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Art

Community: Over 500,000 Preserved and Local Flowers Suspended in the Toledo Museum of Art

September 21, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Floral artist Rebecca Louise Law (previously) travels widely to install her beloved cascading flower showers around the world. Most recently, the UK-based artist worked with residents of Toledo, Ohio to install Community, her largest work to date. The exhibition incorporates over 500,000 flowers, installed with substantial help from local volunteers. . Community is comprised of dried flowers preserved from previous exhibitions as well as over 150,000 locally sourced native plants. The exhibit is on view at the Toledo Art Museum through January 13, 2019. You can see a time-lapse of the installation in the video below, and explore more of Law’s work on Instagram and Facebook.

 

 



Art

Shuttlecocks, Pool Noodles, and Other Playful Materials Arranged into Three-Dimensional ‘Textiles’ by We Make Carpets

September 14, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Shuttlecock Carpet for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017), all images via We Make Carpets

Shuttlecock Carpet for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017), all images via We Make Carpets

Dutch art trio We Make Carpets (previously) formed their first temporary tapestry in 2009 from collected pine cones and needles, which they appropriated titled Forest Carpet. For almost a decade since, the collective has been working with ordinary materials to create visually seductive “carpets” arranged on the floor or presented vertically on the wall. Last year they were asked to create six new works and five interactive installations for a solo exhibition at the inaugural National Gallery of Victoria Triennial in Melbourne titled Hands On. Carpets were formed from child-friendly materials such as pool noodles and velcro, which invited visitors to create their own patterns from the provided objects.

“While making art we rely on a hands-on approach—working with the materials that you have in your hands—trying and failing until finally something beautiful emerges,” We Make Carpets said in a statement about the exhibition. “We believe the images in your head are more important than the things already known. It is fantasy that creates, not facts. We hope our arrangements of objects offer new perspectives on modern life.”

Hands On just concluded a second run on September 9 at the National Gallery Singapore. You can take a look inside the making of the exhibition in a video by NGV Melbourne in the video below, and see a more extensive collection of their temporary carpets on their website and Instagram.

Shuttlecock Carpet (detail) for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Shuttlecock Carpet (detail) for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Shuttlecock Carpet for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Shuttlecock Carpet for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Pencil Carpet for Jerusalem Design Week (2017)

Pencil Carpet for Jerusalem Design Week (2017)

Pencil Carpet (detail) for Jerusalem Design Week (2017)

Pencil Carpet (detail) for Jerusalem Design Week (2017)

Tube Carpet 2 made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Tube Carpet 2 made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Tube Carpet made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Tube Carpet made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Tube Carpet 2 (detail) made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Tube Carpet 2 (detail) made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Peg Carpet 2 made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Peg Carpet 2 made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Peg Carpet 2 (detail) made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Peg Carpet 2 (detail) made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Velcro Carpet made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Velcro Carpet made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Velcro Carpet (detail) made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Velcro Carpet (detail) made for the exhibition Hands On at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (2017)

Paperclip Carpet 2 (detail) made for the exhibition Bend and Stretch at Diagonale, Montreal, Canada (2016)

Paperclip Carpet 2 (detail) made for the exhibition Bend and Stretch at Diagonale, Montreal, Canada (2016)

Paperclip Carpet 2 made for the exhibition Bend and Stretch at Diagonale, Montreal, Canada (2016)

Paperclip Carpet 2 made for the exhibition Bend and Stretch at Diagonale, Montreal, Canada (2016)

 

 



Design Food Photography

Flat Lay Photographs Created From Found Household Materials by Kristen Meyer

August 23, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Connecticut-based designer Kristen Meyer (previously) creates flat lay photographs on pastel backgrounds with precisely arranged vegetables, crackers, and other organic materials like rocks and leaves. The works are geometrically minded, like a recent design which created an isometric grid from sliced melon and kiwi or sliced cheese rounds that were transformed into a field of interlocking circles on top of equally sized crackers. All of her arrangements are shot in her house where she keeps a studio, however she often travels to whichever room of the house as best light. On the way she picks up various materials for her photographs, pulling inspiration from found objects.

“As far as how I find materials to experiment with, it varies a lot,” she tells Colossal. “I generally work with what I can find around the house, inside or out. It begins as a scavenger hunt of sorts, and then a challenge as I begin to build.”

In the fall Meyer will begin a set decorating project with photographer Adrien Broom. You can follow her style arrangements on Instagram, and buy select prints of her photographs on her website.

        

 

 



Animation

Billions of Color Changing Particles Create Amorphous Waves in a New Art Film by Maxim Zhestkov 

August 14, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Volumes is a new 4K experimental art film by artist and director Maxim Zhestkov (previously) which explores the laws of nature through the interactions of billions of spherical particles. As the digitally produced elements collide they transform into a series of brilliant colors, morphing from black and grey orbs to pink, blue, and white balls and back again. The spheres combine to create sweeping waves that disperse and meld back together in large, amorphous forms. You can view more of the director’s projects on Vimeo, Instagram, and Behance.

 

 



Amazing Photography

A Mother Duck and Her Extraordinary Brood of 76 Ducklings Photographed in a Minnesota Lake

August 1, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

All images © Brent Cizek

Minnesota-based wildlife photographer Brent Cizek was headed back to shore before a summer storm when he spotted the common merganser he would later nickname “Momma Merganser.” At first the mother duck was being followed by a brood of more than 50 fluffy ducklings, however when spotted the group again, the total had grown to 76.

“I happened to find this group of mergansers purely by luck, but I was absolutely amazed by what I saw,” Cizek tells Colossal. “At the time I didn’t know anything about the species, so I wasn’t sure if what I witnessed was a common occurrence or something out of the ordinary. All I knew was that I had never seen anything like that before.”

The scene is extraordinary indeed. Although the aquatic birds are known to lay their eggs in the nests of other ducks, a female duck can only incubate 20 at any given time explains Kenn Kaufman, field editor for AudubonIt is most likely that several dozen of the ducklings lost their mothers and were adopted into Momma Merganser’s own brood.

Cizek plans to continue following the extra large family, and posts his findings to on Instagram. To learn more about merganser habits, read the National Audubon Society’s piece on the surprising spectacle. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



History

Dig into an Incredible Compendium of Objects Excavated from the Bottom of Amsterdam’s Amstel River

July 9, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

During a nine year period in the early 2000’s a new metro line was excavated along the banks of Amsterdam’s Amstel river. The urban waterway had to be completely pumped, which gave archeologists a rare opportunity to examine the full spectrum of everyday and extraordinary objects which had fallen to the bottom of the prominent river. Below the Surface, a website created by the Department of Archaeology; Monuments and Archaeology (MenA), the City of Amsterdam; and their Chief Technology Officer, serves as an interactive compendium with access to images and information of 19,000 of the nearly 700,000 findings from the excavation site.

On the website you can explore the findings by date or dig into Below the Surface’s selection of object stories which provide context to specific pieces pulled from the river. An historical background is provided for select buttons, tokens, pottery segments, stamps, books, and other findings such as a 19th-century pipe cover decorated by a portrait of the Dutch navel lieutenant Jan Carel Josephus van Speijk or a 16th-century belt which bears the inscription: “Ik bin en ieger nu ik hebbe dat mi behaget” (or “I am a hunter and I now have what delights me”).

Meticulously divided display cases of the found objects are installed in the new metro line’s Rokin Station and can be visited by the public. A short documentary of the project can be found on Below the Surface’s website, with English subtitles coming soon. (via Kottke)

 

 



Art Design Photography Science

Artful Swirls of Plastic Marine Debris Documented in Images by Photographer Mandy Barker

April 19, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

SOUP – Refused © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic oceanic debris affected by chewing and attempted ingestion by animals. Includes a toothpaste tube. Additives; teeth from goats.

Photographer Mandy Barker creates deceptively eye-catching images to document the pandemic of plastic debris in the world’s waterways. Barker, who is based in Leeds, UK, works closely with scientists to collect trash from our oceans and beaches on the edges of nearly every continent. One research expedition covered the debris field (stretching to Hawaii) that resulted from Japan’s 2011 tsunami and earthquake; she has also explored the Inner Hebrides in Scotland with Greenpeace.

Barker manipulates her findings in Photoshop, mimicking the manner in which ocean water holds these objects in suspension. Swirls of colors and patterns draw in the viewer’s eye, only to realize that these visually appealing compositions consist of garbage that animals have attempted to chew, plastic pellets, tangles of fishing line, and water-logged soccer balls. The artist describes her work in a statement on her website:

The aim of my work is to engage with and stimulate an emotional response in the viewer by combining a contradiction between initial aesthetic attraction along with the subsequent message of awareness. The research process is a vital part of my development as the images I make are based on scientific fact which is essential to the integrity of my work.

Barker is currently a recipient of a 2018 National Geographic Society grant. Her work is on display through April 22nd at Mexico City’s Museum of Modern Art, at Photo London Art Fair in May 2018, at the Triennial of Photography in Hamburg in June, 2018, and at BredaPhoto in The Netherlands in September 2018. The artist’s book, Beyond Drifting: Imperfectly Known Animals, was named one of the ten best books of 2017 by Smithsonian. You can see more of Barker’s photographs on her website as well as on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

EVERY… snowflake is different (detail) © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; white marine plastic debris objects collected in two single visits to a nature reserve on the East Coast of England.

EVERY… snowflake is different © Mandy Barker. Ingredients: white marine plastic debris objects collected in two single visits to a nature reserve on the East Coast of England.

Hong Kong Soup:1826 – Lighter © Mandy Barker. Discarded cigarette lighters make reference to our single-use throw away society. The panda, a national emblem of China represents endangered species and faces away from the group symbolizing mother nature turning its back on man’s inability to take ownership of its waste.

Hong Kong Soup:1826 – Spilt © Mandy Barker. 150 tonnes of pre-production plastic pellets (nurdles) spilt from a cargo container during Typhoon Vincente on 23rd July 2012 adds to Hong Kong’s waste issues in its seas and on its beaches.

PENALTY – Europe © Mandy Barker. 633 marine plastic debris footballs (and pieces of) recovered from 23 countries and islands within Europe, from 104 different beaches, and by 62 members of the public, in just 4 months.

PENALTY – The World © Mandy Barker. 769 marine plastic debris footballs (and pieces of) collected from 41 countries and islands around the world, from 144 different beaches and by 89 members of the public in just 4 months.

PENALTY – 24 Footballs © Mandy Barker.

SHOAL – 30.41N, 157.51E © Mandy Barker.Included in trawl: child’s ball and Japanese character – fridge magnet found on the tsunami shoreline. Fishing buoy found in trawl sample, North pacific Ocean

SHOAL 33.15N, 151.15E © Mandy Barker. Included in trawl: tatami mat from the floor of a Japanese home, fishing related plastics, buoys, nylon rope, buckets, fish trays, polystyrene floats, shampoo bottle, caps, balloon & holder, petrol container.

SOUP – Alphabet © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic debris that includes surface text. Ironic random arrangement of 4 pieces of plastic that suggest a warning; ‘Sea’ ‘AND’ ‘HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES’ ‘FOUL’

SOUP: Bird’s Nest © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; discarded fishing line that has formed nest-like balls due to tidal and oceanic movement. Additives; other debris collected in its path.

SOUP – Ruinous Remembrance © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; plastic flowers, leaves, stems, and fishing line. Additives; bones, skulls, feathers, and fish.

SOUP: Turtle © Mandy Barker.

WHERE © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; marine debris balloons collected from around the world.

WHERE (detail) © Mandy Barker. Ingredients; marine debris balloons collected from around the world.