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Art

Subjects Undertake Futile Pursuits in Satirical Paintings by Artist Toni Hamel

September 16, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Loves Me Loves Me Not” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches. All images © Toni Hamel, shared with permission

Based in Oshawa, a suburb of Toronto, artist Toni Hamel (previously) is concerned with human morality—or lack thereof. In her subtly hued artworks, Hamel portrays subjects in the midst of futile and trivial pursuits: children pluck stars from the night sky, a couple attempts to reconstruct a flower after its petals have fallen, and a young family literally watches wet paint dry. Many of the satirical pieces consider socially accepted anthropocentrism and the relationship people have with the surrounding environemnt.

Since 2017, Hamel has been adding to High Tides and Misdemeanors, an ongoing series that is intentionally political. “It confronts us with the repercussions of our actions and denounces the current thinking models. In this age of alternative realities, ‘fake news’ and a culture that is increasingly more self-absorbed and superficial, I feel that it’s even more important for me to carry on reporting what I must,” she writes.

Explore more of Hamel’s visual commentaries on culture and politics on Instagram.

 

“The Harvest” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches

“The Prototype 1” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 16 inches

“The Spill” (2020), oil on canvas, 12 x 10 inches

“Family Night In Kodachrome” (2020), oil on panel, 12 x 12 inches

“The Replacement” (2019), oil on canvas, 14 x 18 inches

“Ikebana 1” (2019), oil on canvas, 18 x 18 inches

“Ikebana 3” (2020), oil on canvas, 18 x 18 inches

 

 



Photography Science

The Rise of Molds: Dive into the Microscopic Landscape of Growing Fungi

September 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

The Rise of Molds” plunges into the minute world of four species of fungi as they fester, sprout, and morph from spindly, white shoots into dark, dense patches. Shot by Beauty of Science (previously), the timelapse captures Rhizopus, Aspergillus Niger, Aspergillus Oryzae, and Penicillium spores with a supermacro lens, magnifying the microscopic organisms as they grow and sprawl across the screen. Each of the molds is utilized to ferment common foods, like wine and soy sauce, and to add pungent flavors to cheese. Check out Beauty of Science’s extensive library of videos chronicling chemical processes and animal life cycles on YouTube.

 

 

 



Art Photography

Hundreds of Collaged Photographs Form Rich, Botanical Worlds by Artist Catherine Nelson

August 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Pachira,” 59 x 59 inches.  All images © Catherine Nelson, shared with permission

A decade ago, Catherine Nelson compiled hundreds of photographs of barren, snow-covered landscapes and autumnal forests for her project Future Memories 2010. The Australian artist, who lives and works between Ghent and Amsterdam, recently revisited that series to create a new body of work with similar world-building techniques. “With the tumultuous events of 2020 still unfolding and the undeniable links to the destruction of the natural world by mankind, it felt timely to return to the themes from that series, which talk about our planet and the importance of protecting what we have,” she says.

Composed of photographs captured during three years and across four continents, Future Memories 2020 spans “from the lush, tropical flora of Costa Rica and Far North Queensland and the fertile, volcanic mountains of the Azores, to the rolling hills of the Greenland tundra,” Nelson writes. Many of the orb-like digital assemblages feature thick brush and foliage around the outside, while the less-populated centers appear to bulge out. The organic spheres hover effortlessly against a cloudy backdrop, highlighting the rich colors and incredible diversity of every environment. Each piece serves as a reminder that “it is in the flourishing variety of the local that the fate of the world resides,” the artist says.

Nelson’s work is on view through September 22 at Michael Reid in Sydney and will head to Gallerysmith in Melbourne early next year. Those unable to experience the complexly assembled worlds in person can see more on her site.

 

“Cubali,” 59 x 59 inches

“Sarapiqui,” 59 x 59 inches

“Terra Nostra,” 59 x 59 inches

“Tortuguero,” 59 x 59 inches

“Tropic,” 59 x 59 inches

“Tundra,” 59 x 59 inches

“Cartago,” 59 x 59 inches

 

 



Art

Copper Animal Sculptures by Artist Wang Ruilin Are Embedded with Nature’s Sublime Elements

August 18, 2020

Grace Ebert

“66°​​​​​​​ N” (2020), copper and paint. . All images © Wang Ruilin

Artist Wang Ruilin (previously) visualizes nature’s interconnectivity by literally imprinting a rocky terrain or ice cap onto the bodies of wild animals. His recent copper-and-paint sculptures include a panda with a black back stripe and limbs that are covered in a mountainous ridge and a white blanket of clouds. Similarly, the waters of the Arctic Circle wrap around a polar bear’s lower back and hind legs, contrasting its otherwise smooth fur. Often positioned in states of repose, the creatures are evoking Earth’s most sublime features through surreal placements. See more of the Ruilin’s recent sculptures below, and head to Behance and Instagram for glimpses into his process.

 

“Above Cloud” (2020), copper and paint

“Above Cloud” (2020), copper and paint

“66°​​​​​​​ N” (2020), copper and paint

“66°​​​​​​​ N” (2020), copper and paint

“DREAMS Rhino (No. 04)” (2015), copper and paint

“DREAMS Rhino (No. 04)” (2015), copper and paint

“HIDE.SEEK – DOUZHANSHENGFO” (2015), copper and paint

“HIDE.SEEK – DOUZHANSHENGFO” (2015), copper and paint

 

 



Art Illustration

Surrounded by Feathers, Birds Clutch Their Bleeding Hearts in Christina Mrozik's Monochromatic Illustrations

August 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Safekeeping,” graphite on paper, 15 x 19 inches. All images © Christina Mrozik, shared with permission

Just as they’d carry a seed to a new location, the birds in Portland-based artist Christina Mrozik’s latest series tightly grasp pulsing hearts in their talons. The graphite illustrations intertwine masses of feathers and avian body parts with the still bleeding organs, suggesting that they recently were ripped from the chests to cause their descent.

Coraticum—cor means heart in Latin—is an exploration of reconstruction, one that’s defined by bringing the heart outside the body. “It represents the beginning place from which feelings unfold, the center, the seed. I see this as the place before the stem or the root, before the flower or the honey,” they say. As a whole, the series considers the difficult emotions necessary for transformation. Mrozik (previously) tells Colossal the project was born out of personal upheaval in their life, which they explain:

I had been undergoing a major rearrangement in my relationship, rewiring my brain’s response to chronic pain and learning about the history of trauma on my nervous system. The way I moved internally was under massive rearrangement and self-scrutiny, and I was doing my best to find where to put things. Then quarantine hit and it felt like the work of rearrangement was happening externally on a global level.

Each monochromatic illustration is connected to a specific step of the reconstruction process: “The Eye of Recollection” to memory, “Safekeeping” to self-preservation, “The Ten Intuitions” to desire and instinct, “Colliding in Reverse” to letting go, and “Untethering Permissions” to questions about authority.

Coraticum is currently on view at Portland’s Antler Gallery, which will be sharing virtual tours of the solo show in the coming weeks. You can find prints, pins, and books of Mrozik’s surreal compositions in their shop, and follow their work on Instagram. (via Supersonic Art)

 

“Colliding in Reverse,” graphite on paper, 15 x 19 inches

“Untethering Permissions,” graphite on paper, 15 x 19 inches

“The Ten Intuitions,” graphite on paper, 15 x 19 inches

“The Eye of Recollection,” graphite on paper, 15 x 17, graphite on paper

“Good Morning Moon,” 14 x 21 inches

 

 



Art Science

Science-Inspired Ink by Michele Volpi Blurs the Line Between Tattoo and Textbook

July 29, 2020

Vanessa Ruiz

All images © Michele Volpi, shared with permission

One might learn something from staring at the tattoos of Italian artist Michele Volpi (previously). The composition, detailed dot work, and precise lines of his tattoos transcend both ink-infused skin and science textbooks. The Bologna-based tattoo artist relishes in scientific books—from Frank Netter’s painterly medical illustrations to the exquisitely rendered biological specimens and marine life of Ernst Haeckel. He often visits bookshops during his travels to discover and acquire these new sources of inspiration.

Volpi’s customers seek him out to tattoo an array of botany, astronomy, physiology, and chemistry-based compositions. Sometimes customers let him choose the branch of science, in which case he renders his favorite subject—anatomy. Even then, Volpi combines subject matter like in his tattoo comparing the shape of a human pelvis to that of a butterfly or another that features a human skull being stretched absurdly through a wormhole.

The artist tells Colossal that his “dream is to make a scientific book with all of my conceptual scientific illustrations that I love.” View Volpi’s body of work and booking information on Instagram. For those not ready for the permanence of a tattoo, there are prints of his pen-and-ink, anatomical illustrations available in his shop.