Art

A Three-Story Tree Acts as a Scaffold for a Growing Community in a Mural by Ethan Murrow

May 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

“The Garden” in Seattle. All images © Ethan Murrow, by Julia Featheringill and Stewart Clements

In a 53-foot mural of exposed roots and tangled branches, Boston-based artist Ethan Murrow (previously) situates an energetic construction site manned by human workers, who heave their materials and balance across taught ropes. “The Garden” is replete with scaffolding, small tool sheds, and suspended orbs of sod and lumber among the sturdy boughs. With flags staked on its top, the tree serves as an organic backdrop for the humans’ manufactured expansion. Evidenced by the figure raising a tree branch to the sky in the top left corner, though, the workers’ actions often appear peculiar and inconsequential.

In a statement, Murrow explains that his scenic works are rooted in United States history and culture. Whereas traditional narratives are founded on the idea that progress and human superiority are natural, the artist works to subvert those assumptions.

As our world leaks and creaks forward, landscape can act as the ultimate term and representation of the joys and foibles of our actions. Landscape is an aesthetic ideal, an edited view of reality that suits the maker—in essence, a fiction. For me, the word has come to define our use of images and stories to convince ourselves of who we are, what we know to be true, and what we wish was fact.

Rendered in high flow acrylic and paint pens, “The Garden” is installed at Expedia Group headquarters in Seattle. Many of Murrow’s projects that are concerned with historical narratives and human progress can be found on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Tuxedoed Penguins Plunge into A Private Tour of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

May 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Nelson-Atkins Museum, by Gabe Hopkins

On a recent trip to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, three penguins from the Kansas City Zoo were keen to ruffle some feathers. As they waddled along their private tour— the museum currently is closed to humans due to COVID-19—Bubbles, Maggie, and Berkley served some polarizing opinions. Executive director and CEO Julián Zugazagoitia said the tuxedoed guests “seemed to react much better to Caravaggio than Monet,” whose work they only glance at in a video of their trip.

Despite the cold shoulders that they gave the French painter, zoo officials said the penguins enjoyed interacting with some new faces. “Unfortunately, our penguins can’t speak for themselves, but we think they found the experience at the museum very enriching.”

Zugazagoitia also noted that he spoke Spanish to the three birds, who are native to Chile and Peru, in order to break the ice and make them feel a little bit more comfortable in the space. All three are Humboldt penguins under eight years old, meaning that they’ve got more time to refine their tastes. The South American birds generally live more than 30 years.

The museum’s resident photographer Gabe Hopkins captured much of the sophisticated guest’s visit, which he’s shared on Flickr. (via ArtNet News)

 

 

 



Science

Explore 30 Years of Arresting Images Captured by the Hubble Space Telescope in a New Book

May 19, 2020

Anna Marks

NGC 6302 Bug, nebula classification: planetary, nebula position: 17h 13m, –37° 06′ (Scorpius), distance from Earth: 3,800 ly, instrument/year: WFC3/UVIS, 2009. Image © NASA, ESA, and Hubble SM4 ERO Team

It’s the 30th anniversary of the first launch of the Hubble Space Telescope—the first major instrument to be placed in outer space and arguably one of the greatest inventions in the history of scientific discovery. The newly released book, Expanding Universe: The Hubble Space Telescope, is a celebration of this milestone, in which readers come face-to-face with some of the most unimaginable images that the telescope has captured. It also features 30 new snapshots on wide glossy pages. 

Launched in April 1990, the telescope sits above the Earth’s rainclouds and polluted skies, which allows it to capture an unobstructed view of distant stars, galaxies, and planets that make up the rich tapestry of our solar system. Alongside the arresting images, the book features texts that unravel some of the most compelling questions of space and time, including words by photography critic Owen Edwards, Hubble astronauts Charles F. Bolden, Jr., John Mace Grunsfeld, and Zoltan Levay.

Dive into the galactical explorations by picking up a copy of Expanding Universe from Taschen or Bookshop.

 

NGC 7635 Bubble, nebula classification: star-forming, nebula position: 23h 21m, +61° 12′ (Cassiopeia), distance from Earth: 7,100 ly, instrument/year: WFC3/UVIS, 2016. Image © NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

NGC 2264 Cone, nebula classification: star-forming, nebula position: 06h 41m, +09° 25′ (Monoceros), distance from Earth: 2,500 ly, instrument/year: ACS/WFC, 2002. Image © NASA, H. Ford (JHU), G. Illingworth (UCSC/LO), M. CLampin and G. Hartiq (STScI), the ACS Science Team

Hubble repairmen, STS-103, December 27, 1999. From their perch 350 miles above Earth’s surface, astronauts Steven Smith and John Grunsfeld replace the gyroscopes in rate sensor units inside Hubble. Image © NASA and ESA

 

 



Art Colossal

Interview: Artist Lola Dupré Discusses Change, Technology, and the Financial Pressures of Creative Work

May 19, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Keith,” 16.5 x 11.5 inches. All images © Lola Dupré, shared with permission

Artist Lola Dupré (previously) is devoted to the tangible, a dedication that anchors her practice of physically cutting and pasting paper and photographs into surreal collages.

I think people become so fixated on a rigid belief that they refuse to discuss other ideas. It makes them angry. I think one of the best things you can do, one of the most powerful things you can do, is change your mind about something. Let go of your belief in being correct and accept that everything can be done better, said better.

She recently discussed her earliest influences, how she’s coping in the current moment, and her fascination with algorithms and data in the latest interview for Colossal Members.

“Lunna” for Le Mile Magazine #21

 

 



Design

Sleek Furniture Collection by Hilla Shamia Harmonizes Cast Aluminum and Natural Wood

May 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Hilla Shamia

Starting with gnarly hunks of trees, Hilla Shamia (previously) seamlessly merges wood and aluminum into industrial-style furniture. The Tel Aviv-based designer pours the hot metal into leg molds that surround the organic material, preserving the wood’s shape and texture and ensuring that each console, bench, and stool is unique.

To make the tops entirely smooth, she uses molten aluminum to fill in the gaps and divets that are occurring naturally in the wood. “We focus on material research and development of forms, while drawing inspiration from the process of time and the supposed imperfections found in nature,” Shamia said in a statement. The result is a furniture collection that harmoniously fuses the warm wood with the cool metal.

To see more of her functional designs, head to Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

A Photographer Captures the Bizarre and Idiosyncratic Collections Displayed in Belgian Windows

May 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jean-Luc Feixa, shared with permission

When photographer Jean-Luc Feixa moved from Toulouse to Brussels, he began noticing the cultural, linguistic, and architectural differences between the two cities. “It may seem anecdotal,” he tells Colossal, “but the windows here are much larger than in France and easily disclose the house interiors.”

On his commute, Feixa often would pass the glass openings displaying robust collections, family mementos, and items for sale. “One day, I came across a group of children who seemed to be fascinated by a LEGO construction. It was quite captivating to see them commenting on this installation for many minutes. That was the trigger,” he says.

In the seven years since his relocation, Feixa has captured dozens of windows around the Belgian city, which he recently compiled in a book titled, Strange Things Behind Belgian Windows. Each provides not only a glimpse into the residents’ lives but also the objects they both intentionally and accidentally display. From a panda bear collection to a taxidermied fox to the finish line of a bike race, the objects encompass the cutesy and the odd and are always idiosyncratic. One display in particular—the homage to Elvis Presley (shown below)—has been exemplary of Feixa’s intention.

I talked for a long time with the couple. They are absolute fans of the King, and they were very moving. They decided to share their passion from behind their window. They really represent what I tried to convey with my series, that windows can be a perfect showcase to communicate a passion, send a message, reveal a part of oneself.

Since Belgians have begun quarantine, the photographer says windows have been transformed into a more intentional form of communication. “Whether to sell masks, encouraging people to stay home, or congratulating the medical staff, I see a lot of objects appearing, and it’s great to be able to continue the project,” he says. Feixa is hoping to chronicle this unusual period in a second volume.

To see the full collection of photographs, grab a copy of the photographer’s book, and keep up with his work on Instagram. (via Design You Trust)

 

 

 



Art Craft Food

Domestic Ceramics by Mechelle Bounpraseuth Infused with Culinary Life and Family Memories

May 18, 2020

Anna Marks

All images © Mechelle Bounpraseuth, shared with permission

Sydney-based artist Mechelle Bounpraseuth crafts life-sized ceramics that explore her identity as a first-generation daughter of Laotian refugees. Her small and glossy ceramic artwork, which ranges from drink cans to widely known sauces, explores her connection with her past and how branded ingredients are rooted in culinary culture and rituals. 

Bounpraseuth was raised a Jehovah’s Witness, and despite many fond memories of her family and childhood, her religion discouraged her from pursuing artistic pursuits. She left the religion in her 20s and got married, realizing that her dream of becoming an artist was possible and that she didn’t have to succumb to the person her religion had wanted her to be.

Her creativity initially began from drawing and creating zines, before Bounpraseuth enrolled in a ceramics course and began crafting functional objects. Noticing her talent for the medium, her tutor encouraged her to pursue work with more artistic flair. She began to expand on her drawings of household objects by recreating them in clay and glossy bright colors.

One of Bounpraseuth’s ceramics is a Heinz Ketchup bottle, a condiment found in many family fridges and cupboards throughout the world. For the artist, the sauce represents the memory of her family eating pho together, a ritual in which they would come together and make the recipe from scratch with a dollop of ketchup. These sculptural forms are meaningful symbols to Bounpraseuth as the pho was a labor of love and would take her family all day to make.

Through the creation of these domestic objects from her past, Bounpraseuth uses her artwork as a way to reflect upon and process her childhood memories and as a way to navigate her old and new identities. These pieces illustrate how some values remain passed down from generations, like Bounparseuth’s reference to her family’s shared domesticity, while some core aspects of family, like religion, are not always. 

For more of the artist’s memory-focused ceramics, head to Instagram. (via It’s Nice That)

 

 

 

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