Swedish photographer Håkan Strand works with old analog cameras and black and white film to capture landscapes that exude the serenity of a time past. The photographs often center around rural roads and explore the stillness that exists when one reaches the fringes of civilization. His recently published book Silent Moments will soon be available to purchase on his website, where you can find further studies of back roads and long desert highways in landscapes in the US, UK, and throughout Scandinavia. (via This Isn’t Happiness)
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Artist Chris Engman transports natural landscapes such as waterfalls, caves, and vast deserts to domestic interiors by securing large-scale photographs to the room’s walls, ceilings, and floors. “I believe photography derives its power precisely from the fact it can’t be entered, however much we may want to,” Engman tells Colossal. “When I make photographs I try to be mindful of this, even to exploit it.”
His most recent work, Containment, is his first installation which allows visitors to step inside. The work features a rushing stream surrounded on two sides by dense forest, and on the top by a branch-covered sky. Engman thinks of the work as a singular photograph, even though it consists of more than three hundred individual prints applied to the surface of the installation’s temporary walls. Although the piece can be entered, unlike his other works, there is still a hesitation on the part of the viewer. Engman explains that once one enters the work its believability as a singular landscape becomes penetrated. Each step deeper inside the work makes the photographed landscape appear increasingly warped and unreal.
“Even so,” says Engman, “compared to a singular framed photograph the experience of this installation for the viewer is much more physical and immersive. The structure is a room, not an image of a room. The photograph is an object, in addition to being an illusion. It has weight, and volume, and changes as you walk around it. Making this installation has been a thrilling process, and this new way of working seems to afford many new possibilities.”
The work is curated by Carissa Barnard of FotoFocus and is exhibited alongside several of his photographs at the Cincinnati Arts Association’s Alice F. and Harris K. Weston Art Gallery in Cincinnati, Ohio through November 18. The exhibition is a part of the 2018 FotoFocus Biennial, a photography and lens-based presentation of over 400 artists at art spaces across Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, and Northern Kentucky. You can visit exhibitions and attend programming for the biennial through January 2019. Engman will have his third solo exhibition with Luis De Jesus Los Angeles in February 2019.
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Moscow-based photographer Stas Bartnikas captures landscapes from above. This perspective presents an abstracted view of the scenes below, turning mountains, waterfalls, and streams into compositional elements that provide color or texture. Bartnikas refers to his works as “aero-art,” and intends to capture the character and personality of each abstracted landscape when shooting. “It is almost the same as photographing human portraits,” he tells Colossal. “Each portrait is unique and conveys its own message.”
Iceland is one of Bartnikas’s favorite locations to photograph due to its surreal combination of ice, snow, volcanic formations, glacial rivers, and beaches. “Regular travelers are able to see only so much of this amazing place, whereas aerial photography allows us to see places that are inaccessible on foot,” he continues. “This very different perspective enables us to capture the beauty of our Earth in its fully glory and uniqueness.”
For each series, Bartnikas charters a plane to fly him around the area. His next destination to photograph is San Diego, where he plans on capturing some of the southern parts of the United States and a few northern parts of Mexico. He is one of the winners of the upcoming Siena International Photo Awards and his work, among the other winners, will be featured at the Beyond the Lens photo exhibition held from October 28 to December 2, 2018 in Siena, Italy. You can view more of his work on his website and Instagram.
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Textile artist Alexandra Kehayoglou (previously) creates functional works of art that explore the natural landscapes of her native Argentina. Her selected locations are often ones tied to political controversy, such as the Santa Cruz River, or areas dramatically altered by human activity, such as the Raggio creek. Kehayoglou uses her craft as a chance as a call for environmental awareness, embedding her own memory and research of the disappearing waterways and grasslands into her hand-tufted works.
Each tapestry uses surplus materials from her family’s factory, which has manufactured industrial carpets for more than six decades. The one-of-a-kind carpets are often installed against the wall, with a section of the work trailing along the floor so visitors can walk or lay on the woven rugs.
In December 2017, her piece Santa Cruz River was included in the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial in Melbourne. The installation showcased her research behind the future damming of the river and her own interpretation of the harm that will continue to influence the surrounding area. Later this month Kehayoglou will present a new site-specific tapestry that explores the tribes of Patagonia in the group exhibition Dream at the Chiostro del Bramante in Rome. You can see more of her work on her website and Instagram.
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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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Editor's Picks: Sculpture
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.