Concerned with the ongoing climate crisis, Queens-based artist Bea Fremderman imagines an apocalyptic world of the not-so-distant future. Her living sculptures of everyday objects and clothing appear to have been abandoned suddenly, allowing nature to take over as quickly as humans left. “I think of them as relics of the future,” she told Cultured in 2019. “With my work, it’s not doomsday. It’s about starting over, dealing with what we have, and trying to make anew with what we know.”
Fremderman plants chia seeds among pant legs, hoodies, and a lone sock that crawl over the apparel and envelop it in a thick carpet. The roving sprouts transform the items and helps question human consumption. “At the core of my work is this issue of new nature— what things are left behind, what will outlive us, how we’ve changed the landscape,” she said. “We used to create things out of rock that would break down, and turn into sand, which comes together and becomes rock again, but now we have things that don’t break down.”
Find more of Fremderman’s germinating sculptures on her site.
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Devon-based photographer Neil Burnell captures a mossy labyrinth of gnarled roots and twisted branches in a new series that manifests nature’s most fantastical qualities. Mystical exposes the otherworldly elements of Wistman’s Wood, an ancient oak woodland on Dartmoor, Devon, England, while it’s enveloped by a dense fog. The overgrown forest is thought to be the remnants of a similarly wooded area dating back to 7,000 B.C.
Burnell tells Colossal that when he visited the spot as a kid, he was reminded of “the film set of Empire Strikes back in the forest of Dagobah.” The photographer has spent much of his career in graphic design, but after delving into photography more seriously, he returned to the forest to try to capture the mysticism in his cinematic style.
It’s taken four long years of visiting and learning to capture a series I’m truly happy with as compositions can be tricky in such a claustrophobic wood. 90% of the successful images are either shot in the first hour of light or the last hour when the light is really soft. The other key element for a successful session is thick fog…I can count the successful trips over the four years on one hand. Many times I’ve been the conditions just don’t suit for the style I want to achieve.
As climates change around the world, areas like Wistman’s Wood will feel the effects. The photographer says the area requires a balance between being protected from destruction while also being available for human interaction and enjoyment. “Over the four to five years I’ve been photographing, it’s clear to me that the woodland is (at) its most vulnerable in the winter months and particularly after heavy rainfall,” he says. “The harsher weather climate throughout the year really can be damaging…During the past five years, I’m thankful to say I’ve not seen one person who hasn’t been respectful to the woodland.”
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Canadian artist Hannah Kwasnycia stitches embroidery hoops inspired by moss, lichen, coral, mold, and bacteria cultures. Colorful strands are layered to form three-dimensional representations of living organisms. Kwasnycia freehands the abstract compositions, which means that no two hoops are ever the same.
Variation in stitching patterns, as well as occasional beading and sequins, give the embroidery texture and depth. Shapes are defined by changes in hue, but the limited color palettes bring each design together as one natural colony. Kwasnycia sells the unique hoops via her MildMoss Etsy shop and also accepts commissions via her Instagram page. Head over there to watch in-progress videos and to see more of luscious moss and vibrant coral come to life. (via MyModernMet)
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New York City-based artist Kathleen Vance creates lush landscapes brimming with green mosses, foliage, and rocky surfaces all stored in an unusual carrier: vintage suitcases. Vance’s ongoing Traveling Landscapes series connects travel and natural resources, inclining her to incorporate active water components into many of her miniature ecosystems. The artist tells Colossal she hopes to convey that “water and our natural open landscapes are our legacy to the future generations and something that must be protected and cherished.” Her more recent pieces, like “Traveling Landscape, Spelunker,” deviate from her previous work by including caverns replete with hanging stalactites and stalagmites, or icicle-like rock formations, that she sculpts by hand.
Utilizing found vessels, Vance says she wants to “relate to a time when travel was slower and the distances between us and our homelands and foreign landscapes were more difficult to access.” Each portable environment is designed and retrofit for specific steamer trunks and train cases.
The cases act to abstract the idea of travel and romanticize its idyllic qualities. I am always on the look out for cases that have some indication of travel, with notes and markers which give a feeling that they have really been used for used for transportation of someone’s special or personal items.
To keep up with Vance’s environmentally focused projects, follow her on Instagram.
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