Art

Ornate Rugs by Artist Faig Ahmed Ooze Onto the Floor in Drippy Fabric Puddles

November 18, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Sapar Contemporary, shared with permission

Azerbaijani artist Faig Ahmed (previously) has amassed a staggering archive of sculptural carpets that blur the boundaries of digital distortion and traditional craft techniques. Often monumental in scale, his fringed rugs are woven with classic, ornate patterns on top before they billow into a pool of glitches and skewed motifs.

Ahmed weaves conceptual and historical relevances into his most recent trio, which is on view as part of his solo show PIR at New York’s Sapar Contemporary through January 6, 2022. Each piece draws its name from a spiritual leader who profoundly impacted Azerbaijani culture, including Shams Tabrizi, Yahya al-Shirvani al-Bakuvi, and Nizami Ganjavi. The carpet inspired by Tabrizi, who was Rumi’s mentor, for example, “gradually dissolve(s) into a black woolen space of nothingness, much like the final stages of a mystic’s spiritual journey: annihilation (fana’) of one’s individual ego within the divine presence, like the flame of a candle in the presence of the sun.”

Visit Ahmed’s site to see behind-the-scenes photos of his process and to explore a larger collection of his fiber-based sculptures.

 

“Yahya al-Shirvani al-Bakuvi”

“Nizami Ganjavi” (2021), handmade wool carpet

“Shams Tabrizi”

Detail of “Nizami Ganjavi” (2021), handmade wool carpet

“Yahya al-Shirvani al-Bakuvi”

 

 



Photography

A Hazy Stream Drifts Across a Spring Landscape in an Enchanting Series of Long-Exposure Photos

November 18, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Jennifer Esseiva, shared with permission

Back in spring, Swiss photographer Jennifer Esseiva visited the remote forests of Vallorbe, Switzerland, as the trees and rugged, wooded terrain emerged from their winter stupor. There she captured the lush mosses and foliage that cloaked the area in a thick blanket of greenery and the recently thawed stream flowing through its midst. Now compiled in an enchanting series aptly titled Fairyland, the ethereal, long-exposure photos depict the trickling body of water as a hazy fog that clings to the landscape.

Esseiva plans to revisit the dreamy location this winter after snowfall, so keep an eye on her site and Instagram for updates. (via Moss and Fog)

 

 

 



Art

Cleverly Collaged Portraits Layer Vintage Ads and Magazine Spreads into Dramatic Daydreams

November 18, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Did You Ever Really Love Me.” All images © Shane Wheatcroft, shared with permission

With a flair for spectacle and clandestine activities, the perfectly coiffed characters of Shane Wheatcroft’s collages face a deluge of intrigue and drama. The Kent-based artist snips vintage ads and editorial spreads that become the musings of professionally photographed subjects: a woman replays an excruciating party scene, a businessman envisions a wholesome family gathering, and quite a few protagonists imagine scenarios they likely keep covert.

Having worked with the medium for the last five years, Wheatcroft boasts a body of work that includes a broad array of collages, from bold typographic sayings to cheeky compositions that use ad slogans and outmoded headlines to poke fun at social conventions. Surreal and witty, the new portraits feature imagery from periodicals published between 1945 and 1975. They’re spurred by “being a big fan of John Stezaker and buying old movie annuals that had stunning publicity shots of film stars on plain backgrounds. The recent series I’m making is really my attempt to reflect everyday dramas and scenarios through the medium of collage,” he says.  “They’re kind of like a hybrid of Dalí’s portrait of Mae West and Coronation Street.”

The main portrait sets the tone for the piece, Wheatcroft tells Colossal, with the background image, furniture, and figures pasted on top. These additional elements compose an abstract representation of a face and generally feature a single eye peering through a television set or frame on the wall. “I’ll often have a song or personal experience in my head that’ll become the theme of the piece,” the artist says. “I can spend hours searching for an image of the right-sized chair or person that will fit. It’s a bit like making a jigsaw puzzle and hunting for the missing pieces.”

Represented by Lilford Gallery in Canterbury, Wheatcroft has been sharing a variety of flat collages and 3D diorama-style pieces—see these layered works up close on Instagram—and he also has a few pieces available for purchase on Artfinder. (via Kottke)

 

“Tough Room”

Left: “Parents Outgrown.” Right: “The Merry Widow”

“You Are My Sunshine”

“RGB”

Left: “Private Eye.” Right: “Notice Me”

“The Gables”

 

 



Animation Food

An Emotional Stop-Motion Ad Follows a Family Revitalizing Their Organic Farm

November 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

Ten years after Irish animator and director Johnny Kelly (previously) brought us a charming stop-motion ad for Chipotle about a farmer’s return to organic methods, he’s back with an emotional sequel that revisits the now-aging protagonist. The new short film, titled “A Future Begins,” follows the same mustached rancher as he struggles to maintain his pesticide-free fields and natural techniques amidst weather catastrophes and other struggles. When his son returns from college and a busy life in the city, the reunited family implements a range of sustainable technologies like solar panels, greenhouses, polyculture, and companion planting that make the farm thrive.

Kelly and the team behind the new ad documented their meticulous process in an immersive making-of video, which dives into pre-production digital mockups, techniques for hand-sculpting innumerable trees and the bucolic landscape, and updates to the puppets themselves, which feature magnetic waists that allow them to pivot in various stances. Similar to its award-winning predecessor, “A Future Begins” is paired with a Coldplay cover, with this iteration featuring “Fix You” by Kasey Musgraves.

Find more of Kellly’s animated projects and collaborations on Vimeo.

 

 

 



Photography Science

A Striking Short Film Documents the Otherworldly Organisms Living Just Beneath the Water's Surface

November 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

With the aid of multiple microscopes, filmmaker and photographer Jan van IJken (previously) unveils the otherwise imperceptible maneuvers and bodily transformations of plankton. He focuses on a diverse array of underwater organisms, which all fall under the same taxonomy because of their inability to swim against the tides and are crucial to life on Earth, providing half of all oxygen through photosynthesis. Set against black backdrops, the marine drifters appear otherworldly in shape and color, and the filmmaker documents water flea eggs visible through translucent membranes, the spiked fringe of cyanobacteria, and the minuscule movements of various creatures as they wriggle across the screen.

Planktonium is accompanied by an audio composition by Norwegian artist Jana Winderen, which features sounds that are generally too difficult for humans to hear unaided, including the gurgles of water deep below the surface or the crackling insides of ice cubes. In addition to the truncated film shown above—find the full 15-minute version on Vimeo—van Ijken also released a photo series of the strange creatures, which are available in prints as part of a limited-edition boxset on his site.

 

Waterfleas carrying eggs

Copepod with diatoms attached

Echinoderm larva

Gloeotrichia – Cyanobacteria

 

 



Shop 19 New Prints from Sebastian Foster's Fall Collection

November 17, 2021

Colossal

Austin-based gallery Sebastian Foster just announced its Fall Print Set, the first collection of its kind in almost a decade. The new release features 19 works by well-established illustrators, printmakers, artists, and painters from across the U.S. and Europe, many of whom have worked with the gallery for years. Encompassing an eclectic array of mediums and themes, the collection showcases works from artists previously featured on Colossal, including the quirky, cartoonish characters of Sabine Timm, Diana Sudyka’s fanciful storybook scenes, and Grant Haffner’s vibrant, flat landscapes bisected by his signature utility poles. Completing the set are pieces like Anne Siems’s dreamy, layered renderings and Andy Kehoe’s imagined worlds tinged with magic.

Now online-only, Sebastian Foster focuses on original works and prints, publishing upwards of 1,000 editions since it opened in the late 2000s. Whether you’re looking for the next piece to add to your collection or for meaningful holiday gifts, head to the gallery’s site to shop the Fall Print Set today.