Swaths of Old-Fashioned Fabric Obscure Faces and Bodies in Unsettling Portraits by Markus Åkesson
In his paintings, Swedish artist Markus Åkesson depicts ornately patterned fabrics like toile, chintz, and silks wrapped around female subjects. Instead of using the old-fashioned textiles simply as signifiers of wealth and tradition, he uses the materials to take on a more sinister tone. In some of the paintings you can see expressions of sadness in the subject’s faces, while in others, the textiles completely overtake the figures beneath, obscuring their identity and emotions.
“As a child, I often sat and looked at the different patterns in textiles and tapestries,” Åkesson shares with Colossal. “I would find my own images in them, my own world, and I would dream away. For me, the pattern as a concept has a built in feeling of safety and stability, because it repeats itself over and over again. I think the use of patterns in images that depicts more melancholic or even disturbing scenes makes a interesting feeling of duality.”
The artist is represented by Galerie Da-End in Paris and VIDA Museum in Öland, Sweden, where he recently had a solo show. You can see more of Åkesson’s work on Instagram. (via I Need A Guide)
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Fabric Tree Stumps Formed From Pieces of Discarded Clothing by Tamara Kostianovsky
Textile artist Tamara Kostianovsky creates realistic elements from nature out of strips of fabric and discarded clothing. In her latest series, the artist forms severed tree stumps from pieces of her late father’s clothing, integrating his belongings into a landscape of layered, multi-colored logs. The works address the passing of time and allude to the body returning to the environment after death.
The project is inspired by the South American people of the Andes who believe that Mother Earth is embodied by the surrounding mountains. Kostianovsky translates this idea to placing clothing items into sculptures that represent the earth and its environment. She explains in an artist statement: “Fusing the shapes of severed tree stumps of different forms and sizes to a palette indicative of the insides of the body, [the series Tree Stumps] pays homage to the cultural heritage of the people of Latin America, while presenting an alternative way of thinking about our post-industrial relationship to nature.”
Kostianovsky became entranced with the body while working at a surgeon’s office during her adolescence. She continues to make work that examines muscle and bone, often in other species such as livestock or whales. You can take a look inside the artist’s studio by visiting her Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)
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Ethereal Sculptures and Wearable Orbs Formed From Synthetic Fabric by Mariko Kusumoto
Japanese artist Mariko Kusumoto uses translucent fabric to produce balloon-like objects, orbs that contain various forms trapped within their soft exterior. The creations inside range from smaller versions of the spherical sculptures to sea creatures and cars, playful forms that fit the bright colors Kusumoto chooses for her works. To set the polyester fabric into the shapes she desires she heats the pieces to the right temperature, allowing the material to memorize the shape she wishes to create. These works are then formed into sculptural or wearable objects, 3D jewelry that can be worn around the neck.
“My work reflects various, observable phenomena that stimulate my mind and senses; they can be natural or man-made,” said Kusumoto in her artist statement. ” I ‘reorganize’ them into a new presentation that can be described as surreal, amusing, graceful, or unexpected.”
The Massachusetts-based artist’s work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, The Kock Collection at the Swiss National Museum, Racine Art Museum, and Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens and is represented by Mobilia Gallery in Cambridge, MA. You can see more of her sculptural and wearable works on her Facebook.
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