Self-taught artist Magnhild Kennedy (previously), who works as ‘Damselfrau’, uses found and vintage materials to create elaborate masks. Mesh netting, sequined appliques, ribbons, beads, and pompoms come together in Kennedy’s wearable artworks, which she documents and shares on Instagram. Leaving space for her eyes, the artist otherwise completely obscures her face and poses against a blank background with patterned fabric draped around her shoulders. The artist declines to attach specific meaning or intention to each creation, instead leaving the interpretive experience up to the viewer.
In an interview with Yatzer, Kennedy explains that she grew up in an artistic household, and describes her start as a mask-maker as “a fluke”: in the 2000’s she began making masks as a fun thing to wear when going out to clubs with friends. Over the last decade, Kennedy has continued to explore the seemingly limitless possibilities of the mask as medium, and teaches herself new sewing skills to add to her repertoire of techniques. The artist explains to Yatzer that she draws inspiration from domestic environments: “I’m inspired by people’s homes and how they live with their objects around them. I often feel like I’m decorating a space, more than making a mask.”
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Australian artist Fintan Magee travels the world to paint large-scale murals depicting intimate, often tender, moments of focus and imagination. The artist uses his platform as a renowned muralist and studio artist to raise awareness around looming society issues like climate change and forced human migration.
Magee combines a realist style with more abstracted or fantastical elements: a child wearing swimming gear carries an iceberg in his backpack, and a grieving young man’s arms blur and pixelate into geometric patterns. The figures in each piece seem to be unaware of the viewer, gazing off into the distance or attentive to the task at hand. Though his characters are anonymous, everyday people, Magee gives a sense of specificity and personality to each subject, from nuanced facial expressions and gestures to detailed depictions of apparel.
Magee is based in Brisbane, Australia, where he grew up. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Giffith University. He most recently completed murals with Kirk Gallery’s Out in the Open event in Denmark and the Vancouver Mural Festival. See more of Magee’s latest work on Instagram and if you enjoy Magee’s socially conscious portraits, also check out Pat Perry. (via Booooooom)
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The husband and wife duo behind Drop-a-Pin have turned their love of architecture into an enamel pin business, transforming some of the world’s most recognizable buildings into miniature, 2-D renditions. The Drop-a-Pin duo explains that, thanks to their professional training as architects, most of the buildings they’ve turned into pins are ones they were familiar with. The pair spent the last five years traveling around the world to document buildings they love.
From Nakagin Capsule Tower in Toykyo to the Geisel Library in San Diego, each pin conveys the facade, silhouette, and color palette of the buildings that inspired them, while keeping a clean, minimalist look. “We developed a simple method we learned at the university in a course called Basic Design,” the team explains to Colossal. “The first and only law is to maintain the minimum number of lines necessary so that the building can still be identified. Once the lines in the design could no longer be erased, we reached the destination.”
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In a new photographic series artist Ayana V. Jackson explores the colonial gaze and historical portraiture traditions. Figures, all played by Jackson herself, appear in classical poses, draped in fishing nets, glittering flip-flops, and elegant Western gowns of years past. Each figure is inspired by African and African Disaporic water spirits including Olokun, Mame Coumba bang, Kianda, Drexciya, Yenanja and Mamiwata.
A statement from Mariane Ibrahim Gallery explains, “Jackson has used the archival impulse to assess the impact of the colonial gaze on the history of photography and its relationship to ideas about the body. She uses her lens to deconstruct 19th and early 20th century portraiture as a means for questioning photography’s role in constructing identities.”
The artist, who is based between New York, Hong Kong, and Johannesburg, also had a solo show this year at David Klein Gallery in Detroit. Her work has been collected by the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Detroit Institute of Art, Museum of African Contemporary Art Al-Maaden in Marrakesh, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among others. Jackson was the 2018 recipient of the Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship.
This body of work is on view from September 20 – October 26, 2019 in Jackson’s solo show, Take Me to the Water. The exhibition is at Mariane Ibrahim Gallery, which recently relocated from Seattle to Chicago. See more of Jackson’s photography on her website and Instagram. (via Artsy)
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Hybrid Creatures with Oversized Eyes Reflect Imagined Landscapes in Surreal Paintings by Haoto Nattori
Japanese artist Naoto Hattori imagines small fluffy animals with healthy doses of fantasy and some unnatural hybridization. The painted creatures often feature round heads and disproportionately large and reflective eyes. Cat-birds with mushrooms growing on their furry heads and other mashup beasts toe the line between whimsical and eerie thanks to large eyes that reveal unseen forests and landscapes.
These acrylic paintings are small, typically measuring less than 3 inches by 3 inches when unframed. The artist’s style has been labeled as pop surrealist, but Hattori says it’s just what he sees in his mind. Hattori tells Colossal that he has been drawing eyes since he was three years old. “When I closed my eyes, I could see a colorful eye like a mandala and it kept changing shape like a kaleidoscope. I drew hundreds of the eye images. Back then, I was thinking that it was something everyone could see.”
Hattori continued painting eyes as he got older and earned a BFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. The creatures in the paintings are avatars for the artist entering the world of his imagination.
I’m not particular about surrealism, but I like to draw an image which can’t be expressed in words, such as feelings, thoughts, and emotions in my mind. The eye feels like an entrance to the world of visionary memories. I often paint a piece which visualizes myself as a hybrid creature entering the visionary world. The images are twisted but it feels like meditation and calms me down.
Naoto was born in Japan, moved to New York to study art, and has shown in galleries around the world, including Beinart Gallery in Melbourne, Corey Helford in Los Angeles, and Modern Eden in San Francisco. Prints of many of his animals paintings are available to purchase directly from the artist’s online store. To look into the eyes of more of Naoto Hattori’s hybrid creatures, follow him on Instagram.
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Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu was commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art to create four bronze sculptures of African women collectively titled “The NewOnes, will free Us.” The seated women are nearly 7 feet tall and each weigh more than 840 lbs. The sculptures are the first works of art to fill the niches of the museum’s Fifth Avenue facade since the building’s completion in 1902.
Mutu’s sculptures, individually titled The Seated I, II, III, and IV, are dressed in coiled garments and feature polished discs on different parts of their heads. This ornamentation references the jewelry and lip plates worn by women in some African tribes. They also reference the West African and Greek tradition of caryatids, female figures carved out of wood or marble that were depicted as structural or metaphorical supports.
“Caryatids throughout history have carried these buildings to express the might and the wealth of a particular place,” the Nairobi-born artist said in a video interview on The Met’s website. Looking to use her sculptures as a way to stage what The Met calls a “feminist intervention,” Mutu added that she wanted to “keep the DNA of the woman in an active pose, but I didn’t want her to carry the weight of something or someone else.”
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Textile artist Amanda Browder collaborates with the communities she’s working in to built site-specific architectural interventions. Using hundreds of yards of donated fabric with bright colors and patterns, Browder and her volunteer teams stitch together enormous panels that resemble crazy quilts. The panels wrap around bell towers, sheath elevated walkways, and drape from gables and eaves to give passersby a new experience of familiar buildings. In a statement on her website, Browder describes her work:
A state of betweenness – ‘twixt soft sculpture /’tween orchestrated public object installation with a studio affinity for abstraction and minimalism”. I am in love with the transformative nature of materials, and how the combination of the familiar creates abstract relationships about place. This relational objectivity generates an open-ended narrative, ambiguous situations defined by the choice of materials and work ethic. Central to the psychedelic experience, I am drawn to reinventing Pop-Art colors by exploring shifts in scale and sculptural perceptions.
The Montana-born artist received a B.A. in studio arts as well as two master’s degrees in sculpture and installation art. Browder is now based in Brooklyn and frequently travels to create new work. She was recently awarded an opportunity with the prestigious ArtPrize organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The multi-part work, titled Kaleidoscopic, is currently on view at locations around Grand Rapids. Keep up with Browder’s projects on Instagram, and watch the video below for a time-lapse of a previous installation in Las Vegas and an interview with the artist.
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