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Art

Natural Elements Emerge from Vintage Garments in Trompe L'oeil Sculptures by Artist Ron Isaacs

December 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

Left: “Up and Up” (2019), acrylic on birch plywood construction, 43 × 14 × 4 1/2 inches. Right: “Aviary” (2019), acrylic on birch plywood construction, 42 1/2 × 23 × 4 inches. All images © Ron Isaacs, shared with permission

Vintage clothing and nature collide in the trompe l’oeil works of Ron Isaacs (previously). Autumn leaves flow from a pastel pocketbook, songbirds emerge from a dress seam, and branches extend the length of formalwear. Despite appearing as fully formed sculptures complete with layered textiles and organic ephemera, the illusory works are constructed as reliefs with Finnish birch plywood that’s painted with matte acrylics.

Isaacs’s oeuvre is poetic and deliberately evasive as the Lexington-based artist renders vintage garments that represent an imagined figure. Whether appearing to be lying flat or slowly drifting to the floor, the slips and blouses evoke a “vivid human presence, as well as their own histories and mysteries,” he says. Brush, withered leaves, and raw elements further enhance the lively qualities while drawing connections between people’s lives and nature.

In a note to Colossal, Isaacs shares how his art and experience intersect:

My work evolves slowly, mostly as a matter of increased and prolonged stages of refinement, and perhaps of concept. The passage of time continues as an undercurrent to the work; as I am now seventy-nine, I have to consider things like what constitutes a life-time supply of plywood and paint—and that I have to make proverbial hay while the proverbial sun shines.

Isaacs is represented by Momentum Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina, and you can view more of his elegant works on Artsy.

 

“Calla,” acrylic on birch plywood construction, 33 × 57 × 3 inches

“Passerines,” acrylic on birch plywood construction, 23 × 42 3/4 × 6 inches

Detail of “Aviary” (2019), acrylic on birch plywood construction, 42 1/2 × 23 × 4 inches

 

 



Art

Innumerable Porcelain Pieces Form Flowers and Coral in Zemer Peled's Textured Sculptures

December 15, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Intertwine” (2020), porcelain, 21 × 16 × 21 inches. All images © Zemer Peled, shared with permission

From her Baltimore studio, Israeli artist Zemer Peled (previously) sculpts countless spikes and oblongs into densely textured artworks. Amorphous forms bristle with porcelain pieces of varying shape and hue, mimicking organic elements like coral reefs and intertwined vines. Other sculptures depict oversized blooms with the firm, pointed edges of each shard directly contrasting the soft and fleshy petals found in nature.

Explore Peled’s available pieces in her shop and on Artsy, in addition to her line of cobalt tableware created in collaboration with the French porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud. You can follow her work and find glimpses into her process on Instagram, and head to her site to see her recent coronavirus-themed pieces.

 

“Small Puaa Puaa”

“Maldive Vibes” (2018), porcelain, 72 x 36 x 36 inches

“Protea 2” (2019), porcelain, 16 × 10 × 10 inches

“Puaa Puaa 1”

Detail of “Small Puaa Puaa”

Detail of “Protea 2” (2019), porcelain, 16 × 10 × 10 inches

“After the Bloom”

 

 



Art

An Undulating Sculpture Recreates Hokusai's 'Great Wave' in 50,000 LEGO Pieces

December 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Jumpei Mitsui, shared with permission

Japan-based artist Jumpei Mitsui is one of just 21 LEGO Certified Professionals in the world—this means his full-time job is to create artworks with the plastic building blocks—and is the youngest of the renowned group. He’s fulfilled this title most recently with a sculptural recreation of Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” During the course of 400 hours, Mitsui snapped together 50,000 cobalt and white LEGO into an undulating wave that mimics the original woodblock print.

To recreate this iconic work in three-dimensions, Mitsui studied videos of waves crashing and pored over academic papers on the topic. He then sketched a detailed model before assembling the textured water, three boats, and Mount Fuji that span more than five feet.

If you’re in Osaka, Mitsui’s wave is on view permanently at the Hankyu Brick Museum. Otherwise, find a decade’s worth of the artist’s LEGO tutorials on YouTube, and follow his work on Twitter and Instagram. (via Spoon & Tamago)

 

 

 



Art Design

Wooden Benches Unfurl into Pasta-Esque Strands in Pablo Reinoso's Works

December 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Curly Bench (2019), photo by Rodrigo Reinoso. All images © Pablo Reinoso, shared with permission

The unbound slats of Pablo Reinoso’s unassuming benches curl sideways and up walls in a tangle of wood and metal. Based just outside of Paris, the French-Argentine artist and designer (previously) applies a rebellious and playful lens to his otherwise simple seating, merging functionality and aesthetics to create roving sculptural artworks. His wall frames snarl in a similar manner with knotted masses descending from their inner edges.

Reinoso’s spaghetti-style works will be included in a group show at Mad Paris from December 16, 2020, to May 11, 2021. Until then, explore more of his projects on his site and Instagram.

 

“Black Sand” (2018), photo by Pia Torelli

“Déroulé” (2018), photo by Rodrigo Reinoso

“Fire” (2018), photo by Rodrigo Reinoso

“Looping One” (2020), photo by Rodrigo Reinoso

Left: “Marco Buenos Aires II” (2018), photo by Rodrigo Reinoso. Right: “Marco del Sur” (2018)

“Marco Paris IV” (2019), photo by Rodrigo Reinoso

“Spaghetti corten” (2008), corten steel and teak, 80 x 344 x 172 centimeters

“Fourvière Bench” (2018), carved wood and steel, 454 x 445 x 310 centimeters, photo by Rodrigo Reinoso

“Fourvière Bench” (2018), carved wood and steel, 454 x 445 x 310 centimeters, photo by Rodrigo Reinoso

 

 



Art Craft

Lucy Sparrow Opens The Bourdon Street Chemist, a Fully Stocked Felt Pharmacy

December 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Lyndsey Ingram, shared with permission

Although Lucy Sparrow is adept at treating scrapes and bouts of indigestion, her medical specialty lies in helping folks suffering from heart disease, IBS, and various illnesses caused by fiber deficiencies. The U.K.-based artist set up shop with The Bourdon Street Chemist, a fully-stocked, woolen pharmacy that’ll open its doors on January 18, 2021, at London’s Lyndsey Ingram. Over-the-counter medications like plush bottles of Pepto Bismol, Tums, and aspirin line the shelves alongside creams and luxury fragrances.

Sparrow’s medical practice, though, expands beyond the drug store with an entire surgical unit for more severe injuries and illnesses in her studio. The retro, tile-lined room is outfitted with traditional operation equipment and a woolen cadaver with compact organs, a skeleton, and even a bleeding heart.

 

Similar to her previous undertakings that filled bodegas and supermarkets with household goods, Sparrow hand-stitched the entirety of The Bourdon Street Chemist with painstaking precision, not only ensuring a variety of pharmaceuticals are available but also inscribing each tablet and bottle with fabric-paint labels. The artist established this new medical unit after converting a decommissioned ambulance into a “National Felt Service” vehicle and performing a live-felt-surgery at Miami Art Week in 2018.

Anyone who’s binged on Sparrow’s felt potato chips or wooly Sour Patch Kids can pick up a similarly fibrous remedy from the white-coat wearing artist, who stations herself in the large-scale installation. “There is something so intensely intimate in sharing your personal—and often embarrassing—ailments with a stranger. But because that stranger is wearing a white coat you feel safe and trust them with secrets you wouldn’t tell your best friend,” the artist says.

Sparrow sells many of her textured goods and groceries in her shop, and you can follow her playfully stitched projects on Instagram. (via Creative Boom)

 

 

 



Art

Surreal Sculptures of Translucent Glass and Clay Explore the Body's Transformative Processes

December 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Mother and Child” (2020), cast glass, ceramic, and oil paints, 18 x 27 x 7 inches. All images © Christina Bothwell, shared with permission

“I have always viewed the body as a transitory object,” writes artist Christina Bothwell. From human-animal hybrids to pregnant creatures to figures fused together, Bothwell’s oeuvre suspends various life forms in states of flux: a baby precariously rests on a mother’s back, a young girl grasps onto another’s legs, and others peer into the distance as if they’re about to move forward.

The artist’s subject matter is rooted in the ethereal and embodies the delicate ways spirits and physical figures change over time. Her process, however, mirrors that focus on transformation. From her studio in rural Pennsylvania, Bothwell begins each multi-media piece with a sketch before translating the head into a clay form. To create the weathered appearance, she utilizes pit firing, which involves covering the sculpture with hay or leaves and burning them. The smoke from the fire leaves behind a carbon residue on the clay.

When working with glass, Bothwell sculpts warm beeswax that she uses to cast a plaster-and-silica mold. She then fills the empty shape with chunks of colored glass, which are placed in a kiln for annealing, cooled in cold water, and finally sanded and chiseled down. Hand-painted details adorn the sculpture’s exterior, along with found objects like antique prosthetic eyes, deer antlers, and ball feet.

 

“Soul Sentinel” (2017), cast glass, ceramic, oil paint, and antique wood doll puppet hands, 21 inches

The result of this months-long technique is a surreal collection that merges the organic forms and processes of nature with uncanny details. Each lusterless piece explores the relationship between the alluring oddities of the exterior and the translucent insides, which Bothwell explains:

Changing the body is merely adjusting the outer wrapping, as far as I can see… I am intrigued with the spirit world, and I imagine that we pass in and out of it, into the physical realm with bodies, then out of it at the end of life into lighter, energy bodies… And along the way throughout our lives, we transform ourselves constantly, reinventing who we are on a daily basis.

Bothwell will be featured in an upcoming episode of PBS’s Craft in America airing on December 11. Until then, follow her unearthly projects on Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

“Octopus Girl,” cast glass and ceramic, 33 inches

“Pink Monkey” (2020), cast glass and ceramic, 15 inches

“Butterfly Poodle” (2015-2019), cast glass, ceramic, oil paint, and antique claw ball feet

Left: “Strawberry Gardens” (2020), cast glass, ceramic, and oil paint, 22 inches

Top right: “Deer Bunny,” cast glass, ceramic, oil paint, and deer antlers, 27 inches. Bottom left: “My Second Self” (2013), cast glass, ceramic, and found objects (antique doll hands). Bottom right: “Mermaid” (2009), cast glass and antique prosthetic glass eye

“Such Reveries” (2017), cast glass, ceramic, and antique claw ball feet, 22 inches

 

 

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