sculpture

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Art

Bizarre Installations and Figurative Sculptures by Mark Jenkins Upend Notions of Reality

May 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Mark Jenkins, shared with permission

“I think my art is at its best when it’s subconscious-driven,” says Mark Jenkins. Veering from the witty and absurd to the disorienting and bizarre, Jenkins’ body of work confronts perceptions of reality through the surreal: a life-sized figure climbs a fire escape upside down, limp legs hang from a dumpster, and toast springs up from a sewer grate.

Whether installed in alleys and urban areas or within the stark, white space of a gallery, Jenkins’ sculptures are theatrical and logic-defying, and each piece mimics “life to the point where it becomes real, to me,” he shares. “Creating an alternative reality has been the solution for my mental health. I find reality a bit depressing with death and all, politics, war, celebrities, etc., and that all the stars are so far away we can never really get to know the universe.”

Jenkins is currently working in Los Angeles and soon headed to Le Havre, France, for his next project. You can follow his practice and explore an expansive archive of his sculptures on his site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Wooden Characters with Lanky, Curved Bodies by Tach Pollard Are Rooted in Myth and Lore

May 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Tach Pollard

Oxford-based artist Tach Pollard (previously) allows the sinuous shapes of hawthorn or oak branches to guide the forms of his fantastical figures. The lanky creatures stand on long limbs with hunched shoulders and bowed backs, features determined by the original curve of the wood. Based on legends like the Norse Eddas, The Mabinogion, and the Icelandic Sagas, the sculptures are mysterious and minimal—Pollard tends to leave the natural color and grain of the material intact for their faces and burns the remainder to obtain the deep, black char that envelops their figures. You can shop available pieces on Etsy, and follow the artist on Instagram to stay up-to-date on future releases.

 

 

 



Craft Illustration

Curious Squirrels and Rambunctious Hares Form a Miniature Menagerie of Felted Wildlife

May 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Simon Brown, shared with permission

From a shy baby fox to toads donning crowns, the felted miniatures crafted by Simon Brown and Katie Corrigan are adorable, whimsical renditions of forest creatures. The Northumbria, U.K.-based creative duo transforms thick rovings of wool into wildlife that can be found perching on a snowy branch or creeping up on a mouse through the grass-like bristles of a wooden brush. Brown tells Colossal that he plans to incorporate more found objects into the newer sculptures, which are increasingly illustrative in style, and is also working on developing automata to add a liveliness to the realistic characters. See more of the pair’s process on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Hundreds of Porcelain Layers Recreate 20th Century Technologies in Intricate Sculptures by Anne Butler

May 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Analogue” (2016). Photo by Vizz Creative. All images © Anne Butler, shared with permission

Artist Anne Butler cites the porcelain pieces that comprise her ongoing Objects of Time series as being “witness to their own history.” From her studio in Carryduff, Butler recreates 20th Century technologies like rotary telephones and typewriters through an array of techniques from casting and carving to assembly—watch her process in the video below. Brimming with texture and striking in dimension, the analog works explore cultural memory, associations to history and personal use, and the impressions these items have left on the world long after they’ve fallen from widespread use.

Butler shares with Colossal that each of the objects was an important part of her childhood and that the building process reflects its mechanics. The intricately slotted “Analogue,” which replicates her family’s phone, relied on low-tech templates to create the thin Parian porcelain sheets that, once dried, the artist interlocked into their final shape. Similarly, “Remnant” and “Shift” both layer hundreds of individual slabs into keys and sewing tools that are slightly skewed and indicative of their hand-built construction. These irregularities reference the imperfection of the humanmade in comparison to the precision that’s possible with automation.

As she expands Objects of Time, Butler plans to reproduce kitchen scales and her first SLR camera, so keep an eye on Instagram for those works. If you’re in London, you can see “Shift” at Two Temple Place between May 11 and 14, where Ruup & Form will be representing the artist in Eye of the Collector. You also might enjoy Yoonmi Nam’s worn sketchbooks. (via Lustik)

 

Detail of “Analogue” (2016). Photo by Vizz Creative

Left: “Shift” (2018). Right: “Stack” (2020). Photo by Bob Given

Detail of “Shift” (2018). Photo by Vizz Creative

Detail of “Shift” (2018). Photo by Vizz Creative

“Remnant” (2018). Photo by Vizz Creative

Detail of “Remnant” (2018). Photo by Vizz Creative

Detail of “Remnant” (2018). Photo by Vizz Creative

Detail of “Shift” (2018). Photo by Vizz Creative

 

 



Art

Sculptural Portraits Revive Used Paintbrushes with Social Commentary and Historical Details

May 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Caroline,” oil on carved wood, plastic, metal, plaster, and epoxy. All images © Rebecca Szeto, shared with permission

San Francisco-based artist Rebecca Szeto (previously) applies a heavy dose of social commentary to her ongoing Paintbrush Portraits. Through whittled busts and oil-based figurative renderings, Szeto alludes to a wide array of historical moments, significant figures, and issues that continue to impact the world today.

She transforms the used tools with hard bristles and stained ferrules—she’s committed to an ecologically-conscious practice that repurposes materials already available—into poetic works that are subversive and metaphorical. The optic handle of “Tapada Americana,” for example, references the Peruvian tradition of women wearing a skirt and mantel that fully covered their bodies, “leaving visible a single cycloptic eye,” the artist writes. “Differing from its cousins the burka and the hijab, it signified a level of discreet domestic freedom and sexual intrigue for women.”

Questions about modesty and dignity continue to influence Szeto’s practice, and she shares with Colossal:

I find myself circling this notion of grace, as the innate virtues and values we possess as humans. For me, grace signals our ability to keep an emotional distance that allows us the fortitude and creative agency to transform and re-imagine the world around us. My interest lies in how we transcend challenging times, linguistic labels and offer up teaching moments for serious play and energetic renewal.

For more of Szeto’s works that span painting, installation, and other mediums, visit her site and Instagram.

 

“Model Minority”

“Princess/Priceless (of Broglie. Ode to Ingres),” oil on carved paintbrush, 8 x 3 x .5 inches

“Princess/Priceless (of Broglie. Ode to Ingres),” oil on carved paintbrush, 8 x 3 x .5 inches

“Tapada Americana”

“Reflections on Beauty”

“Threading the Needle”

“Green (Immigrant)”

 

 



Art

Artist Simone Leigh Embodies Self-Determination in the Historic 'Sovereignty' at the Venice Biennale

May 3, 2022

Grace Ebert

Background: “Façade” (2022), thatch, steel, and wood, dimensions variable. Foreground: “Satellite” (2022), bronze, 24 feet × 10 feet × 7 feet 7 inches. All images courtesy of the artist and Matthew Marks Gallery, by Timothy Schenck, © Simone Leigh

“To be sovereign is to not be subject to another’s authority, another’s desires, or another’s gaze but rather to be the author of one’s own history.” This conviction founds Simone Leigh: Sovereignty, the artist’s new body of work created for the U.S. Pavilion of the 2022 Venice Biennale. Leigh is the first Black woman to be awarded the prestigious commission.

Comprised of towering bronze works and ceramics, the exhibition continues Leigh’s questions about self-determination, historical erasure, and Black femme subjectivity. She explores both interiority and what it means for Black women, who she’s repeatedly described as her primary audience, to move through the world.

While largely sculptural, Sovereignty opens with Leigh’s reinterpretation of the pavilion’s Palladian-style facade. A thatched roof and wooden columns cloak the stately architecture in reference to the 1931 Paris Colonial Exposition, which celebrated French dominance and extracted and exoticized objects, images, and materials of African cultures. The Jamaican woman hunched over a mirrored pool in “Last Garment,” a depiction Leigh originally discovered on a vintage postcard, similarly rebukes colonialism and the negative stereotypes it perpetuates.

 

“Last Garment” (2022), bronze, 54 × 58 × 27 inches

Inside are additional figurative works, including the soaring, abstract bronze piece titled “Sentinel,” which has a wide, sloping head and echoes the squat “Satellite” at the exhibition’s entrance. Evoking the artistic traditions within Africa and of the diaspora, many of the pieces address questions and themes that recur in Leigh’s practice, although they extend her oeuvre, as well. As with her earlier works, cowrie shells make an appearance, emerging from a large, ceramic jug and resting atop a raffia dome in “Cupboard.” The standing bronze “Sharifa,” on the other hand, depicts Leigh’s friend, the writer Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, and is the artist’s first portrait.

“In order to tell the truth, you need to invent what might be missing from the archive, to collapse time, to concern yourself with issues of scale, to formally move things around in a way that reveals something more true than fact,” she says in a statement about Sovereignty, adding in her opening remarks that, “Black women and Black people in general across the diaspora … We often are getting information from someone who had a different intention than we have.”

In addition to Sovereignty, Leigh’s monumental bust “Brick House,” which was stationed at the High Line through May of 2021, is included in the Biennale’s international exhibition The Milk of Dreams, on view through November 27. “Brick House” also won a Golden Lion, the exhibition’s highest award.

 

“Cupboard” (2022), raffia, steel, and glazed stoneware, 135 1/2 × 124 × 124 inches

“Sphinx” (2022), glazed stoneware, 29 3/4 × 56 3/4 × 35 inches

Detail of “Sharifa” (2022), bronze, 111 1/2 × 40 3/4 × 40 1/2 inches

“Sentinel” (2022), bronze, 194 × 39 × 23 1/4 inches

“Martinique” (2022), glazed stoneware, 60 3/4 × 41 1/4 × 39 3/4 inches

“Jug” (2022), glazed stoneware, 62 1/2 × 40 3/4 × 45 3/4 inches

 

 

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