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Art

Black Ink and Watercolor Bleed into Hazy Creatures in Endre Penovác’s Paintings

March 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Endre Penovác

Serbian artist Endre Penovác (previously) wrangles the bleeds of black ink and watercolor in his shadowy renderings of domestic and wild animals. Sometimes delineating a talon or ear with thin markings, Penovác primarily allows the medium to run across the paper, transforming a housecat or chicken into a dreamy, phantom-like character. Many of the works frame the central animal with negative space and utilize the soft, hazy edges to evoke fur and feathers. Originals and prints of his paintings are available from Saatchi Art, and head to Instagram to explore an extensive archive of his ghostly creatures.

 

 

 



Photography

Spectacular Moments of Life and Death Are Unveiled in the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards

March 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Facing reality” © Amos Nachoum. All images courtesy of the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards, shared with permission

Taken across six continents, the entries to the 2021 World Nature Photography Awards capture the hungry, curious, and ingenious animals around the globe. This year’s winners include an arctic fox braving an Icelandic snowstorm, a trio of red ants forming a bridge to let each other pass between rocks, and a serendipitous shot of a leopard seal preparing to snack on a gentoo penguin, which garnered the top prize. Centering on both the largest and the often imperceptible creatures inhabiting the planet, the photos are diverse and an example of the wonder and awe that exists at every level of the animal kingdom. See some of our favorite shots below and the full collection on the award’s site.

 

Arctic Fox, Iceland © Vince Burton

© Mohammad Murad

“Capturing the movement” © Mike Eyett

New York City Humpback © Matthijs Noome

© Massimo Giorgetta

“North of the Wall” © Christian Tuckwell Smith

© Chin Leong Teo

“Open wide” © Celia Kujala

© Buddhilini de Soyza

 

 



Illustration Science

Precise Lines and Stipples Detail Tattoos of Exquisite Scientific Studies by Michele Volpi

March 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Michele Volpi, shared with permission

Bologna-based artist Michele Volpi (previously) inoculates his monochromatic tattoos of anatomical figures and biological diagrams with a dose of the surreal. Working in black ink, Volpi renders exquisite scientific illustrations across botany, astronomy, physiology, and chemistry with precise detail. He uses intricate linework and stippled shading to create realistic renderings of human skeletal systems and weather cycles, while skewing the scale or pairing seemingly disparate subject matters to achieve the more unusual qualities.

Although Volpi’s books are closed at the moment, he plans to announce new slots this spring—keep an eye on his Instagram for specifics—and he also has prints and shirts available in his shop.

 

 

 



Craft Design

Geometric Patterns Form DIY Animal Sculptures Designed by Paperwolf

March 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Paperwolf, shared with permission

Wolfram Kampffmeyer (previously) crafts vibrant, geometric snakes and jaguars that appear to plunge from the wall. The German designer has spent the better part of a decade prototyping digital renderings of polygon sculptures and taxidermy-style busts that he then translates to DIY kits sold under the Paperwolf brand. Minimal and playfully colored, Kapffmeyer’s menagerie includes a seated koala, multiple birds in flight, and of course, the original majestic wolf. In addition to patterning pieces for his Etsy shop, the designer also works on a variety of commissions and collaborations, which result in large-scale sculptures in steel and wood.

 

 

 



Art History

Rich with Imaginative Detail, Maria Prymachenko’s Colorful Folk Art Speaks to Life in Ukraine

March 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Our Army, Our Protectors” (1978), gouache on paper, 61 x 86 centimeters

Maria Prymachenko (1908–1997) was a self-taught folk artist known for her renderings of life in the Ukrainian countryside. Her gouache and watercolor works are vibrant and imaginative, depicting symmetrical red poppies tucked in a small vase or fantastical bull-like animals sprouting two-headed snakes. Expressive and consistently advocating for peace, Prymachenko’s paintings are widely known throughout Ukraine and internationally: she received a gold medal at the Paris World Fair in 1937, when Pablo Picasso is said to have dubbed her “an artistic miracle.”

Earlier this week, Russian attacks northwest of Kyiv destroyed the Ivankiv Historical and Local History Museum, where about 25 of her works were housed. According to the Ukrainian Institute, though, local residents were able to retrieve the pieces from the burning museum before they were lost entirely. The aggression subsequently prompted calls for Russia to be removed from UNESCO, which declared 2009 the year of Prymachenko.

Explore more of the renowned artist’s works and history on WikiArt.

 

“May That Nuclear War Be Cursed!” (1978), gouache on paper, 61.5 x 86.3 centimeters

“A Dove Has Spread Her Wings and Asks for Peace” (1982), gouache and fluorescent paint on paper, 61.2 x 85.7 centimeters

“Ukrainian Bull, Three Years Old, Went Walking Through the Woods and Garners Strength” (1983), gouache on paper, 61.3 x 85.5 centimeters

“Red Poppies” (1982), gouache and paper, 85.7 x 61.4 centimeters

“Ivan Gave the Landlord a Ride in his Gig and Fell Inside” (1983), gouache on paper, 61.5 x 86.3 centimeters

“A Coward Went A-Hunting” (1983), gouache and paper, 61.2 x 85.7 centimeters

 

 



Art

Through Bronze Mushrooms and Gilded Cicadas, Xiaojing Yan Links Chinese Legend and Nature

March 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Tiger’s Embrace” (2021), painted wood. All images © Xiaojing Yan, shared with permission

The wide, reddish-brown fungi known as lingzhi, or reishi, has long been revered as the mushroom of immortality, said to grant eternal life to anyone who consumes one of its spores. This ancient belief founds some Chinese legends and is also a mainstay of Xiaojing Yan’s practice. Based in Toronto, the artist has created a body of work that’s broad in medium and subject matter, ranging from small sculptures installed in circular formations to bulbous paper lanterns with rotating parts. Each piece, though, hearkens back to Yan’s experience as a first-generation Chinese-Canadian and her interest in the way the formidable power of nature continually intersects with culture, art, and lore.

Displayed in precise patterns, both Yan’s 2014 work “Lingzhi” and 2020 installation “Fairy Ring” are comprised of bronze mushrooms finished with a turquoise patina. The texture is enhanced, the artist shares, to mimic concentric tree rings and prompt questions of aging and time. “I arranged them onto the wall in the way that bracket mushrooms would grow in steps in nature,” she writes.Against the white wall, these hoary objects appear to float in space. Bronze is often associated with monuments, images of power, or eternity and creates tension with lingzhi’s delicate nature and mythology.” In conjunction with immortalizing the fungi in alloy, Yan also uses the actual spongy spores in other pieces, including in coating busts and sculptures with the fleshy growths.

 

Detail of “Fairy Ring” (2020), bronze with patina

Similarly focused on symbols from nature, Yan’s more animalistic works involve gilded cicada exoskeletons suspended as a winding staircase and an animated series of cocoon-like sculptures that twirl in a circular motion. “Tiger’s Embrace,” a recently carved wooden sculpture, nests alternating depictions of the cat and a human figure in diminishing forms. Commissioned by the Royal Ontario Museum where it’s on display through January 2023, the piece celebrates the Year of the Tiger and is the first in a series of all twelve signs in the Chinese zodiac. The hybrid work, which blurs the distinction between people and animals, “is also based on the Chinese custom of dressing children in tiger hats for good luck and protection,” she says. “The warrior’s lion skin hat turning into a cute baby’s tiger hat can’t stop me from pondering over self-transformation and adaptation.”

Yan has exhibitions slated for Paris, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Nevada in the coming months, and she is currently working on a project supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. Explore a larger portfolio of folklore-infused pieces on her site and Instagram.

 

Detail of “Song of the Cicada” (2017), cicadae exuviate, filament, gold paint, 7.2 x 9 x 13.5 feet

“Song of the Cicada” (2017), cicadae exuviate, filament, gold paint, 7.2 x 9 x 13.5 feet

“Tiger’s Embrace” (2021), painted wood

“Fairy Ring” (2020), bronze with patina

“In The Shells” (2019), paper, reed, uv coating

“Lingzhi” (2014), cast bronze