Sand and Currency from Dozens of Countries Converge in an Endless Interchange of Culture and Economics
Corrie Francis Parks’s absorbing stop-motion short “Foreign Exchange” is all about perspective. Through a continuously evolving landscape of minuscule stones and banknotes, mini-universes emerge that meld the two materials into culturally significant tableaus. “Between the dazzling layers of currency and sand lie connections that can be mined in infinite ways. Each person who views this film will unearth different associations filtered through their worldly experience and national background,” Parks says.
Although the sand shown is small in quantity—Parks can hold all of it in her two hands—it’s sourced from more than 50 countries just like the paper currency, and both materials converge in a perpetual juxtaposition of culture, economics, and nature. The rocks flow across the screen like water and animals, while the colorful collages of ripped money contrast distinct national figures and heritage against a universal economic backdrop. “Canada’s interstellar pride meshes with the gothic arches of Prague’s St. Salvator’s Church. Portugal’s colonial conquests intertwine with a Singapore’s nostalgic market economy. India’s signature animals wallow beneath a Chinese waterfall,” the Baltimore-based animator says in a statement.
Watch behind-the-scenes footage of Parks’s micro-sand process, which involves moving each grain with a toothpick or tweezers before photographing, along with a few of her other animated projects, on Vimeo.
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Back in February, Agnes Hansella completed a staggering trio of macramé installations. The monumental works are a facet of the Jakarta-based artist’s practice, which spans large-scale pieces and smaller wall hangings extending a few feet wide. “I would like to not cage myself to a certain style, so in every piece, I really let my instinct do most,” she tells Colossal. “I always think of art as something that keeps evolving. It’s like a relay race where I’m one part that connects the past and future.”
No matter the size, each of Hansella’s works demonstrates an extensive repertoire as she blends dyed and natural threads into wildly varied combinations of twists, knots, and ties. The elaboratey woven pieces range from geometric shapes and abstracted rainbow glitches to a vast mountain landscape, which are direct products of the sights and sounds she’s encountered throughout her life. Through interactions with her father’s native Dayak tribe and a childhood spent in Borneo, she saw woven baskets and textiles that continue to impact her work today, as do the Indigenous songs she heard while studying cinema in Canada.
Hansella sells many of her fiber-based works, along with functional goods and supplies, in her shop, and you can follow her latest projects, which include a recently completed piece in Bahrain that’s 48-meters-wide and 4-meters long, on Instagram.
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Distorted Figures Navigate the Aftermath of Environmental Destruction in Portraits by Stamatis Laskos
Fantastically tall figures with elongated limbs and torsos inhabit the distorted, mysterious realities painted by artist Stamatis Laskos (previously). The highly stylized artworks, which extend upwards of six feet, imagine a universe marred by unknown destruction: an elderly man wades through waist-high water while fire burns in the background, a woman retrieves a human skeleton from a flood, and a self-portrait shows the artist shielding his eyes with detached hands. Working with Earth tones and an implied dim light, Laskos shrouds each scene with shadow, which obscures the figures’ faces and casts an eerie tension over the degraded environments.
At once distant and deeply personal, each painting draws on ideas of collective unconscious and Jungian archetypes, whether portrayed through wise figures, an apocalypse, or the unification of opposing forces. “Giving them the necessary deformation, my archaic protagonists carve out incompatible and irreconcilable trajectories,” Laskos says. “The unconscious and the hidden memories are framed by colors, shapes, and situations that complement my compositions in such a way that each work is a page from my diary, always reminding me how and why it was created.”
Laskos is currently based in his hometown of Volos, Greece, and some of his works on canvas are on view through June 25 at Lola Nikolaou Art Gallery in Thessaloniki. Later this summer, he’ll be painting a larger mural in Athens focused around a theme of environmental ruin, and you can follow his progress on that piece on Behance and Instagram.
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Simone Biles claimed her seventh U.S. gymnastics title last weekend, in part thanks to an impeccably executed triple-double (a.k.a. three twists performed during two backflips). A short clip captures the star athlete, who hasn’t lost an all-around competition in eight years, as she completes the perfect sequence in extreme slow motion—you might want to watch the full routine first for perspective—showing how she gently turns herself over in two backflips before launching herself multiple feet into the air. After a seemingly gravity-defying series of flips and bends, she nails the landing in an absolutely stunning feat. (via Kottke)
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Single Eyes Gaze Out of Antique Cutlery, Tins, and Other Objects in Miniature Paintings by Robyn Rich
The Georgian era saw the rise in a jewelry trend that’s equally sentimental and peculiar: to remember spouses who had died or to honor clandestine affairs without revealing anyone’s identity, people would commission tiny renderings of a person’s eye to be painted on broaches, rings, and other accessories they could carry with them. Similar to a lock of hair or portrait hidden in a locket, the abstracted feature was anonymous and indiscernible to most but deeply personal to the wearer.
Robyn Rich evokes this centuries-old fad with a substantial body of work that nestles minuscule oil paintings into cutlery, tins, and other antique vessels. “With a love of reusing and recycling, the found objects I use give a simple and often nostalgic canvas, which offers little distraction, allowing the beauty of the eye to be the focus,” she says. “These objects that we use every day are often taken for granted, overlooked, and forgotten, but in my work, they have another life and help tell a story.”
Whether centered on the eyes, nose, or lips, each realistic snippet conveys a wide range of human emotions—the expressive works capture everything from surprise and worry to contentment—through a single, isolated feature. “I paint friends, total strangers, and the eyes from painted portraits from the past. Each eye I paint becomes a little part of me,” the Frankston, Australia-based artist says.
Alongside her ongoing series of works on domestic objects, Rich is currently collaborating with designer Kelty Pelechytik on a collection of custom wearables. She also has an upcoming solo show at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne. Titled I See You, the exhibition is the culmination of a call Rich put out in 2019 for women and female-identifying people to share their portraits and stories with her, resulting in more than 100 pieces that will be on view this October. Until then, find an extensive archive of her miniatures on Instagram.
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Flip through a treasured record collection and you’re likely to find tattered covers and faded, bent corners on the most played albums. Artist Erik Burke displays these signs of a well-loved LPs in a new mural that amplifies music’s outsized impact to a monumental scale. Tucked into a corner at Reno’s Record Street Brewing, the towering artwork gathers a vintage collection—The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die is slotted next to The Velvet Underground & Nico and Johnny Cash’s Live At Folsom Prison is side-by-side with Give ‘Em Enough Rope by The Clash—that’s an eclectic mishmash spanning genres and decades. “A large part of it was sourcing the original vinyl and choosing the most worn-and-torn covers to show how these records are a big part of our life and tell unique stories,” the artist tells Colossal.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.