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Art Craft

Metal Sculptor Shota Suzuki Crafts Exquisitely Detailed Blooms That Express the Passing of Time

November 25, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Shota Suzuki, shared with permission

Tender stems bear lush blooms and windswept leaves gather around new growth in artist Shota Suzuki’s delicate metal sculptures. Rendered in painstaking detail, the forms are inspired by flora around his home and studio in Kyoto, such as Japanese maple trees and dandelions that have gone to seed. “Recently, I have been adding rain and wind to my work,” he tells Colossal, sharing that he’s inspired by the way nature demonstrates the passing of time. He adds silvery water droplets to ginkgo leaves, ruffles the petals of flowers, or portrays a branch of cherry blossoms as if it has blown from a tree.

An early interest in jewelry led Suzuki to study metalworking, and the exquisite detail of florals and foliage suited his ability to work on a small scale. A wide range of patinas create a life-like appearance, achieved by combining an array of chemicals that produce specific hues and textures, including traditional Japanese copper coloration methods such as niiro. “I don’t want to create works in which time stands still,” he says. “I want to express a moment in time.”

Suzuki’s work is included in Natural Mastery: Lacquer and Silver Works from Japan at Stuart Lochhead Sculpture in London from December 1 to 9. You can find more work on his website and Instagram.

 

A realistic sculpture of a tree sapling growing from dead leaves, made from metal.

 A realistic sculpture of flowers made from metal, photographed on a table.

A realistic sculpture of flowers made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of ginkgo leaves made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of a stem of cherry blossoms made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of dried leaves made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of gold ginkgo leaves with silver droplets, made from metal.

 

 

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Art

Harmonious Drawings and Sculptural Renderings by Louise Despont Conjure Balance in Nature

November 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches. All images courtesy of Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, NYC, and Galerie Isa, Mumbai, shared with permission

Balance, symmetry, and the geometries of proportion create a distinct visual lexicon for Louise Despont. Working in graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger paper, the French American artist practices an alchemy of pattern and color, fusing the two into intricate, contemplative renderings that evoke natural elements. “I think my work has always attempted to bridge the worlds of plant wisdom and healing with a language of architecture,” Despont tells Colossal. “I’m interested in drawing the invisible, in attempting to represent the unseen but nonetheless powerful forces and systems that surround and inhabit us. I’m interested in art-making as a co-creative experience, a bit like gardening. I plant the seeds and tend to the work, but what grows comes from its own source.”

Inspired by the homeopathy and alternative medicine practiced by the artist’s mother, Despont’s works often hearken back to botanical forms as she renders petals and writhing stems in pastel hues. Her sculptural drawings utilize bamboo and string to perfectly mirror the sweeping lines and circular shapes on each side of a three-dimensional form, and this desire for engineered precision is a nod to her grandfather, father, and partner who all have backgrounds in architecture. Whether on paper or dyed fabric, her works illuminate nature’s organic harmonies and are tinged with a reverence for its more mystical properties, focusing on the energies and expressions of the world around us.

Before moving to her current home in Mallorca, Despont was featured in three Art21 films in New York and Bali that offer insight into her earlier practice. The artist’s drawings will be on view at Art Basel in Miami this December with Nicelle Beauchene Gallery, and she is currently working on a book slated for release next year. For glimpses into her studio and process, head to Instagram.

 

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Mercurius,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Aconite,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages 75 1/4 x 95 inches

A photo of a bamboo sculptural drawings on pink cotton

“Ignatia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Vital Force IV,” graphite, colored pencil, and pure gold leaf on antique ledger book page, 18 3/4 x 23 1/2 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Arsenicum Album Constitution,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 56 1/4 x 48 inches

Four photos of bamboo sculptural drawings on dark dyed cotton

Top left: “Arsenicum,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Top right: “Veratrum Album,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches. Bottom left: “Silicia,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 73 x 59 inches. Bottom right: “Conium,” bamboo and string on botanical dyed hand-woven cotton, 93 x 81 inches

A colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

“Calc Fluor,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 53 x 67 1/4 inches

A detail of a colored pencil and graphite drawing of florals and architectural forms on ledger paper

Detail of “Taraxacum,” graphite and colored pencil on antique ledger book pages, 75 1/4 x 95 inches

 

 



Art Craft

Delicate Spikes and Lush Petals Bloom from Avital Avital’s Voluptuous Porcelain Vessels

November 15, 2022

Kate Mothes

Botanic-inspired porcelain vessels by Avital Avital.

All images © Avital Avital, shared with permission

The diverse world of plants and flowers is a source of fascination for ceramic artist Avital Avital, who crafts delicately detailed vessels from porcelain. In her studio in Ramat Gan, Israel, the artist sculpts slender petals, fragile spikes, and orbs dabbed with confectionary-like dots. She is interested in the relationship between functionality and decoration, drawing on the rich history of clay as a medium and mingling technical skill with conceptual ideas.

Inspired by nature’s boundless variety of forms and colors, her choice of material complements her subject matter: “I am interested in balancing between the delicacy of the porcelain and its strength and to use its potential transparency by sculpting colorful petals that are skin-like when directed to a source of light.”

You can find more of Avital’s work on Instagram.

 

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

Botanic-inspired porcelain sculptures by Avital Avital.

A botanic-inspired porcelain sculpture by Avital Avital.

 

 

 



Art Design

In a Remote Swedish Forest, A Nest of Branches and Hay Encircles a Tree with a Cozy Hideout

November 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a branch structure around a tree

“Season II.” All images © Ulf Mejergren and Antti Laitinen, shared with permission

In April of this year, Swedish architect and artist Ulf Mejergren and Finnish artist Antti Laitinen gathered fallen branches from a forested area outside of Nykvarn, a small city southwest of Stockholm. The duo used those wooden scraps to weave a structure around a tree, building a cozy refuge among the thawing spring landscape.

That construction was the first part of an ongoing project titled One Tree Four Seasons, in which the artists gather natural materials from the surrounding area to create site-specific land art. Summer saw the inclusion of hay from a nearby field that insulated the walls and floor and created seating inside the enclosure, while the lush treetop served as roofing. In fall, those same leaves wrapped the facade in an upward swell and piled into a colorful path that led into the structure’s round opening.

Mejergren tells Colossal that the fourth and final iteration is slated for completion in December, although that, of course, depends on the weather. Keep an eye on his and Laitinen’s Instagrams for updates. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

A photo of people inside hay walls with a tree at the center

“Season II”

A photo looking upward at the tree's canopy

“Season II”

A photo of a branch structure around a tree with leaves pouring from the opening

“Season III”

A photo of a branch structure around a tree

“Season I”

A photo of a child approaching a branch structure around a tree

“Season I”

A photo of leavings pouring form a branch structure around a tree

“Season III”

 

 



Art Science

Nathalie Miebach Weaves Data and Anecdotes into Expansive Sculptures to Raise Awareness of the Climate Crisis

November 11, 2022

Kate Mothes

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“Harvey’s Twitter SOS” (2019), paper, wood, vinyl, and data, 84 x 108 x 12 inches. All images © Nathalie Miebach, shared with permission

For Boston-based artist Nathalie Miebach, art is a way to translate scientific data into a visual language of patterns and relationships. In 2007, when she first began to make works that explored weather and climate change, she wanted to better understand the science. “Each piece began with a specific question I had and then the sculpture would attempt to answer it. Over time, I began to be more interested not in how weather instruments record weather, but how we as a species respond to it,” she tells Colossal. “That’s when I began to look at extreme weather events such as floods, storms, and fires.”

Basketweaving plays a central role in Miebach’s practice as it both physically and metaphorically weaves together materials and information. The type of data she collects is both statistical and anecdotal, combining scientific inquiry with personal experiences. “Harvey’s Twitter SOS,” for example, translates 2017 data maps about Hurricane Harvey published by The New York Times. “The inner quilt is made up of shapes that map out income distribution in Houston and uses the city’s highway system as a visual anchor. Various types of information related to Harvey are stitched onto the quilt, including Twitter messages that were sent out during the storm,” she says. Each piece contains numerous pathways, repetitions, and connections, redolent of Rube Goldberg machines in which cause and effect play a central role.

During the past three years, the artist’s work also collates Covid-19 data alongside climate information. “Spinning Towards a New Normal,” on view currently at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, translates Covid-19 infection, death, and vaccination rates for Germany, Italy, and Spain into the form of a spinning top with a plumb bob, representing the struggle of communities and economies to find stability. “We are not invincible, and neither is this planet,” she warns. “For the first time in human history, we have all experienced how vulnerable we can be as a species. The recent work I have been doing is trying to look at these broader environmental changes we are now seeing through this lens of vulnerability.”

You can see Miebach’s work in All Hands On: Basketry at Staatliche Museen zu Berlin through May 25, 2023, and Climate Action, Inspiring Change at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, through June 25, 2023. Explore more of her work on her website and follow updates on Instagram.

 

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“Spinning Towards a New Normal” (2022), reed, wood, and data, 20 x 20 x 25 inches

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Detail of “Harvey’s Twitter SOS”

Two details of a sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Details of “Spinning Towards a New Normal”

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“Changing Lines” (2022), paper, wood, and data, 120 x 96 x 10 inches

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“She Cast Her Circles Wide” (2016), rope, paper, wood, and data, 25 x 25 x 27 inches

A detail of a sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Detail of “Harvey’s Twitter SOS”

A sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

“The Blindness of Seeing Patterns” (2021), paper, wood, and weather and Covid-19 data, 84 x 60 x 6 inches

Details of a sculpture by Nathalie Miebach that visualizes climate and weather data.

Details of “The Blindness of Seeing Patterns”

 

 



Photography

Moss Drapes from Trees in Ethereal Photographs of England’s Forests by Neil Burnell

November 10, 2022

Kate Mothes

A photograph of moss-covered, gnarled trees in a misty forest.

All images © Neil Burnell, shared with permission

England has long been a haven for rich woodlands of oak, birch, hazel, and pine, chronicled in famous stories like Robin Hood’s Sherwood Forest or the real-life 11th century king William the Conqueror, who established a “Forest Law” that claimed woodlands as hunting grounds for kings. In the 19th and 20th centuries, native forests were increasingly transformed into pasture for grazing livestock, replaced with modern developments, or re-planted with commercial timber. The remarkable atmosphere of Dartmoor’s forests are captured by Devon-based photographer Neil Burnell (previously), who focuses on the mystical, otherworldly environments through all four seasons.

Burnell was inspired as a child by a visit to Wistman’s Wood, a remote, upland area of old, gnarled oak. “Little was I to know the lasting impression this would leave me with as a young lad, as I find myself re-imagining how I felt, and how I could spread this awe and wonder through my passion for photography,” he explains. Although Dartmoor National Park currently advises that visitors avoid walking through Wistman’s Wood to allow it to heal from damage caused during lockdowns, Burnell’s images offer a glimpse of moss-coated limbs and fern-covered forest floors that seem to freeze time. He also visits dense stands of conifers, with canopies that create dreamlike effects as they block the sunlight from reaching the ground below.

Burnell often teaches workshops around South West England that focus on nature and landscape photography, which you can learn more about on his website. You can also find more of his work on Behance.

 

A photograph of trees in a misty forest.

A photograph of moss-covered, gnarled trees in a misty forest.

A photograph of moss-covered, gnarled trees in a forest.

A photograph of trees in a misty forest.

Two atmospheric photographs of trees in the mist.

A photograph of a beam of light coming down through the forest canopy in a tree plantation, illuminating a gnarled tree.

Yellow ferns and leaves in a misty forest in autumn.

A photograph of moss-covered, gnarled trees in a misty forest.

 

 

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