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Art

Enchanting Scenes Combine Multiple Precisely Carved Woodblocks into Full-Color Prints by Tugboat Printshop

June 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Blue Bridge” (2020), woodcut on ivory somerset paper, 18 x 22.5 inches. All images © Tugboat Printshop, shared with permission

Valerie Lueth, who’s behind the Pittsburgh-based Tugboat Printshop (previously), continues to cultivate dreamy scenarios painstakingly printed with intricately carved woodblocks. Her recent creations include a distant truss bridge peeking through vegetation, a whimsically intertwined pair of trees—now in full color, this piece began as a black-line woodcut commissioned for an edition of Jean-Claude Grumberg’s The Most Precious of Cargoes—and a web of vines dripping with rain and jewels evoking a dreamcatcher.

After sketching with pencil on plywood blocks, Lueth hand-carves the meticulous designs with knives and gouging tools and often cuts multiple panels with slight variances for each print. In addition to building depth of color, Lueth’s sequential process yields greater highlights, shadows, and overall detail to the completed work. The lush, leafy scene comprising “Blue Bridge,” for example, is the product of four blocks coated in black, blue, green, and purple oil-based inks, which are pressed in succession to create the richly layered landscape.

Prints are available on Esty or from Tugboat’s site, and you can see more of Lueth’s process and a larger collection of her works, including a glimpse at a new floral relief in black-and-white, on Instagram.

 

Detail of “Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

“Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

“Blue Bridge” (2020), woodcut on ivory somerset paper, 18 x 22.5 inches

Detail of “Web” woodcuts

“Together Trees” (2020), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 12.5 x 9 inches

Detail of “Together Trees” (2020), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 12.5 x 9 inches

Detail of “Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

Detail of “Blue Bridge” woodcut, 18 x 22.5 inches

 

 



Photography

Natural Light Illuminates Flowers in Full Bloom in Otherworldly Photographs by Xuebing Du

May 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Xuebing Du, shared with permission

Xuebing Du finds the balance between light and shadow in her photographs that cast flowers and plants in a dreamy, refined manner. Currently based in Sunnyvale, California, Du scouts the botanical subject matter as the forms reach peak bloom, using only the natural glow from the sun to capture their vivid color. The resulting images are elegant and otherworldly and frame the soft, silky petals in a way that creates “a tone that is almost surreal and illuminated by a strong yet delicate touch of light,” she says in a statement.

Du’s photography focuses on the organic textures and supple forms of the natural world, and you can explore a larger collection of her works on Behance, Tumblr, and Instagram. Prints are available in her shop. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

 



Craft Design

Painted Imprints of Delicate Botanical Assemblages Embellish Ceramic Dinnerware

April 27, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Hessa Al Ajmani, shared with permission

Hessa Al Ajmani (previously) carefully imprints single flowers, leaves, and fronds into her ceramic dinnerware. After hand-building a piece, the artist assembles bunches of small plants native to the United Arab Emirates and presses them into layered bouquets on mugs, plates, and serving dishes. Al Ajmani then paints the impressions to mimic the original florals that she sources from the nearby desert and occasionally from her mother’s garden, a practice dictated by the climate and time of year. “My work naturally takes a whole season to prepare and/or relies on the occasional winter rainfall,” she says. “I allow it to grow organically and see it as a collaboration with nature. After all, clay itself is a material of the earth.”

In addition to creating an array of functional pieces, Al Ajmani teaches virtual and in-person workshops at Clay Corner Studio, which she founded in Ajman in 2019. Follow her on Instagram to keep an eye on new releases in her shop.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Hessa Al Ajmani 🌻 (@hessaalajmani)

 

 



Craft Design

Three-Dimensional Botanics and Insects Are Sculpted in Elegant Stained Glass by Elena Zaycman

April 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

Detail of “The Tulips” (2021), made in collaboration with Jay Rose. All images © Elena Zaycman, shared with permission

From her studio in St. Petersburg, artist Elena Zaycman creates delicate flowers and tropical plants from vibrant stained glass. She strays from the traditional two-dimensional panels to produce lifelike forms that resemble fleshy petals and curved leaves found in nature. Whether a pair of tulips or fanned palm, Zaycman’s translucent designs refract light and cast tinted shadows in an array of organic shapes around the space.

Having worked with the medium for nearly a decade, the artist tells Colossal that prior to creating the smaller sculptures she collaborated with her sister on expansive projects that required a lengthy, complex installation in homes and other spaces. She began to produce the mounted pieces as a way to circumvent that process and make the art form more accessible to those without the resources for large, permanent works. Today, her sculptures often reflect vegetation and natural life spotted during travel—an encounter with a stray puppy on a trip to Bali informed many of the pieces shown here—or evoke playful, geometric characters, like in her Monstrics collection.

Zaycman was recently featured in the second edition of We Are Makers, and she sells downloadable patterns for a variety of moths and insects on Etsy. Follow her on Instagram for glimpses into her process and updates on available works.

 

“Banana Leaf” (2019). Photo by Natasha Lozinskaya

Detail of “Two Windows for Flowers” (2020)

“The Foxglove” (2021), made in collaboration with Jay Rose

“Flower” (2019). Photo by Natasha Lozinskaya

“Elkhorn Fern” (2019). Photo by Natasha Lozinskaya

“Licuala Palm” (2019). Photo by Natasha Lozinskaya

Detail of “The Foxglove” (2021), made in collaboration with Jay Rose

“Two Windows for Flowers” (2020)

 

 



Photography

Bright, Saturated Color Cloaks Houseplants and Flowers in Kaleidoscopic Photographs

April 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Artichoke.” All images © Lindsey Rickert, shared with permission

In Otherworldly Botanicals, Lindsey Rickert blankets sword ferns, a sprig of eucalyptus, dahlias, and other florals in a wash of vivid, candy-colored light. The Portland-based photographer is known for her portraiture and commercial projects that rely on bright, saturated tones, an approach she brings to the blossoms. Created entirely in-camera, the series frames the flowers at their peaks and is shot with studio lights covered in gel paper.

Spurred by lockdown and the inability to photograph people, the series began with the dewy Four O’Clock plant. “These beautiful flowers bloom in late afternoon and lose all their petals by the following morning… As the weeks carried on more subjects began presenting themselves as they came out of their winter dormancy, and the series was born,” Rickert says.

Sydney residents will be able to spot the chromatic flowers on a billboard in the coming months thanks to their inclusion in the Feature Shoot’s Global Billboard Project. Prints of the series are available in Rickert’s shop, and you can follow her work on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Alocasia”

Left: “Sword Fern.” Right: “Alien Plant”

“Blushing Bride and Sword Fern”

Left: “Eucalyptus.” Right: “Frozen Botanicals”

“Four O’Clock”

“Dahlias”

Left: “Cafe Au Lait Dahlia.” Right: “Calla Lily”

“Calla Lily Leaf”

 

 



Art

Flowers Mutate into Peculiar Blossoms in 18th-Century-Style Paintings by Laurent Grasso

April 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Future Herbarium,” distemper on wood, 33.5 x 24 x 4.2 centimeters. Photo by Claire Dorn, courtesy of Perrotin. All images © Laurent Grasso/ADAGP, Paris, 2021, shared with permission

In Laurent Grasso’s Future Herbarium, small bunches of flowers evolve into bizarre forms with doubled pistils and petals sprouting in thick layers and tufts. Painted in distemper or oil, the transformed blooms are depicted as typical studies of specimens common in the 18th century. The mutations bring together historical aesthetics and transformations from an imagined future, provoking “an impression of strangeness where beauty and anxiety are mixed,” the Paris-based artist says.

Grasso works in multiple mediums, from painting to sculpture to film, and the themes of time and transformation permeate many of his projects. Future Herbarium stems from “ARTIFICIALIS,” a film slated for screening at the Musée d’Orsay, that considers the liminal spaces between nature and culture in relation to images. In its presentation at Hong Kong’s Perrotin (which is up through April 24) and the Jeonnam Museum of Art in Gwangyang (which is on view virtually and in-person through June 30), the series is paired with another project dealing with the impacts of solar wind on the earth. “The Future Herbarium’s flowers are thus subjected to an imaginary catastrophe, which would have produced mutations but also to these solar winds,” the artist says.

In addition to the two exhibitions in Hong Kong and Gwangyang, Grasso’s work will be on view at Aranya Art Center in Qinhuangdao, China, through May 16, at Artspace in Sydney from April 28 to July 11, at Pompidou Shanghai from May 1 to October 10, and at Musée de l’Armée in Paris from May 7, 2021, to January 30, 2022. Explore more of his multi-disciplinary practice on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Future Herbarium,” distemper on wood, 34 x 24 x 4.5 centimeters. Photo by Claire Dorn, courtesy of Perrotin

“Future Herbarium,” oil on wood, 33.6 x 24 x 4.8 centimeters. Photo by Claire Dorn, courtesy of Perrotin

“Future Herbarium,” distemper on wood, 34 x 24 x 4.5 centimeters. Photo by Claire Dorn, courtesy of Perrotin

“Future Herbarium,” distemper on wood, 34 x 24 x 4.5 centimeters. Courtesy of Perrotin

“Future Herbarium” (2020), white bronze, 135 x 20 x 20 centimeters. Photo by Ringo Cheung, courtesy of Perrotin

“Future Herbarium” (2020), white bronze, 135 x 20 x 20 centimeters. Photo by Claire Dorn, courtesy of Courtesy Perrotin