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Art

Globular Reliefs and Drippy Mounds Comprise a Technicolor Collection of Dan Lam's Sculptures

April 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Stephanie Chefas Projects, shared with permission

Armed with polyurethane foam, epoxy resin, and acrylic, artist Dan Lam (previously) sculpts technicolor forms that ooze, bubble, and trickle in long drips. She layers materials into masses of neon color progressions and textured blobs, forming amorphous puddles and mounds with cavernous insides.

Lam’s solo show Personal Legend expands the artist’s repertoire to include perfectly round reliefs with concentric gradients. Created by pouring and spreading resin over the foundational shape—head to Lam’s Instagram to dive into the process—the wall-based works are coated in droplets that bead on the surface. Mesmerizing in dimension and vibrant color palette, the resulting sculptures are displayed as single circles or large, sprawling clusters.

Personal Legend is on view through May 7 at Stephanie Chefas Projects in Portland.

 

 

 



Art

Artificial Neon Lights Illuminate the Idyllic Environments Painted by Artist Gigi Chen

October 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

“A Good Foundation” (2021), acrylic on wood, 20 x 20 inches. All images © Gigi Chen, shared with permission

In her vibrant, neon-lit paintings, artist Gigi Chen intertwines ornate jewelry, graffiti, and glowing signs emblematic of urban life with foliage, feathers, and wide expanses of sky. Her acrylic pieces center on birds and other small animals in their natural environments with surreal, manufactured additions: a heron cradles a bright pink house on its back, two rabbits peer over a bush at an illuminated parking sign, and an owl carries an old payphone across a glacial landscape.

A lifelong New Yorker, Chen tells Colossal that once her family immigrated to the U.S. from Guangdong, China, when she was eight months old, they didn’t often venture beyond the city’s confines. “The fear of not being able to communicate clearly with strangers was very prevalent growing up, and it really restrained us from doing too much traveling during my early childhood even though my parents could drive,” she says, noting that it wasn’t until an artist residency in Vermont when she was 18 that she found herself interacting with nature. “I realized how small the Big City really is. I was terrified of the pitch blackness, the dense forest, and the dirt and the bugs. But I was totally in love and overwhelmed by how sublime and random nature is.”

These early experiences continue to impact Chen’s work as she confronts lush, forest ecosystems and cloudy sunsets through the lens of city life. “The dichotomy of the neon onto natural subjects like leaves and birds and trees makes for beautiful metaphors about how people relate to the flora and fauna,” she says. “Adding artificial light sources to a natural environment helped me to reimagine and expand the kinds of stories I could tell and broaden how I could convey personal messages.”

 

“Home Away From Home Away From Home” (2021), acrylic on wood, 20 x 24 inches

Many of the animal protagonists embody the artist’s experiences particularly those in her new series Light My Way Home, which is on view through October 24 at Antler Gallery in Portland. The metaphorical works are ruminations on home, family, and the security those two provide, and the pieces often portray the artist and her sisters as red-winged blackbirds with her late mother as the blue heron. “Home Away From Home Away From Home,” which depicts the three smaller birds encircling the other as she flies away, “represents what happened after the death of my mother,” Chen says. “Here, we are seeking the sense of safety and stability that my mother once represented to us and endlessly chasing the Ideal of Home.”

In addition to Light My Way Home, Chen also has paintings available through Stone Sparrow Gallery and Deep Space Gallery, and you can follow her works on Instagram. (via Supersonic Art)

 

“Curiously Illuminated” (2021), acrylic on wood, 16 x 20 inches

“Finding A Spot” (2020), acrylic on wood, 11 x 14 inches

“Three Voices & A Song” (2021), acrylic on wood, 20 x 24 inches

“The Open Pigeon” (2020), acrylic on wood, 5 x 7 inches

“Call Me” (2021), acrylic on wood, 20 x 24 inches

“Lighting The Way” (2021), acrylic on wood, 16 x 20 inches

 

 



Art

Dialogo: A Frenzied Short Film Translates Indiscernible Audio into Kinetic Sound Sculptures

December 28, 2020

Grace Ebert

Juxtaposing natural elements and mechanics, “Dialogo” harnesses the frenetic, indiscernible components of language into a synesthetic experience. A mix of stop-motion and live-action, the short film features entirely hand-crafted sculptures by the Madrid-based design studio blo que. Each motorized work translates human utterings into movement, whether through an undulating tube of neon or oscillating florals, generating new associations in a conversation between the senses.

To represent the original audio in a visual manner, blo que converts the speech waveforms into animation curves, which subsequently mobilizes the sculpture’s engines. “This is the voice of nature and order or the control of what cannot be controlled,” the studio says. “The passing of time in nature (freezing, rotting, etc.) is connected to the time of sound reproduction. This bond creates relationships between human emotions, language, and nature.”

blo que details the lengthy creation process for the film on its site, and you can follow future projects that merge the tangible and digital on Vimeo and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Neon Drips, Blobs, and Squishes by Artist Dan Lam Pour Over Shelves and Plop in Puddles

March 27, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Optimize Opportunity,” polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic, 22 x 30 x 11 inches. All images © Dan Lam

When a gloopy substance runs over a countertop or other surface, a common reaction is to grab a towel and wipe it up before it spreads farther and makes a mess. But for Dallas-based sculptor and painter Dan Lam (previously), the more dripping and oozing the better. The artist creates technicolor sculptures made of polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic onto which she pipes small spikes.

Categorized as drips, blobs, and squishes, Lam’s neon gradients appear to gush over shelves and drop into rounded puddles. Most are paired with optimistic names, like “Strong Genes” and “Just Lovely,” and consider the relationships between “attraction and repulsion, motion and stillness, seriousness and playfulness, softness and hardness,” said a statement about her work.

If you’re in Portland, Lam’s solo show Supernatural is on view at Stephanie Chefas Projects by appointment through April 25. Otherwise, follow the artist on Instagram, where she’s even given a peek at some of her upcoming plans to create phone cases that change colors and are covered in small points.

 

Left: “Strong Genes,” polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic, 16 x 14 x 13 inches. Right: “Good Traits,” polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic, 15.5 x 15 x 16 inches

“Signalling Theory,” polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic, 35 x 30 x 6.5 inches

Left: “He’s So Picky!” polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic, 8.5 x 11 x 6 inches. Right: “Just Lovely,” polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic, 9 x 9 x 5 inches.

“Hidden Preference,” polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic, 39 x 42 x 9 inches

“Just Think,” polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic, 9 x 14 x 7.5 inches

Left: “#5,” polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic, 3.5 x 3 x 1 inches. Right: “#24,” polyurethane foam, resin, and acrylic
4.5 x 4 x 1.5 inches

 

 



Art

A Pulsating Neon Skeleton by Tavares Strachan Honors Scientist Rosalind Franklin

January 30, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Courtesy of Tavares Strachan, all photography and video by Tom Powel Imaging.

What Will Be Remembered in the Face of All That is Forgotten is a sculptural neon work by the New York City-based artist Tavares Strachan made between 2014-2015. The five-foot-tall piece includes pulsating neon that mimics the racing of blood through veins, stainless steel to hold the skeleton in place, and a total of seven transformers. The flashing circulatory system is a glowing reminder of English scientist Rosalind Franklin’s contributions to the field of science, mainly the discovery of DNA’s molecular structures. The work was originally included in the solo exhibition Seeing is Forgetting the Thing that You Saw at Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco, which examined individuals whose names have been omitted from common accounts of history despite their great accomplishments.

Strachan, in partnership with LACMA Art + Technology Lab and SpaceX, also recently launched a sculpture honoring Robert Henry Lawrence Jr., the first African-American to train as an astronaut with NASA. Although Lawrence never made it into space, a 24-karat gold urn with his bust titled “Enoch” will orbit the Earth for seven years in a sun-synchronous orbit. You can see more of Strachan’s sculptural work, and keep up-to-date on the location of Enoch, on Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Nightshift: An Illuminated Glimpse Into Shanghai's Late Night Shops and Stalls

November 9, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

While in town for a shoot for Shanghai Photofairs this past summer, photographer Florian Mueller would wander through the city’s streets, meeting the owners of food stalls and other businesses that stayed open into the night. The series, Nightshift, observes the inviting glow that emanates from Shanghai’s after-hours operations in addition to showcasing those that staff the small shops during the humid evenings. Flowers, carbonated beverages, cell phone cases, and ripe citrus are just some of the illuminated items that appear in the suite of works. You can see more images from Nightshift on Mueller’s website and Behance, and follow his travels on Instagram.

         

 

 

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