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Art

The Colored Pencil Drawings of Marco Mazzoni Depict the Cycles of Nature

April 22, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Milan-based artist Marco Mazzoni works almost exclusively with colored pencils to create intricate drawings that depict the cycles of nature and worlds based heavily in Italian folklore. One of his most frequent subjects are drawings of flora and fauna who seem to be consuming or living on top of the face of a woman whose eyes we never see. The artist says he consciously does not depict the eyes so the viewer doesn’t consider the artwork a portrait, but instead a still life where all elements have equal importance. Via Galleria Patricia Armocida:

Mazzoni weaves a world based on Italian folklore, made up of Janas and Cogas, female figures who, according to Sardinian beliefs, seduce, enchant, curse, and heal. His work is an homage to the secret art of healers; each drawing is saturated with metaphors that tell their story. The circular compositions, which allude to the cycles of Nature, depict medicinal and lysergic plants, pollinator butterflies and birds which drink their nectar, and hidden amidst leaves and wings emerge the faces of these women forced to hide their sensuality and their knowledge due to bigotry imposed by religion, accused of witchcraft because they are herbarie, herbalists. Female healers and midwives held an important role within the community. […] Marco Mazzoni underlines the importance of the interaction between the women and the plants by developing the subject that’s best known: the female face framed by flora and fauna, rendering it an icon. He reveals her innermost perceptions, memories scribbled on a diary page, highly imaginative visions of “impossible” animals, the fruit of ecstatic exploration of hallucinatory journeys. […] The result is a work which recounts the moment in which woman takes control of everything, in complete harmony with Nature.

Mazzoni currently has a solo show in Milan at Galleria Patricia Armocida which runs through May 4th, 2013. You can see more of his work over on Facebook.

 

 



Photography

Smithsonian Magazine Announces 10th Annual Photo Contest Finalists

March 4, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Jason Hatfield

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Vo Anh Kiet

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Raul Amaru Linares

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Colin Hutton

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Colleen Pinski

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Md. Akhlas Uddin

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Giang Hai Hoang

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Nathan Carlsen

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Neal Piper

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Bob Bush

Smithsonian Magazine just announced the finalists in their 10th Annual Photo Contest. This year the competition saw 37,600 photo submissions from photographers in 112 countries and Smithsonian’s editors selected 50 finalists organized into their usual five categories: Altered Images, Americana, The Natural World, People and Travel. Like last year the photos are open to a public vote through March 29, 2013 and a ‘Readers Choice’ award will be announced along with the rest of the winners in June. Here are ten of my favorites by take some time to go see the rest.

 

 



Art

The Most Beautiful Nature GIFs on the Web

February 19, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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It’s not everyday you discover what could be your new favorite blog, but lucky for me that day was today. A Netherlands-based visual artist named Marinus has been at the helm of his blog Head Like an Orange since October 2011. He takes short excerpts of wildlife footage and crops, loops and times them to create mesmerizing moments of life. What you see here is just from the last few days, there are literally hundreds of these and they are well worth a few minutes of your day. Go now! (via jessica olin)

 

 



Photography Science

Massive Bird Nests Built on Telephone Poles in Southern Africa are Home to Multiple Species of Birds

February 18, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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No these aren’t haystacks stuck in a phone pole. Visit the Kalahari Desert in the south of Africa and you’re bound to run into a peculiar animal called the Sociable Weaver Bird. The birds are called “social” not just because they live in organized colonies, but because they build massive homes out of sticks, grass and cotton that are home to several other kinds birds. That’s right, the nests are so large that birds of other species are welcome to setup shop, not the least of which is the South African pygmy falcon which lives exclusively inside the social weaver’s nests that often accommodate over 100 birds at at time. Via the San Diego Zoo:

The sociable weaver’s nest sees plenty of guests—a regular Kalahari Desert inn! The South African pygmy falcon Polihierax semitorquatus relies completely on the sociable weavers’ nest for its own home, often nesting side by side with the sociable weavers. The pied barbet, familiar chat, red-headed finch, ashy tit, and rosy-faced lovebird often find comfort in the cozy nesting chambers, too. Vultures, owls, and eagles will roost on the nests’ broad roof. Why are weavers willing to share the huge nest they worked so hard to make? More residents mean more eyes keeping a watch for danger. And the weavers often learn from the other birds where new sources of food can be found.

Photographer Dillon Marsh has a lovely series of weaver bird nest photographs titled Assimilation that are well worth a look. (via neatorama)

 

 



Art

Anna Gillespie Fuses Nature and Art in her Figurative Sculptures Made of Acorns, Beechnut Casings and Bronze

February 12, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Sculptor Anna Gillespie lives and works in Bath where she infuses her figurative sculptures with elements collected from nature including numerous acorn caps or beechnut casings. Gillespie also works with bronze and stone, often recreating some of the same environmental elements by hand, a process I imagine is even more meticulous than harvesting and using individual seeds themselves. She most recently had a solo show at Beaux Arts Bath and published a book of her work spanning 2006-2012 where you can see many more stunning images of her sculpture. (via my modern met).

 

 



Photography

Gorgeous Patterns of the Sea: Macro Photographs of Starfish by Alexander Semenov

February 6, 2013

Christopher Jobson

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Photographer Alexander Semenov has done it again. This time the Russian biologist takes us on an up-close encounter with starfish, although looking at these neon carpets I had no idea what they were at first. Even after covering Alexander’s previous work with jellyfish, or Felix Salazar’s images of coral I’m constantly amazed at nature’s ability to create such vibrant beauty. (via flickr)