with found objects
Stitching lengthy, varicolored rows around found twigs, Natalie Ciccoricco juxtaposes the organic forms of nature with her meticulous embroideries. The California-based artist has been crafting her Nesting series on white, handmade paper with unfinished edges. The stark backdrop complements the precisely laid thread that seems to suspend each twig, while the natural borders offer an additional organic element.
An extension of her stitches on vintage photographs, Ciccoricco’s lastest series was born out of her time quarantined at home. “While being under quarantine at home, I started creating embroidery artworks using materials found in our yard, on our deck or nature walks,” she writes on her site. “Exploring the juxtaposition between geometric shapes and organic elements, this series is an ongoing exercise to find beauty and hope in challenging times.”
Although each piece from Nesting is sold out in her shop, some prints of her other embroideries are available on Society6. Follow Ciccoricco’s progress and see her latest works on Instagram. (via Jealous Curator)
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Although there’s seemingly only one way to assemble a jigsaw puzzle, Tim Klein (previously) has diverged from the traditional method of following the photo on the box to assemble unusual arrangements of hybrid animals and everyday objects. The Vancouver, Washington-based artist combines two vintage puzzles that are similar in composition, creating bizarre amalgamations that position a hedgehog on top of a muffin and mask George Washington’s face with verdant greenery and a waterfall.
In a statement, Klein said he often utilizes die-cut pieces from the same manufacturer, which allows him to plug in portions from two different sets. “I take great pleasure in discovering such strange images lying shattered, sometimes for decades, within the cardboard boxes of ordinary mass-produced puzzles,” the artist said.
Although many of Klein’s puzzles are sold out—he notes that he needs more source material to create more—you can follow the humorous combinations on Facebook.
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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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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.