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Art

A Socially Anxious Character Disguises Itself As Owls, Pigeons, and Other Birds in Textured Sculptures by Calvin Ma

November 4, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Comfort Zone,” ceramic with glaze, 12.5 x 7 x 7 inches. All images © Calvin Ma, courtesy of Foster/White Gallery, shared with permission

In his ongoing series titled Blend In: Making Home, artist Calvin Ma (previously) conveys an incessant need to belong through a quirky character camouflaging itself as different birds. From owls to pigeons to Mandarin ducks, the precisely hued costumes envelop the figure in a mass of feathers and scaled footwear. The artist textures the ceramic sculptures by hand, etching countless lines into every plume.

Each species represents an emotion or experience tied to social anxiety, which Ma bolsters with corresponding environments, like a birch cage or flower-lined nest. “Being shy, timid, and a bit socially awkward is something that will always be a part of me. The goal is to come to terms with it and grow from it,” the artist says of his own experience.

If you’re in Seattle, head to Foster/White Gallery where Ma’s anthropomorphic pieces are on view through November 21. To see the works-in-progress, check out the artist’s Instagram.

 

“In The Wind,” ceramic with glaze, 13 x 11 x 8 inches

“Break Free,” ceramic with glaze, 13 x 9 x 9 inches

Left: “Making Home,” ceramic with glaze, 17 x 12 x 9 inches. Right: “Out of the Woods,” ceramic with glaze, 11 x 6 x 6 inches

“First Step,” ceramic with glaze, 14 x 7 x 6 inches

“Hover,” ceramic with glaze, 14 x 10 x 8 inches

Left: “Nesting,” ceramic with glaze, 10 x 7 x 6 inches. Right: “Time And Again,” ceramic with glaze, 12 x 11 x 8 inches

“Fleeting,” ceramic with glaze, 16 x 29 x 8 inches

 

 



Art

Human-Bird Hybrid Sculptures by Calvin Ma Interpret Social Experiences

July 2, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“This Is Me Today”, all images courtesy of Calvin Ma

Sculptor Calvin Ma channels his experience of social anxiety into imaginative ceramic sculptures that fuse human characters with birds. The avian elements act as suits of armor, protecting the person from the outside world, and reflect Ma’s personality in fight or flight situations. Carefully articulated feathers cover the surface of each sculpture, from the mask-like bird headdresses to the arms and torso of the humanoid figure. In previous bodies of work, the artist has used houses as his metaphor with walls, windows, and chimneys forming the protective outer shell of each sculpture.

“I never really felt comfortable in my own skin in social settings, so I created these characters to help tell stories about it,” Ma tells Colossal. “Each piece is meant to act out a specific social anxiety related experience. I try not to get too dark or serious with the work and really try to have fun with it.”

The Bay Area-based artist has a two-person show with Erika Sanada (who is also married to Ma) at Sherrie Gallerie in Columbus, Ohio from July 28 to September 3, 2019, and a solo exhibition at Antler Gallery in Portland, Oregon opening on November 28. Alongside these shows, Ma will also be sharing pieces in at SOFA Expo in Chicago and at Haven Gallery in Long Island, in late October and mid-December, respectively. You can explore more of the artist’s sculptures on Instagram.

“Butterflies”

“In The Clouds”

“One Of The Crowd”

“Flight”

“Caught Up”

“Bloom”

“Take The Leap”

“Forager”

 

 



Design

An Owl-Shaped Cabin Invites You to Sleep off the Grid in Bordeaux, France

July 7, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

A cluster of three hollow wooden owls peer out from the end of a dock in Bordeaux, France, connected from within to form a two-story cabin. The Watchers was designed and built by Zebra3, a local contemporary art production company. The design was inspired by the small owls that nest on the ground in the surrounding marsh, with shingles to match their feathery heads.

“The idea of ​​birds came to me very quickly,” said Candice Petrillo, Zebra3’s key designer on the project. “After the last extension of the commercial zone, I saw migrants swirling around in the sky, looking for the old dried wetland. The nod of animal eye and the curve of the object are a tribute to the sculptors François Pompon and François-Xavier Lalanne.”

The structure is a part of a series of unique buildings scattered throughout the region, cabins that invite guests to spend the night for free in order to encourage hiking and exploration. The project, Les Refuges Périurbains is a collaboration between Zebra3 and Bruit du Frigo. You can see more of the area’s cabins on Les Refuges Périurbains’ website, including this lakeside home shaped like a cloud. (via Inhabitant)

 

 



Photography

An Owl Flying Straight into a Camera Looks like a Hovering Spaceship

November 4, 2014

Christopher Jobson

owl-1

British photographer Russell Savory captured this amazing shot earlier this summer of an owl flying directly toward his camera. With its wings pulled back, it looks like a hovering two-eyed spaceship. Though don’t let the perspective fool you, Savory was shooting from a distance with a 600mm telephoto lens.