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Art Craft

Vessels of Woven Copper Wire by Sally Blake Mimic the Patterns of Natural Lifeforms

August 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Sally Blake, shared with permission

From her studio in Canberra, Australian artist Sally Blake (previously) twists and plaits copper wire into baskets and sculptures evocative of the organic matter ubiquitous around the planet. Seed pods, sprawling networks of bulbous pockets and thin, sinuous veins, and mammalian bronchial systems emerge from the malleable material, and through intricately woven motifs, Blake accentuates the tension between delicacy and resilience inherent to natural life. “Visualisation of the natural laws and patterning that hold people in relationship with Earth, as well as the consequences of these unravelling, is my focus,” she tells Colossal. “I feel deeply about disconnections in human understanding and care of the natural world, which result in environmental crises”

Currently, Blake is working on metallic vessels for a solo show opening on October 20 at Canberra’s Grainger Gallery, in addition to sculptures for a group exhibition in Sydney later this fall. She has a few baskets, in addition to stitched pieces and other two-dimensional works, available in her shop, and you can follow her latest projects—which include drawing all of the world’s owl species—on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Gleaming Sculptures by Ann Carrington Examine the Underbelly of Historical Extravagance

August 1, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Sugarland,” steel, silver, and nickel plated spoons. All images © Ann Carrington, shared with permission.

In The Netherlands in the 17th Century, a Golden Age was in full swing. The economy of the Dutch Republic, as it was then known, was flourishing as Antwerp and other ports became important hubs for the commercial shipping trade, importing and exporting textiles, spices, and metals, and the cities’ populations swelled. Elaborately detailed oil paintings depicting food on the table or incredible flower arrangements were popular additions to wealthy merchants’ homes, yet a more ominous genre of still-life painting also emerged amid this period of immense growth.

Known as Vanitas, the paintings brim with symbolism intended to emphasize the futility of earthly pleasures and the pointlessness of seeking wealth, power, and glory. When British artist Ann Carrington visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, she described in Architectural Digest that “looking at those pictures of half-consumed food and fading flowers, I realized that one of the only things that could have survived to today was the silverware, and I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to try to make something out of that?’” The works in her Bouquets series (previously) combine hundreds of kitchen utensils into extravagant floral sculptures.

The use of discarded and found objects is central to Carrington’s practice, especially when they can be layered and draped in multiples. Strands of pearls and ornate brooches adorn the form of a ship, which is weighed down by its cargo as much as it embodies it, and a pair of caribou antlers are fashioned from forks with handles made from dozens of antlers. “Mundane objects such as knives and forks, barbed wire, pins, and paintbrushes come with their own readymade histories and associations which can be unravelled and analysed if rearranged, distorted or realigned to give them new meaning as sculpture,” she says in a statement. Similar to the way Vanitas painting reminded viewers of the less romantic side of burgeoning wealth and expanding empires, Carrington’s material choices serve as a reminder that beneath the gleaming surface there is often a dark side.

You can find more information about the artist’s work on her website and Instagram.

 

“Sheng Fa Wave,” steel, pearl necklaces, and brooches

Detail of “Sheng Fa Wave”

“Orb Weaver,” steel armature with brass insects

Detail of “Orb Weaver”

“Southern Belle,” steel, silver, and nickel plated spoons

“Madame Moulliere,” silver, steel, and nickel plated spoons

Detail of “Madame Moulliere”

“Oberhasli,” silver plated knives and forks

 

 



Art

A Daily Sculpture Project by Frode Bolhius Spawns a Quirky Colorful Cast of Tiny Figures

June 16, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images Frode Bolhius, shared with permission

Wander into Frode Bolhuis’s Almere-based studio, and you’ll be introduced to an entire cast of characters pinned to the wall. There’s one figure picking at the tufts of her broom-like head, another sporting a bubble gum pink suit resembling the Michelin man, and a woman swaddled in a cozy, fabric cocoon.

Sculpted primarily from polymer clay, the miniature works are part of the Dutch artist’s ongoing project that involves creating a few of the colorful personas each week. “They are small sculptures, intuitively made in one, two, or three days,” he says. “And the magic is that they start to live a life of their own. They kind of appear while working, one leading to the other, different every time.”

He’s made 65 pieces since starting the series in February—see the most recent addition on Instagram—with myriad garments and accessories crafted from textiles, wood, plastic, and metal and finished with paint and gold detail. Similar to other projects of this nature, the goal is “to be in the creative process all the time. Nothing big, long, or complex to take me out of that,” he shares.

Bolhius has a few works on view in a group show at Museum de Voorde in Zoetermeer, Netherlands, through July 10, and you can pick up a copy of his book Magic on his site.

 

 

 



Art

Copper Wire Weaves and Spirals into Organic Sculptural Forms by the Late Artist Bronwyn Oliver

May 11, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Ammonite” (2005), copper, 95 x 90 x 90 centimeters. All images courtesy of the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney, shared with permission

Widely regarded as one of the most renowned sculptors in Australia, the late artist Bronwyn Oliver possessed an unparalleled ability to shape thin copper wire into intricate patterns. Her sculptures of ammonites, palm leaves, and single buds are minimal in form and incredibly detailed in construction, with oscillating lines delineating the edge of a fossil or an elaborate web expanding into a plump cherry blossom.

Evidence of Oliver’s devoted and time-consuming practice, the pieces are the result of intense twisting and brazing, a higher-temperature version of soldering. “My sculpture, I like to think of them as the bones of something. It might only be bone, but it might be the beginning or ending of something as well,” the artist says in a clip from the recent documentary about her life and work, The Shadows Withinthe trailer is available on YouTube, but the full documentary is only streaming in Australia at the moment.

Oliver has gained greater recognition in recent years and is included in the corrective exhibition held at The National Gallery of Australia. Know My Name, which runs through June 26, showcases works from dozens of women who’ve significantly contributed to the country’s culture. Oliver’s sculptures are housed in major Australian collections, including those at The National Gallery, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the National Gallery of Victoria, and her public pieces can be seen at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden, the University of New South Wales, and Queen Street Mall in Brisbane. (via Women’s Art)

 

“Fringe” (2006), copper, 107 x 107 x 10 centimeters

“Sakura” (2006), copper, 48 x 48 x 20 centimeters

“Globe” (2002), copper, 2.5 meters in diameter

“Grandiflora (Bud)” (2005), copper, 60 x 58 x 58 centimeters

Left: “Palm” (1999), copper, 190 x 180 x 180 centimeters. Right: “Magnolia” (1999), copper, 210 x 150 x 150 centimeters

“Grandiflora (Bloom)” (2005), copper, 63 x 63 x 55 centimeters

“Eyrie” (1993), copper, bronze, 500 x 200 x 50 centimeters

 

 



Art Craft

Spikes, Rusted Wire, and Scissors Bind Shattered Porcelain in Sculptures by Glen Taylor

April 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Glen Taylor, shared with permission

A visual metaphor for imperfection and the possibilities of repair, the porcelain sculptures created by Ohio-based artist Glen Taylor (previously) are steeped in contrast. Soldered spikes confront the gilded, floral designs on a stack of teacups, a rusted pair of scissors binds shards of a plate, and wire restrains a concrete hand as it lurches from dinnerware. In his most recent pieces, Taylor also draws on his background in ceramics, creating the witty “Introvert Mug” with the handle strategically placed inside the vessel.

Some of the artist’s antagonistic sculptures are included in Overdose, a group exhibition at Design Museum Holon, and you can peruse an archive of his works on Instagram.

 

“Detached”

“What Heals You”

“Introvert Mug”

“The Reluctance”

 

 



Art Craft

Skeletal Lace Patterns Define the Copper Wire Vessels of Artist Suzanne Shafer-Wilson

April 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Suzanne Shafer-Wilson, shared with permission

At once malleable in material and secure in shape, the vessels that comprise Suzanne Shafer-Wilson’s body of work are intricate studies of texture, pattern, and space. The Illinois-based artist loops and twists lengths of wire into intricate baskets that range in size from 20 inches tall to the width of a fingertip. Using a technique similar to the one employed by sculptor Ruth Asawa to create her rounded, metallic forms, Shafer-Wilson works with an Italian needle lace method designed for fibers like wool and silk. She intertwines brass, copper, or sterling silver in place of textiles and fashions porous vessels with wide, gaping bodies and elaborately constructed outer walls.

If you’re in Chicago, you can see some of Shafer-Wilson’s sculptures at Vale Craft Gallery. Otherwise, head to her site to explore an archive of her works.