Whimsical Illustrations and Motifs Dyed with a Traditional Wax-Resist Method Cover Caroline Södergren's Eggshells
Formally trained in glassblowing, Stockholm-based artist Caroline Södergren transfers her experience working with a delicate, fragile material to an ornately illustrated collection of eggshells. She adapts the traditional Ukrainian craft called pysanky, a wax-resist method that involves drawing a design on a clean, empty chicken, turkey, goose, or ostrich egg with hot beeswax. The shell is then dipped in multiple baths of dye and the seal washed away with oil to reveal the colorful, layered design—you can watch the entire process in the video below.
The technique often is combined with folk art, although Södergren illustrates her own botanical motifs, beetles, and mythical creatures that stray from traditional designs. “You have to think before you start a pattern as the different color layers must come in the right order,” she says. “If you make a mistake with the wax, it is not possible to change, and a written line is where it is. A constant challenge that makes it so fun to work with!”
Konsthantverkets Vänner, an organization dedicated to supporting Swedish arts and crafts, just awarded Södergren a scholarship for her batik designs. Browse available eggs in her shop, and find a larger collection on Instagram. (via Lustik)
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Artist Jon Ching strikes a balance between texture and color in his meticulously detailed oil paintings that make fantastic creatures—owls with plumes of mushrooms and fuzzy molds, seahorses sprouting leafy twigs, and fish with striped tulip fins—appear natural in their environments. This vague distinction between the realistic and surreal saturates Ching’s body of work, which imagines a magical ecosystem that visualizes the symbiotic relationships between flora and fauna. “I am inspired by the worldview of many Indigenous cultures that revere the natural world and see god in every aspect of our living world,” he tells Colossal. “I believe that perspective is key to their sustainable societies and one that must be reawakened in our colonized societies.”
While he dreams up the hybrid forms, the Los Angeles-based artist still roots each piece in the existing world. He has a keen sense for finding the enchanting and unusual in his own experiences, whether from watching David Attenborough documentaries or spending his childhood in Kaneohe, Hawaii. “My more surreal creatures, where the line between flora and fauna are blurred, is in part my attempt at depicting some of this unseen magic,” he writes. “By placing them in a realistic setting among species we’re familiar with, I’m envisioning them into the real world. Maybe if we look close enough or long enough, we’ll catch a glimpse of them and my work won’t seem surreal anymore.”
You can see Ching’s paintings at Corey Helford Gallery in Los Angeles starting August 14 and find prints, stickers, and postcards in his shop. Check out his Instagram for glimpses into his process and the real-life animals and plants that shape his works. (via Iain Claridge)
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Land and sea creatures alike overrun a new exhibition at Le Stanze Del Vetro in Venice. Titled The Glass Ark, the eclectic bestiary—among the more than 750 animals on view are elephants, hippos, cats, giraffes, polar bears, parrots, and poodles adorned with bows—is the expansive collection of art historian and former Louvre president Pierre Rosenberg.
For thirty years, Rosenberg gathered the lustrous sculptures during regular trips to Venice, a region with a long history of innovative techniques and a hub for glassblowing since the 13th Century. Charming and playfully expressive, the Murano glass pieces diverge from similar collections produced in other media. “They never display fierce poses, which are typical of more traditional animalier sculptures,” a statement says, “and above all, they are never conceived as a toy.”
In addition to Rosenberg’s collection, The Glass Ark also features pieces from artists working today, including Cristiano Bianchin, Marcantonio Brandolini d’Adda, Franck Ehrler, Massimo Nordio, Isabelle Poilprez, Maria Grazia Rosin, and Giorgio Vigna. It runs both in-person and virtually through August 1. (via designboom)
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A Resilient Kangaroo, Exploding Volcano, and School of Barracuda Take the Top Spots in the 2021 BigPicture Competition
Encompassing plumes of mushroom spores, preying venus flytraps, and an opportunistic leopard seal, the 2021 BigPicture Natural World Photography contest showcases the beautiful, peculiar, and resilient flora and fauna across the globe. Now in its eighth year, the annual competition, which is held by the California Academy of Sciences, is centered largely around conservation and humans’ impact on the environment. The 2021 contest garnered entries showing the profound changes to the planet in recent months alone by documenting the desolate landscape following Australian bushfires and a disposable face mask floating off the coast of California. See some of the winning shots below and all finalists on the competition’s site. (via Kottke)
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Can you tame the Lizard Infinity Puzzle? New from the brilliant designers at Nervous System is a vibrant gradient jigsaw made of 216 reptile pieces that tile in thousands of combinations. Because each individual lizard varies in shape and color and only pairs with specific mates, assembling even the wonkiest reptile shape is an impressive feat.
Try your hand at piecing together the cunning critter by picking up one of the puzzles from the Colossal Shop. We also have a few of Nervous System’s other infinity designs in stock, including a star-studded galaxy, lunar landscape, and sprawling world map. If you’re a Colossal Member, everything is 10% off. Just use the discount code in your account.
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An Expansive Exhibition Pairs Two Indigenous Artists to Explore the Power of Socially Engaged Artmaking
A monumental patchwork wolf, warriors sparring with a fang-bearing snake, and an abstract woolen tapestry made of restored blankets comprise Each/Other: Marie Watt and Cannupa Hanska Luger, which opens this weekend at the Denver Art Museum. The expansive exhibition—featuring 26 mixed-media sculptures, installations, and wall hangings—joins two of the leading Indigenous artists working today in a manner that distinguishes both the connective threads and nuances within their bodies of work.
Situated at the center of the space is the 16-foot creature the pair created together by fashioning about 700 patterned bandannas submitted by an international crew around a steel armature. The collaborative installation, titled “Each/Other,” physically tethers Watt’s and Luger’s individual artworks while drawing on the socially engaged aspects inherent to both of their practices.
Based in New Mexico, Luger is a multi-media artist of Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, Lakota, and European descent whose projects often speak to contemporary life within Indigenous communities. For example, his 2018 piece “Every One” strings together 4,096 ceramic beads into a pixelated portrait of a young figure. Each individual orb represents one of the women, girls, and queer and trans folks who have been murdered or gone missing in Canada.
Watt, who is a member of the Seneca Nation and has Scottish and German heritage, utilizes everyday objects steeped in historical narratives and collective memory. Whether presented through leaning, stacked towers or smaller wall hangings, the Portland-based artist primarily works with materials gathered from the community, like blankets stitched in sewing circles.
Following the end of its run in Denver on August 22, Each/Other will visit the Michael C. Carlos Museum in Atlanta from September 25 to December 12, 2021, and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem from January 29 to May 8, 2022. Find out more about Luger and Watt on their sites.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.