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Art

Dreamlike Sculptures by Christina Bothwell Meld Ceramic, Glass, and Oil Paint into Otherworldly Figures

January 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Two Violets.” All images © Christina Bothwell, shared with permission

From her Pennsylvania studio, Christina Bothwell (previously) sculpts surreal hybrid creatures and figures that occupy the unearthly space between dreams and wakefulness. She works with a combination of annealed glass, pit-fired ceramics, oil paint, and small mosaic tiles, which each correspond to a conceptual element. “I always come back to the idea that the physical part of us is just a small part of who we are in our entirety,” the artist tells Colossal. “The translucent parts of my pieces are meant to suggest the soul or that part of us that is more than just our bodies.  The ceramic portions of my pieces represent our grounded, tangible parts.”

In her most recent body of work, Bothwell continues her explorations into the liminal and states of flux: a slumbering child appears to float from its sleeping counterpart in “Lucid Dream,” while another lies upside down in “Mood Swing.” Many of the sculptures are tinged with themes of magic, imagination, and escapism, which are reflected in the ways that human bodies meld with birds, monkeys, octopuses, and deer. She explains:

I was a sensitive child with eccentric parents who didn’t fit in. I didn’t even fit in with my family a lot of the time. It was like I was a changeling or an alien they were forced to live with. I felt like an outsider for most of my life, and it always felt precarious, unsafe, being who I was. For this reason, I think I identify with deer… despite their beauty and grace, they are not protected or valued (at least not where I live), and their vulnerability and innocence resonates with something deep within me.

Bothwell’s fantastical works will be on view at Habatat Gallery and Muskegon Museum of Art as part of the upcoming Beyond the Glass Ceiling, Influential Women in Glass exhibition and again this summer at Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee. Until then, explore more of her sculptures on Instagram.

 

“Simian Dream”

“Lucid Dream”

“Snail”

“Little Deer”

“Mood Swing”

“Speak No Evil See No Evil Hear No Evil”

Left: “Here and Now.” Right: “Safe Haven”

“Dream State”

Top: “New Sunday.” Bottom left: “Tea with Cows.” Bottom right: “Tea Party”

 

 



Art

Ceramic Figurines by Claire Partington Put a Contemporary Twist on Historical Symbols

January 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Claire Partington, shared with permission

Citing traditional portraiture and figurative ceramics, London-based artist Claire Partington (previously) sculpts grand characters with a dose of contemporary wit: Lavishly outfitted women lose their heads to anthropomorphized octopuses, a flip flop-wearing fairy dozes alongside empty beer bottles, and sneakers and a cellphone lie next to “Sleeping Beauty.” Infused with mythological symbols and references to folklore, the delicate figurines meld history and culture across time periods and prompt questions about interpretation and narrative.

Many of the pieces shown here are included in Partington’s solo exhibition En Plein Air, which is on view from  February 2 to March 19 at Winston Wächter Fine Art in Seattle and coincides with the release of Historical Fiction, a monograph spanning ten years of her career. Until then, explore more of her subversive figures on her site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Complex Networks of Metallic Branches Shape Animal Sculptures by Kang Dong Hyun

January 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Forest of Coexistence” (2019), stainless steel and urethane paint, 300 x 160 x 120 centimeters. All images © Kang Dong Hyun, shared with permission

What eventually becomes a stately stag or majestically posed lion in Kang Dong Hyun’s Forest of Coexistence starts with countless metallic branches that splay in every direction. The Korean artist (previously) welds spindly shoots and sprawling root-like shapes into facial features and bodies that are then finished with urethane paint. Creating a cohesive display of flora and fauna, each hollow, stainless steel sculpture considers the relationship between species and the idea that “all life on Earth may lead to an invisible string,” Kang says. For more of the artist’s intricately formed animals, visit Instagram.

 

“Forest of Coexistence” (2020), stainless steel and urethane paint, 73 x 46 x 11 centimeters

“Forest of Coexistence” (2021), stainless steel and urethane paint, 150 x 120 x 50 centimeters

“Forest of Coexistence” (2021), stainless steel and urethane paint, 64 x 36 x 114 centimeters

“Forest of Coexistence” (2021), stainless steel and urethane paint, 68 x 80 x 20 centimeters

“Forest of Coexistence” (2018), stainless steel and urethane paint, 130 x 45 x 85 centimeters

“Forest of Coexistence” (2020), stainless steel and urethane paint, 51 x 80 x 39 centimeters

 

 



Art

Playfully Absurd, Idiosyncratic Characters Grace the Salvaged Book Sculptures by Mike Stilkey

January 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Mike Stilkey, shared with permission

Dapper penguins, nonchalant musicians, and self-destructive politicians are a few of the distinct figures adorning Mike Stilkey’s sculptures. The Los Angeles-based artist (previously) rummages through heaps of discarded books, plucking out complementary titles that become the basis for his towering works. Using ink, colored pencil, paint, and lacquer, he renders minimal portraits of figures with exaggerated limbs or instruments and gestures that show a flair for the absurd.

Vacillating from the playful and whimsical to the cheeky and ironic, Stilkey’s idiosyncratic, sometimes anthropomorphized characters translate an essential interpretation of the volumes’ messages or subject matter through a contemporary lens. He explains:

Sometimes it’s a wry, tongue-in-cheek, satirical kind of thing, and sometimes it’s an extension or interpretation of it. It depends on the book and my mood. There’s been a lot of fodder over the past couple of years with all of the political conversations and things you hear or read on the news or social media. But I’ve always been able to do this with books. It’s one of the reasons I started using books as a canvas or vehicle for painting—the richness of layering literary and visual narratives over each other to convey something more complex.

As well as the repurposed sculptures shown here, Stilkey also creates installations with thousands of books and large characters, although these on-site projects have been put on hold since the onset of the pandemic. Prints and postcards are available in the artist’s shop, and you can follow his works on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

Elaborate Designs by Mitsuru Nikaido Transform Animals and Insects into Complex LEGO Robots

December 28, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Mitsuru Nikaido, shared with permission

Kurashiki-based builder Mitsuru Nikaido reimagines marine life, insects, and land animals as mechanical, robot-like characters built entirely with LEGO. Using his signature palette of gray and white bricks and unique parts, Nikaido creates spring-loaded limbs for walruses, a gecko tail capable of swinging toward its body, and spiders that appear like they could scurry away on hinged legs. The semi-articulate specimens shown here are just a few of the designer’s elaborate mecha sculptures, more of which you can find on Flickr and Instagram. (via Steampunk Tendencies)

 

 

 



Art Design Food

Wine Streams Through Sea Creatures in Playful Glass Decanters by Charlie Matz

December 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Charlie Matz, shared with permission

In the sleek decanters designed by artist Charlie Matz, wine and other spirits trickle through a crab’s claws, a shark’s open jaws, and the belly of a branzino. The playful aeration vessels are handmade with borosilicate glass and position marine life at the necks of the carafe, ensuring that the creatures flush with reds and pinks with every pour. Matz, who works at the Chicago-based Ignite Glass, has a few of the decanters available in the studio’s shop, and you can follow his functional creations and new releases on Instagram.

 

 

 

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