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Art History Illustration Science

Explore Hundreds of Exquisite Botanical Collages Created by an 18th-Century Septuagenarian Artist

February 5, 2023

Grace Ebert

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

All images via The British Museum

At age 72, Mary Delany (1700-1788) devoted herself to her art practice, taking up a form of decoupage to create an exquisite collection of botanical collages from dyed and cut paper. She interpreted many of the delicate specimens she encountered in Buckinghamshire while staying with her friend, the Duchess of Portland, through layered pieces on black backdrops. From the wispy clover-like leaves of an oxalis plant to the wildly splayed petals of the daffodil, the realistic works are both stunning for their beauty and faithfulness to the original lifeforms.

Known for her scientific precision, Delany labeled each specimen with the plant’s taxonomic and common names, the date, location of creation, name of the donor, and a collection number, the latter of which was used to organize all 985 collages in her Flora Delanica series. Together, the works create a vast and diverse florilegium, or compilation of botanicals and writings in the tradition of commonplace books.

The British Museum houses most of Delany’s collages, which you can explore in an interactive archive that has information about the plants, artworks, and the option to zoom in on images of the pieces. You also might enjoy The Paper Garden, a book that delves into the artist’s work and what it means to foster a creative practice.

 

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

A scan of a botanical collage made of paper

 

 

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Art Craft

Miniature Ships Sail Atop Asya Kozina’s Extravagant Baroque Wigs of White Paper

February 3, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of two people modeling elaborate paper wigs topped with sea scenes

All images © Asya Kozina, shared with permission

Artist Asya Kozina is known for her elaborate paper wigs that soar into the air with scenes of miniature metropolises and various botanical frills, coils, and pleats. Referencing the ominous tale of the Flying Dutchman, Kozina’s latest collection transports wearers to the sea with fleets of ships that sail across the cut-and-folded headdresses. The legend states that seeing the vessel portends imminent danger, a sense of mystery and hazard the artist juxtaposes with blossoming botanicals and butterflies full of life.

Kozina is based in Ukraine, and in a note to Colossal, she shares that Russia’s ongoing aggression has necessarily paused her practice as she focuses on volunteer efforts and caring for her family.  “We are in a state of more or less stress,” she says. “My attention is focused on air alarms and news and correspondence with relatives in other cities of Ukraine. At the same time, we pretend that we have a normal life… It’s completely surreal.”

You can find more about Kozina’s work and support her practice on her siteBehance,and Instagram.

 

A photo of a person modeling an elaborate paper wigs topped with florals

A detail photo of an elaborate paper wigs topped with sea scenes

A photo of a person modeling an elaborate paper wigs topped with a sea scene

A photo of a person modeling an elaborate paper wigs topped with a sea scene

A detail photo of an elaborate paper wigs topped with a sea scene

A photo of a person modeling an elaborate paper wigs topped with a sea scene

A detail photo of an elaborate paper wigs topped with a sea scene

A detail photo of an elaborate paper wigs topped with a sea scene

 

 



Art Craft

Dramatic Flora and Fauna Emerge from Maude White’s Exquisitely Detailed Cut Paper Sculptures

January 23, 2023

Kate Mothes

All images © Maude White, shared with permission

Created from single pieces of paper, Maude White’s sculptures (previously) reveal the veins of petals and leaves, braided locks, and vivid animal portraits. Making countless tiny incisions on archival sheets with a size 11 blade, the artist begins by referencing a photograph and creating a loose sketch to maintain general dimensions. She then carefully selects the location of the first cut, telling Colossal that “every cut expands outward from there, and I have to make sure that the piece can maintain its integrity when complete and not fall apart.”

White continues to pursue nature as a subject, focusing on expressive animals and diverse flora. “I will always come back to my love of elephants and flowers,” she says, sharing that she has been experimenting with new forms that are less visually literal. The net-like, “sketchy” composition pictured below appears at first glance like a bird’s nest, but upon closer inspection, an elephant’s eye and trunk emerge. “I really enjoyed this piece, and it was quite a challenge to design and execute!” she says.

In December 2022, White published Resilience Alchemya deck and guidebook featuring her artwork that focuses on creative self-discovery and empowerment. “I’m really proud of this project, and even though it’s a departure from the more intricate cut-paper work, it explores resilience in a way that I think can be helpful and hopeful for a lot of people,” she says. Find a copy on Bookshop, and keep an eye out for a new deck slated for release this December. Follow White’s updates on Instagram, and explore more work on her website.

 

Photograph by Melissa Hope

 

 

 

 

 



Art Craft

From Junk Drawers to Phone Books, Artist Bernie Kaminski Captures the Nostalgia of Banal Items Through Papier-Mâché

January 13, 2023

Grace Ebert

A photo of a paper mache junk drawer

All images © Bernie Kaminski, courtesy of Turn Gallery, shared with permission

A stack of worn phone books, a neatly folded button-up, and a junk drawer filled with receipts, batteries, and takeout remnants capture the playful nostalgia of Bernie Kaminski’s papier-mâché sculptures. The artist, who began working with the humble craft after his daughter brought home a seahorse she made in school, is driven largely by curiosity and a desire to explore the potential of the material, and he tends to recreate the objects he finds around his home. An orange dutch oven sits atop a shelving unit stocked with pantry items and cookbooks, for example, and books like Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White and John Berger’s A Painter of Our Time find their place among other classic texts.

Kaminski gravitates toward authentic interpretations of generally banal items, although the subtle ripples and creases of the material remain visible. He generally coats a cardboard and tape base with the wet papier-mâché, before letting it dry and painting on logos, signatures, and other details. Imbued with a playful sense of nostalgia, the sculptures “look fake in a way that somehow reflects how I feel about the real thing,” the artist tells It’s Nice That.

Be sure to visit Kaminski’s Instagram for an archive of the lighthearted wares. (via Kottke)

 

A photo of paper mache phone books and a phone

A photo of a paper mache boombox

A photo of a paper mache t-shirt

A photo of a paper mache pantry

A photo of paper mache books

A photo of a paper mache button up

A detail photo of a paper mache junk drawer

 

 



Art Craft Design

Precise Details and Architectural Contrasts Highlight Layla May Arthur’s Narrative Paper Sculptures

January 13, 2023

Kate Mothes

An architectural sculpture made of paper.

“Where We All Meet” (2022), paper sculpture, 1 x 1 x 1 meter. All images © Layla May Arthur, shared with permission

Wielding the fundamentals of set design, Layla May Arthur assembles elaborate architectural spaces and visual narratives from paper. The Netherlands-based artist focuses on the interplay between light and shadow in intricate, three-dimensional dioramas that emphasize storytelling in window displays, brand identities, and gallery presentations. In pieces ranging from delicate, individual sculptures of staircases to large-scale, immersive installations, she instills a sense that the viewer is a part of the interactions of figures within each scene.

Since graduating from university in 2021, Arthur has focused on projects that emulate the visual drama of theatrical presentations, setting the stage for products in boutique windows and brand collaborations in addition to museum exhibitions. “I really enjoy being able to handcraft artworks to be used in photoshoots or installations where my work reaches an audience who might not ordinarily seek out art in an art space,” she tells Colossal. “I have had incredible clients so far who have given me huge creative freedom in acting as both art director and artist.”

Arthur emphasizes each incision, angle, and pattern of the meticulously cut pieces of white paper by spotlighting or illuminating from within. “I love being able to create an artistic experience which is part of the everyday and highlights the possibilities of craftsmanship,” she says.

Find more of Arthur’s work on her website, Behance, and Instagram, where she often shares videos of her process.

 

An architectural sculpture made of paper, illuminated from within.

“THE STORYTELLER, THE LISTENER, AND OUR STORY” (2021), paper and light Installation

An architectural sculpture made of paper.

“Where We All Meet” (2022)

Two images of an architectural sculpture made of paper.

Details of “Where We All Meet” (2022)

An architectural sculpture made of paper.

“Shop Window Set Design for Mary Jane Schoenenboetiek” (2021), paper sculpture

Two images of an architectural sculpture made of paper, illuminated from within.

Details of “THE STORYTELLER, THE LISTENER, AND OUR STORY” (2021)

A detail of an architectural sculpture made of paper, illuminated from within.

Detail of “THE STORYTELLER, THE LISTENER, AND OUR STORY” (2021)

A detail of an architectural sculpture made of paper, illuminated from within.

Detail of “THE STORYTELLER, THE LISTENER, AND OUR STORY” (2021)

n architectural sculpture made of paper, illuminated from within. Pictured with two people peering up at it.

Detail of “THE STORYTELLER, THE LISTENER, AND OUR STORY” (2021)

An architectural sculpture of a staircase made of paper, photographed on a teal paisley background.

“Forgotten Places – Remembered“ (2022), paper sculptures, 20 x 20 centimeters

A detail of an architectural sculpture made of paper.

Detail of “Shop Window Set Design for Mary Jane Schoenenboetiek” (2021), paper sculpture

A large-scale papercut artwork featuring a narrative of Jersey.

“Jersey; My Childhood Home” (2019), paper cutting, circumference 754 centimeters x 200 centimeters

The panels of a large-scale papercut artwork featuring a narrative of Jersey.

Panels from “Jersey; My Childhood Home”

An installation view of a large-scale papercut artwork featuring a narrative of Jersey.

Installation view of “Jersey; My Childhood Home”

 

 



Art

Ann Weber Elevates Discarded Cardboard Boxes and Staples to New Heights in Billowing Sculptures

January 12, 2023

Kate Mothes

An abstract sculpture made out of discarded cardboard.

“You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows” (2020), cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 101 x 44 x 20 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano

Exemplifying the possibilities of combining humble materials with a good dose of resourcefulness, Ann Weber’s monumental sculptures find their beginnings in discarded cardboard boxes. The San Pedro, California-based artist parlayed her training in ceramics into a focus on the everyday material, initially inspired by architect Frank Gehry’s cardboard chairs, which transformed utilitarian, heavyweight paper into structurally sound and visually appealing functional objects. Weber echoed a similar intention when she decided to eliminate the inherently cumbersome process and weight of clay in exchange for a lightweight material that could be scaled up.

The artist scours the neighborhoods of Los Angeles for boxes, paying special attention to those with printed surfaces; she carefully considers the colors of graphics and text and incorporates them into the overall composition of each work. In the studio, she begins by building an armature with larger pieces of cardboard to create the silhouette. She then applies layers of strips cut from other boxes and staples them into place in a repetitive, textured pattern.

While the forms billow, bulge, and tower overhead, the artist doesn’t want to obscure the ubiquitous material; instead, Weber invites the viewer to consider the substance in a way they might not otherwise, saying “cardboard has taken on more complex meaning in the 21st century with the hyper-capitalistic proliferation of excess shipping materials.” Paper accounts for more than a quarter of the waste in landfills globally. “The sculptures can be viewed as a critique of contemporary consumerist culture, but that is not my sole intent,” she continues. “They are instilled with a psychological component neither entirely representational nor abstract, but something in between.”

Weber recently wrapped up a major exhibition at Wönzimer Gallery in Los Angeles. Explore more of her work on Instagram and her website.

 

An abstract sculpture made out of discarded cardboard.

“You’re My Butterfly” (2012), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 88 x 30 x 20 inches and 88 x 36 x 23 inches. Photo by Sibila Savage

Abstract sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

Left: The artist’s studio. Right: “Almost 16 & 15 and 1/2” (2002), found cardboard, staples, polyurethane, and steel base, 182 x 48 x 49 inches and 177 x 38 x 38 inches. Photo by M. Lee Fatherree

A series of abstract sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

“Gothic on Grand” (2018), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 98 x 166 x 14 inches. Photo by Ray Carafano

An abstract wall sculpture made out of discarded cardboard.

“Happiest Days of Our Lives” (2018), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 96 x 124 x 10 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano

An abstract sculpture on a plinth made out of discarded cardboard.

“Hallelujah” (2016), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 30 x 46 x 10 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano   

An abstract sculpture with yellow stripes made out of discarded cardboard.

“Pedro Boogie Woogie” (2019), cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 104 x 48 x 28 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano

An installation view in a gallery space of abstract sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

Installation view at Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco (2012). Photo by Sibila Savage

Ann Weber, artist, standing with a series of abstract, white sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.