Thinkspace Presents 'Cluster Fudge': A New Body of Paintings and Articulated Figures by Reen Barrera
Candid, passionate, and uninhibited, Ohlala is the character at the center of Reen Barrera‘s practice. The recurring figure functions as a vessel for the artist’s own experiences and emotions, which culminate in portraits rendered in acrylic, oil, aerosol and wooden figurines that stand a few inches tall or stretch to imposing heights. “There is this idiom that says ‘it’s written all over your face,’ which gave me an idea that regardless of what we say, our true feelings can still be emancipated by our facial expressions,” the Paris-born artist says in a statement. “For me, it’s a silent way of communicating something without noise.”
To convey the characters’ wildly varied emotions, Barrera subtly shifts the form, materials, and colorful motifs: Ohlala often wears hoods with animal ears and patchwork clothing with chunky, uneven seams; an amalgam of abstract patterns and small botanics coat the figure’s face; and oversized hands display unambiguous gestures. The artist leaves drips, splashes, and other mistakes visible, too, adding to the unmediated theme of his works.
If you’re in Los Angeles, you can see Ohlala’s many moods as part of a sold-out show titled Cluster Fudge on view at Thinkspace Projects through June 26—the gallery spoke with Barrera at length about the works in a recent interview. You can also watch the studio tour below, and check out his site and follow him on Instagram.
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Preserved Grasses and Twigs Radiate Outward in Delicately Embroidered Sculptures by Artist Kazuhito Takadoi
Artist Kazuhito Takadoi (previously) tames the unruly grasses, leaves, and twigs grown in his garden by weaving the individual strands into exquisite radial sculptures. Stitched into paper or bound to wooden discs made of cedar of Lebanon, oak, elm, or walnut, the abstract forms hover between two and three dimensions and utilize traditional Japanese bookbinding techniques to secure the threads. Each artwork, whether an intricately overlapping mass or pair of circular sculptures, is an act of preservation and a study of inevitable transformation: although the materials won’t decompose entirely, subtle shifts in color and texture occur as they age. “As the light changes or the point of view is moved, so the shadows will create a new perspective,” the artist says.
Born in Nagoya, Japan, Takadoi is currently based in the U.K. His meticulously woven works will be on view from June 22 to 29 at Artefact in Chelsea Harbor, and you can find a larger collection of his pieces on Artsy and jaggedart.
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Thin ribbons of porcelain ripple across the surfaces of Alice Walton’s abstract sculptures. Gently sloped domes and pillars are covered in countless individual strips, which vary in thickness and length and add irregular texture and depth to the finished pieces. “Every mark I make, whether this be a tool mark or a fingerprint, are preserved in the firing and are not covered or coated or inhibited by a glaze,” the artist writes. “I want the viewer to be able to look at my sculptures from afar and to have one perception of the surface (and) then want to explore closer. On a nearer inspection, the surface decoration reveals layers of multiple colours and time spent through process.”
Focusing on the meditative qualities of repetition, Walton combines pastels and vibrant Earth tones to evoke the sights of her surrounding environment and travels. “The vividly painted sun-bleached street walls and the monsoon-drenched temples, to me, instantly resembled the dry powdery palette of coloured clays,” she shares about a visit to Rajasthan, India. Her choices in pigment still revolve around what she sees on a daily basis—these range from old maps to the seasonal landscapes nearby her studio in Somerset, U.K.—that result in undulating stripes or bold gradients composed with more than 40 colors in “Clements Shade.”
At the 2019 British Ceramics Biennial, Walton was awarded a residency with Wedgwood, where she’s currently working on a new series of sculptural vessels made from the English company’s traditional Jasper clay. Those pieces will be shown at the 2021 biennial in September. She’ll also have work at London’s Chelsea Design Centre from June 22 to 29 and at MAKE Hauser & Wirth Somerset in November. Until then, explore more of her sculptures on her site and Instagram. (via Seth Rogan)
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Land and sea creatures alike overrun a new exhibition at Le Stanze Del Vetro in Venice. Titled The Glass Ark, the eclectic bestiary—among the more than 750 animals on view are elephants, hippos, cats, giraffes, polar bears, parrots, and poodles adorned with bows—is the expansive collection of art historian and former Louvre president Pierre Rosenberg.
For thirty years, Rosenberg gathered the lustrous sculptures during regular trips to Venice, a region with a long history of innovative techniques and a hub for glassblowing since the 13th Century. Charming and playfully expressive, the Murano glass pieces diverge from similar collections produced in other media. “They never display fierce poses, which are typical of more traditional animalier sculptures,” a statement says, “and above all, they are never conceived as a toy.”
In addition to Rosenberg’s collection, The Glass Ark also features pieces from artists working today, including Cristiano Bianchin, Marcantonio Brandolini d’Adda, Franck Ehrler, Massimo Nordio, Isabelle Poilprez, Maria Grazia Rosin, and Giorgio Vigna. It runs both in-person and virtually through August 1. (via designboom)
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Bulging hunks of glaze and smooth, speckled drips flow from Brian Rochefort’s chunky ceramic sculptures. The Los Angeles-based artist continues his signature abstract style in a newer series of paint cans and oozing vessels, many of which resemble the crusty remnants of volcanic eruptions. Rochefort builds each piece from a combination of clay, glaze, and glass fragments through multiple rounds of firing in the kiln. The final assemblages are literally overflowing with speckles, gloopy lumps, and delicately cracked patches all layered in a kaleidoscope of color and texture.
In a note to Colossal, the artist describes his process as multi-faceted with a diverse array of influences that range from visual to intellectual and historical. The most important, though, are from travel and experiences outside of his studio or gallery spaces. “My work is generated from numerous trips to remote areas in Latin America and Africa such as the Bolivian Amazon, Ecuador, Peru, and Colombia. I think of myself as an authentic abstract artist and place importance behind the criticality of experiencing these environments in person,” he says.
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Spread across the 1,700 acres at The Morton Arboretum just outside of Chicago are five enormous figures by Cape Town-based artist Daniel Popper (previously). Constructed of wood, glass-reinforced concrete, fiberglass, and steel, the looming sculptures stand out against the verdant landscape and pay homage to nature’s endurance and diversity, particularly the 220,000 individual specimens growing on the grounds. Human+Nature is Popper’s largest exhibition to date.
The female figures, four of which are shown here, vary in pose, material, and overall aesthetic. “Hallow,” which stands at the arboretum’s entrance, is a poetic sculpture evocative of the fern-canopied installation the artist unveiled late last year in Fort Lauderdale. “Sentient,” on the other hand, surrounds a central bust with a surreal assemblage of facial features depicted on angled hunks of wood. Each is constructed at a monumental scale, standing up to 26 feet tall and weighing multiple metric tons.
Human+Nature opens May 28 at the arboretum and will remain on display for at least one year. Find more of Popper’s massive artworks in addition to glimpses into his process on Instagram.
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Highlights below. For the full collection click here.