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Art

Monumental Installations by Henrique Oliveira Explore the Eerie Nature of Architecture

April 27, 2022

Kate Mothes

“Desnatureza” (2011). All images courtesy of the artist and shared with permission

Erupting from floors, doorways, and furniture, artist Henrique Oliveira’s artworks (previously) are a remarkable comment on the relationship between the built environment and the power of nature. In installations that explore the relationship between reality and otherworldly spectacle, enormous wooden limbs and vine-like forms emerge from walls and ceilings that have been cracked, broken, and twisted around the emerging growth, unable to contain it.

Oliveira uses various readymade and organic materials such as bricks, wood, PVC, tree branches, mud, and other found items. He has incorporated tapumes, a Portuguese term for “enclosure” or “boarding,” which is typical of the plywood fencing installed around his home city of São Paulo that becomes weathered and varied in color and texture.

Pieces range in size from a few feet, such as furniture works like “Chest of Drawers,” to immense installations that sprawl across expansive exhibition spaces. Some of his largest works, such as “Transarquitetonica,” have been experienced by walking around the exterior or venturing inside. In this piece, the opening of a tunnel mimics the contemporary architecture of the Museu de Arte Contemporânea building in São Paulo. It then gradually transforms into a series of woody paths, giving the impression of exploring different routes inside a giant tree’s tangled limbs.

Many of Oliveira’s works are permanently on view around the world, and you can find more information on his website and on Instagram.

 

“Dead Fire,” (2012)

“Chest of Drawers” (2013)

“Transarquitetonica” (2014). Image by Everton Ballardin

Interior of “Transarquitetonica” (2014). Image by Everton Ballardin

“Corner Prolapse” (2009)

“Sisyphus Casemate” (2018)

“Xilonoma Chamusquius 2” (2012). Image by Everton Ballardin

Foreground: “Desnatureza 2” (2014). Image by Nash Baker

“Xilonoma Chamusquius 3” (2012)

“Baitogogo” (2013). Image by André Morin

 

 

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Art

An Abandoned Farmhouse Transformed Into a Life-Size Dollhouse by Heather Benning Reflects on Ideas of Home

April 22, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Heather Benning, shared with permission

A sight familiar to those who travel along the old roads and by-ways of the North American countryside, an abandoned farmhouse is a touching reminder of changes in the landscape and the people who live there. Based in rural Saskatchewan, artist Heather Benning has spent the last several years making work that explores themes related to the impact of large-scale, industrialized agriculture on local communities, family farms, and a sense of home. In 2007, this took the shape of “The Dollhouse,” a monumental artwork constructed within a dilapidated homestead near the tiny town of Sinclair, Manitoba, that had been empty since the 1960s.

Benning removed the north wall of the building and replaced it with large sheets of plexiglass so that viewers could peer inside just like a child’s dollhouse, but it could only be viewed from the exterior⁠—there was no way to venture inside. Vintage furniture and objects were placed throughout vividly painted rooms that could be illuminated at night. Like a stage set eerily devoid of people, she wanted to explore ideas around presence and absence. “By sealing the house and keeping the audience at a remove, viewers were forced to take note of what generates a sense of home. I think ‘The Dollhouse’ aims to speak to our profound desire for re-connection with place,” she shares with Colossal.

The house stood until 2013 when, as part of the original idea for the project, it was burned to the ground. In a short film made in collaboration with filmmaker Chad Galloway, the camera documents the fire as it engulfs the house completely, prompting the viewer to consider the unique grief of losing a home. The artist adds, “This is maybe particularly poignant at a time when we’re increasingly losing our home-places to unfettered industry and climate change.”

Prints of “The Dollhouse” are available for purchase from the Benning’s website, and the film is available to view alongside recent work that continues to explore similar themes. You can also follow her work on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Paper Sculptures by Roberto Benavidez Reenvision Common Birds and Fantastical Creatures as Metallic Piñatas

April 21, 2022

Grace Ebert

‘”Javelina Girl (Illumianted Piñata No. 14).” All images © Roberto Benavidez, shared with permission

At once fantastically imaginative and embedded in tradition, the shimmering piñatas that comprise Roberto Benavidez’s body of work expand the boundaries of the conventionally festive object. The Los Angeles-based artist (previously) cuts skinny, triangular strips of material that he attaches to paper mache forms in the shape of birds, hybrid animals, and otherworldly creatures. His metallic works often address questions of identity—the artist speaks about this further in a Colossal interview—particularly considerations of gender and sexuality through the lens of his layered forms.

Benavidez’s gynandromorphs series, for example, reenvisions the phenomenon in common bird species by splicing male and female bodies together into a mirrored sculpture—three of these pieces will be on view through June 14 at The Loft at Liz’s in Los Angeles. He’s also continuing his renditions of Hieronymous Bosch characters and illuminated manuscripts, the latter of which includes the polka-dotted wildcat and portly, tusked “Javelina Girl” shown above. While drawing on centuries-old works, narratives, and myths in these series, each piñata is the artist’s reinterpretation of the classic iconography and themes into an inventive, contemporary form.

In the coming months, a few of Benavidez’s birds will be on view at Heron Arts, and the group exhibition devoted to piñatas that opened last fall at Craft in America will be traveling to the Mingei International Museum in San Diego. Follow news about upcoming opportunities to see his sculptures in person on Instagram.

 

“Illuminated Piñata No. 19”

“Scarlet Glossy Ibis (Halfbreed No. 1)”

“Spotted Wildcat Piñata (Illuminated Piñata No. 17)”

“Pug on Pig”

“Gynandromorph Phainopepla”

“Oyster or Snail? (Birdr No. 1)”

Detail of ‘”Javelina Girl (Illuminated Piñata No. 14)”

“California Quail”

 

 



Art Craft

Spikes, Rusted Wire, and Scissors Bind Shattered Porcelain in Sculptures by Glen Taylor

April 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Glen Taylor, shared with permission

A visual metaphor for imperfection and the possibilities of repair, the porcelain sculptures created by Ohio-based artist Glen Taylor (previously) are steeped in contrast. Soldered spikes confront the gilded, floral designs on a stack of teacups, a rusted pair of scissors binds shards of a plate, and wire restrains a concrete hand as it lurches from dinnerware. In his most recent pieces, Taylor also draws on his background in ceramics, creating the witty “Introvert Mug” with the handle strategically placed inside the vessel.

Some of the artist’s antagonistic sculptures are included in Overdose, a group exhibition at Design Museum Holon, and you can peruse an archive of his works on Instagram.

 

“Detached”

“What Heals You”

“Introvert Mug”

“The Reluctance”

 

 



Art

Globular Reliefs and Drippy Mounds Comprise a Technicolor Collection of Dan Lam’s Sculptures

April 20, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Stephanie Chefas Projects, shared with permission

Armed with polyurethane foam, epoxy resin, and acrylic, artist Dan Lam (previously) sculpts technicolor forms that ooze, bubble, and trickle in long drips. She layers materials into masses of neon color progressions and textured blobs, forming amorphous puddles and mounds with cavernous insides.

Lam’s solo show Personal Legend expands the artist’s repertoire to include perfectly round reliefs with concentric gradients. Created by pouring and spreading resin over the foundational shape—head to Lam’s Instagram to dive into the process—the wall-based works are coated in droplets that bead on the surface. Mesmerizing in dimension and vibrant color palette, the resulting sculptures are displayed as single circles or large, sprawling clusters.

Personal Legend is on view through May 7 at Stephanie Chefas Projects in Portland.

 

 

 



Craft

Colorful Characters Emerge From Chunks of Timber in Whimsical Toys by Wood You Mind

April 19, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Parn Aniwat

Texas-based Thai artist Parn Aniwat, who also goes by Wood You Mind, hews charming figures from timber, embellished in bright colors and playful outfits. Ranging from about four to eight inches tall, each unique character has a distinct personality, whether it’s a sweet face emerging from an owl costume, a bee sitting in a flower, or a vibrantly striped whale. Using traditional tools like a small hatchet and chisel knife, every piece begins with a rough sketch of the design before the contours and details are revealed by chipping small pieces away. The artist then applies vivid splashes of acrylic paint to bring the character’s sparkling eyes and rosy cheeks to life.

Aniwat shares quite a bit of work on Instagram, where you can see snippets of his process and stay tuned for announcements about commission opportunities. Shop available pieces on Etsy. (via Design You Trust)

 

 

 

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