anthropomorphic

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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

Figurative Ceramic Vessels by Claire Partington Combine Animal Traits with Historic and Mythical Characters

May 29, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Photographs by Tim Bowditch, courtesy of Claire Partington

Photographs by Tim Bowditch, courtesy of Claire Partington

London-based artist Claire Partington creates figurative ceramic vessels steeped in power dynamics and status. Her works often feature removable head stoppers of humans and animals, which bring a range and versatility to each glazed character. Her inspiration for the elegant figures comes mostly from European applied art and design styles from the 17th-century onward, yet the pieces blend elements from various centuries and genres. Partington shares with Colossal that she has a “magpie” approach to collecting visual elements from her everyday experience, “equally taking inspiration from a visit to a museum or a walk along my local high street.” To create the works she first coil-builds the vessel, then shapes the object before adding press molded surface decorations and computer-generated enamel decoration over the glaze.

“I started out making my work as illustrations to the folk and fairy stories that had stayed with me from childhood, partly because of the vivid illustrations, but also the gripping and grisly content of the stories and the fantastical human to animal transformations of the protagonists,” Partington explains to Colossal. “I gradually became more interested in the personalities of characters themselves, rather than the narrative alone and began blurring the stories with identifiable historical figures and to exploit the use of clothes to convey messages of power and allegiance or to reinforce or challenge social limitations.”

Partington has an upcoming solo exhibition at Seattle-based Winston Wächter gallery titled The Hunting Party which opens June 8 and runs through July 27, 2019. Her exhibition Taking Tea is currently on view in the Porcelain Room at the Seattle Art Museum through December 6, 2020. Her exhibition explores the dark side of the historical tea industry such as the forced servitude and precarious ocean voyages that occurred during the expansion of the international trade. You can see more of her ceramic sculptures which blend historical characters with fairytales and myths on her website and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Illustration

Mysterious Anthropomorphic Illustrations of Dogs, Foxes, and Deer by Jenna Barton

April 16, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

American designer and illustrator Jenna Barton combines watercolor and digital processing to create mysterious anthropomorphic scenes of dogs, foxes, deer, and other four-legged beings. These eerily rendered creatures often have blank glowing eyes which suggest the animal is possessed or hiding a deep inner world.

Barton is based in Utah, which translates into her work through broad sweeping pastures and farmland illuminated by twilight. These settings add to the heightened tension presented in the animals’ demeanor, while providing a fitting background for her editorial illustrations, album art, game artwork and custom tattoos. You can buy select prints through her online store, and view more of her animal-based illustrations on Instagram and Tumblr.

 

 



Art

New Stoneware Animals Fraught With Human Emotion by Beth Cavener

November 9, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Through an Empty Place (The Fox Emerging from Shadow), 2017. Stoneware, paint, wood. 47h x 67w x 12d in

Through an Empty Place, detail

Beth Cavener (previously here and here) creates large animals that each appear to wrestle against their implied captivity. The works can be viewed as animals in the throes of domestication, however beneath the surface lies a peek into our own human psychology. Cavener projects these emotions onto her sculpted clay figures, showcasing the primitive animal instincts that lie beneath our own exteriors.

“Both human and animal interactions show patterns of intricate, subliminal gestures that betray intent and motivation,” said Cavener in an artist statement. “The things we leave unsaid are far more important than the words spoken out-loud to one another. I have learned to read meaning in the subtler signs; a look, the way one holds one’s hands, the incline of the head, and the slightest unconscious gesture. I rely on animal body language in my work as a metaphor for these underlying patterns, transforming the animal subjects into human psychological portraits.

Cavener’s solo exhibition The Other opens on November 15th at Jason Jacques Gallery in NYC, and runs through December 5, 2017. You can view more of the artist’s work on her website.

Kept (Variation in Cream and Grey), 2017. Resin-infused refractory material, paint, rope, wooden base. 12h x 24w x 28d in

Beloved (Rearing Deer), 2017. Stoneware, paint, bone, rope, steel. 112h x 36w x 48d in

They (Hare on Fur Pillow), 2017. Stoneware, paint, rabbit fur, foam. 34h x 73w x 30d in

Tribute (Wolf and Monkey), 2017. Stoneware, paint, hand-forged steel collars and chain. 46h x 58w x 31d in

Commitment (Two Goat Heads), 2015. Stoneware, paint, leather, steel chain, mixed media. 28h x 78w x 26d in

Commitment, detail

Limerence, 2017. Stoneware, mixed media. 22h x 44w x 16d in

 

 



Art

Artist Shows That Putting Googly Eyes on Inanimate Objects Never Gets Old

June 1, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Ah yes, eyebombing, the street art equivalent of drawing a funny mustache on Mona Lisa. So ubiquitous it’s impossible to credit anyone for inventing it… and yet for some reason it never quite stops being hilarious? Or maybe it’s just me. Probably just me. Vanyu Krastev of Eyebombing Bulgaria helps keep it alive. (via Tastefully Offensive, Quipsologies)

Update: Did you know there’s a Googly Eyes Foundation? Supposedly they will even send you free googly eyes.

 

 



Photography

Masked Figures Found in Macro Insect Photography by Pascal Goet

July 14, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Using subtle changes in light and shadow, French photographer Pascal Goet subtly manipulates the details of a variety of insects, highlighting their anthropomorphic appearance. Goet does not alter any of the colors associated with the brilliantly hued bugs, but instead focuses on letting areas of the body fade away or become more pronounced. Through this process faces emerge, a human reflection in an otherwise unrelatable species. This aspect is especially pronounced when printed quite large for exhibitions, where the audience has their own face come into contact with an imitation of one.

“An authenticity is vital for my involvement in this work,” said Goet to Colossal. “The large size prints create a genuine encounter between the viewer and these amazing personages, people of a parallel world.”

Goet has been shooting macro photography for the past 26 years. He had a solo exhibition of this work earlier this year at Paris-based Blin Plus Blin simply titled “Mask.” You can see more images of this series on his website. (via Colossal Submissions)

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