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Art

Garments of Grass and Flowers by Jeanne Simmons Fuse Bodies to the Landscape

May 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Grass Cocoon” (2018). All images © Jeanne Simmons, shared with permission

“When we spend a lot of time in a place, and if we are paying attention, a kind of intimacy develops,” says Jeanne Simmons. The artist, who’s based in the Pacific Northwest, grounds her practice in this sense of familiarity and ease with her surroundings. “We come to know the plants that grow there and the critters that roam there… We may even begin to feel that we ourselves have become part of that place, and it is this feeling that sustains and inspires me.”

After gathering natural materials like branches, wild vegetables, and bark, Simmons constructs garments that intertwine her own body and those of others with the landscape and obscure the distinction between the two. In one work, a full skirt made of Queen Anne’s Lace trails from the artist’s waist and blends with a meadow, while another piece braids dried vegetation into a model’s blond hair, developing a feet-long braid that appears to emerge from the ground. “Grass Cocoon” is similar, twisting locks into the material and swaddling a figure’s body in a sheath of green. “This is how I celebrate and deepen my connection with the natural world. I suppose I have discovered that the best way for me to become part of the landscape… is to wear it,” she shares. “It is also, at least in part, a lamentation for the catastrophic loss of that connection that we are witnessing in real-time.”

Simmons has several works in progress at the moment, including a kelp shroud and fennel gown, and is collaborating with director and producer Ward Serrill on a film about her practice. Keep up with those projects on her site and Instagram. (via Lustik)

 

“Grass Cocoon” (2018)

“Extensions” (2020)

“Lace Skirt” (2019)

 

 



Art

Activist Symbols and Witty Scenarios Are Woven into Towering Hair Sculptures by Laetitia Ky

May 13, 2022

Gabrielle Lawrence

All images courtesy of Princeton Architectural Press, shared with permission

Laetitia Ky exercises art activism by braiding African identity into hair sculpture. Born from the lack of representation she experienced growing up on the Ivory Coast, her practice started by cutting the silky straight strands off of her Barbie doll heads and meticulously re-stitching curly extensions as a child. In Love and Justice, Ky’s towering sculptures are embedded into aspects of everyday life. She draws on the strength and durability of Black hair texture to weave traditional instruments, regional wildlife, and bodies in motion into interactive portraits that capture the beauty in common aspects of culture across the continent.

Each image in this 200-page collection published by Princeton Architectural Press makes a statement. Ky explores the roots of this work through the creative shape and design of traditional African hairstyles pre-colonialism. She uses symbols in her sculptures to respond to current struggles like a justice scale balancing gender icons on either side, a uterus with fallopian tubes that transform into middle fingers, or stretch marks on a woman’s body. In her self-love chapter, Ky’s images explore the joys of self-knowledge with acts such as playing a guitar made of hair, toasting a braided wine glass, or wrapping her neck with a life-sized hand that offers the scent of a flower.

Head to Bookshop to purchase this memoir that offers insight into the artist’s journey toward embracing Black beauty, and check out her viral hair sculptures and portraits on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Through Blocks of Geometric Color, Artist Derrick Adams Celebrates the Joy of Self-Expression

April 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Style Variation 35” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters. All images © Derrick Adams, courtesy Salon 94, New York

In Looks, artist Derrick Adams references the immense potential of a wig to alter an appearance and construct a persona. The exhibition, which is on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art through May 29 alongside a survey of art and fashion photography titled The New Black Vanguard (opens May 8), shows nine of Adam’s portraits rendered in the artist’s distinct geometric style evocative of “Benin heads, Kwele masks, Kota reliquary figures,” and other West African masks and sculptures, he says in a statement.

Standing more than eight feet tall, the acrylic-and-graphite works center on busts with direct gazes, their faces mapped with different skin tones and makeup lining rounded eyelids and lips. The elaborate wigs in rainbow stripes and faded ombre are inspired by the salons and shops in Adams’ Brooklyn neighborhood. He reinterprets these functional wearables as bold, two-dimensional portraits that speak to the importance of hair in Black culture and the power of defining oneself through spectacular, joyful adornments. He explains about the works:

I feel more than ever that it is essential for artists to make work that celebrates Black culture. As a Black man, I am aware of my vulnerability and susceptibility to trauma and oppression on a daily basis. I personally don’t need to be reminded of it in art and choose to instead highlight Black normalcy. Those who participate in Black culture understand there are images that are less important for us to see than images of joy.

For more of Adams’ works across painting, sculpture, collage, and performance, visit his site and Instagram.

 

“Style Variation 33” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters

“Style Variation 34” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters

“Style Variation 37” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters

“Style Variation 28” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters

“Style Variation 32” (2020), acrylic paint and graphite on digital inkjet photograph, 245.1 x 153 x 4.4 centimeters

 

 



Art

Furry Tendrils and Tufts of Technicolor Hair Erupt Across Shoplifter's Immersive Installations

September 29, 2021

Grace Ebert

Icelandic artist Hrafnhildur Arnardóttir, otherwise known as Shoplifter (previously), fittingly describes her immersive environments of hair as “an exploded rainbow.” Cloaking walls with neon fur and hanging tendrils of fuzzy fibers from the ceiling, the artist creates enormous, extravagantly colored landscapes designed to be ruffled and stroked as viewers pass through the cave-like walls and underneath the suspended strands.

In a new interview with Lousiana Channel, Shoplifter recounts her first encounter with the medium as a child in Iceland and her later move to New York, where she’s spent the last 25 years creating kaleidoscopic landscapes brimming with textures. She perpetually gravitates toward vibrant, bold color palettes because of their therapeutic, playful, and ornamental qualities, and although she creates such strikingly manufactured installations, she describes her practice as a form of “hyper-nature… I’m not competing with nature. I just exaggerate and create this abstraction that resembles it but isn’t literal.”

Watch the full interview above to dive deeper into Shoplifter’s inspirations and process, and see an archive of her technicolor creations on Instagram.

 

“Hyperlings” at the Art Gallery of Alberta. All images courtesy of Shoplifter

“Hyperlings” at the Art Gallery of Alberta

“Hyperlings” at the Art Gallery of Alberta

“Hyperlings” at the Art Gallery of Alberta

 

 



Art

Plants, Hair, and Shadows Obscure Women in Introspective Gouache Paintings

March 23, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Mai Ta, shared with permission

Saigon-based artist Mai Ta veils the subjects of her nuanced paintings with leaves, long locks of hair, splayed hands, and dim lighting. Utilizing muted tones and saturation, she works primarily in gouache to render lone women in domestic settings, creating introspective scenes that question what’s visible.  “Obscurity in my work represents my own inability to be confident about who I am,” the artist tells Colossal. “It’s easier to hide behind my hair (shadows, plants, anything) than to honestly express how I really feel.”

Many of the pieces stem from Ta’s background, although she strives to connect her experiences and the viewers’. I Set the Moon on Fire Because She Wouldn’t Wake Up, a series comprised of many of the paintings shown here, was transformative in helping her realize that “exploring my own personal narrative and emotions can be both therapeutic and visually exciting,” she says. “I made work about how my friends’ and (my) rooftop moon-watching sessions moved me. I made work about my own heartbreak. I made work about missing and loving Vietnam.”

Explore a larger collection of Ta’s paintings that examine the relationship between interior emotions and outward expressions on her site and Instagram. (via Juxtapoz)

 

 

 



Design

Floral Motifs Are Digitally Printed onto Blonde Hair in a New Baroque-Inspired Collection

March 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Alexis Ferrer/Rafael Andreu, shared with permission

As a way to extend the floral designs woven into garments, Barcelona-based stylist Alexis Ferrer has developed a printing method that embellishes blunt bobs and Marcel waves with rich, colorful patterns inspired by the “best fabrics for the French bourgeoisie during the XVIII century.” The resulting series is titled La Favorite—it was photographed by Rafael Andreu and features models Emma Fuhrmann, Camila Ferreyro, and Patrizia Lombardo—and merges Baroque-style motifs with modern technology, marking blonde extensions with peonies, butterflies, and birds through a digital process that’s taken years to develop.

This current iteration is an expansion of a 2012 project that utilized black-and-white photographs from The Shining and Pyscho, although the methods have evolved with higher-definition printing and digitally generated inks in full color. “I must admit that the first impressions on the hair were a challenge. It took two months to get good results with high definition… Mixing technology with our knowledge of crafts has allowed us to recreate those wonderful patterns on the hair,” Ferrer says in an interview with INFRINGE.

See more behind-the-scenes images documenting both the printing techniques and final presentation on Ferrer’s Instagram. (via Kottke)