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Art

Limp Balloons Slump Over Each Other in Pastel Sculptures by Artist Joe Davidson

September 3, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Untitled” (2020), cast tinted hydrocal, 9 x 9 x 4 inches. All images © Joe Davidson, shared with permission

In varying states of deflation, Joe Davidson’s pastel balloons sag, slump, and flop in every direction. The limp, elongated forms are stacked on top of one another in seemingly precarious piles and resemble latex tubes filled with days-old air. While the sculptures are playful in both color and form, the Los Angeles-based artist notes that they also hold earnest themes of masculinity and aging, two concepts he’s thinking about often.

Davidson prefers to explore new materials and those beyond the bronze, stone, and wood typically used in this medium. “I was in a period about ten years ago where I was working exclusively in Scotch tape,” he shares. His more recent interest has been in plaster, which he uses to make the balloons. “There’s something about the malleability, chalkiness, and its history that is always appealing,” he says.

Adding color has been a recent evolution and one Davidson is adjusting to still. “My work historically tends to be monochromatic, as I have usually decided to let the nature of the materials speak for themselves. However, there’s something tantalizing about the color pastel scheme (I hate pastel!). It’s awkward and pretty, enticing to touch and sarcastic at the same time,” he says.

For this particular series, the artist cites myriad references, including Jeff Koons’s balloon animals and Louise Bourgeois’s use of anthropomorphism. Overall, though, he often returns to the Dadaists and Italian Arte Povera, who “were always welcoming chance and randomness in their work,” he says.

They came from totally different viewpoints (Dada embracing the absurdity of existence post WWI and Arte Povera looking for the poetic in the mundane), but their processes really resonate with me. A critical part of the process is setting up certain parameters and letting the art fix and finish itself.  I exercise a lot of control in creating the framework for a work, but I always listen to what the material is telling me it wants to do.

To follow Davidson’s playful sculptures and get a peek into his studio, head to Instagram. (via swissmiss)

 

“Pig Pile” (2020), cast tinted hydrocal, 20 x 20 x 20 inches

“Pile On” (2020), cast tinted hydrocal, 17 x 8 x 9 inches

“Pretender” (2017), cast tinted hydrocal, rope, screws, 77 x 42 x 10 inches

Left: “Untitled” (2020), cast tinted hydrocal, 8 x 8 x 6 inches. Right: “Untitled” (2020), cast tinted hydrocal, 7 x 6 x 6 inches

“Pile On” (2020), cast tinted hydrocal, 17 x 8 x 9 inches

Left: “Untitled” (2020), cast tinted hydrocal, 7 x 6 x 5 inches. Right: “Untitled (Poufs)” (2020), cast tinted hydrocal, 14 x 8 x 8 inches

“Pretender” (2017), cast tinted hydrocal, rope, screws, 77 x 42 x 10 inches

 

 



Art Craft

New Plaster Cast Tiles That Immortalize Flowers and Veggies by Rachel Dein

April 14, 2016

Kate Sierzputowski

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Carrot by Rachel Dein, all images via the artist’s Etsy.

Rachel Dein (previously) chooses to immortalize plants that might otherwise wither away shortly after their appearance in the spring. Dein places theses flowers, vegetables, and foliage in arrangements within clay, making an impression of the plants before applying a layer of plaster. Once hardened, the initial clay is peeled way to reveal a relief formed by the delicate leaves and buds. A silicon rubber mold is then used to cast each tile in plaster using the shades of light white, green, or blue.

Dein sells her botanical work on her Etsy shop, a selection of which will be included in the Chelsea Flower Show this May, and in her first solo exhibition at Hampton Court this July. You can see more of her plant-based tiles on her Instagram.

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Honesty, Lavender, Californian Poppy, Clematis seed head, Salvia and Achillia in Blue Wedgwood

Honesty, Lavender, Californian Poppy, Clematis seed head, Salvia and Achillia in Blue Wedgwood

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

Long Carrot in Emerald Green Wedgwood

Long Carrot in Emerald Green Wedgwood

Cyclamens

Cyclamens

Daisy, Dandelion and Bramble in Blue Wedgwood

Daisy, Dandelion and Bramble in Blue Wedgwood

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Grasses

Honesty in Blue Wedgwood

Honesty in Blue Wedgwood

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Peas in Duck Egg Blue Wedgwood

 

 



Art Craft

Fossils from Everyday Life: Plaster Cast Plant Tiles by Rachel Dein

October 13, 2015

Christopher Jobson

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London-based artist Rachel Dein has spent the last few years perfecting the art of plaster casting, an admittedly straightforward process of pressing objects into clay and then filling the voids with combinations of plaster and concrete. However Dein’s time spent as a prop making apprentice for the English National Opera, The Globe Theatre, and The Royal Opera House, has greatly influenced her techniques, elevating a simple craft process into something else entirely.

Dein’s plaster cast tiles can be quite large, measuring nearly 16″ square (40 x 40cm) and are composed of unusual plant life including iberis, Welsh poppies, lilac, dicentra, hellebore and others. Each cast can only be used once, so every object is one-of-a-kind. “I enjoy the magic of plaster casting to create fossils from everyday life, whether it’s a shell found on holiday, your grandmother’s treasured lace, a Christening gown, or the flowers from your wedding,” she says.

Many of her plaster tiles are available for sale in her shop, and you can explore an archive of work in this gallery. Photos by Gerard Wiseman, Rachel Dein, and Andrew Montgomery. (via Lustik)

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