with found objects
New York City-based artist Kathleen Vance creates lush landscapes brimming with green mosses, foliage, and rocky surfaces all stored in an unusual carrier: vintage suitcases. Vance’s ongoing Traveling Landscapes series connects travel and natural resources, inclining her to incorporate active water components into many of her miniature ecosystems. The artist tells Colossal she hopes to convey that “water and our natural open landscapes are our legacy to the future generations and something that must be protected and cherished.” Her more recent pieces, like “Traveling Landscape, Spelunker,” deviate from her previous work by including caverns replete with hanging stalactites and stalagmites, or icicle-like rock formations, that she sculpts by hand.
Utilizing found vessels, Vance says she wants to “relate to a time when travel was slower and the distances between us and our homelands and foreign landscapes were more difficult to access.” Each portable environment is designed and retrofit for specific steamer trunks and train cases.
The cases act to abstract the idea of travel and romanticize its idyllic qualities. I am always on the look out for cases that have some indication of travel, with notes and markers which give a feeling that they have really been used for used for transportation of someone’s special or personal items.
To keep up with Vance’s environmentally focused projects, follow her on Instagram.
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By gathering and piecing together small twigs, London-born Chris Kenny crafts collections of dancing figures, abstract portraits, and even a small baby. As Kottke explains, the artist’s sparse creations rely heavily on the human desire to see objects or patterns in inanimate objects, a term called pareidolia. Kenny shares many of his constructions on twigsaints, an Instagram account he dedicates to likening singular twig figures to saints, like St. Vincent and St. Agnes. Keep up with all of the artist’s wood assemblages on his main Instagram and purchase one of his minimal pieces for your collection on his site.
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Winged elephants, multi-eared rabbits, and carrot-legged babies ready to be dipped in hummus: recent sculptures by Debra Broz (previously) continue to expand her collection of odd mashups formed from found ceramics. By carefully sourcing, separating, and re-fusing juxtaposed components of otherwise unremarkable ceramic knick-knacks, Broz forms entirely new creatures that are equal parts bizarre and humorous. The Los Angeles-based artist tells Colossal that she finds inspiration in absurdity:
I think a lot of us are frequently telling ourselves that the world is this very serious place, and that our lives as adults require careful consideration—and to a degree that’s true—but we also need to take time to realize that the world is also wildly full of nonsense, and that aspects of our lives are incredibly ridiculous. And I think it’s completely fair for us to recognize that, and laugh about it.
Broz also sees surprise as an important element in her work. Creating the opportunity for viewers’ expectations to be upended and their planned narrative disrupted makes her small sculptures uniquely memorable. She tells Colossal that acquiring a prank wooden outhouse built by her grandfather (not life-size) that explodes when a quarter is dropped in helped her articulate the importance of the unexpected in her practice. “For me, that object—the exploding outhouse—is weirdly inspirational in the way it takes something unassuming and makes it into something that surprises or bewilders people,” Broz explains. “It’s funny how that theme is so prevalent in my sculpture, but I had never thought about it in the context of my grandpa’s exploding outhouse until recently.”
In addition to adding to her ceramic-centric body of work, Broz has been experimenting recently with stuffed animals and balloons. The malleable materials make it easier to stretch her imagination and try out new ideas. She’s also been working in multiples, creating different variations on the same animal: the two white rabbits shown here were a part of that series. “It was a really interesting process to see how many ideas I could think of to alter that one particular form. That also got me interested in the idea of how much you can change a form before it stops being what it was and becomes something else,” Broz explains.
On November 16, 2019, you can see some of Broz’s iterative rabbits at the Track 16 Gallery Anniversary Show, and will have a piece up for auction in a fundraiser supporting Monte Vista Projects, an artist space and curatorial collective of which Broz is a part. Follow along with the artist’s latest creative endeavors on Instagram.
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Discarded Ceramic Shards Are Celebrated in Multi-Part Assemblages by Conservator and Artist Bouke de Vries
Bouke de Vries works with ceramic assemblage to reinterpret historical pottery in multi-part sculptures. The Dutch artist studied at the prestigious Central St. Martin’s in London and worked in high fashion before pivoting to ceramics conservation and restoration in the early 1990’s, which he learned at West Dean College. Confronting the moral dilemmas around valuation of imperfect artifacts in his vocational practice, de Vries challenges the value of imperfection, damage, and cultural history in his exploded artworks.
Broken blue willow plates amalgamate into a map of China, a shattered turquoise vase finds a new function as the contents of a clear glass vessel, and small shards of porcelain become the thorns on a blossoming rose. In a statement on his website, the artist explains:
Instead of hiding the evidence of this most dramatic episode in the life of a ceramic object, he emphasizes their new status, instilling new virtues, new values, and moving their stories forward… Where even an almost invisible hairline crack, a tiny rim chip or a broken finger render a once-valuable object practically worthless, literally not worth the cost of restoring. There’s something incongruous about the fact that such an object, although still imbued with all the skills it took to make it – be it first-period Worcester, Kang-xi or Sevres – can so easily be consigned to the dustbin of history.
De Vries’s work has clearly struck a chord with viewers: he exhibits widely and in 2019 alone has shown work at Hillwood House in Washington, Mesher Gallery in Instanbul, The Museum of Fine Art in Montgomery, Alabama, the Kuntsi Museum in Vaasa, Finland, the Museum of Royal Worcester, and at the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale in Yingge, Taiwan. The artist is represented by galleries in The Netherlands, U.S., and U.K. Explore more of de Vries’s work and stay up-to-date on his latest exhibitions via Instagram. (via The Jealous Curator)
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Textile artist Amanda Browder collaborates with the communities she’s working in to built site-specific architectural interventions. Using hundreds of yards of donated fabric with bright colors and patterns, Browder and her volunteer teams stitch together enormous panels that resemble crazy quilts. The panels wrap around bell towers, sheath elevated walkways, and drape from gables and eaves to give passersby a new experience of familiar buildings. In a statement on her website, Browder describes her work:
A state of betweenness – ‘twixt soft sculpture /’tween orchestrated public object installation with a studio affinity for abstraction and minimalism”. I am in love with the transformative nature of materials, and how the combination of the familiar creates abstract relationships about place. This relational objectivity generates an open-ended narrative, ambiguous situations defined by the choice of materials and work ethic. Central to the psychedelic experience, I am drawn to reinventing Pop-Art colors by exploring shifts in scale and sculptural perceptions.
The Montana-born artist received a B.A. in studio arts as well as two master’s degrees in sculpture and installation art. Browder is now based in Brooklyn and frequently travels to create new work. She was recently awarded an opportunity with the prestigious ArtPrize organization in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The multi-part work, titled Kaleidoscopic, is currently on view at locations around Grand Rapids. Keep up with Browder’s projects on Instagram, and watch the video below for a time-lapse of a previous installation in Las Vegas and an interview with the artist.
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Old Books Become Craggy Mountains and Waterway Channels in Otoniel Borda Garzon’s Mixed Media Sculptures
Colombian artist Otoniel Borda Garzon (previously) manipulates outdated volumes of maps, reference texts, and newspapers to form abstract sculptures. The multi-part artworks juxtapose the paper pages, carved into topographical shapes that allude to cliffs and mountains, with geometric wooden trusses and smooth, water-like glass channels. You can explore more of Garzon’s wide-ranging art projects, which often incorporate reclaimed materials, on his Behance portfolio.
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Every year more than eight million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans. This anxiety, coupled with fears of a dramatic decline in insect populations and a global climate crisis, fuel the assemblage-based works of Thomas Deininger (previously). In a new short film by gnarly bay, clips of Deininger in his studio are supercut with footage showing the many ways that plastic has laid damage to our world’s sea creatures and environment. It is these bits of mindlessly discarded plastic that the Bristol, Rhode Island-based artist uses to create his sculptural optical illusions—which are often of the exact same animals and insects that the plastic threatens. You can see more of Deininger’s three-dimensional works built from found objects on Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Architecture
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.