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Art

Glass Lilac, Daffodil, and Magnolia Blossoms Thrive Underground at New York City’s 28th Street Subway Station

February 21, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

A new mosaic mural breathes life into the recently reopened 28th Street Station in New York City thanks to a cheerful design of blossoming glass flowers by artist Nancy BlumROAMING UNDERFOOT depicts plants that were chosen from the Madison Square Park Conservancy’s Perennial Collection because of their ability to withstand climate change, such as Red Buds, Magnolias, Hellebores, Witch Hazel, Daffodils, and Camellia. “Blum’s intent was to capture some of the magic of the nearby park, regarded as an urban sanctuary, and to enhance the station environment for transit riders,” explains the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) in a statement about the new work. If you live in NYC, take the Lexington Ave Line to visit the newly sprouted station, and check out more of Blum’s floral drawings and public art on her website. (via Gothamist)

 

 



Photography

Freshly Cut Flowers Make Sparks in Electrically Charged Images by Hu Weiyi

February 18, 2019

Anna Marks

Image credits: Hu Weiyi and A+ Contemporary

Image credits: Hu Weiyi and A+ Contemporary

In The Tentacles project, by Chinese artist Hu Weiyi, bright sparks and fiery electrical waves flow through a series of freshly blossomed flowers against matte gray backgrounds. To produce the images, Hu uses high-voltage capacitors to create electrical currents that run through the pink and maroon roses, showcasing the power of electricity in all its beauty and danger.

The photo series was inspired by a previous project Hu created in 2014, called Flirt, which introduced cold light to various objects to manipulate viewers’ perception without using digital software. “I then began to study the high-voltage arc and made a high-voltage capacitor which can instantaneously penetrate through the air,” says Hu. “The principle is similar to that of the electric baton, but much stronger.”

The research behind The Tentacles took Hu over a year. He worked with various technicians to try different types of electric discharge devices that would exert the right amount of electrical flow to be captured by his camera. In this experimental phase, Hu used dozens of roses and took hundreds of photographs before finding the right images and settings for his final collection. “My studio is therefore filled with the unpleasant smell of rotten flowers, just like a morgue,” says the artist.

Hu’s work illustrates the aesthetic beauty and diversity of physical forms; the softness and stillness of the spongy rose petals in comparison to the dangerous allure of the electrical spark. “The moment of discharge is wonderful and sexy, but it can also be a cold-blooded tool for torture and execution,” he explains. Hu’s combination of materials illustrate the impermanence of natural plant matter, much like the fragile nature of the human body when exposed to lightning. “The flowers in full bloom remind me of my own fragility and powerlessness,” says Hu.

In comparison to manipulating photographs with software such as Photoshop, the time, precision and research in Hu’s work gives the subjects in his images more weight, their electricity more tangible. You can see more of Hu’s photographs on A+ Contemporary’s website.

 

 



Photography

Intertwined and Contorted Figures Form Surreal New Portraits by Brooke DiDonato

February 14, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Brooklyn-based photographer Brooke DiDonato (previously) poses bodies in twisting forms, skewing the viewer’s perception of where one body ends and the next begins. DiDonato also combines subjects and scenes in surreal ways that question the division between human and nature, presenting limbs popping up from a field of sun-baked crops, or capturing a stream of bountiful flowers spilling generously out of an open spout.

The above image of two men’s intertwined bodies was inspired by a previous image DiDonato made for a shoe campaign that featured two separate subjects wearing the same pair of shoes. She wanted to revisit this concept while incorporating full bodies to play on the idea that “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”

A selection of DiDonato’s images from her series “As Usual” is included in The Fence, one of the largest traveling photography exhibitions in the world. Upcoming locations for the open-air experience are Boston, Denver, Houston, and Calgary, Canada. You can keep up-to-date with her portraits and other images by visiting her website or Instagram.

 

 



Artist Maude White Counts on Squarespace to Showcase Her Stunning Papercut Artworks

February 5, 2019

Colossal

Photos by Maude White unless otherwise noted

Artist and self-described craftsperson Maude White (previously) captures gentle moments of beauty and grace in her meticulously detailed paper cut artworks. White has worked in paper for the last several years, first exploring her signature medium with simple silhouettes and popup books. The New York-based artist now focuses on the organic forms of female portraits, flowers, and birds. “Every piece I create has its own identity,” White explains. “The knife, and me, and the paper are all in a dialog together, all talking and getting along. The last thing I do is cut it out of the surrounding paper. It comes alive, or is born, and we meet each other for the first time. It’s a completely living thing apart from me.” 

“When I first started cutting paper it was not a career,” White explains to Colossal. “That’s really the way to approach anything, to do it for the joy of it and use it as a way to learn.” By sharing her work online with a Squarespace portfolio site, the self-taught artist has been able to reach a worldwide audience and find success. In addition to her gallery-ready original papercuts, White has partnered with Abrams Books and Paralax Press to release two books—Leading with Love and Brave Birds—that bring her artwork and message of uplift to life.

She shares that the methodical and meditative practice of cutting paper has been a healthy way to express her desire for order and control. In shaping her online presence as an in-demand artist, White explains that it’s very important to her to share this sense of safety and wellbeing with others: “I like all of my work to be comforting or a safe space. Beauty is a form of love. Creating something beautiful allows people to experience love when they look at it.”

White shares that creating her website on Squarespace allows her to feel assured that her website stands up to the finesse of her artwork. “I like things to look the same, flow together, and stay consistent. I love black and white. I like having control and knowing exactly what i’m looking at and what i’m going to get, and it’s always going to look beautiful.”

Ready to set your portfolio site apart? Head to Squarespace.com for a free trial and when you’re ready to launch, use the offer code COLOSSAL to save 10% off your first purchase.

Photograph by Laura Glazer; hand-cut paper by Maude White; reproduced from Brave Birds, Abrams Image, 2018

AdvertisementThis post was sponsored by Squarespace.

 

 



Art Illustration

Flower Petals and Stems Transform into Animals and Insects in Inventive New Arrangements by Raku Inoue

January 23, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Raku Inoue (previously) goes all-white in his latest flower petal compositions. The Montreal-based creative uses flower petals, stems, and leaves to form creatures ranging from owls and tigers to beetles and butterflies in his ongoing Natura series. Inoue takes advantage of the natural curvatures and shapes of his source materials to create lively interpretations of animals. In Inoue’s owl, densely-petaled mums form the bird’s fluffy belly, while the angular outlines of alstroemeria create the exoskeleton and horns of a beetle. By using largely intact plants, the artist heightens the aliveness of his creations, bridging both flora and fauna. You can see more of his work on Instagram and Behance.

 

 



Photography

Macro Photographs of Ultraviolet Lit Flowers Display a Dazzling Array of Neon Colors

December 12, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Slava Semeniuta, the Russian photographer known online as Local Preacher (previously) uses ultraviolet light to capture plants in electrifying shades of pink, yellow, and green. For his recent series, Granular Creatures, Semeniuta used macro photography to capture flecks and particles unseen by the naked eye. These opalescent figures have an otherworldly glow—emanating dazzling light from their shiny petals and luminescent stamens. You can see more of his surprisingly hued photographs and digital manipulations on his Instagram and Behance.

 

 



Art

Bursts of Stylized Flowers by ‘Ouizi’ Transform Buildings Into Floral Canvases

November 8, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Photograph by Tom Loonan

Artist Louise Jones (previously), known professionally as Ouizi, focuses on flowers in her multi-faceted practice. Whether creating towering outdoor murals, carving linoleum prints, completing indoor mural commissions, or painting on more traditional canvases, Jones creates groupings of real and imagined blossoms. In addition to painting in her home base of Detroit, where she has completed over 40 murals, Jones travels widely to execute work, including in Los Angeles (her hometown), Shanghai, New Zealand, and New York.

The artist’s largest mural to date, titled Wildflowers for Buffalo, was recently completed in Buffalo, New York as part of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s Public Art Initiative. The enormous work is the largest mural in Western New York. For this commission and other site-specific projects, Jones researched and incorporated native flora in her designs. She works in a distinctive aesthetic that merges botanical realism with a stylized, sinuous technique that draws from her Chinese heritage.

In an interview with Shinola, Jones explained, “Flowers are a vehicle for me to explore color and shapes. They remind me so much of my own body — they’re very feminine. I consider myself to be feminine, but haven’t always felt that way. As I get older, I’ve learned to embrace my femininity, and I find myself increasingly drawn to flowers with age.”

Jones studied drawing and printmaking at UC Santa Cruz. You can see more of her work on Instagram, and watch a behind-the-scenes video and interview of Jones’ Buffalo mural below.