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Art

Vibrant Centimeter-Wide Paper Cranes by Artist Naoki Onogawa Engulf Bonsai Trees

March 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Naoki Onogawa, shared with permission

Tokyo-based artist Naoki Onogawa (previously) continues his meditative practice involving thousands of minuscule paper cranes. Attached in clusters to the branches of bonsai trees, the tiny birds perch in place of leaves and top the sculptural specimens with fantastically colored canopies. Onogawa painstakingly folds a square, centimeter-wide piece of paper into the origami cranes, which once amassed in large groups, symbolize eternal good fortune.

The artist is currently preparing for shows this fall at Picaresque Art Gallery in Shibuya, Tokyo, and TENMAYA in both Okayama and Fukuyama and recently opened his books for international commissions. Head to Instagram to dive into his process and stay up-to-date on new works.

 

 

 

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Colossal

A Colossal Exclusive: Squawking Grackles Cluster Together in a Limited-Edition Print by Artist Tiffany Bozic

March 23, 2022

Colossal

“Oil Slick” by Tiffany Bozic

For the first time in nearly two years, Colossal is launching a limited-edition print in collaboration with artist Tiffany Bozic (previously). “Oil Slick,” which is available now in Colossal Shop, centers on a cluster of grackles in shades of deep purples and blues, colors that evoke swirling petroleum floating on the surface of the ocean. “Though few species are as polarizing as these thoroughly urbanized birds, one thing is indisputable: their sheer numbers are a sign of their success and adaptability,” says the California-based artist, whose body of work focuses on preserving the diversity of the natural world.

The giclée print is signed and available in an edition of 250, and 10% of all proceeds will be donated to Art into Acres, an artist-founded nonprofit focused on large-scale land conservation in North, South, and Central America. Pick up “Oil Slick” today in the Colossal Shop.

 

 

 



Art Music

In ‘No Strings,’ Willie Cole Transforms Instruments into Abstract Animals and Figurative Sculptures

March 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Piano Bird” (2021), piano legs, keys, and wiring, 34 x 32 1/2 x 42 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse. All images courtesy of Alexander and Bonin, New York, shared with permission

Artist Willie Cole is known for transforming discarded materials into sculptures with a tenor of interrogation. Much of his three-dimensional work revolves around found objects like high-heels, plastic bottles, or ironing boards that he turns into pieces of cultural commentary, addressing issues of mass production, historical legacies, and identity. The items tend to guide the formation of his assemblages, he says, sharing that, “the objects that I use I see as them finding me, more so than me finding them… I see an object and suddenly I recognize what I can do with the object. So in that sense, there is an energy or spirit connection to the object. I am exploring the possibilities of these objects.”

Cole’s solo show No Strings, which opens this April at Alexander and Bonin in New York, exemplifies this approach. The artist, who’s currently living and working in New Jersey, recovered guitars, saxophones, and pianos from Yamaha’s recycling program and through his usual alchemy, has created anthropomorphic creatures and abstracted figures from their parts: he converts hammers into tail feathers and spliced acoustic bodies into dogs and anonymous musicians. The pieces are expressive and tied to the endurance of America’s past, particularly drawing a connection between the guitar’s shape and the yokes forced on people who were enslaved.

In addition to the upcoming No Strings show, you can see a few of Cole’s sculptures in the ongoing Before Yesterday We Could Fly: An Afrofuturist Period Room at The Met, and explore more of his works on his site and Instagram.

 

“Yamaha Dog 1” (2021), Yamaha 3/4 size acoustic guitar parts, 23 1/2 x 12 x 29 inches. Photo by Joy Whalen

“Two-Faced Blues” (2021), Yamaha acoustic-electric guitar parts, 23 x 29 x 15 1/2 inches. Photo by Joy Whalen

“Yamaha Dog 2” (2021), Yamaha 3/4 size acoustic guitar parts, 18 5/8 x 11 x 27 inches. Photo by Joy Whalen

“Picker” (2022), Yamaha 3/4 size acoustic guitar parts, 27 x 15 x 15 inches. Photo by Joy Whalen

“Joy” (2021), Yamaha 3/4 size acoustic guitar parts, 44 1/2 x 22 x 7 1/2 inches. Photo by Joerg Lohse

“Strummer” (2022), Yamaha 3/4 size acoustic guitar parts, 28 x 16 1/2 x 15 inches. Photo by Joy Whalen

 

 



Craft

Vibrant Paper Strips Swirl into Energetic Circles of Scales and Feathers by Lisa Lloyd

March 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Abel.” All images © Lisa Lloyd, shared with permission

Streaming from a beak or bodily mass, the thin paper strips that compose a new series of sculptures by Lisa Lloyd (previously) are infused with movement. The U.K.-based artist shapes the individual pieces into wide curves, mixing a variety of materials and hues from flat graphic colors to shimmering metallic. Abstract and energetic, the resulting sculptures contain a chaotic blend of emotion within circles of feathers and protective scales.

Lloyd shares that the pieces respond to personal and political strife, which manifests in the lively nature of each creature. She explains about the antagonistic avians in “Ritual”:

When I looked at birds being aggressive with each other, I noticed that a lot of the pictures I was looking at were actually of birds mating, or fighting for territory to mate. I was fascinated by how similar they are in nature. Aggression and fighting, passion and pain. I think our mating rituals are not that different.

Prints of Lloyd’s creations are available in her shop, and she documents much of her process on Instagram.

 

“Ritual”

“Heron”

“Ukraine”

“Pangolin”

Detail of “Pangolin”

 

 



Art

Elaborately Layered Gardens by Ebony G. Patterson Hide Haunting Messages Within Dazzling Displays

March 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

“when the land is in plumage…” (2020), glitter, glue, beads, plaster, conch shells, gold leaf, porcelain, paint, trimmings, jewelry, embellishments, fabric, jacquard tapestry, and paraffin wax, 9 x 16. 4 x 10.3 feet. All images courtesy of moniquemeloche, shared with permission

Ebony G. Patterson’s multi-layered works are willfully superficial. The Jamaican artist weaves together a mélange of torn papers, tassels, appliqués, and feathered butterflies to create striking gardens replete with glitter and vibrant hues. “In many ways, I think of the work as the flower and the audience as the bees,” Patterson told Nasher Museum. “The bee is first attracted to the flower because of its color, but it’s not until you start peeling back the layers that you understand what’s happening with the nectar.”

Often set against wallpaper of her own design, Patterson’s mixed-media tapestries and smaller works are immersive and captivating, inviting study of both individual elements and how they interact. Hidden beneath the obvious allure of flora and fauna, though, are more complex, sinister messages of identity, violence, and death. Likened to “secret poisons,” these inferences relate to the anguish and perpetual mourning many women feel, and in her sprawling tapestry titled “the wailing…guides us home…and there is a bellying on the land…,” for example, feminine hands and limbs attempt to grasp for something beyond the entangled mass of jacquard and beads. “Each form bravely assumes a posture of distress, the onerous emotional and physical labor required to conduct acts of devotion, the soul care that grants permission to confront historic and inherited traumas,” a statement says.

Patterson lives and works between Kingston, Jamaica, and Chicago, and she’s included in multiple upcoming shows: What is Left Unspoken, Love opening on March 25 at the High Museum in Atlanta, a solo exhibition at Hales Gallery running from May 5 to June 18, and this November, at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. Until then, you can explore more of her elaborate works at moniquemeloche, where she’s represented.

 

“the wailing…guides us home…and there is a bellying on the land…” (2021), mixed media on jacquard woven photo tapestry and custom vinyl wallpaper, 10 x 13 x 1 feet

Detail of “the wailing…guides us home…and there is a bellying on the land…” (2021), mixed media on jacquard woven photo tapestry and custom vinyl wallpaper, 10 x 13 x 1 feet

Detail of “when the land is in plumage…” (2020), glitter, glue, beads, plaster, conch shells, gold leaf, porcelain, paint, trimmings, jewelry, embellishments, fabric, jacquard tapestry and paraffin wax, 9 x 16. 4 x 10.3 feet

“…and the dew cracks the earth, in five acts of lamentation…between the cuts…beneath the leaves…below the soil…” (2020), digital print on archival watercolor paper with hand-cut and torn elements, construction paper, wallpaper, poster board, acrylic gel medium, feathered monarch butterflies, 9.25 x 50 feet

Detail of “…and the dew cracks the earth, in five acts of lamentation…between the cuts…beneath the leaves…below the soil…” (2020), digital print on archival watercolor paper with hand-cut and torn elements, construction paper, wallpaper, poster board, acrylic gel medium, feathered monarch butterflies, 9.25 x 50 feet

” …they stood in a time of unknowing…for those who bear/bare witness” (2018), hand-cut jacquard woven photo tapestry with glitter, appliqués, pins, embellishments, fabric, tassels, brooches, acrylic, glass pearls, beads, and hand-cast heliconias, on artist-designed fabric wallpaper, 12.7 x 16.7 feet

Detail of ” …they stood in a time of unknowing…for those who bear/bare witness” (2018), hand-cut jacquard woven photo tapestry with glitter, appliqués, pins, embellishments, fabric, tassels, brooches, acrylic, glass pearls, beads, and hand-cast heliconias, on artist-designed fabric wallpaper, 12.7 x 16.7 feet

 

 



Photography

Hens and Roosters Fly the Coop and Strut Into the Spotlight in Alex ten Napel’s Portraits

March 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Alex ten Napel, shared with permission

“Hens and roosters can’t be directed,” says photographer Alex ten Napel. No matter the situation, the red-faced birds are wholly themselves, lurching from one spot to the next, burying themselves within masses of feathers, and spreading their wings as if they’ll finally lift off the ground despite being notoriously poor fliers. Chickens are known for their awkward gaits and distinct attitudes and are also the latest subjects of ten Napel’s portraiture.

Having focused his lens on people for about 25 years, the Amsterdam-based photographer realized that documenting the fowl occupying his henhouse would be a compelling challenge. This interest culminated in his ongoing Hens and Roosters series, which shines studio lighting on the oddly photogenic creatures and captures their unique mannerisms as they strut around the space. “Photographing became unexpected, exciting, and out of control. I was impressed by these little feathered creatures who had the power to tell me to be patient and to wait for the right moment,” ten Napel shares.

Prints of the moody birds are available on his site, and keep an eye on his Instagram for news about a Hens and Roosters book. You also might enjoy Henji Shin’s antagonistic chickens and these glamour shots.