marble

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History

Archaeologists Uncover a Lavish Marble Floor from Ancient Rome in Southern France

March 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

Image © Bertrand Houix, Inrap . All images courtesy of Inrap, shared with permission

Developers of an apartment building in Nîmes, France, had to halt construction last month when archaeologists discovered an opulent tiled floor that once blanketed a Roman villa, or domu. Dating back to 1-2 A.D., the checkered design is comprised of marble from multiple empirical provinces that’s inlaid into the foundation, a style called opus sectile that was prevalent during ancient times. Spanning multiple feet, the multi-colored pattern is thought to occupy what once was a reception area.

During their dig, archaeologists also uncovered plaster sheets that had caved in on the impeccably preserved tiles featuring classic frescoes on red and black panels. Lines score the back of the decorative pieces, which would have helped them adhere to the earthen walls. Other findings indicate that this domu, along with another nearby, were particularly lavish and featured a private bath, a concrete floor speckled with decorative gemstones, and a large central fountain made from Carrara white marble. One room even had remains of hypocaust heating, an inventive system that sent hot air underneath the flooring to warm the home. (via The History Blog)

 

Image © Charlotte Gleize, Inrap

Sheets of decorative plaster covering the tile floor. Image © Pascal Druelle, Inrap

Image © Pascal Druelle, Inrap

Two rooms of the domu, with evidence of the heating system on the left. Image © Charlotte Gleize, Inrap

Marble gemstones decorate the concrete floor. Image © Bertrand Houix, Inrap

 

 



Art

Australian Plants Grow from the Crevices of Jamie North's Living Sculptures

December 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Rock Melt” (2015), cement, blast furnace slag, expanded glass, iron oxide, steel, Australian native plants, 350-550 x 60 x 60 centimeters. All images © Jamie North, shared with permission

Embedded within the eroded cement and marble pillars of artist Jamie North are a host of plants native to Australia. Kangaroo vines, Port Jackson figs, and kidney weeds wrap themselves around steel cables and grow from the crevices of the cracked stone forms, juxtaposing the industrial, human-made sculptures with organic elements. The lush greenery infuses the otherwise dilapidated structures with new life, which elicits a larger theme of regeneration.

In a note to Colossal, North writes that he begins each vertical work with a geometric cast evoking the stately shapes of the tower and column. When complete, the size of the sculptures ambiguously references various architectural elements. “Both tower and column are often associated with progress, triumph, and hubris,” he says. “These associations are addressed in my work by preemptive material erosion making the object conducive to plant sustainment, growth, and eventual merger with the inorganic form.”

View more of North’s living sculptures on his site and Instagram.

 

“Succession” (2016), cement, steel, blast furnace slag, recycled expanded glass, coal ash, oyster shell, organic matter, Australian plants, 400 x 90 and 450 x 90 centimeters. Photo by Ashley Barber, courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery

“Succession” (2016), cement, steel, blast furnace slag, recycled expanded glass, coal ash, oyster shell, organic matter, Australian plants, 400 x 90 and 450 x 90 centimeters

“Terraforms” (2014), cement, marble waste, limestone, coal ash, organic matter, and various Australian plants. Photo by Ashley Barber, courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery

Left: “Succession” (2016), cement, steel, blast furnace slag, recycled expanded glass, coal ash, oyster shell, organic matter, Australian plants, 400 x 90 and 450 x 90 centimeters. Photo by Ashley Barber, courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery. Right: “Rock Melt” (2015), cement, blast furnace slag, expanded glass, iron oxide, steel, Australian native plants, 350-550 x 60 x 60 centimeters

“Terraforms” (2014), cement, marble waste, limestone, coal ash, organic matter, and various Australian plants. Photo by Ashley Barber, courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery

“Terraforms” (2014), cement, marble waste, limestone, coal ash, organic matter, and various Australian plants. Photo by Ashley Barber, courtesy of Sarah Cottier Gallery

“Rock Melt” (2015), cement, blast furnace slag, expanded glass, iron oxide, steel, Australian native plants, 350-550 x 60 x 60 centimeters

 

 



Art

Realistic Pillows Sculpted from Blocks of White Marble by Håkon Anton Fagerås

January 11, 2020

Andrew LaSane

In studios in Oslo and northern Italy, Norwegian sculptor Håkon Anton Fagerås uses a pneumatic hammer and other carving tools to shape blocks of marble into large white pillows. Slumped in natural poses, the realistic pillows feature smooth folds and wrinkles that contradict the properties of the medium. Without the shots of Fagerås in action, our eyes would not believe the finished products to be anything other than fabric and filler.

In an interview with Sculpture Atelier, Fagerås explained his interest in the medium, saying marble is best for expressing the nuances of emotion. “Because of the material qualities of marble itself, it appears fragile. It’s quite fragile, but it’s not that fragile, and yet it appears so because of the translucency and pureness of the stone.” He added that it allows for sculpting at a very precise level, but that he tries “not to be too literal about it. I think that my main focus is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, more than a literal representation of something that expresses, for instance, fragility.”

Head to Instagram to see more of Fagerås’s marble masterpieces.

 

 



Art

Human Limbs Mysteriously Emerge from Marble Slabs in Milena Naef's Performative Sculptures

June 14, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Photographs by Lisa-Marie Vlietstra and Alice Trimouille

Milena Naef juxtaposes the manufactured shapes of marble slabs with the organic forms of the human figure in her performative sculptural works. In her series ‘Fleeting Parts,’ the artist removes portions of Cristallina marble to create openings that are perfectly shaped to allow arms, legs, and torsos to emerge.

Naef, who lives and works in Amsterdam, describes her work in a statement: “Once tangible, the interaction with the concrete material allows for a space to ‘open’ in which a given context can be changed. The body itself with its physical presence and its absence becomes a vital aspect of the work. When do structures inhibit or liberate us and our physical form? What is the consequence of the fact that our bodies are always ‘filling space’?”

The artist’s solo show is on view through August 20, 2018, at Studio Oliver Gustav in Copenhagen, and she will also be exhibiting work at the Garage Rotterdam museum from August 31 to October 28, 2018. You can see more of her work on Instagram. (via I Need A Guide)

 

 



Art

Porous Boulder-Like Sculptures Chiseled from Italian Marble by Sibylle Pasche

January 9, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Swiss sculptor Sibylle Pasche transforms large segments of Italian marble into boulder-like sculptures which are covered in a porous web. These holes provide a peek inside the works’ complex interiors while also evoking the structure of a capillary system or the dense composition of a sea sponge. These openings visually conflict with the density and weight of her chosen material, which can often weigh up to several tons.

Pasche was born in Switzerland and studied art at the Liceo Artistico in Zurich. She currently keeps two European spaces for her work, splitting time between her studios in Switzerland and Carrara, Italy. You can see more of her large, sculptural forms on her Facebook and website.

 

 



Art

New Miniature Architectural Structures Carved Into Raw Stone by Matthew Simmonds

March 25, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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“Corona” (2016), Faxe limestone, height 30cm

Matthew Simmonds (previously) sculpts miniature architectural structures from raw stone. Part of his interest in producing these pieces is centered around the contrast between the carved precision of his hand against the rough nature of the natural material he chooses for each work. The pieces’ concept also deals with this human influence on raw environments, humans physically displaying their beliefs and achievements by building large physical forms.

“In my sculptures I am concerned with the common human achievement; the cultural expressions thrown up by different societies, and how the various cultural traditions interact with and influence each other,” said Simmonds in an interview with Colossal. “Stone is the thing that survives the most from older times, and has an inherent sense of strength and permanence that has given it a central role in historical architecture. It is also a natural material, and in this way it inherently has a connection with the Earth’s past.”

Simmonds work Ringrone was commissioned for a client who owns a castle in Ireland that lays in ruin. Simmonds’ sculpture depicts what he believes to be the castle’s original appearance as a “tower house” from the 15th century in which vaulted rooms would be stacked upon each other with twisting passages. The miniature form responds to this internal maze by its play with light, which he hopes “encourages this sense of exploration.”

You can see more of the Copenhagen-based artist’s work on his website.

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“Tetraconch” (2015), limestone, height 31cm, all images courtesy of Matthew Simmonds

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“Ringrone” (2016), Faxe limestone, height 61cm

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“Ringrone” (2016), Faxe limestone, height 61cm

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“Ringrone” (2016), Faxe limestone, height 61cm

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“Ringrone” (2016), Faxe limestone, height 61cm

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“Ringrone” (2016), Faxe limestone, height 61cm

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Ringrone – material, Faxe limestone, 2016, height 61cm

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“Ararat: study II” (2016), Faxe limestone, height 20cm