mosaics

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Art

Vibrant Tiled Mosaics by Ememem Repair Gouged Pavement and Fractured Sidewalks

February 23, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Ememem, shared with permission

Lyon native Ememem, aka “the pavement surgeon,” examines the streets of European cities and checks for splintered pavement and sidewalks fractured in pieces. Using tiles and stones, he patches the gouged wounds with vibrant mosaics, which nestle into uniquely shaped outlines in walkways and walls. The street-based interventions brighten the otherwise gray asphalt and cement with radial patterns and color-coded stripes that the artist describes as a “free and spontaneous surgical act, which repairs as much as it beautifies.”

Since 2016, Ememem (previously) has restored hundreds of potholes and cracks in the streets across Norway, Scotland, Germany, and Spain, many of which he shares on Instagram. Some of his smaller works will be on view with ErbK Gallery from March 10 to 13 at Lille Art Up Fair, and this summer, he’ll travel to festivals in France, Italy, and Ireland and to Valparaiso and Santiago in September. Ememem is also launching a residency this fall for artists interested in learning his techniques.

 

Ememem’s collaboration with artist Jan Vormann, whose LEGO piece constructs part of the wall

 

 



Art

Dreamlike Sculptures by Christina Bothwell Meld Ceramic, Glass, and Oil Paint into Otherworldly Figures

January 24, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Two Violets.” All images © Christina Bothwell, shared with permission

From her Pennsylvania studio, Christina Bothwell (previously) sculpts surreal hybrid creatures and figures that occupy the unearthly space between dreams and wakefulness. She works with a combination of annealed glass, pit-fired ceramics, oil paint, and small mosaic tiles, which each correspond to a conceptual element. “I always come back to the idea that the physical part of us is just a small part of who we are in our entirety,” the artist tells Colossal. “The translucent parts of my pieces are meant to suggest the soul or that part of us that is more than just our bodies.  The ceramic portions of my pieces represent our grounded, tangible parts.”

In her most recent body of work, Bothwell continues her explorations into the liminal and states of flux: a slumbering child appears to float from its sleeping counterpart in “Lucid Dream,” while another lies upside down in “Mood Swing.” Many of the sculptures are tinged with themes of magic, imagination, and escapism, which are reflected in the ways that human bodies meld with birds, monkeys, octopuses, and deer. She explains:

I was a sensitive child with eccentric parents who didn’t fit in. I didn’t even fit in with my family a lot of the time. It was like I was a changeling or an alien they were forced to live with. I felt like an outsider for most of my life, and it always felt precarious, unsafe, being who I was. For this reason, I think I identify with deer… despite their beauty and grace, they are not protected or valued (at least not where I live), and their vulnerability and innocence resonates with something deep within me.

Bothwell’s fantastical works will be on view at Habatat Gallery and Muskegon Museum of Art as part of the upcoming Beyond the Glass Ceiling, Influential Women in Glass exhibition and again this summer at Tory Folliard Gallery in Milwaukee. Until then, explore more of her sculptures on Instagram.

 

“Simian Dream”

“Lucid Dream”

“Snail”

“Little Deer”

“Mood Swing”

“Speak No Evil See No Evil Hear No Evil”

Left: “Here and Now.” Right: “Safe Haven”

“Dream State”

Top: “New Sunday.” Bottom left: “Tea with Cows.” Bottom right: “Tea Party”

 

 



Art

Nick Cave's Energetic 'Soundsuits' Dance Along the New York City Subway in a 360-Foot Mosaic

September 10, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Each One, Every One, Equal All” (2022). Photo by Photo by MTA/Trent Reeves. All images courtesy of MTA Arts & Design.

Spanning the 42 St. Connector between Times Square and Bryant Park in New York City is a troupe of dancing figures dressed in vibrant costumes of feather and fur. The ebullient characters are based on the iconic series of Soundsuits by Chicago-based artist Nick Cave (previously) and are the first part of a massive permanent installation titled Each One, Every One, Equal All in the public transit corridor.

Stretching 360 feet, “Every One” is the first in the mosaic trio and displays more than two dozen of the adorned figures inlaid in ceramic tiles. The pieces are based on James Prinz’s photos of Cave’s original designs, which are soulful and energetic forms that blend fashion, sculpture, and performance in full-body coverings. Soundsuits “camouflage the shape of the wearer, enveloping and creating a second skin that hides gender, race, and class, thus compelling the audience to watch without judgment.” Cave describes the impetus for the project.

Times Square is one of the busiest, most diverse, and fabulously kinetic places on the planet. For this project, I took the aboveground color, movement, and cross-pollination of humanity, bundled it into a powerful and compact energy mass that is taken underground and delivered throughout the station and passage. ‘Every One’ places the viewer within a performance, directly connecting them with the Soundsuits as part of an inclusive community of difference.

“Every One” was officially unveiled today with a short video work showing the colorful figures in motion playing every 15 minutes outside the corridor. “Each One” and “Equal All” are scheduled for 2022, and once complete, the project will stretch 4,600-square-feet with more than four dozen dancers. It will mark both Cave’s largest permanent installation and the MTA’s most expansive commissioned mosaic to date.

To learn more about Soundsuits and the project’s history, read this explainer in Public Delivery, and follow the artist’s work on Instagram. (via Kottke)

 

Photo by MTA/Trent Reeves

Photo by MTA Arts & Design/Cheryl Hageman

Photo by MTA Arts & Design/Cheryl Hageman

Photo by MTA Arts & Design/Cheryl Hageman

Photo by MTA Arts & Design/Cheryl Hageman

 

 



Art

Expressive Portraits Made as Scrap-Metal Mosaics Question Societal Notions of Value

July 19, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Matt Small, shared with permission

At the heart of Matt Small’s practice is the idea that “there’s always potential within everything.” The British artist gravitates toward an overarching theme of disregard in both subject matter and material, choosing oxidized hunks of iron, bits of patinaed copper, and crinkled aluminum strips that have been relegated to the trash to construct his metallic portraits.

Expressive and emotionally charged, the corroded mosaics link rampant overconsumption and widespread tendencies to throw away what’s deemed obsolete or undesirable to the ways adolescents are marginalized and subsequently not seen as viable members of society. “Because of the social backgrounds they come from, young people find themselves overlooked, disregarded, and left uninvested in,” the artist says. “Marrying the discarded item and painting a portrait of a young person on it or utilizing the material to construct a mosaic face, I hope that the viewer sees that everybody and everything has a right to be viewed as valuable and of worth. It’s just up to us to see that.”

 

Detail of “Jake” (2020), assembled metal on wooden board, 35.5 x 35.5 inches

In a conversation with Colossal, Small references Marcel Duchamp’s urinal and the way that readymade sculpture upended long-standing notions of worth as a foundational concept he draws on his own practice. By turning debris and seemingly useless materials into works of significance, he hopes to prompt questions about the arbitrary values assigned to objects and people alike, explaining:

The scrap metal has worth because of what I did with it, not because I say it is of worth. The rusted tin can becomes a tone in the face. The shiny metal brings out a highlight on the forehead. All these worthless items have been incorporated into something that someone may now appreciate, and the potential of this scrap item can now be realized.

Small, who lives in his hometown of Camden, currently has work on view as part of Vanguard, which is considering the role of Bristol-area artists who’ve had an outsized impact on British street art since the 1980s. The extensive exhibition, which includes memorabilia and dozens of originals works, is open at M Shed through October 31. If you’re in London, watch for a large-scale mural portrait of the young British entrepreneur Jamal Edwards that Small is working on in Acton, and follow the artist on Instagram to stay up to date with his latest projects.

 

“Jake” (2020), assembled metal on wooden board, 35.5 x 35.5 inches

 

 



Art

Ceramic Mosaics Mend Cracked Sidewalks, Potholes, and Buildings in Vibrant Interventions by Ememem

May 13, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ememem, shared with permission

Throughout his home city of Lyon, Ememem is known as “the pavement surgeon.” The artist repairs gouged sidewalks and splintered facades with colorful mosaics that he describes as “a poem that everybody can read.” Intricate geometric motifs laid with pristine tiles hug the cracks and create “a memory notebook of the city. It reveals what happened, the life in these public places,” he tells Colossal. “Here cobblestones have been picked up and thrown. There a truck from the vegetable market tore off a piece of asphalt…”

Ememem’s first mosaic dates back 10 years when he found himself in a damaged alley in Lyon. At that time, he already was working in ceramic and translated that practice to revitalizing the outdoor area. Since 2016, he’s been consistently filling potholes and other divots throughout France. “It’s a succession of a lot of places and reflections, experiments I did before. I had done similar things, with other techniques, other supports, and finally, when this one emerged, I knew I found something that I was going to keep doing for the rest of my life,” he says.

If you’re in Paris, you can see some of Ememem’s newest interventions around the Grand Paris Express in Saint-Maur-Créteil through August 31. His work also will be at Spraying Board in Lyon on June 2 and included in a group show at Florian Daguet-Bresson opening June 8. You can find an extensive archive of his patched projects on his site and Instagram. Check out these guerilla pothole mosaics by Chicago artist Jim Bachor for similar street mendings. (via Jeroen Apers)

 

For Société du Grand Paris

Left: Lyon (2021). Right: Paris (2020)

Grand Paris Express

Mycosis on the Môle de Sète

Right: Rue Bollier

 

 



Art

An Artistic Endeavor in Brussels Installs Custom Mosaics Outside Your Home—People Are Choosing Portraits of Their Cats

September 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

Cats, dogs, and other mammals are known to mark their territories in myriad ways, but pet owners in Brussels have discovered a more enduring and inviting method. What began as a single project by artist Ingrid Schreyers spurred a municipality-wide initiative: the government of Schaerbeek, a suburb bordering the city of Brussels, now installs any mosaic, either created by residents or a local artist like Whitney Orville, free of charge. Many people are choosing portraits of their furry companions, although the idiosyncratic designs range from playful depictions of wildlife to urban scenes.

We’ve gathered some of the street-side assemblages here, but check out this Instagram account documenting the public art initiative for hundreds more. You also might enjoy these Japanese manhole covers and a similar mosaic-centered initiative to fill potholes.

 

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

Image courtesy of John Hyphen

Image courtesy of John Hyphen