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Photography

Phenomenal Skies and Animals in Action Top This Year’s Nature TTL Photography Contest

August 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The Astonishing,” Godafoss, Iceland, Mauro Tronto

The annual Nature TTL Photographer of the Year contest garnered more than 8,000 submissions this round, with some of the most impressive images focusing on fauna in the wild and stunning light-based phenomena that illuminate nighttime skies. Taken around the globe, the winning photos demonstrate both acts of stealth and moments of serendipity. Images range from Matt Engelmann capturing an unaware dog fox as it creeps over a Swiss mountain to Mauro Tronto framing a rainbow shooting upwards from the misty Godafass waterfalls in Iceland, the glowing northern lights overhead. See some of our favorite photos below, and visit the competition’s site to view all of the top entries.

 

“A Moment of Wilderness,” Mountains of Switzerland, Graubünden, Switzerland, Matt Engelmann

“City Hare,” Kassel, Germany, Jan Piecha

“Sunset Ray,” Tuna Factory, Maldives, Andy Schmid

“Vantage Points,” Hosanagara, Karnataka, India, Achintya Murthy

“Pretty in Pollen,” Mutter’s Moor near Sidmouth, Devon, U.K., Tim Crabb

“The Top of Australia,” Kosciusko, Australia, Josselin Cornou

“Nature Fights Back,” Loxton, Northern Cape, South Africa, Bertus Hanekom

“Ice Bear,” Klukshu, Yukon, Canada, Geoffrey Reynaud

 

 

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Art

Division of Birds: A Group Show at Paradigm Gallery Celebrates Feathered Life

August 5, 2022

Colossal

Felicia Chiao. All images © the artists, shared with permission

The Division of Birds, housed inside Chicago’s Field Museum, boasts one of the largest scientific avian collections in the country, representing about 90% of the world’s genera and species and containing more than 480,000 specimens, 21,000 egg sets, and approximately 200 nests. A group show opening this month at Paradigm Gallery + Studio in Philadelphia references this unparalleled archive in a celebration of feathered life.

Curated by Colossal’s founder and editor-in-chief Christopher Jobson, Division of Birds is comprised of dozens of works in a range of styles and mediums. The show includes avian creatures both real and imagined and a vast array of aesthetics, from a trio of paper sculptures by Roberto Benavidez and Felicia Chiao’s emotionally charged illustrations to Lola Dupré’s collaged roosters and a three-dimensional nest embroidered by Megan Zaniewski.

Division of Birds runs from August 26 to September 18.

 

Lola Dupré

Megan Zaniewski

Chris Maynard

Mike Stilkey

Megan Zaniewski

 

 



Art

Movement and Instinct Inform Taquen’s Murals of Migrating Birds and Human Touch

July 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Magpies and swifts.” All images © Taquen, shared with permission

Thin, structural lines delineate a magpie wing and contour a child’s nose or cheekbone in Taquen’s murals. Working with a color palette of pastels and neutral tones, the Spanish artist (previously) paints large-scale portraits, fragments of limbs, and birds, often leaving the composition’s skeletal forms visible. “The supports are just as important as the work itself,” he tells Colossal. “I look for camouflage, minimalism, and mixture. In the end, it is also a metaphorical form of the footprint that I believe we should leave in the places we pass through.”

Many of Taquen’s works consider the relationship between species through the lens of movement and impulse, focusing on gesture, touch, and instinctive acts. Birds mid-flight embody the tie between freedom and migration, while bare feet lounging in the grass or a hand grasping a flower channel a desire for physical contact. “I think we are very disconnected, living in parallel with nature, and it is a mistake. We must share it, experience it, live it, and thus we will be able to understand and respect it,” he says.

In the coming months, the artist will be working on murals in Belgium, Portugal, Ireland, France, and Spain, in addition to a conceptual project centered on paths and walking. You can follow those on Instagram.

 

Briançon, France

Detail of mural in Briançon, France

“Discover and learn,” Port of Sagunto, Valencia

Grenoble

Camprovin

“Hold the oak, be a tree for the trees,” Mostar

“Apology for the wild,” Stockholm, Sweden

Madrid. Photo by Gustavo Bulnes

 

 



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.

 

 

 

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Artist Cat Enamel Pins