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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

 

 



Illustration

Digital Collages by Beto Val Splice Vintage Illustrations into Surreal Hybrid Creatures

July 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Beto Val, shared with permission

Ecuadorian artist Beto Val alchemizes vintage illustrations into bizarre compositions that blend fruits with fowl and aquatic life with land animals. Using imagery available through the public domain, Val cuts and repositions fins, wings, and scaly talons into surreal creatures: round owl faces peer out from pineapples, autumn leaves sprout from tropical birds, and a rendering evocative of a biological chart displays fish with bodies made of strawberries, brains, and an early, industrial locomotive. Blending the analog illustrations with the artist’s digital manipulations, the collages encompass a range of characters from the whimsical to the absurd.

Val offers prints and other goods in his shop, and his book, The Great Book of the Imaginary Animal Kingdom, is available from Bookshop. You can follow the strange hybrids he dreams up next on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Vegetation and Hybrid Figures Entwine in Winnie Truong’s Mythical Collaged Drawings

June 10, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Mothercraft” (2022), drawing and cut paper collage on panel, 20 x 16 inches. All images © Winnie Truong, courtesy of VIVIANEART, shared with permission

Canadian artist Winnie Truong recontextualizes the sleek, piecey qualities of human hair in her cut-paper collages. Constructed in layers within rectangular frames, the surreal works utilize the soft texture to depict flowers, vegetation, and strange anthropomorphic figures with elongated fingers and faces obscured by body parts or surroundings. Each piece is rooted in Truong’s drawing practice, and the colored pencil renderings add depth to the mythical compositions.

An extension of her two-dimensional works, these dioramas similarly explore the connection between women and nature. Many of the hybrid figures are entangled with foliage and their own anatomies, positioning traditional understandings of beauty alongside disorienting and more fantastic forms.

Visit Truong’s Instagram for more of her recent works and a glimpse into her process.

 

“Yellow Wallpaper and Scarlet Vipers” (2021), drawing and cut paper collage on panel, 20 x 16 inches

“Lilies in the Bog” (2021), drawing and cut paper collage on panel, 20 x 16 inches

“Twin Letdown” (2021), drawing and cut paper collage on panel, 24 x 18 inches

“Eyes at Dusk” (2022), drawing and cut paper collage on panel, 24 x 20 inches

“Distal Edges” (2021), drawing and cut paper collage on panel

“Gentle Snares” (2021), drawing and cut paper collage on panel, 20 x 16 inches

 

 



Art

Daily Newspapers by Myriam Dion Unfold into Meticulously Woven Narratives

June 8, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Des collines arborées sont ravagées par le Dixie Fire en Californie, Le Monde, 28 août 2021” (2021), collage of newspaper and Japanese paper cut with precision knife (x-acto), paper weaving, paper folding, drawing, gold leaf, 41 x 26 inches. All images © Myriam Dion, shared with permission

Thin, interlaced strips of Japanese paper, gold leaf, and the occasional watercolor detail extend the life of a broadsheet when in the care of French-Canadian artist Myriam Dion (previously). Through slicing, weaving, and gluing, the daily publications find new meaning and relevance as the artist overlays their pages with intricate lace patterns. These precise motifs obscure much of the text, leaving only a prominent headline or single image entirely visible. Painstakingly constructed, Dion’s works question the notion that news is inherently fast-paced and fleeting and instead, offer visual depth, dimension, and intricacy that mirrors the nuance of the stories she highlights.

Using pages from Le Monde, The New York Times, and other organizations, Dion draws on both historical and current events in her most recent pieces. A winding, pleated form responds to the unyielding destruction of the Dixie Fire in California with cuts evocative of flames emerging from its folds. Another accordion-style piece commemorates the late Ruth Bader Ginsberg and her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1993, with black-and-white photos of the justice trimmed in gold.

“The revaluation of the handmade and the contemporary dimension of the craftsman are intrinsic to my approach,” the Montréal-based artist tells Colossal, likening her process to cultivating flowers or a vegetable patch. “There are many parallels to be drawn between gardens and my practice, especially in regards to contemplation, mediation, temporality, and the idea of beauty.”

Dion’s solo show Material Knowledge, which runs from June 30 to August 13 at Arsenal Contemporary in New York, will include a new work featuring a 1929 article announcing MoMA’s opening paired with references to women textile artists and crafters. She’s also preparing for an exhibition at Blouin-Division that will expand on the gardening metaphor and emerge from vintage botanical books. Until then, follow her latest projects, which will include a few upcoming public works, on Instagram.

 

Detail of “Amerian Museum, New cases of rare and curious birds, New-York Spectator, Wednesday October 22, 1810,” (2021) collage of newspaper and Japanese paper cut with precision knife (x-acto), paper weaving, drawing, watercolor, and gold leaf, 23 x 20 inches

“Mrs. Isabella Goodwin, The First Woman To Be Appointed To New York Detective Force, Wednesday August 23, 1911” (2021), newspaper glued on Japanese paper and cut with a precision knife (x-acto), paper weaving and gold leaf, 33 x 34 inches

“Amerian Museum, New cases of rare and curious birds, New-York Spectator, Wednesday October 22, 1810,” (2021) collage of newspaper and Japanese paper cut with precision knife (x-acto), paper weaving, drawing, watercolor and gold leaf, 23 x 20 inches

“Trees burning in Kirkwood, California, Thursday September 2, 2021,The New York Times” (2021), collage of newspaper and japanese paper cut with precision knife (x-acto), paper weaving, paper folding, drawing, gold leaf, 47 x 35 inches

“Mrs. Isabella Goodwin, The First Woman To Be Appointed To New York Detective Force, Wednesday August 23, 1911” (2021), newspaper glued on Japanese paper and cut with a precision knife (x-acto), paper weaving and gold leaf, 33 x 34 inches

Detail of “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, New York, Tuesday June 15, 1993” (2021), newspaper glued on Japanese paper and cut with a precision knife (x-acto), paper weaving and gold leaf, 17′ x 17 inches

“Ruth Bader Ginsburg, New York, Tuesday June 15, 1993” (2021), newspaper glued on Japanese paper and cut with a precision knife (x-acto), paper weaving and gold leaf, 17′ x 17 inches

Detail of “Des collines arborées sont ravagées par le Dixie Fire en Californie, Le Monde, 28 août 2021” (2021), collage of newspaper and Japanese paper cut with precision knife (x-acto), paper weaving, paper folding, drawing, gold leaf, 41 x 26 inches

“Des biches errent parmi les véhicules détruits par le Dixie Fire en Californie, Le Monde, 28 août 2021” (2021), collage of newspaper and Japanese paper cut with precision knife (x-acto), paper weaving, drawing, gold leaf, 32 x 30 inches

 

 



Art

Layers of Intricately Cut Paper Evoke Strength and Vulnerability in Christine Kim’s Elegant Collages

June 2, 2022

Kate Mothes

“By Heart” (2022). All images © Christine Kim, shared with permission

In intricately cut collages by Ontario-based artist Christine Kim, flowers, foliage, and crown-like adornments encompass anonymous portraits. Painted floral motifs on carefully torn pieces of paper paired with slats of wood appear like lath exposed beneath ornate wallpaper, providing a backdrop for the elegant silhouettes. The elaborate designs of the figures’ headdresses suggest wrought iron with delicate strands of plants or ribbon partially obscuring their faces. In her series Paper Thin, Kim explores myriad techniques for working with the ubiquitous material.

Inspired to examine relationships between surface, pattern, and volume, she portrays how the medium can be both fragile and solid, rigid yet flexible. She describes in a statement that the series evokes “dualities of strength and vulnerability, as stark black fences crown the regal female figures, but these barriers are, in the end, only paper-thin.”

Kim’s work is currently on view at Galerie Youn in Montréal as part of the group exhibition YOUNIVERSE until July 3. You can find more of her work on her website and on Instagram.

 

“Yesterday’s Thoughts” (2022).

“Stories We Tell” (2022)

“At Least” (2022)

“In Good Faith” (2022)

“Boundaries of Ours” (2022)

 

 



Art

Chimerical Creatures Combine Feathers and Fur in Isabel Reitemeyer’s Uncanny Collages

May 31, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Isabel Reitemeyer, shared with permission

Berlin-based artist Isabel Reitemeyer is known for making uncanny collages that splice images of animals and bodies into humorously enigmatic compositions. In her recent series, songbirds with guinea pig heads perch on twigs, horses with enormous bunny ears stand in fields, and a retriever looks out at us from the body of a chicken. The assemblages, which are often small in scale and made from found photographs and cutouts, are deftly aligned so that the outlines of the animals fit together seamlessly.

A bunny’s beady eye or the slight cock of a terrier’s head gives personality to each chimerical creature, as if self-aware of its unusual predicament. Reitemeyer taps into the ways we anthropomorphize our pets and other animals, reading into their expressions and feelings as if they were our own, resulting in sly and unusual personalities.

You can find more of Reitemeyer’s collages on her website and on Instagram.