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Art

Plants Embedded in Wax Sprout from Fragile Hands in Memory-Infused Works by Valerie Hammond

March 2, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Valerie Hammond, shared with permission

In Valerie Hammond’s series of wax drawings, protection is two-fold: the artist (previously) encases dried flowers and ferns in a thin layer of wax, preserving their fragile tissues long after they’ve been plucked from the ground. In outlining a pair of hands, she also secures a memory, or rather, “the essence of a gesture and the fleeting moment in which it was made.”

Centered on limbs lying flat on Japanese paper, the ongoing series dates back to the 1990s, when Hammond made the first tracing “partly in response to the death of a dear friend, whose beautiful hands I often found myself remembering.” She continued by working with family and friends, mainly women and children, to delineate their wrists, palms, and fingers. Today, the series features dozens of works that are comprised of either hands tethered to the dried botanics, which sprout outward in wispy tendrils, or others overlayed with thread and glass beads.

Although the delicate pieces began as a simple trace, Hammond shares that she soon began to overlay the original drawing with pressed florals, creating encaustic assemblages that “echoed the body’s bones, veins, and circulatory systems.” She continued to experiment with the series by introducing various techniques, including printmaking, Xerox transfers, and finally Photoshop inversions, that distorted the original rendering and shifted her practice. Hammond explains:

The works suddenly inhabited a space I had been searching for, straddling the indefinable boundary between presence and absence, material and immaterial, consciousness and the unconscious. For me, they became emblematic not only of the people whose hands I had traced but of my own evolving artistic process—testimony to the passing of time and the quiet dissolution of memory.

Hammond’s work recently was included in a group show at Leila Heller Gallery. Her practice spans multiple mediums including collage, drawing, and sculpture, all of which you can explore on her site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

A Hanging Mobile of Bronze Hand Sculptures Casts Playful Silhouettes of Animals

February 26, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Os Pássaros e o Lobo” (2017), bronze, steel cables, metal bars, and light projector, 200 x 200. Image © Casa Triângulo

A bronze piece by Brazilian artist Albano Afonso uses multiple sets of dangling hands that mimic shadow puppetry. Titled “Os Pássaros e o Lobo,” or “The Birds and the Wolf,” the sculpture is illuminated by a light projector, casting dark silhouettes on the wall behind it that resembles a mobile of active animals. In a statement, Afonso is described as being “interested in the anatomy of light: its intensity or softness, its ability to both illuminate and obscure, its sources, its symbolic and utilitarian uses, and its beauty.” You can follow his light-sensitive projects on Instagram.

 

 



Art Illustration

Drawings by WanJin Gim Capture the Nuanced Energy of Seemingly Simple Gestures

June 19, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Potter’s Hand No. 1” (2019)

WanJin Gim (previously) continues to amaze with his detailed drawings that show the nuanced colors and textures of bare skin. Most often working on kraft paper, Gim uses cross hatching—a technique most commonly associated with ink drawings or prints—with an array of colors to capture hands, arms, feet, and the occasional cat. Though simple in subject, Gim’s drawings pulsate with the gestural energy that informs the postures of each carefully rendered limb. You can see more of the Seoul-based artist’s work on Instagram, and find prints of his drawings on Gim’s online store.

“2 Cycles” (2018)

“Phenomenon No.2”, detail (2018)

L: “A Man Standing Up” (2018), R: detail

“A Pure Hand” (2018)

“Potter’s Hand No. 2” (2019)

“A Patient Cat” (2018)

“A Patient Cat”, detail

L: “Said and Done” (2018), R: detail

“Resting in Daylight” (2018)

 

 



Art

Building Bridges: Six Sets of Reaching Arms Clasp Hands Over a Venice Waterway

May 16, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Photograph: David M. Benett

In 2017, one of the most talked-about works seen during the Venice Biennale was Lorenzo Quinn’s Support, which was not an official part of the iconic art fair. The sculptural installation of hands emerged from Venice’s waterways and appeared to hold up an old building. His follow-up piece to Support, which has been installed with backing from London-based Halcyon Gallery, is again not officially associated with the Biennale. Constructed with white resin, Building Bridges features six sets of reaching arms with hands clasped over a waterway, meant to represent people and cultures coming together over differences.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Quinn explained, “Humanity has never grown by creating barriers. It always grows when it opens up its borders and it welcomes new cultures. Venice is a testament to that… It has been a driving force of European growth always.” The location of the towering white appendages at a former shipyard provided viewers with multiple vantage points, and at night Building Bridges was illuminated from below. A photo gallery on Quinn’s website shows the artist at work on his large-scale sculptures, and you can follow along with his new projects on Instagram.

Rendering by Halcyon Art International

 

 



Art Craft

Graceful Figures and Shimmering Peacocks Embroidered on Tulle are Inspired by Haute Couture

April 27, 2019

Andrew LaSane

Moscow-based fabric artist and designer Katerina Marchenko stitches brightly colored threads into tulle to form elaborate embroidered images of animals, portraits, and anatomical studies. In their hoops, Marchenko’s pieces work as framed thread paintings. Bird and angel wings appear to have dimension and human eyes pop thanks to the artist’s attention to color harmony and shading.

Marchenko skips the sketching phase and starts each new piece with contours before allowing improvisation and the process itself to dictate what the final design will look like. The artist explains to Colossal that her aesthetic and techniques are inspired in part by fashion and haute couture. A 2016 sewing course inspired her to create an embroidered tulle blouse, and the following year she took an embroidery course at Ecole Lesage School in Paris.

“Embroidery is a meditative process which helps me to calm down and gather all my thoughts,” Marchenko tells Colossal, adding that the images she chooses are ones through which she can express her emotions. To see more of Katerina’s colorful creations follow her on Instagram, and browse her online shop if you want to take one of the works home.

 

 



Design

Vietnam's Newly Opened Pedestrian Bridge Lifts Visitors with a Pair of Giant Weathered Hands

July 30, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Two giant hands seem to suspend a golden pedestrian bridge which recently opened at the Bà Nà Hills mountain resort just outside of the city of Da Nang, Vietnam. The 500-foot bridge rests in two outstretched palms which have been weathered with cracks and moss to give the appearance of age. While walking along the attraction visitors can look out over the sweeping mountains at a height of nearly 4,600 feet above sea level, and take in the beauty of the bright purple Lobelia Chrysanthemum flowers which dot the structure’s perimeter. The bridge is part of a $2 billion investment to bring more visitors to the area, and joins a 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea-themed park and French gardens. (via My Modern Met)

 

 

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