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Brendon Burton Captures Moments of Nostalgia and Wonder in North America’s Most Isolated Places
Growing up in an isolated community, photographer Brendon Burton developed an eye for the way decaying buildings nestle into the landscape or punctuate vast expanses. Now based primarily in Portland, Oregon, he travels around the U.S. in search of rural places that are culturally worlds apart from major urban centers, seemingly existing on their own timelines. Like his series Thin Places, his recent body of work titled Interstices—to which some of these images belong—emphasizes the notion of liminality, advancing time, and spaces for passing through.
Utilizing drones to achieve dramatic aerial views in addition to intimate perspectives shot from ground level, Burton highlights the relationships between the built environment and wilderness, ancestry and life cycles, and presence and local traditions. “I recently visited the Deep South for the first time and documented Courir de Mardi Gras in a rural Cajun community in Louisiana,” he says. “It was truly an insane event, and the people I met were so kind and welcoming. I definitely will be visiting the South again soon.”
Burton is currently working on a second photo book focusing on the effects of the climate crisis and cultural isolation in rural communities throughout North America. As for future trips, he is headed to Saskatchewan and Manitoba this summer, then rural Appalachia in the autumn. Prints are available on his website, and you can find more on Instagram.
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Through Otherworldly Graphite-and-Ink, Juliet Schrekinger Advocates for Protecting Endangered Species
Photography has an impulse for preservation, of cloistering the fleeting and saving it for future recollection. Artist Juliet Schrekinger references this act of protection in her ink-and-graphite works that evoke the grainy qualities of black-and-white film through a distinctly surreal vision.
Throughout her childhood, Schrekinger witnessed her mother taking countless photos of family events and happenings that were then displayed. “I continually saw the greatest moments I shared with my loved ones framed in our home, colorless time capsules that I would turn to for years to come,” the artist says. “I began to feel a deep desire to recreate these sorts of time capsules in my work but wanted to incorporate scenes that did not occur in this world.”
Mimicking the lighting and tonal contrasts of her mother’s images, Schrekinger’s renderings fuse the anatomically accurate with the otherworldly. While many of her scenes are unearthly—a pangolin wraps its long, scaly tail around the torso of a fox, sea birds perch upon a squid’s sinuous arms, and a band of hares appears to float through the sky—the animals are depicted in exacting detail, and the likeness of their fur, feathers, and tentacles is the result of extensive research. “I have traveled up and down both the east and west coast of the U.S., taking my own reference photos of birds, aquatic life, ocean environments, trees, and so much more that all ends up being used as a starting point in my work,” she tells Colossal, noting that when it’s impossible to use her own images, she collates five to ten photos to create a specific form.
Most of the animals featured in Schrekinger’s work are endangered or vulnerable, and she’s concerned with environmental destruction, loss of habitat, and the threat many species face as the world warms and the climate changes. Pangolins, for example, are thought to be the most-trafficked non-human mammal, while the North Atlantic Right Whale is one of the most endangered species, with fewer than 350 left worldwide. “Above all else, I feel the most important aspect of what I do is raising awareness for endangered and vulnerable species,” she says. “I feel it is my duty to use my art to promote a consciousness in our society of the serious problems facing those who have no voice.” In recent years, she’s collaborated with numerous conservation organizations like the Pangeaseed and Surfrider foundations, to create works advocating for greater protection.
Schrekinger, whose studio is in Amityville, New York, is involved in several group exhibitions in the coming months, including Existential on view through May 21 at Antler Gallery in Portland and upcoming shows with Modern Eden Gallery, Stranger Factory Gallery, and Nucleus Portland. She’s also preparing for a solo exhibition opening in October at Arch Enemy Arts. You can find originals and prints on her site, and follow her latest works on Instagram. (via Beautiful Bizarre)
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Through Lush Aerial Photos, Pham Huy Trung Documents the Rich Textures and Colors of Vietnam’s Agriculture
Photographer Pham Huy Trung (previously) continues to spotlight the agricultural rituals of his native Vietnam through aerial images captured in vivid detail. Interested in annual harvests of grass, water hyacinths, and other crops tended to around the country, Pham often documents farmers working in the Mekong Delta, a wet coastal region that fosters a robust aquaculture.
Some of his most recent photos center on those gathering lush vegetation in the fields, while others take viewers to the next step in the production cycle, glimpsing the vibrant buckets and neatly packed rows of fish at the markets. Each photo is rich with organic pattern and texture and celebrates the beauty of the landscape alongside the people who harvest its goods.
Find prints of Pham’s striking works in his shop, and explore a larger archive on Instagram.
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Through Trompe L’oeil Bronze, Prune Nourry Fuses Human Anatomy and Arboreal Roots
At the end of Jean-Baptiste Lully’s baroque opera Atys, the titular character is transformed into a tree. This metamorphosis, the result of a spell cast by an agitated goddess, secures Atys’ Earth-bound fate, melding human and plant life into a single body.
French artist Prune Nourry draws on this mythological allegory in a series that visualizes the hybrid form. Standing several feet tall to be lifelike or larger, a trio of bronze figures emerges through intricate networks mimicking both veins and branches, “fractal shapes that we can find in different scales in nature,” the artist says. Each sculpture references the form’s roots in operatic performance, and Nourry painted the smooth metal in a trompe l’oeil style so that the works appear as if made of rope, used frequently in stage rigging. This illusory material also alludes to the connection between the infinitely large and infinitely small, a concept often described in the framework of string theory.
Nourry, who lives and works between New York and Paris, has long been interested in the body and the way it interacts with the environment. She recently completed a massive public work featuring a pregnant mother embedded in the land, and earlier projects include anatomical sculptures that similarly connect vein and branch. In her ongoing In Vitro series that began back in 2010, for example, Nourry uses laboratory glass to create delicate, sprawling renditions of human lungs and bodies. As a whole, her practice “questions the notion of balance and the ethical issues attached to it: the body and healing process, the dangerous demographic imbalance due to (the) selection of babies’ sex in some countries, the ecosystem, and (the) interdependence between living species,” a statement says.
Last year, the artist collaborated on a performance of Atys, and you can see the massive rope installation she created for that production in the video below. Find more of her corporeal projects on Instagram.
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Art Craft Design
Supple Patterns Illuminate Bold Volumes in Oliver Chalk’s Sophisticated Wooden Vessels
Hewn from solid hunks of found timber, Oliver Chalk’s vessels (previously) embrace the natural grain and gradients of different types of wood to reveal voluminous functional sculptures. Using remnants of fallen trees like ash, cypress, maple, and cherry, Chalk hand-carves bold ribs and lines redolent of contours on topographic maps. He takes cues from the distinctive characteristics of each piece of wood, responding to the specimen’s unique texture, hardness, hue, and innate patterns. Maple burl, for example, which is a growth in the tree’s bark that creates dense, swirling, eye-like motifs, led to an elegant piece peppered with small holes and knots.
Chalk’s work is included in the group exhibition Earth Materials at Gallery 57 in Arundel, West Sussex, through June 10 and Spring Collection ’23 at The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden in Ockley, Surrey. Find more on his website and on Instagram.
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Dancing Figures and Natural Elements Coalesce in Jonathan Hateley’s Elegant Bronze Sculptures
Immersed in nature, female figures dance, reflect, and rest in Jonathan Hateley’s limber bronze sculptures. The subjects commune with their surroundings, greeting the sun or leaning into the wind and merging with patterns of foliage or lichen. “I was drawn to create a sculpture reflecting nature on the surface of the figure, which could be better highlighted with the use of colour,” he tells Colossal. “This has evolved over time from the shapes of leaves to fingerprints and cherry blossoms to plant cells.”
Before he began an independent studio practice, Hateley worked for a commercial workshop that produced sculptures for television, theatre, and film, often with rapid turnaround. Over time, he was attracted to slowing down and emphasizing experimentation, finding inspiration in regular walks in nature. Although he’s focused on the human figure for more than a decade, he originally resisted that style. “I began with wildlife, and that began to evolve into organic forms with details illustrated onto the sculptures,” he tells Colossal. Between 2010 and 2011, he completed a remarkable 365-day project of tiny bas-reliefs that were eventually composed onto a kind of monolith.
Hateley initially began working with bronze using the cold-cast method—also known as bronze resin—a process that involves mixing bronze powder and resin together to create a kind of paint, then applying it to the inside of a mold made from the original clay form. This naturally led to foundry casting, or lost-wax, in which an original sculpture can be reproduced in metal. The initial design and sculpting process can take up to four months from start to finish, followed by casting and hand-finishing, which usually takes around three months to complete.
Right now, Hateley is working on a series based on a photo shoot with a West End dancer, a reference that helps him achieve the anatomical details of extended torsos and limbs. “The first of those sculptures has a figure reaching upwards, hopefully towards better times,” he says. “I saw her like a plant growing out of a seed and eventually flowering, (with) oblong, cell-like shapes gradually merging into circular reds and oranges.” And currently, he is modeling a ballet pose in clay, evoking “a person in a calm restful state, like she is floating in a calm sea, thus becoming the sea.”
Hateley will have work at Affordable Art Fair in Hong Kong with Linda Blackstone Gallery and will be included in Art & Soul at The Artful Gallery in Surrey and Summer Exhibition 2023 at Talos Art Gallery in Wiltshire from June 1 to 30. He will also have work with Pure at the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival from July 3 to 10. Find more on the artist’s website, and follow on Instagram for updates and peeks into his process.
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Editor's Picks: Animation
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