Art

Wilting Flowers Elegantly Sculpted in Glass by Lilla Tabasso Are Suspended in States of Decay

September 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images by Roberto Marossi, courtesy of Caterina Tognon Art Gallery, shared with permission

Artist Lilla Tabasso (previously) traps bouquets and tufts of grass at their most precarious stages of life. From her studio in Milan, she creates delicate glass sculptures of wilting flowers and rough clusters of sod that have just breached their prime, capturing how they elegantly bow and collapse as they decay. “The focus is on the way in which they burst with life and vigor at first bloom until eventually the passage of time inevitably takes its toll,” the artist says.

Although Tabasso’s background is in biology, she doesn’t draw preliminary sketches and strays from sculpting faithful depictions, preferring instead to reinterpret a lily, peony, or hydrangea as her process unfolds. “More so than the shape or form, it is the choice of color, together with a warm and natural shade, which is a priority, (that) gives the flower its transparent melancholy, a permanent condition of every creation,” she says. Her recent works revolve around the idea of ataraxia, or equanimity, which manifests in the contrasts between the durable, resilient lifeforms and their inherent ephemerality.

In November, Tabasso will open a solo exhibition in collaboration with Caterina Tognon Art Gallery at Galerie Coatalem in Paris and is preparing her work for shows at Musverre and The European Fine Art Fair in 2022. Find glimpses into her process on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

First Look at 'Numina': A Wonderland Brimming with Bizarre Creatures and Fantastical Scenes Opens at ‘Convergence Station’ in Denver

September 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

Between a two-story metallic spaceship, gnarled trees teeming with strangely colored mosses and lichen, and fantastical creatures, the eccentric artworks that comprise the new space at Convergence Station by Meow Wolf (previously) rival those in even the most peculiar sci-fi universe. The immersive, swamp-like installation, which is dubbed “Numina” or the spirit of a place, is one of the anchors of the Santa Fe-based company’s latest undertaking, which showcases more than 70 installations by 300 artists across four floors. Four years in the making, Convergence Station opens on September 17 in Denver.

Accessible through a series of secret portals and wormholes, “Numina” scales 35 feet into the air and is designed as a multi-sensory experience inviting visitors to interact with their unearthly surroundings. When someone speaks to one of the four glowing creatures resembling sea urchins, for example, the forms warp and spew the echoed audio across the space. The color-changing “Fairie Orbs” similarly sing and vibrate with intonations when a person passes by, and the “Frog Egg Garden” emits kaleidoscopic lights and quiet sounds when activated with touch.

 

All images © Meow Wolf, shared with permission

Spanning three levels, the extraordinary, hand-built project is evidence of the team’s penchant for detail and ability to fuse seemingly disparate reference materials into surreal sculptures with various colors, textures, and shapes. The wood-like structural elements, for example, are wrapped in innumerable folds that artists modeled after the wrinkled skin of hairless cats, while pieces like the “Toad Piggies” are hybrid creations and the “Nudibranches” exaggerate the striking bodies of real-life mollusks by stretching them to seven feet. “Some ‘flowers’ were inspired by jellyfish, and some ‘jellyfish’ look more like flowers,” says Caity Kennedy, the project’s creative director and co-founder of Meow Wolf.

Although individual artists retained control over much of what they created—the expansiveness of this collaborative approach is part of what makes “Numina” so uniquely vast and diverse—Kennedy tells Colossal that she gravitated toward the more bizarre works rather than whimsical, fairytale-style pieces. “It is an interesting challenge to play with the balance of comfort and discomfort, to build a space that is welcoming but sometimes unnerving, to make people feel both safe and adventurous at the same time,” she shares. “There are so many things I could point out… Look for the sundial! Find the zoetrope! Point the sort of mollusk orchid/telescope creatures at the stars! Find Leomie’s Field Notebook in the library!”

Tickets are on sale now to visit Convergence Station in person. Otherwise, watch the video tour above for a more in-depth look at the unreal wonderland.

 

 

 



Art

Evoking Childhood Nostalgia, Color and Cartoon Commotion Burst from Kayla Mahaffey's Paintings

September 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“No Harm Done.” All images courtesy of Thinkspace Projects, shared with permission

Surrounding Black children with jumbled masses of cartoon characters, doodles, and explosions of color, Chicago-based artist Kayla Mahaffey (previously) imagines adolescent daydreams and an array of playtime inventions. She infuses her acrylic paintings with a longing for carefree summer days, mornings spent watching the foibles of favorite animated characters, and hours left open for adventure, capturing feelings of joy and curiosity. Vividly rendered and layered with squiggles and globs of color, the large-scale works find “value in the sugar-coated nostalgia,” which Mahaffey explains:

There have been numerous occasions where we omit the truths of our past to only be met with the disappointments of the future, a never-ending cycle that has influenced our current era for the best and the worst. Even though we’re currently going through a very troubling era, let’s take a moment to remember those times where we felt the most safe or where we felt the happiest. Many of us wish to go back to that life, but not to change anything, but to feel a few cherished things, once again.

If you’re near Culver City, you can see the pieces shown here as part of Remember the Time at Thinkspace Projects from September 18 to October 9. Otherwise, find Mahaffey on Instagram to see where she’s headed next.

 

“The Sweet Escape”

“Head in the Clouds”

“The Child In Us”

“Tender, Love, and Care (TLC)”

“Beautiful Day In The…”

 

Left: “No Public Enemy.” Right: “Kid In Play”

“Daydreamin”

 

 



Art

Flora and Fauna Intertwine with Strands of Hair in Miho Hirano's Dreamy Portraits

September 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Heart Beating” (2020), oil on canvas, 33.3 x 33.3 centimeters. All images courtesy of Gallery Sumire, shared with permission

Wrapped within the piecey curls surrounding Miho Hirano’s subjects are twigs, vine fragments, and clusters of pink blossoms. Using a cool color palette tinged with blues, the Japanese artist (previously) paints ethereal, introspective portraits of women enveloped in movement whether through small fish swimming around their torsos or branches growing from under their hair. Hirano tells Colossal that she tends to center her oil-based works around finding harmony and the inevitability of change, particularly in relation to life’s fragile nature.

Many of the pieces shown here are on view at Beinart Gallery in Melbourne, and Hirano is currently preparing for a solo show in London next year. You can see more of her dreamy paintings on Instagram.

 

“Blooming Relaxedly” (2021), oil on canvas, 41 x 32 centimeters

“Rest” (2021), oil on canvas, 41 x 32 centimeters

“My Wishes” (2021), oil on canvas, 33.3 x 33.3 centimeters

“Fragrance” (2021), oil on canvas, 53 x 45.5 centimeters

“Spring Breeze Blowing Through” (2020), oil on canvas, 33.4 x 33.4 centimeters

 

 



Art

Quippy Interventions by Michael Pederson Are Camouflaged as Legitimate Street Signs

September 15, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Michael Pederson

Working as Miguel Marquez Outside, artist Michael Pederson (previously) installs signage around urban areas that at first glance, might appear as an average city-issued nameplate or placard. His clever interventions mimic official warnings and notices in design and placement, disguising their witty messages and unusual purposes. In some of his more recent pieces, Pederson dubs a sagging bench the “Endless Waiting Area,” marks a grassy runway as a pigeon terminal, and installs a miniature wonderland down a drainage tube. Although the artist primarily works in Australia, you can find his unexpected projects in cities around the world, which you can see more of on Instagram.

 

 

 



Animation

A Superstitious Cast Kicks Off Montréal's 13th Annual Stop-Motion Festival in a Carnivalesque Animation

September 14, 2021

Grace Ebert

To launch its 13th year, a bizarre animation for the 2021 Festival Stop Motion Montréal evokes eerie tropes and superstitions: a drooling pug morphs into an unfriendly black cat, a gardener reveals a sharp scissor hand, and a once-vibrant fire turns into clouds of soot. Set to a lively track by Nick Lavigne that quickly bends into a sinister tone, the claymation teaser by Rome-based animator Gianluca Maruotti opens the festival, which will show 93 short films from September 10 to 19. You can find the event’s lineup—which includes appearances by Andrea Love’s Tulip and the modest product-testing rabbit named Ralph—on its site, Vimeo, and Instagram.