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Art

Nails Puncture Inscrutable Characters Carved in Wood by Artist Jaime Molina

February 1, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Jaime Molina, courtesy of Paradigm Gallery, shared with permission

Mysterious and enigmatic, the wooden figures that occupy Jaime Molina’s imagined world appear to be in perpetual states of meditation or slumber. The Denver-based artist (previously) sculpts small characters atop angular bodies and large heads that split open to reveal inner objects like a cactus, honeybee, or small, worn house. Many are then pierced with nails of various sizes and ages that frame their faces with blankets of spikes.

Molina adorns each figure with closed eyes, a serene, solemn appearance, and striped clothing of ambiguous shapes, and he sees the variety of textures and dimensions as part of their unique narratives. “To me, (facial expressions) are like syllables of a word or a unique note in a song,” he says. “These ideas of isolated language and invented slang are portrayed through the figure’s expressions and the patterns in their hair and bodies. These patterns are like an imaginary quilt made up of their histories and memories.”

His sculptures broadly evoke folk and outsider art traditions, particularly in their use of found materials—a partial logo remains visible on a bench for one character, rusted and bent nails are mixed with newer fasteners, and a gnarled hunk of wood becomes a stage—and he shares that he gravitates toward pieces “made purely for the sake of creating.” The artist explains:

My great uncle used to make a lot of different things when I was younger. He’d paint on old pieces of wood or old saws and even carve things out of wood. They were all over his house and some at my grandmother’s house, and I used to love seeing them. I guess it made an impression on me that you could just make art with what you had around you. You didn’t need to go to school or wait for an opportunity. You could just make things when you had the urge.

To explore more of Molina’s work, which spans murals, large public pieces, and other sculptural creations, head to his site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Dense Fields of Colored String Comprise Expressive Portraits by Artist Joshua Adokuru

January 26, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Joshua Adokuru, shared with permission

Blending sturdy metal with the soft warmth of wool, Joshua Adokuru winds vibrant fibers around precisely placed nails that anchor his expressive and abstract portraits. The Abuja-based artist always incorporates strings in shades of blue, which fill amorphous shapes highlighting the subject’s face or defining the checkered pattern of a sweater. It’s “a natural color, a color of the sky, a color of the sea,” he says, noting that he gravitates toward bold, fantastical hues for skin tones. “Blue has this feeling of peace, a feeling of serenity.”

Formally trained in computer science, Adokuru has been experimenting with different mediums since secondary school, but it wasn’t until spring of 2020 that he started working with thread. His pieces, which are often larger than life, begin with a photograph of a child or friend, which are then translated into a simple sketch on a wooden board. Adokuru accentuates the figure’s silhouette, facial features, and any motif on their clothing or in the backdrop with nails that are glued in place, sprayed with black paint, and finally covered in taught thread. Because the artist is most concerned with capturing his subjects’ exact expressions, he always completes the eyes last.

Adokuru will show some of his works in New York this fall, and you can glimpse his process on Instagram. (via Lustik)

 

 

 



Art Craft History

Textile Artists File Their Nails in Tiny Grooves for Traditional Japanese Weaving Technique

August 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

Image courtesy of Kiyohara Seiji

Along with a comb and shuttle, textile artists crafting “tsumekaki hon tsuzure ori,” the intricate and durable brocades that are part of Japanese traditions, employ the jagged tips of their fingernails. Common in the Shiga prefecture, the ancient technique utilizes the weaver’s grooved nails to guide the threads down the loom, ensuring they’re placed tightly together. The “tsuzure ori,” or tapestry weave, has roots in the Muromachi period (1336 to 1573), while this specific method has been in Japan for at least 1,000 years, according to Kiyohara Seiji, a representative of Kiyohara Textile Co., Ltd.

To see how the comb-shaped nails work and the ornate textiles they’re used to produce, watch the video below. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 

 



Art

Carved Wood Sculptures by Phil Young Appear to Stretch, Twist, and Tear Within Metal Armatures

December 11, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

“Grasp”

Artist Phil Young twists the commonly-held perception of wood as a stiff material in his mind-bending sculptures made of polished wood and metal. Each artwork focuses on a single piece of wood that has been carefully carved to appear as if it is being stretched, twisted, bound, or squashed, often by visible forces like metal rings or nails. Young works carefully with each bit of raw material, paying attention to its natural shape and grain as he transforms it into a finished work.

Although his work is non-representational, he is able to evoke a surprising degree of emotion through the dynamic pressure the pieces appear to be subjected to. “I wouldn’t be satisfied if all I did was make beautiful pieces,” the artist explains. “I want the people who see them to question what beauty is, so I take inspiration from places you wouldn’t expect to find beauty, including surgery, diseases, wounded or wrinkled skin, and try to make that look beautiful. I think if you can find beauty even in these places, you can find happiness wherever you are.” You can see more of Young’s woodwork on his website and Instagram. (via Lustik)

“Stretch”

“Twist”

“Crush”

“Crush” detail

“Taut”

“Nail”

“Pinch”

“Clamp”

 

 



Art

Writhing Organic Sculptures Formed from Nails by John Bisbee

January 24, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Viper, Welded Spikes, “Out of the Garden.” Fuller Craft Museum, Brockton, MA, Dimensions Variable, 2016. Photo: Nick Benfey.

Over the past three decades, artist John Bisbee (previously) has dedicated his creative work to the medium of nails. Recent artwork includes several large installations that transform the stiff, architectural material into writhing organic shapes. “Out of the Garden” seems to reference the Biblical tale, with an enormous snake piercing the Fuller Craft Museum‘s wall with its fangs and a fruit-laden tree nearby. “Infinity Pool,” a circular wall installation, features larger spikes at the outer circumference that shrink to smaller nails toward the center, lending a dramatic sense of depth to the two dimensional work. Bisbee, who is based in Maine, has displayed his work across the northeastern US, and his upcoming 2018 show will be at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, Maine.

Viper, detail.

Viper, detail.

Infinity Pool, Forged, Welded, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1-inch Spikes, “The Needle and The Milkmaid”, SAPAR Contemporary, New York, New York, 58” x 58” x 3”, 2016, Photo: Nick Benfey.

Infinity Pool, detail.

Infinity Pool, detail.

Infinity Pool, detail.

Pods, Welded Spikes and Weld, “The Needle and The Milkmaid”, SAPAR Contemporary, New York, New York, Dimensions Variable, 2016, Photo: Nick Benfey.

Murmur, Welded, Hammered, 8, 6, 4, and 2-inch Spikes, “The Needle and The Milkmaid”, SAPAR Contemporary, New York, New York, Dimensions Variable, 2016, Photo: Nick Benfey.

Murmur, detail.

Murmur, detail.

Brittlestars, Forged, Welded, 12­inch Bright Common Spikes, Harvard Business School, Boston, MA, 113”x 241”x 1”. 2016, Photo: Nick Benfey.

 

 



Art

Mysterious Wooden Characters Adorned with Leaves and Nails by Jaime Molina

June 14, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Heads facing downward, eyes closed, the figures inhabiting the world of painter and sculptor Jaime Molina (previously) seem to be in a state of deep contemplation or sorrow. Or maybe they’re just hungover and taking a nap. The mystery is part of Molina’s intention as he assembles these strange characters from found wood to inhabit his fictional world called “Cutty Town” — he refers to the objects themselves as “Cuttys”. At once strangely familiar and approachable, the pieces sprout hairdos of bent nails, cacti, and leaves that add more questions left only to the viewer to answer.

The Colorado-based based artist most recently exhibited several works with Stefanie Chefas Projects in Portland and Galería UNION in Buenos Aires, and he has a few works available through Thinkspace Gallery. (via Juxtapoz, Creators Project)

 

 

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