can see more of her work on her website and Twitter. (via #WomensArt)

 

 



Art

Parted Ceramic Mouths and Clenched Hands Enliven Tea Sets by Ronit Baranga

September 24, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

"Tea Party," all images provided by Ronit Baranga

“Tea Party,” all images provided by Ronit Baranga

Sculptor Ronit Baranga (previously here and here) produces figurative ceramic works that combine human characteristics with inanimate objects such as teacups, saucers, and plates. Open mouths are placed at the center of cups and pots, begging to sip the contents poured inside, while fingers mounted to the bottom of the pieces look as if they might carry the works across the table.

The Israel-based artist currently has a solo exhibition titled Tea Party at Beinart Gallery in Melbourne, Australia which closes September 30, 2018. Her work is also included in Beautiful Bizarre Magazine‘s curated exhibition Ephemeral at Modern Eden Gallery in San Francisco through October 6, 2018, and the group exhibition Beauties and the Beast at Galerie Klose in Essen, Germany opening September 28. You can see more of her anatomical ceramics on her website and Instagram.

"Whispering to Myself"

“Whispering to Myself”

"Embraced #22"

“Embraced #22”

"Wild Things #3"

“Wild Things #3”

"Wild Thing #11"

“Wild Thing #11”

"Whispering to Myself #1"

“Whispering to Myself #1”

"The Wild Things"

“The Wild Things”

"The Wild Things"

“The Wild Things”

"Hallowed Lady Pinching and Squeezing Kettle"

“Hallowed Lady Pinching and Squeezing Kettle”

"Hallowed Lady Pinching and Squeezing Kettle"

“Hallowed Lady Pinching and Squeezing Kettle”

"Embraced in Blue"

“Embraced in Blue”

 

 

A Colossal

Highlight

Lust for Light