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Art Craft

Realistic Bird Busts and Portraits Slot Pieces of Wood into Jigsaw-Like Sculptures

July 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © T.A.G. Smith, shared with permission

Similar to the decorative art of marquetry, intarsia involves compressing cut pieces of wood into a tight, solid structure. Because of the size of the components, the latter technique produces more three-dimensional forms that tend to be fastened with dabs of glue.

British artist T.A.G. Smith employs this assemblage method when sculpting his small bird busts, portraits, and single feathers encased in boxes. Each piece begins with a digital rendering, followed by Smith carving shapes from myriad types of wood, allowing the color and grain of the materials to determine its placement in the final form. The resulting sculptures, which Smith likens to a jigsaw puzzle, combine anywhere from six to more than 600 individual pieces into sleek, realistic depictions of eagles, hawfinches, and puffins.

Currently, the artist is adding to his series of bird portraits, and you can follow his progress on Instagram, where he also shares information about works available for purchase on Etsy.

 

 

 



Illustration

Simple Lines and Shapes Comprise the Lavish Yet Minimal Animal Drawings of Jochen Gerner

July 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jochen Gerner, shared with permission

Lines and basic shapes are the basis of Jochen Gerner’s distinct, almost paradoxical style that’s sometimes referred to as “abundant minimalism.” The French artist, who lives and works between Lorraine and Burgundy, draws birds and dogs that are sparse in form and yet rich in color and texture: checkered patterns overlaid with a chaotic array of markings create a shaggy fur coat, while variegated patches of feathers distinguish the tail from wing or breast.

In a note to Colossal, Gerner shares that he’s working primarily with vintage schoolbooks, a substrate that serves as much as a vessel for his drawings as it does a limitation on the work itself. He explains:

I like to work with simple shapes and lines. The simplest images are often the most effective and direct…The paper texture and format of the notebooks are important to me. The very graphic and varied lines allow me to integrate them by transparency in my drawings. It is a constraint from the start but it helps me to structure the forms and it is an integral part of the drawing.

If you’re in France, you can see Gerner’s works at La Métairie Bruyère in Parly, Anne Barrault Gallery in Paris, and Musée Buffon in Montbard. Otherwise, head to Instagram to explore more of his stylized characters. You also might like Albert Chamillard’s crosshatched geometries.

 

 

 



Art

A New Collection of Works by Collin van der Sluijs Channels a Dreamlike Collision of Emotion

July 6, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Collin van der Sluijs, courtesy of Vertical Gallery, shared with permission

In one of his most ambitious bodies of work to date, artist Collin van der Sluijs (previously) references two forces being incidentally forced together. “These strange times have caused a collision between me as a person and my work,” he shares, “I want to be free and not a puppet on strings directed by anybody.”

This sentiment pervades the Dutch artist’s latest collection opening this week at both Vertical Gallery and Vertical Project Space in Chicago. Aptly titled Collision, the solo show is broad in medium and subject matter, containing 15 canvas paintings, 12 on panel, and more than 50 works on paper. Similar to his earlier pieces, this collection harnesses van der Sluijs’s signature dreamlike style, whether through depictions of nature’s most ethereal qualities or frenzied mishmashes of brushstrokes and smaller, more realistic elements. The works include emotionally chaotic portraits, serene renderings of singular birds, and dense landscapes in which life and death converge.

Collision runs from July 9 to 30. While in Chicago, van der Sluijs will also create a few murals, which you can follow on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Design

For the Birds: 33 Artists and Designers Reimagine Avian Architecture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

June 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

Olalekan Jeyifous’s “Birdega,” wool and metal, 16 x 16 x 16 inches. All images by Liz Ligon, © Brooklyn Botanic Garden, shared with permission

A bright blue bodega, clustered wooden complexes, and a classic design emblazoned with a Swiss flag occupy the lush landscape of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this summer. Eclectic in style, concept, and technique, the collection establishes dozens of tiny homes for avians across the 52-acre site as part of For the Birds, a group exhibition exploring the disastrous effects of the climate crisis on the feathered creatures—researchers estimate that North American populations have been reduced by 29 percent, or 3 billion birds, since 1970.

Balancing practical needs with aesthetics, the show tasked 33 artists, designers, and collectives with creating site-specific dwellings for specific species. “Woven” by Sourabh Gupta, for example, features spherical, apartment-style spaces for wildly social sparrows, while Studio Barnes evoked the art deco architecture found throughout southern Florida with “Fly South.” The color palette for that work is derived from the vibrant, red feathers of cardinals.

For the Birds is on view through October 23, and you can see all of the designs on the garden’s site. (via Dezeen)

 

Sourabh Gupta, “Woven,” burlap, husk, plaster, and water-based sealer, 30 × 24 × 18 inches

Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors: Stephen Alesch & Robin Standefer, “100 Martin Inn,” natural untreated red cedar, 3 feet × 3 feet × 3 feet 8 inches

Shun Kinoshita and Charlap Hyman & Herrero, “Birdhouse,” silver nitrate, resin, plaster, paper, 15 x 15 x 18 inches

SO-IL, Dalma Földesi, Jung In Seo, Eventscape, “A Palace for Eastern Bluebird,” ceramic and 3D-printed clay, 20 x 20 x 55 inches

Steven Holl & Raphael Mostel, “Four Birds,” maple hardwood, 30 x 14 inches

Studio Barnes, “Fly South,” wood and paint, 24 x 24 x 24 inches

Bureau Spectacular and Kyle May, Architect, “A Flock Without a Murder,” timber and hardwood, 30 x 30 x 12 feet

 

 



Photography

Minimal Portraits by Luke Stephenson Frame the Elegant Plumage of Show Birds

June 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

Spereo Starling (2019). All images © Luke Stephenson, shared with permission

For the better part of a decade, U.K.-born, Stockholm-based photographer Luke Stephenson has been fascinated by show birds, their impeccably groomed feathers, and undeniably unique personalities. Whether centering on a white-eyed Zosterop or confrontational Spereo Starling, his portraits are minimal with monochromatic backdrops that accentuate the distinct colors and patterns of each plume.

The ongoing series, titled An Incomplete Dictionary of Show Birds, originated with Stephenson wanting to photograph budgies but was intrigued by other species when he met some of his future subjects and their owners. He then designed a portable, avian-sized studio with lighting and a slot for swapping backdrops. Most of his subjects gravitate toward the wooden perch, he says, where they land and show off their distinct personalities.

Stephen’s portraits are included in a book published by Hoxton Mini Press that’s devoted to the feathered creatures, and he also recently released a volume about Britain’s largest fish. You can follow his latest photos and projects on Instagram.

 

Zosterop (2012)

Black Earred Wheateater (2018)

Left: Senegal Zosterop (2015). Right: European pied Flycatcher (2016)

Forbes Parrot Finch (2012)

Left: Redpoll x Bullfinch (2017). Right: Stonechat (2016)

Lazuli Bunting (2016)

Red Legged Honeycreeper (2016)

 

 



Art

Paper Show: A Group Exhibition Highlights 14 Artists Exploring the Vast Potential of Paper

June 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

Julia Ibbini. All images courtesy of Heron Arts, shared with permission

One of the most reliable communication materials for centuries, paper historically has served as a vessel, a container for notes or the foundation of an artwork. An upcoming group exhibition at Heron Arts, though, focuses on the humble medium itself and highlights 14 contemporary artists expanding its creative potential. Paper Show features an array of styles, structures, and techniques from the whimsical mobiles of Yuko Nishikawa and Roberto Benavidez’s piñatas to Julia Ibbini’s laser-cut motifs and typographic messages from Judith + Rolfe. Opening July 9, the exhibition will be up through August at the San Francisco gallery. You also might enjoy this book that looks at the artists defining the medium.

 

Yuko Nishikawa

Pippa Dyrlaga

Julia Ibbini

Roberto Benavidez

Roberto Benavidez

Pippa Dyrlaga

Judith + Rolfe

Ale Rambar

Huntz Lui

Huntz Lui