found objects

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Art History

Art Without Intent Celebrates the Aesthetics and Mysterious Histories of Found Objects

November 25, 2022

Kate Mothes

A vintage head on a stand that reads "desire"

All images © Art Without Intent, shared with permission

“The found object is an illegible, unknowable thing, out of reach even when in hand,” reads a statement of Art Without Intent, both a collaborative project and a way of looking at historic material culture. In March 2022, a group of nine antique and art dealers curated the Found Object Show in New York City. Crackled paint, weathered patinas, eccentric shapes, and amusing juxtapositions characterized the pop-up exhibition of 96 eccentric items.

Removed from their original contexts, transformed by time and the elements, and reinterpreted in a salon-style exhibition, the objects transmit an aesthetic experience similar to viewing art, even if the anonymous makers did not intend to create artworks in any formal sense. “Transformed physically and contextually, a found object sometimes packs the same aesthetic and conceptual punch of conventional art. But without artistic motive nor objective meaning, it must lie in wait to ambush an imagination,” the group explains.

Accessibility is a unique facet of the show, which invites dedicated collectors, history buffs, curious passersby, and children into the showcase, in which all objects are available for sale in a unique art-gallery-meets-antique shop atmosphere. “Art without intent ennobles the random, celebrates the anonymous, and embraces the subjective, empowering individuals to see art where they may least expect to find it.”

The next Found Objects Show will feature eighteen exhibitors and is scheduled for March 24 to 26 with an additional focus on stuffed animals. You can find out more about the project, purchase a catalogue on the website, and follow updates Instagram. (via BoingBoing)

 

Installation view of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

Barbells made from coffee cans.

Items in 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

Installation view of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022 through a window with a logo in the foreground.

Two images of found objects. Left: Five metallic hands sitting on a concrete surface. Right: Two laced shoes with long leather extensions from the toes.

Installation view of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

Two images of found objects. Left: Two sculptural metallic pieces on stands. Right: Conical forms covered in barnacles.

A piece of wood in a trapezoidal shape with three holes and a comb-like addition on the front.

Installation views of 'Found Objects Show' in New York City, March 2022

An aged wooden box filled with animal skulls.

 

 

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Art

From Jenga Blocks to Peanuts, Artist Oli Watt Hatches 101 Duck Decoys Using Found Objects

November 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a duck decoy made of children's blocks

“Jenga” (2022), discarded wooden toys, 14 x 6 x 7 inches. All images by Evan Jenkins, courtesy of Carrie Secrist Gallery, shared with permission

During a residency at the home of the late artist Roger Brown, Oli Watt was intrigued by the Chicago Imagist’s duck decoys. An avid collector, Brown cultivated numerous groups of objects and approached the items lining his shelves democratically, seeing all, no matter their cultural or monetary value, as of equal importance. Watt’s encounter with these quotidian trapping devices prompted a similarly impartial project with 101 Decoys, a series of sculptures that explores the relationship between form and function.

The Chicago-based artist, who teaches at the School of the Art Institute where Brown’s collections are housed, uses a range of found materials to construct his flock of waterfowl, from stacked Jenga blocks and pink, plush fabric to wine corks and a Bosch drill battery. Often structured around a wooden base, the final works vary in size and shape and are eclectic, lighthearted interpretations of hunting decoys. Departing from the object’s practical and historical uses, Watt describes his “useless” works as “an exercise in understanding, utilizing, and undermining repetition.”

A selection of 101 Decoys will be on view at Carrie Secrist Gallery from November 4 to December 17. You can find more of the sculptural fowl on the project’s site and Watt’s Instagram.

 

A photo of a duck decoy made of pink plush fabric

“Mr. Pink” (2022), wood and fabric, 22 x 6 x 9 inches

A photo of a duck decoy made of wine corks

“Cork” (2021), maple and cork, 17 x 6 x 10 inches

A photo of a duck decoy made of wood and white feathers

“Self Portrait Decoy” (2022), maple, poplar, and feathers, 15 x 9 x 7.5 inches

A photo of a duck decoy made of wood and a drill battery

“Bosch” (2022), basswood and drill battery, 7 x 4 x 7.5 inches

A photo of a duck decoy made of wood and a lighter

“Lighter” (2022), spruce and a lighter, 30 x 4.5 x 6 inches

A photo of a duck decoy made of peanuts

“Peanut” (2022), peanut, 2 x 0.5 x 1.5 inches

A photo of a duck decoy made of wood and metal

“Knight” (2022), maple, balsawood, cherry, found metal, screws, epoxy, and wood epoxy, 19 x 6 x 10 inches

A photo of a duck decoy made of patterned fabric

“Uncle Billy” (2021), wood and fabric, 15.5 x 4.5 x 6.5 inches

A photo of a duck decoy made of a violin and wood

“Violin” (2020), violin, balsa, and cherry, 11 x 6.5 x 7 inches

 

 



Art Design Photography

In Bold Self-Portraits, Fantastical Masks Camouflage Noah Harders in Flora and Fauna

October 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

Artist Noah Harder wearing an elaborate mask of aqua jade flowers.

“First Time, Face to Face” (2021), blue jade flower. All images © Noah Harder, courtesy of Honolulu Museum of Art, shared with permission

Native Hawaiian artist Noah Harders takes a whimsical approach to style in Moemoeā, his first institutional exhibition opening next week at the Honolulu Museum of Art. Translating to dream or fantasy, the show’s title offers a conceptual, political, and aesthetic foundation for Harders’ vast array of works that transform crustacean shells, skeletal remains, lush jade flowers, and other organic matter into sculptural wearables. The fashions are intricately constructed and mask most of the artist’s face as he captures their sprawling forms through bold self-portraiture, which he describes as fostering a connection between himself and the found objects. He explains:

When I put on these masks, I feel like I am embodying the spirit and essence of seemingly ordinary materials that can be found around us…These pieces are a way for us to step out of the harsh reality we are consumed by every day and simply have a moment to dream and feel inspired by what surrounds us on this earth.

Moemoeā runs from November 3, 2022, to July 23, 2023. Dive into Harders’ extensive archive of headdresses on his site and Instagram.

 

Artist Noah Harder wearing an elaborate mask of plumeria flowers.

“Resilience” (2020), plumeria (frangipani)

Artist Noah Harder wearing an elaborate mask of red torch ginger.

“Lead The Way” (2022), red torch ginger (etlingera elatior)

Artist Noah Harder wearing elaborate masks of koa leaves and lauhala.

Left: “Modern Warrior” (2022), koa leaves (Acacia koa). Right: “Two Worlds Collide” (2022), lauhala (pandanus tectorius) and crinum amabile

Artist Noah Harder wearing an elaborate mask of lobster shells.

“The Depths” (2021), lobster shell

Artist Noah Harder wearing an elaborate masks of spiny lobster shells and fish bones.

Left: “ Looks Can Be Deceiving,” (2022), spiny lobster shells, 22.25 x 28.25 inches. Right: “Life After Death” (2022), fish bones

Artist Noah Harder wearing an elaborate mask of mink protea.

“Malolo” (2022), mink protea

Artist Noah Harder wearing an elaborate mask of white king protea.

“Pecking Order” (2022), white king protea (protea cynaroides)

 

 



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

Discarded Tools, Scrap Metals, and Fabrics Form the Spirited Sculptures by Mohsen Heydari Yeganeh

August 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Mohsen Heydari Yeganeh, shared with permission

Artist Mohsen Heydari Yeganeh extends the life of broken tools, wooden handles, and scraps of fabric found in resale shops, stalls, and alleys. Utilizing chains for plumage or a long, steel blade for a beak, Yeganeh forms stylized animalistic assemblages of discarded materials, which he refers to as “flying garbages.” Conveying the awkward, jutting postures of birds or the broad stance of a bison, the spirited sculptures combine abstract components into lively, expressive characters.

Yeganeh is one part of Kasmeh, a Tehran-based studio where he works in collaboration with the artist Arman. You can follow their upcycled creatures on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Two Curtains of 30,000 Prescription Lenses Cast a Distorted Water-Like Glimmer Across a Beijing Gallery

July 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of PIKOU, shared with permission

Suspended from an undulating metal rod, two translucent patchwork curtains of prescription eyeglasses evoke the gleaming shimmer of a waterfall. The disorienting installation is the second in a series of optical works by Canadian artists Caitlind r.c. Brown and Wayne Garrett (previously), who created a smaller kinetic piece centered around the concept of collective vision back in 2015.

Larger in scale and greater in material than the first, “And Between Us, An Ocean” utilizes 30,000 recycled polycarbonate plastic lenses sourced from a Beijing factory and Calgary recycling center. The dual installation bisects a gallery at Times Art Museum and distorts the space as visitors move amongst the glimmering curtains. A pixelated, contorted view emerges through the various prescriptions in each lens, skewing perspectives and proposing questions about the relationship between single and shared vision. Brown and Garrett write in a statement:

What faint ghosts are carried by such intimate objects—windows on the world for the audience of one? How is our shared reality shaped by so many perspectives of the same place and time? Removed from their original purpose, the eyeglass lenses implicate something specific about the mass and scale of our human experience, and the power of our desire to see the world (and each other) more clearly.

“And Between Us, An Ocean” is on view at the Beijing museum through September 12 before it travels to its next location. See the process behind the construction, which happened between Canada and China, and find more of the pair’s ocular works on their site.