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Art

Deadly Plants Squashed Under Plastic by Artist Ant Hamlyn Question the Paradox of Preservation

September 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Daffs,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters. All images courtesy of Moosey Art Norwich, shared with permission

The botanical works of West London-based artist Ant Hamlyn are studies of dichotomies and paradoxes. Polarities of the organic and synthetic, comfort and danger, and preservation and destruction emerge from his sculptures, which are comprised of playful, stylized interpretations of natural life pressed under sheets of acrylic.

On view as part of his solo show Tread Softly, Hamlyn’s most recent pieces include yellow daffodils, nightshades, and a pink flowering cactus that, although alluring for their blossoms, are extremely harmful if touched or ingested in real life. This sinister undertone pervades the body of work, which broadly addresses the precarious boundary between life and death. All of Hamlyn’s squished fabric specimens, for example, are depicted at their prime while being suffocated under a polyurethane coating and plastic panel. The artist shares:

When I think about the past time of ‘pressing flowers,’ I think about how when we crush a flower to preserve its beauty, we essentially destroy it to preserve it. These works are at once a celebration and a critique. The human relationship to flowers is a complex one in the way they symbolise love and loss simultaneously. For example, we give dying flowers to each other both in celebration and in grief.

If you’re in Norwich, you can see Tread Softly through October 8 at Moosey Art. Otherwise, head to the artist’s site and Instagram for more of his squished botanicals. (via It’s Nice That)

 

“Fly Agaric,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters

“Deadly Nightshade,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters

“Pink Flowering Cactus,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters

Left: “Thistle,” 120 x 95 x 15 centimeters. Right: “Red Dragon Fly Trap,” 60 x 50 x 8 centimeters

“Lily of the Valley,” 60 x 50 x 8 centimeters

 

 



Art

Milkweed, Cypress Spurge, and Other Native Plants Soar into the Sky in Mona Caron’s Poetic Murals

September 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Balsamorhiza” (2022), Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California. All images © Mona Caron, shared with permission

Towering far above their real-life counterparts, the wild specimens that populate Mona Caron’s murals emphasize nature’s inherent beauty and resilience. Clusters of pink petals peek out from behind curled milkweed leaves in Denver, while the wispy stalks of a euphorbia plant sprout flowering tendrils on an apartment complex in Bellinzona, Switzerland. Many of the botanic murals shown here are part of the San Francisco-based artist’s ongoing Weeds series, which places flourishing plants among largely urban environments as a metaphor for the endurance of the natural world.

Caron (previously) has been prolific as of late, having worked in several cities around the world, and you can find glimpses into her process and information about her subject matter on Instagram.

 

“Milkweed” (2022), in Denver, Colorado, for Broadstone Kendrick

Detail of “Balsamorhiza” (2022), Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, California

“Euphorbia” (2021-2022), Bellinzona, Switzerland

“Euphorbia” (2021-2022), Bellinzona, Switzerland

“Milkweed” (2022), in Denver, Colorado, for Broadstone Kendrick

Detail of “Milkweed” (2022), in Denver, Colorado, for Broadstone Kendrick

“Quebra-tudo, Abre Caminhos” (2022), in collaboration with Mauro Neri

“Quebra-tudo, Abre Caminhos” (2022), in collaboration with Mauro Neri

 

 



Art

Vintage Baubles and Foliage Encircle the Enchanting Glass Dioramas of Artist Amber Cowan

September 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Fountain with Fans in River and Jade” (2022), flameworked American pressed glass, mixed media, 
22 x 19 x 6 1/2 inches. All images courtesy of Heller Gallery, shared with permission

In her solo show Gathering the Sky, Mining the MilkAmber Cowan emphasizes the legacy of color. Through intricately layered dioramas of pressed glass, the Philadelphia-based artist explores the histories of lavender, jade, and opaque white. Her assemblages meld custom and found pieces sourced from primarily defunct factories in the United States, many of which produced a specific palette of colors like the sky blue of “Ecco to the Bridesmaid: ‘I Know Not What Has Happened to Your Pod.” Comprised of two symmetrically shaped panels, the diptych blends an array of materials and generational references, including the 1992 Sega video game Ecco the Dolphin and the emblem of Louis Comfort Tiffany, the artist behind the iconic opalescent stained glass lamps.

Similar to Cowan’s earlier works, these new reliefs are brimming with foliage, flowers, and small baubles that encircle a scenic component embedded in the center. Figurative statues like the artist’s recurring bridesmaid character, miniature bird sculptures, chalices, and Greco-style columns infuse the pieces with narrative detail.

Gathering the Sky, Mining the Milk is on view through November 19 at Heller Gallery in New York. Find more of Cowan’s work on Instagram.

 

“Ecco to the Bridesmaid: ‘I Know Not What Has Happened to Your Pod'” (2022), 
flameworked American pressed glass, mixed media
, 33 x 48 x 8 inches

“Powder Box and Offering in River and Jade” (2022), flameworked American pressed glass, mixed media, 18 1/2 x 16 x 8 inches

Detail of “Ecco to the Bridesmaid: ‘I Know Not What Has Happened to Your Pod'” (2022), 
flameworked American pressed glass, mixed media
, 33 x 48 x 8 inches

“Hummingbirds with Column in Helio and Lavender” (2022), flameworked American pressed glass, mixed media, 
19 x 16 x 8 inches

Detail of “Powder Box and Offering in River and Jade” (2022), flameworked American pressed glass, mixed media, 18 1/2 x 16 x 8 inches

“Pen & Cygnet Swimming in Sky” (2022), flameworked American pressed glass, mixed media, 
21 x 17 1/2 x 7 inches

“Cherries in Milk with Creamer and Compote” (2022), flameworked American pressed glass, mixed media
, 19 x 16 x 8 inches

“Simplicity in Bittersweet Orange, Lemon and Mandarin” (2022), 
flameworked American pressed glass, mixed media, 
28 x 38 x 10 inches

 

 



Art Design Illustration

Flora, Fowl, and Fruit Pop with Color in Diana Beltrán Herrera’s Ornate Paper Sculptures

September 7, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Diana Beltrán Herrera, shared with permission

A menagerie of beady-eyed birds and butterflies complement vibrant florals and fruity morsels in Bristol-based artist Diana Beltrán Herrera’s elaborate paper sculptures (previously). By utilizing subtle gradients to shape flower petals and making tiny cuts to detail individual feathers, the artist adds incredible dimension and density using the ubiquitous, 2-dimensional material. Ranging from shop window displays, to individual sculptures, to interior installations, she is often commissioned to make work featuring flowers or creatures specific to a location or region, and in a meticulous process of planning and sorting, she assembles different colors and sizes of paper into spritely flora and fauna.

Herrera has an exhibition planned for spring of next year at Children’s Museum Singapore, and you can find more of her work on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Hazy Water Veils Vibrant Bouquets in Mystery in Robert Peek’s Photographs

August 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Robert Peek, shared with permission

Fresh flowers emerge through a smoke-like substance in the eerie images of Netherlands-based photographer Robert Peek (previously). Arranged in bouquets of a single species, the lifeforms adopt a more mysterious quality, which Peek produces by adding white ink to water and submerging his subject matter. Although veiled in the hazy liquid, the bright petals breach the surface and are enhanced by an additional light source that amplifies their textures and vibrant hues. The photos shown here are a fraction of Peek’s massive collection of blooms, which you can find on Behance and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Symmetric Drawings on Antique Ledgers Balance Energy and Consciousness

August 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Mantra Amplifier/Deep Listening Device. The feeling of humming at the heart. This is a story of the song the bee sings to the morning glory and the humming inside the bee-eater” (2022), 150 x 100 centimeters. All images Tanya P. Johnson, shared with permission

Conveying the “texture of a threshold,” the mixed-media drawings that comprise Tanya P. Johnson’s ongoing Wisdom Engines series invoke passing between wakefulness and sleep or life and death. Mirrored renderings entwine gears, levers, pulleys, and audio equipment with flowers and geometric motifs in elongated columns, referencing the shape of the human spine. The bisected works reflect both a connection between entities and finding balance through somatic experiences and symmetries.

Drawn on vintage ledger paper, the pieces are “tools for consciousness hacking,” Johnson says, instruments for confronting the systems we’re accustomed to. Each work “generates subtle awareness, cultivates wisdom, and wicks fear. They symbolize the ways movement and breath can be used to interrupt patterns, to strengthen electromagnetism, and to stabilize energy.”

Living between British Columbia and her native Cape Town, Johnson works across media, and you can find more of her projects on her site and Instagram.

 

“Boundlessness/The Four Immeasurables. Technology of (a) mantra, a vector” (2020), 100 x 72 centimeters

“Wisdom Engine. Leveraging gravity to create awareness of awareness. A page from the guidebook” (2021), 150 x 100 centimeters

“Whale prana and the Flaming World Tree. A visual pulse of wicking fear from the planet.  A story that includes the twin Seed Keeper girls, Whale as Time Keeper and the bendy nature of time.  It is simultaneously an architectural-cartography of Maha Bandha” (2022), 150 x 100 centimeters

“Folding Time. Art in the time of Corona. A consciousness map of eternal now” (2020), 100 x 72 centimeters

“Morning Call. Technology of (a) mantra, a vector” (2020),100  x 72 centimeters

“Texture of threshold. The awareness in my mouth of electromagnetic transformation” (2021), 150 x 100 centimeters

“Making Radiance/Evolute1, a screenshot. Mechanics of aligning and organizing life force in the vessel” (2021),100 x 72 centimeters