bears

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Art

Anthropomorphic Oil Paintings by Richard Ahnert Envision Satirical and Nostalgic Narratives for Bears

April 13, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Guider” (2022), oil on canvas, 16 x 20 inches. All images © Richard Ahnert, courtesy of Modern Eden Gallery, shared with permission

Infused with wit and metaphor, the oil paintings of Toronto-based artist Richard Ahnert imagine the glum, peaceful, and rambunctious lives of animals. His new collection, on view through May 6 as part of Bear With Me at San Francisco’s Modern Eden Gallery, centers on the eponymous mammals, which are shown in the midst of relatable, deeply human activities. Rendered with soft, hazy edges in subtle colors, the anthropomorphized characters are caught in the rain, slouched over a bar, and enjoying a mid-day reprieve on the water. The narratives also tend to be veiled in nostalgia, shown through garments, the ubiquity of tobacco, and in the case of “Swear Bears,” a satirical twist on a 1980’s animation.

Ahnert’s body of work spans the animal kingdom, and he has a few limited-edition prints available. Explore more of his contemplative pieces on his site and Instagram. (via Supersonic Art)

 

“Shore Leave,” (2022), oil on canvas, 20 x 16 inches

“Swear Bears” (2022), oil on canvas, 30 x 24 inches

“Waiting Game” (2022), oil on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

“Patchwork” (2022), oil on canvas, 18 x 24 inches

 

 



Photography

Arresting Photos Document the Polar Bears Occupying an Abandoned Weather Station in Russia

January 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Dmitry Kokh, shared with permission

Set against a backdrop of dried grass, rusted tanks, and debris, a photo series by Dmitry Kokh centers on a small group of polar bears that had taken over an abandoned meteorological station last fall. The dilapidated structures are located between Russia and Alaska on Kolyuchin Island in the Chukchi Sea, a remote tundra the Moscow-based photographer visited on a 1,200-mile expedition in September 2021. “We expected to meet (the polar bears) mostly on Wrangel Island, famous all around the world for being home for many bears. Not this year, as we found out later—maybe because of the very cold summer,” he writes.

Russians built the weather center on Kolyuchin in 1932 before retiring it in the 90s, and it now sits unoccupied along with the rest of the area, which is devoid of residential life. When Kokh and his companions passed the island that’s just 2.8 miles at its longest stretch, they saw the white animals moving through the vacated buildings. The site’s chipping paint, exposed support beams, and generally worn features make the resulting images appear almost post-apocalyptic as the photographer captures the bears wandering the rundown property, poking their heads through the windows, and lounging on the grass.

Kokh’s shot of a bear resting its front legs on a window sill won a National Geographic-organized contest last year, and he also filmed a short video of his visit, which you can watch below. Shop prints of the series on his site, and follow him on Instagram for more wildlife photos.

 

 

 



Animation

Migrants: A Climate Disaster Forces a Polar Bear and Her Cub to Flee Their Home in a Harrowing Animation

November 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

A stunning work of both social commentary and technical dexterity, “Migrants” explores the heartbreaking aftermath of a climate disaster. The animation—which is an impressive collaboration between fifth-year animations students Zoé Devise, Hugo Caby, Antoine Dupriez, Aubin Kubiak, and Lucas Lermytte, who are currently enrolled at the French Pôle 3D school—centers on a simple story: a mother polar bear and her cub flee their arctic habitat as styrofoam icebergs crumble into the water and their once-frozen home becomes unlivable. As they encounter insensitive brown bears in a lush, green climate, the duo struggles to survive.

Through knitted patchwork characters and sets digitally crafted to evoke stop-motion techniques, the poignant short expands on climate crisis narratives that explore only the immediate effects of a hurricane, fire, or in this case, an entire region of the planet that’s melting. Instead, “Migrants” includes the difficulty refugees face when they’re displaced by such events, and the adorable, plush cub’s scared expressions and fearful whimpers generate a dose of empathy often lacking from today’s conversations and debates. In an interview diving into their process, the directors said:

We knew we wanted to make a short film about society and current issues. In 2018, there was a controversy about the “Aquarius” boat, which had rescued migrants in the Mediterranean sea but no country wanted to allow the boat to land at its ports. We were touched by this, and we were inspired by this event as the subject for our movie. So we made a story about the issue of migration, but with the global warming theme layered on top of it. With polar bears as our main characters, as they are one of the species most affected by climate change.

According to Short of the Week, the moving film already has garnered multiple awards from festivals, and it’s likely in the running for an Oscar. Head to Pôle 3D’s Vimeo to watch more student creations.

 

 

 



Animation

A Polar Bear Made of Ice Navigates a Melting Arctic Landscape in a Powerful Stop-Motion Short

November 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

A poignant short film by London-based animation studio Nomint is a stunning reminder that we can’t reverse climate disasters. Produced for WWF’s Arctic Programme, “We Can’t Negotiate with Ice” follows a polar bear as it traverses a landscape comprised of melting glaciers, rising seas, and a video-montaged backdrop with flashes of violent storms and wildfires. The stop-motion short is a plea for world leaders to take sweeping, monumental actions at the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference and is a year in the making, having used more than 1,000 liters of ice to create 500 unique polar bear sculptures and their surroundings. For more from Nomint’s animated campaigns, head to Vimeo.

 

 

 



Art

Life-Size Animals Emerge from Persian Rugs in Perception-Defying Sculptures by Debbie Lawson

August 7, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

“Red Bear”

British sculptor Debbie Lawson works in the space between two and three dimensions, forming wild animals that emerge from old-fashioned rugs. The artist builds her animals from scratch, using chicken wire and masking tape, and then covers them with identical or near-identical Persian carpets to create the illusion that the creature is fused with the hanging rug.

Lawson explains to Colossal, “I have always ‘accidentally’ spotted images in patterns, on textured walls and floors made of wood or lino – any material really. It’s an obsession that I decided to explore in the studio, using first wood grain and then carpet to make work in which the pattern morphed into an actual image or form…More recently I have focussed on animal forms to explore the idea of camouflage, and of its opposite: display.”

Red Bear is on display until August 19 2018 at the Royal Academy of Arts in London as part of the 250th Summer Exhibition curated by Grayson Perry. Persian bear is permanently displayed (along with a moose in the same style) at London’s Town Hall Hotel. You can see more of Lawson’s finished works and take peeks into her studio process on Instagram. (via Hi-Fructose)

“Red Bear Head”

“White Stag”

“Red Bear Head” and “White Stag” (detail)

“Persian Bear”

 

 



Animation

Bears on Stairs: A Stop Motion-Animation Created from 3D-Printed Frames

April 14, 2014

Christopher Jobson

The creative team over at London-based DBLG recently released this in-house animation titled Bears on Stairs that involved old school stop motion techniques paired with modern 3D printing. The painstaking process involved printing a sequence of 50 tiny sculptures which had to be photographed one by one over a period of 4 weeks—all for a mere two seconds of animation. I love the texture on the surface created by the printer. See more over at DBLG.

 

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