Russian embroidery artist Vera Shimunia began her landscape embroidery practice in 2015. She tells Colossal that it is the perfect medium for her because it requires less patience than cross-stitch and is more exciting, in her opinion, than painting. The Saint Petersburg-based artist is self-taught (Shimunia studied economics in college) and she shares that she imagines the needle as a brush. Her richly-hued mountainscapes, sunrises, and skies are crafted on palm-sized embroidery hoops using a variety of textured threads. Although Shimunia uses a unified color palette over a small surface area, she distinguishes different landscape elements using various stitch and knot styles, as well as thin, thick, and even three-dimensional fibers. You can see more of her embroideries on Instagram, and purchase work in her Etsy store.
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The textured paintings and assemblages of artist Gregory Euclide (previously) combine organic and man-made materials to present the rapid changes happening to the landscapes around us. In his upcoming solo exhibition Preservation Paradox at Hashimoto Contemporary the Minneapolis-based artist examines the contradictions found in our simultaneous desire to protect some areas of nature while destroying others. The exhibition includes pieces from his most recent series Scrapes. The abstracted landscapes include some of the toxic materials used to create common artworks, such as paint and styrofoam.
“Acrylic paint, a petroleum product, is used to generate the illusion of land or water when in a pile or scraped across the surface, as well as thinned out and used to generate the illusion of landscape,” the artist explains in a press release for his exhibition.
His pieces include large swaths of paint set on top more traditionally painted landscapes, exploring both the landscape and the material that was used to replicate it. Preservation Paradox opens on September 8 and runs through September 29, 2018 at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Fransisco. You can explore more of Euclide’s recent work on Instagram and Behance.
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In French photographer Pierre-Louis Ferrer’s vibrant photographs, Dordogne, France is transformed into an enchanted land bathed in canary yellow. Ferrer’s colorful photographs illustrate the country’s idyllic topography, where the leaves upon the trees, fresh grass, and sculpted shrubbery are captured in the same vivid color.
While photographing, Ferrer takes time to observe his environment and decide on the best photographic technique to use. For his Dordogne photographs, Ferrer used an infrared photography technique which allowed him to capture the landscape in brilliant yellows. “My artistic approach is based on the invisible and imperceptible,” Ferrer tells Colossal. “I work with invisible parts of light (infrared and ultraviolet) and with techniques like long exposure to offer alternative views of our world.”
This yellow effect in Ferrer’s Dordogne photographs is due to a mix of visible and infrared light, and each plant species appears different depending on how it reacts to the light. “I use a selective filter that let’s pass a large part of infrared light and a small part of visible light,” Ferrer explains. “The main subjects of this technique are trees and foliage because they react a lot under infrared light.”
Although yellow is prevalent in nature; found in bananas, autumnal leaves, egg yolks, and the irises of some animal’s eyes, in Ferrer’s photographs he standardizes all natural elements, highlighting the color’s prevalence in natural forms.
As human eyes are not used to infrared light (due to its longer wavelengths), Ferrer’s photographs invite viewers to see Dordogne as through they are in a different dimension. The extravagant Jardins Suspendus at Marqueyssac and its ivy-covered châteaux are transformed into an ethereal world that might otherwise only appear in paintings.
Although fantastical, Ferrer’s photographs encourage mindfulness and allow us to reflect upon the importance of nature. “My goals are to invite contemplation, to realize the place of nature in urban places, to make aware of the impact of our environment on us, and our impact on the environment.”
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Photographer Jan Erik Waider (previously) splits his time between Hamburg, Germany and traveling through the harsh and unpredictable climate of Nordic countries like Greenland, Iceland, and Norway. In each of these locations Waider seeks the most remote and hidden locations, wishing to present rarely seen perspectives of the native landscape to a larger audience. For more than a decade he has captured the monumental beauty of northern glaciers, isolating their color and shape in a way that makes the icy cliffs appear almost extraterrestrial.
In one ongoing series titled Remnants, Waider finds abandoned pieces of icebergs that lay like “stranded whales” on Iceland’s south coast. “Powerful waves wash around them and drag them further ashore, after they drifted aimlessly in the sheltered lagoon for months,” he explains. “The colors tell stories about age and density, and they speak of the history of the volcanoes that let black ash rain down and darkened the skies.”
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British artist Olivia Kemp (previously) creates sprawling, large-scale ink drawings of real world landscapes that are built from photography, observational sketches, and her own memories of the visited destinations. Her two most recent works took a combined nine months to complete, and are pulled from her travels to Malta and Bavaria. Kemp’s drawing “Ascending The High Pass” is inspired by Bavaria’s castles, and is composed of towers, cliffs, and a winding train line that connects the city through a series of bridges and tunnels.
For her other recent piece, she focused more on the plant life of the location. “Unlike with the castles drawing, ‘Melita, Maleth’ was very much a response to selecting a random location and spending time there getting to know it,” Kemp tells Colossal. “I was interested in going to Malta, but didn’t have any particular drawing or architectural style or composition in mind before I went. I loved the variation of plant life on the island, and felt really strongly that the drawing needed to have a full and rich foreground, including all the flora that had most interested me.”
Kemp will often create smaller drawing studies while on location, which she will then incorporate into her larger works. Both “Ascending The High Pass” and “Melita, Maleth” will be included in the group exhibition Early Modern Matters which opens on September 6 at James Freeman Gallery in London and closes September 29, 2018. You can see more of the artist’s work on Instagram and Twitter.
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Breathtakingly colorful textures pop out when viewers first witness Dylan Gebbia-Richards’s large-scale paintings which appear to escape from their canvas. His rugged works mirror the structure of natural forms such as molten rock or coral. “I see my works as their own landscapes,” Gebbia-Richards tells Colossal. “I allow chance, the driving force behind all natural phenomena, to sculpt the structures of my paintings.”
Gebbia-Richards gains his inspiration from the vastness of the natural world and his artworks explore aesthetics that merge between the microscopic and macroscopic. “I find the enormity of the natural world awe-inspiring,” he esplains. “Landscapes which are immense seem intimate simultaneously; counter-intuitively these large spaces create the feeling of an embrace.”
While Gebbia-Richards’ paintings vary in size, all are built to engulf the viewer. “Sometimes this is very literal like in my room-sized installations which encompass those inside,” he says. “But even with my smaller pieces, I’m looking for the work to expand outwards, attempting to generate the feeling of a place which is much larger.” Like observing a mountain range, the scale of his paintings inspire and delight, while his use of a bold color palette adds a hint of magic to each creation.
The artist’s works appear as if they have been created through a volcanic eruption. To imitate this process, he constructs his paintings by using colored pigment and droplets of melted wax. “I initially found dripping and splattering melting wax very satisfying,” says Gebbia-Richards. “I was interested in the qualities of the marks the melted wax produced, specifically the chaotic patterns of the splatters which sprung from the drip’s impact with the paper I was melting over.”
His paintings emerge by separating the dripping marks from their splatter. It is these random interactions between the various pigments, drip gestures, and the splatter which creates Gebbia-Richards’s layered textures that are signature to his practice. You can see one of the Colorado artist’s paintings at Looking For U at Unit London which runs until August 26, 2018. To view more of his work visit his website and Instagram.
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In an untitled photograph from 1937, a black disc surreally floats upon the subject’s face, obscuring the features hidden beneath the circular void. In another, a black circle hovers next to a tilted house, creating an eerie scene pulled straight from science fiction. At first glance, you might think a contemporary artist had altered the images, drawing jet-black voids as an intervention with photographs from rural Depression-era America. In reality, these images are discarded photographs from a bygone project that produced a pictorial record of American life between 1935-1944. The photographs, which are currently exhibited in The Killed Negatives: Unseen Images of 1930s America at Whitechapel Gallery in London, produce a snapshot of the crippling poverty and backbreaking jobs lower class Americans faced during the Great Depression.
The story of these photographs begins in 1935, when Roy E Stryker, the head of the Information Division of the Farm Security Administration (FSA), undertook a photographic project that commissioned famous American photographers such as Russell Lee, Dorothea Lange and Walker Evans to photograph farmers and farmland during the Great Depression. The FSA aimed to encourage poverty-stricken Americans to partake in self-sustaining programs where they could gain farm loans to buy seeds, equipment, livestock, and partake in homestead schemes which provided both education and healthcare. The project was to demonstrate the results of financial assistance that the FSA offered, in addition to outsourcing images of America life during this time.
Each photographer was given specific directives, for example, “farmer dumping milk at home,” “worried farmer,” or “federal government shot.” Over 270,000 photographs were produced during the project, yet only a few were picked to be part of the final collection. This included imagery featuring transient families, the unemployed, and drought-stricken fields. One of the most famous images was Lange’s 1936 Migrant Mother, which became a popular portrait long after the project’s conclusion.
Stryker deployed a specific editing process where himself and his assistants would choose photographs they believed were true to the brief; the other images were rendered unsuitable and punctuated with a hole puncher. These ruthlessly “killed” photographs were left unpublishable. Today the found works appear to have black discs floating upon them, a visual mark of rejection which accidentally focus the viewer’s attention.
Killed Negatives at the Whitechapel Gallery runs up until August 26, 2018 and exhibits some of the photographs, photographers’ personal records, and FSA administration documents associated with the project. You can learn more about the exhibition, including information about associated events, on the gallery’s website.
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