Elegantly Sculpted Busts by Massimiliano Pelletti Interpret Art History Through Imperfection
Italian artist Massimiliano Pelletti (previously) gravitates toward imperfection, and his practice revolves around transforming presumed defects like impurities, cracks, or chips into elegantly carved figures. Pink marble sliced to reveal the stone’s pillowy, crystalline insides bisects the artist’s interpretation of Venus de Medici, while in “Blue Venus,” marbled sodalite and Mexican white onyx are spliced together into a fully formed bust. Contrasting smooth segments with the rough texture of unpolished stone, Pelletti evokes art history and ancient sculpture traditions through the lens of flaw and fallibility.
This focus on the material determines much of the artist’s work—his studio is conveniently located in Pietrasanta near caves filled with the precious stones he utilizes—in addition to the way green onyx or black marble, for example, interacts with light. Understanding absorption, reflection, and illumination has grounded his practice and is a skill he’s developed for decades. He explains:
When I was a child, I used to go downstairs to my grandfather’s studio, and I could find him working marble, always next to the same window; from there, during certain hours, a magical light entered that could make the sculpture almost alive, with a soul. When I pointed it out to him, he answered me: “My dear, the light is so important. There are some works that should be sold with the window that lights them up”.
Pelletti is currently working toward a solo show slated for May 2023 in London, in addition to a series of sculptures set for display in a public square in Italy. Until then, follow his practice on Instagram.
Share this story
In ‘The Boy Who Wanted to Fly,’ Sentrock Imagines the Origin of His Signature Bird Character
Wander through Chicago’s streets, and you’re bound to encounter one of Sentrock’s signature bird characters (previously). Disguised in a red mask with big eyes and round, pink cheeks, the boy is curious, imaginative, and playful, often seen interacting with animals, daydreaming, or riding a bike. The fictional figure is also the artist’s expression of strength and hope, particularly as it relates to his own childhood in the Mexican-American community of the city’s Pilsen neighborhood.
An ongoing exhibition at Elmhurst Art Museum celebrates the character and his lineage through sculptures, installations, paintings, and murals. Drawing on Sentrock’s background in street art and graffiti, The Boy Who Wanted to Fly spreads several narratives across the galleries. A massive, ten-foot sculpture lounges on artificial turf, and smaller, colorful paintings help compose the figure’s origin story. At the center of one gallery is a child-sized birdhouse cloaked in the artist’s stylized renderings, with vibrant works on paper taped to the inside walls. Interactive lightswitches transform the interior into a vividly colorful playhouse. A final gallery culminates in a wall-sized animation that brings Sentrock’s work to life for the first time, and as a whole, the collection is an homage to Sentrock’s upbringing and “a gesture of compassion for his community.”
The Boy Who Wanted to Fly is on view through January 15, 2023. Follow the artist’s work and news about future limited-edition prints and sculptures—keep an eye out for a special merch release in the Elmhurst gift shop in early December—on Instagram.
Share this story
Vintage Baubles and Foliage Encircle the Enchanting Glass Dioramas of Artist Amber Cowan
In her solo show Gathering the Sky, Mining the Milk, Amber Cowan emphasizes the legacy of color. Through intricately layered dioramas of pressed glass, the Philadelphia-based artist explores the histories of lavender, jade, and opaque white. Her assemblages meld custom and found pieces sourced from primarily defunct factories in the United States, many of which produced a specific palette of colors like the sky blue of “Ecco to the Bridesmaid: ‘I Know Not What Has Happened to Your Pod.” Comprised of two symmetrically shaped panels, the diptych blends an array of materials and generational references, including the 1992 Sega video game Ecco the Dolphin and the emblem of Louis Comfort Tiffany, the artist behind the iconic opalescent stained glass lamps.
Similar to Cowan’s earlier works, these new reliefs are brimming with foliage, flowers, and small baubles that encircle a scenic component embedded in the center. Figurative statues like the artist’s recurring bridesmaid character, miniature bird sculptures, chalices, and Greco-style columns infuse the pieces with narrative detail.
Gathering the Sky, Mining the Milk is on view through November 19 at Heller Gallery in New York. Find more of Cowan’s work on Instagram.
Share this story
Innumerable Layers of Glass Evoke Movement in Nature in K. William Lequier’s Sculptures
Crashing waves and ice crystals sprawling across a window pane are two of the naturally occurring motions reflected in the works of K. William LeQuier (previously). Based in Readsboro, Vermont, LeQuier carefully layers carved sheet glass into delicate sculptures that twist and writhe atop minimal black armature. The overlapped material varies in opacity, with the outer details often appearing paler in color and the dense portions emitting a blue-green hue.
LeQuier shares that he’s been experimenting with aspects of perspective and depth to create the illusion of three dimensions despite working within a narrow field. Find an archive of the artist’s work on his site.
Share this story
Gnarled Driftwood and Branches Swell from Tiny Carved Cabins in Jonah Meyer’s Sculptures
Evoking clouds and wispy trails of smoke, hunks of gnarled driftwood emerge from Jonah Meyer’s sculptures. The Hudson Valley-based artist carves small cabins with smooth siding and tiny doorways that directly contrast the twisted branches and knobby bark that appear to billow from their chimneys. Originally conceived in 2008, the works capture the relationship between the natural and human-made and comprise the artist’s Better Homes series, which he began while building a house in the Catskills.
In addition to his practice, Meyer is also behind the furniture brand Sawkille Co. You can find more of his sculptures on his site.
Share this story
Quaint and Deceptive Hand-Drawn Installations Question the Concept of Home and Belonging
Our understandings of home are fundamentally personal, determined by an evolving mélange of factors like location, culture, and the people in our lives. Born in Estonia to a Siberian family and later educated in France, artist Anastasia Parmson has long considered this idea and what it means to feel at ease within a space. “I feel like my concept of home is always evolving alongside my practice and my personal experiences,” she tells Colossal. “I do still see drawing as a form of home that I create for myself—a little space where I feel like I truly belong.”
Now living and working in Sydney, Parmson continues to question what creates that sense of comfort and connection by envisioning living areas and bedrooms as a sort of blank canvas. She paints walls, furniture sourced from resale shops or trash bins, and domestic objects like coffee mugs and potted monsteras in white and then draws details in black. Custom vinyl flooring with hand-rendered wood grain and wall panels line the perimeters, and the life-sized works often feature quaint, cozy details like patterned rugs and billowing drapes, in addition to pop culture references through books and framed artworks.
Falling at the intersection of two and three dimensions, the immersive installations are minimal in execution—based on the humble line drawn in a monochromatic palette—in an effort to define the contours of the concept while leaving the specifics open for interpretation and evolution. She explains:
What if home is not defined by an address, a space, or a geographical location? What if, instead, it is defined by the people in our lives? Maybe home is not a place, but a person. That feeling of being truly seen and understood by someone. That feeling of timelessness and ease when you reconnect with an old friend after many long years and realise that you can pick up the conversation as if no time has gone by at all. Maybe home is inter-personal connections and a sense of togetherness.
Parmson’s works are on view in several group exhibitions this fall, including through October 30 at Bendigo Art Gallery, through December 11 at Grafton Regional Gallery, and from October 12 to November 20 at Woollahra Gallery. She will also host a studio sale of smaller pieces in the coming months, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates.
Share this story
Editor's Picks: Art
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.