Artist Ming Lu melds multiple facets associated with Chinese culture in her delicate blue-and-white porcelain works. She utilizes traditional craft techniques to sculpt ubiquitous cultural symbols often found throughout the streets of Chinatown, encompassing both the Berlin-based artist’s broad cultural connections to her native country and more personal interactions.
In the three busts that comprise “Dialogue,” for example, Ming Lu transcribes conversations with her partner in calligraphic script. Titled “Reason,” “Trick,” and “Reaching a Station We’ll Never Reach,” the self-portraits embody a contemporary change in situation and perspective through a classic medium. Similarly, a trio of butchered ducks evokes the popular dish in form and are coated in a traditional floral motif, a cracked glaze, and characters depicting an old-fashioned spelling of “I love you.” Each of the birds strikes a balance between history and more contemporary culture, which Ming Lu describes:
It’s a funny experience when I first went to Chinatown and I saw these roast ducks hanging on the restaurant windows. We don’t do this in China, at least not in the cities I’ve been to. It’s a funny experience for me. And when you go to a museum, in the “China” (the country) section, you see many porcelains. It also represents China in a way as in history, especially in Ming and Qing dynasties, (porcelain) was one of the largest export commodities, so I put them together.
Ming Lu works across mediums, and you can see more of her sculptures, paintings, and embroideries on her site. Some of the pieces shown here on view through July 3 as part of her solo show Tigress, Tigress at BBA Gallery in Berlin and in a group exhibition running June 24 to 30 at Kühlhaus Berlin.
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Belgian artist Adele Renault (previously) has an unparalleled ability to turn an urban nuisance into an extraordinarily beautiful creature. Her oversized pigeons grace walls in cities around the world, creating public artworks that celebrate her favored subjects in the exact locations they’re often overlooked and disregarded.
A few years ago, Renault began what she calls “wandering in the macro world,” a venture that shifted her focus to the individual feathers she’s always found most alluring. “The texture is more dazzling and intriguing than showing the whole thing,” she says. “The feathers have become my own language in a way. I now create them without photo reference, more like a meditative practice that creates textures and softness as a result.” Her murals have since strayed from portraying full birds to focusing instead on clusters of plumes and the individual barbs that sprout in layers and tufts.
Although Renault is dedicated to realistic forms, her more recent artworks play with color, injecting bright rainbow hues where she previously focused on naturally occurring blues and purples. The vibrant feathers radiate with an oily, iridescent sheen and appear to ruffle on the wall, a teffect she achieves by meticulously coating either oil or spray paint to create depth and shadow.
A few of Renault’s smaller works on canvas are on view at Moberg Gallery in Des Moines through the end of June, and she’s currently preparing for a solo show in Belgium that’ll feature her Plantasia series, which similarly extracts minuscule details from leaves. You can find out more about her practice in Gutter Paradise, which was published late last year, and follow her on Instagram to stay up-to-date with her latest projects.
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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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In honor of Mental Health Month this May, Chicago artist Joseph Perez, who works as Sentrock, created an illustrated series celebrating the people and scenes around his studio in the city’s Pilsen neighborhood. “I started doing it just for myself, to take an hour or two and share my thoughts or reflections for that day or the day prior,” he tells Colossal.
Lively, expressive, and deeply empathetic, the resulting illustrations draw on Sentrock’s background as a graffiti artist and his connection to those around him. They tell a story about the neighborhood that’s historically been rich with Latinx culture and portray the sights and experiences shared by the community through a distinctly personal lens. The artist explains:
I started allowing myself to reflect on the past, present, the current situations I found myself in. I allowed myself to reflect on my everyday life, whether boring, exciting, or just my imagination of the moment. I started to capture the people outside my studio, whether friends or strangers. My purpose for this was to initiate a connection with the people around me, the community.
Sentrock began with reference photos of friends, family, and community members before reinterpreting them in bright, vivid renditions of his signature bird character. Usually depicted as a beaked mask, the recurring image is Sentrock’s analogy “to humanity: a person who is able to find or escape to their freedom by placing them in a different reality.” In the new works, the character travels from person to person, sometimes worn by kids skateboarding down 18th Street and others by the artist himself, like in the moving portrait of him and his mother.
Head to Instagram to see the full series and original images, and if you’re in Chicago, keep an eye out for the designs, which Sentrock plans to wheat paste around the city.
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A red-winged blackbird keen on protecting its chicks was recently caught escorting an osprey away from its nest. Rather than hover around the predator as the species is wont to do, though—it’s known for being aggressive and territorial and is likely to attack larger animals and humans for getting too close to its young—the smaller creature hitched a ride with the raptor by perching on a stick it carried in its talons.
Photographer Joceyln Anderson shot the strange encounter, which began with the blackbird circling the osprey as it flew above a pond. As the two called to and wove around each other, they moved closer to Anderson, who was then able to capture their brief interaction. “It looked behind itself several times as the blackbird followed close behind before it landed on the stick,” she says. “I was surprised at how long the blackbird followed the osprey. Maybe it enjoyed getting a free ride on the stick!”
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Sinuous branches half-submerged in water, fish swimming through the treetops, and plant life spearing small birds compose the intricate entanglements rendered by Teagan White. Through gouache, watercolor, and colored pencil, the artist merges plant and animal life in delicate scenes that focus on the interconnectedness and beauty of the natural world.
Having just moved to the Pacific Northwest, much of White’s work draws on their years spent biking throughout the Midwest and viscerally experiencing life and death on the region’s roadways. The artist describes their recent series, Things As They Are & As They Could Be, which includes many of the mixed-media pieces shown here, as “meditations on peril and possibility; what has been lost and what remains; dystopian presents and improbable futures.” It’s on view now through May 3 at Nucleus Portland.
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Editor's Picks: Illustration
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.