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Art

City Lights Cast an Aura of Anonymous Mystique Over Keita Morimoto’s Streetscapes

November 17, 2022

Grace Ebert

A painting of a light illuminating a city street with a few people

All images © Keita Morimoto, shared with permission

In Keita Morimoto’s paintings, soft yellow streetlights, LED shop signs, and clinical beams of a public transit stop expose the discomfiting nature of perpetual surveillance. Working in acrylic and oil, the Japanese artist explores the scenes of daily commutes, walks with friends, and trips to a vending machine. He shrouds his streets with shadows that add a mysterious aura to the works, a feeling bolstered by the anonymity of the places and people.

Morimoto refrains from incorporating distinct symbols, markings, or features that would identify and situate the locations within a specific cultural and geographical context and prefers, instead, to consider how many of the ails of modern life are ubiquitous. “In today’s society, many people suffer from the difficulty of living,” he says. While issues of surveillance, consumerism, and a desire for fast-paced production often dominate today’s world, the artist focuses on the pockets of calm, beauty, and magic to be found around every street corner.

Currently, Morimoto has works on view at Powerlong Museum in Shanghai and will be included in upcoming shows with Kotaro Nukaga in Tokyo and The Hole in New York. Find more of his enigmatic pieces on his site and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

A painting of a vending machine illuminating a city street with a few people

A painting of a train station illuminating a stop with a few people

A painting of a vending machine illuminating a city street with a few people

A painting of an illuminated city street with a few people

A painting of a vending machine and store illuminating a city street

 

 

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Photography Science

Sunlight Illuminates a Full Spectrum of Color As It Filters Through Hummingbird Wings in a New Photo Book

September 30, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Opal Wings.” All images © Christian Spencer, shared with permission

Poetry in the Sky is a fitting title for a book of the elegant images of Australian photographer Christian Spencer. Slated for release next month, the volume gathers approximately two decades’ worth of birds Spencer encountered during visits to the Atlantic Forest in Brazil and also in Australia, including macaws, emus, and the species he’s perhaps most notable for documenting: the hummingbird.

Taken when the creatures are mid-flight and beating their wings at incredible speeds, Spencer’s striking photos capture sunlight as it filters through their feathers, emitting a full spectrum of color. The opalescent phenomenon is caused by diffraction and transforms their limbs into tiny, ephemeral rainbows.

Poetry in the Sky contains several photos of the prismatic birds—many of which we’ve featured previously on Colossal—in addition to dozens of additional images of avian life. Pre-order a copy from Bookshop, pick up a print,  and find more of Spencer’s work on Instagram.

 

“Stardust”

“Sundance”

“Hummingbird Rain”

“Holy Water”

“3 Amigos”

 

 



Design

A Giant Sharpener Creates Playful Pendant Lights That Mimic Colored Pencil Shavings

September 22, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Nanako Kume, shared with permission

Nanako Kume’s pendant lights would look perfectly at home in an elementary classroom or art studio. The Tokyo-based designer is behind a playful collection of fixtures that layers colored-pencil-style wood shavings into whimsical lampshades.

To create the works, Kume developed a large sharpener operable with a hand-crank. A short film by Yunosuke Ishibashi chronicles her process, which includes whittling a piece of lumber into a hexagon, spray painting its exterior, and soaking the material in water to make it pliable. Once inserted into the sharpener and shaved, the jagged, pigmented edges evocative of a colored pencil emerge and are coiled into suspended shades.

Kume plans to make some of the collection available for purchase, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Photography

A Rare Glimpse of Comet Leonard’s Last Moments Wins the Astronomy Photographer of the Year Contest

September 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Disconnection Event” © Gerald Rhemann, Tivoli Southern Sky Guest Farm, Khomas, Namibia, December 25, 2021. All images © Astronomy Photographer of the Year, shared with permission

The brilliant Comet Leonard put on a mesmerizing performance late last year when it streaked across the sky on Christmas Day. Expelled from the solar system shortly after, the celestial matter captivated photographers around the world during its brief stint of visibility, including Gerald Rhemann who captured the illuminated body as its gas tail disconnected from its nucleus and was swept away by solar wind. The incredibly rare and brief event also garnered Rhemann the top prize in this year’s Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest.

Hosted by the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the 14th-annual competition received more than 3,000 entries from 67 countries. This year’s collection includes a glowing, avian-like aurora over Murmansk Oblast and the International Space Station as it flies over the Apollo 11 moon-landing site—the latter was taken by Andrew McCarthy, whose galactic photos have been featured multiple times on Colossal.

Explore all of the winning images on the contest’s site, and if you’re in London, stop by the National Maritime Museum to see the photos in person through August 13, 2023.

 

“Winged Aurora” © Alexander Stepanenko, Murmansk, Murmansk Oblast, Russia, January 15, 2022

“Stabbing Into the Stars” © Zihui Hu, Nyingchi, Tibet, China, December 24, 2021

“Back to the Spaceship” © Mihail Minkov, Buzludzha, Balkan Mountains, Stara Zagora Province, Bulgaria, August 12, 2021

“The Night Highway” © Filip Hrebenda, Stokksnes Peninsula, Iceland, April 11, 2021

“Moon: Big Mosaic” © Andrea Vanoni, Porto Mantovano, Lombardy, Italy, January 19, 2021

“The International Space Station Transiting Tranquility Base” © Andrew McCarthy, Florence, Arizona, USA, January 19, 2022

“In the Embrace of a Green Lady” © Filip Hrebenda, Hvalnes, Iceland, April 10, 2021

 

 



Art

Solitude and Nature’s Ephemerality Emanates from the Illuminated Forms in Sung Hwa Kim’s Paintings

September 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Untitled” (2022), soft pastels and acrylic on paper, 12 x 9 inches. All images © Sung Hwa Kim, shared with permission

A sense of solitude and the finitude of time pervade the quiet, introspective works by Sung Hwa Kim. Rendering overgrown landscapes shrouded by night, the Korean artist wields the connection between ephemerality and memory, sometimes invoking nostalgia, as well. His acrylic paintings focus on fleeting acts like a glowing lightning bug or butterfly hovering above the grass while utilizing light to “symbolize the spirit of things we once loved, have lost, despair and longing. I wanted to capture these feelings and tell the viewers that even in our darkest times, there’s always light and not lose hope,” he shares.

Much of Kim’s work revolves around witnessing the world around him, and his practice includes regular walks or bike rides near his Brooklyn home. “I’m always searching for moments that are frequently overlooked in my everyday life—weeds growing in sidewalk cracks, sneakers hanging from telephone lines, fireflies in Central Park,” he shares. “It’s essential to my practice to be actively attentive and open and receptive to the world around me. It’s these moments of pause that I still enjoy and get my inspiration.”

Explore an archive of Kim’s meditative works on his site and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“We follow the night, looking for the light” (2022), acrylic and flashe on canvas, 40 x 50 inches

“It’s alright. We’ve all been born for the first time on this planet” (2021), acrylic and flashe on canvas, 24 x 18 inches

“Your sun is my moon, my moon is your sun. Under the same sky that we share, everything is alive and has a soul” (2022), acrylic and flashe on canvas, 72 x 60 inches

“Shed your body, reveal itself. It’s with and within us” (2021), acrylic, flashe, and gouache on canvas, 30 x 24 inches

“They are not gone. They will wait for you and be with you” (2022), acrylic and flashe on canvas, 40 x 60 inches

“I woke up. The moon is full, so I send my wishes to the universe” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 40 x 30 inches

 

 



Art History Photography

In Craig Walsh’s ‘Monuments,’ Enormous Projected Portraits Illuminate the Selective Histories of Public Art

August 31, 2022

Grace Ebert

Charlotte’s Descendents (2022) for Charlotte SHOUT! All images © Craig Walsh, shared with permission

In the mid-nineties, Australian artist Craig Walsh created his first projection at Woodford Folk Festival in Queensland. Made with photographic slides, the massive installation temporarily transformed a tree into a large-scale portrait, enlivening the canopy and initiating what’s become a 30-year project.

Now encompassed within the artist’s Monuments series, the digital works continue to animate landscapes and public spaces around the globe, and they’ve evolved in breadth and scope, sometimes incorporating live video and sound that allows viewers to interact with the illuminated characters. Blinking, yawning, and displaying various facial expressions, the emotive figures address both connections between people and their surroundings and conversations around whose stories are upheld and disseminated. “The work in the early days conceptually linked more to how the environment we exist in influences the human condition,” Walsh tells Colossal. “Surveillance was another interpretation.”

 

“Churaki Hill” (2017), three-channel synchronized digital video, projections, and existing trees, from Bleach Festival, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

Today, the responsive installations more directly address traditional narratives and challenge “the selective history represented in our public spaces,” he says. Many of the Monuments celebrate people who significantly impacted their communities, and yet, might be overlooked. His 2017 piece, “Churaki Hill,” for example, pays homage to Churaki, an Aboriginal man who was responsible for many successful water rescues in the Tweed region in the early 1900s.

Similarly, Walsh’s recent installation in Charlotte, North Carolina, honors the descendants of Mecklenburg County’s Black residents. Created for the annual Charlotte SHOUT! festival, the trio of works occupies Old Settlers’ Cemetery, the burial ground for the city’s wealthy residents throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. He shares about the project:

Much like today, Charlotte was a diverse city in its founding century…By 1790, the census for Mecklenburg County lists a total population of 1,608 enslaved African Americans or 14 percent of the town’s population. By 1850, enslaved African Americans accounted for 44 percent of the total population inside the city limits. While their graves are not marked, the north quadrant next to Church Street is the final resting place for the formerly enslaved members of Charlotte’s first one hundred years.

On display earlier this year, the installation features folk artist Nellie Ashford, filmmaker and counselor Frederick Murphy, and DJ and musician Fannie Mae. Honoring the deep family ties and legacies these three hold within the city, the portraits memorialize their continued contributions to local culture.

Walsh is currently based in Tweed Heads, New South Wales, and his latest project is on view at Victor Harbor, South Australia, through September 11. Explore more of the Monuments series on the project’s site and Instagram.

 

Charlotte’s Descendents (2022) for Charlotte SHOUT!

“Monuments”(2014), four-channel digital projection, at White Nights Festival, Melbourne Victoria, Australia. Photo courtesy of White Night

“Intension” (2011), three-channel digital projection, existing monument, trees, from Ten Days on the Island, Franklin Square, Hobart, Australia