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Art

Ann Weber Elevates Discarded Cardboard Boxes and Staples to New Heights in Billowing Sculptures

January 12, 2023

Kate Mothes

An abstract sculpture made out of discarded cardboard.

“You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows” (2020), cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 101 x 44 x 20 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano

Exemplifying the possibilities of combining humble materials with a good dose of resourcefulness, Ann Weber’s monumental sculptures find their beginnings in discarded cardboard boxes. The San Pedro, California-based artist parlayed her training in ceramics into a focus on the everyday material, initially inspired by architect Frank Gehry’s cardboard chairs, which transformed utilitarian, heavyweight paper into structurally sound and visually appealing functional objects. Weber echoed a similar intention when she decided to eliminate the inherently cumbersome process and weight of clay in exchange for a lightweight material that could be scaled up.

The artist scours the neighborhoods of Los Angeles for boxes, paying special attention to those with printed surfaces; she carefully considers the colors of graphics and text and incorporates them into the overall composition of each work. In the studio, she begins by building an armature with larger pieces of cardboard to create the silhouette. She then applies layers of strips cut from other boxes and staples them into place in a repetitive, textured pattern.

While the forms billow, bulge, and tower overhead, the artist doesn’t want to obscure the ubiquitous material; instead, Weber invites the viewer to consider the substance in a way they might not otherwise, saying “cardboard has taken on more complex meaning in the 21st century with the hyper-capitalistic proliferation of excess shipping materials.” Paper accounts for more than a quarter of the waste in landfills globally. “The sculptures can be viewed as a critique of contemporary consumerist culture, but that is not my sole intent,” she continues. “They are instilled with a psychological component neither entirely representational nor abstract, but something in between.”

Weber recently wrapped up a major exhibition at Wönzimer Gallery in Los Angeles. Explore more of her work on Instagram and her website.

 

An abstract sculpture made out of discarded cardboard.

“You’re My Butterfly” (2012), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 88 x 30 x 20 inches and 88 x 36 x 23 inches. Photo by Sibila Savage

Abstract sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

Left: The artist’s studio. Right: “Almost 16 & 15 and 1/2” (2002), found cardboard, staples, polyurethane, and steel base, 182 x 48 x 49 inches and 177 x 38 x 38 inches. Photo by M. Lee Fatherree

A series of abstract sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

“Gothic on Grand” (2018), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 98 x 166 x 14 inches. Photo by Ray Carafano

An abstract wall sculpture made out of discarded cardboard.

“Happiest Days of Our Lives” (2018), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 96 x 124 x 10 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano

An abstract sculpture on a plinth made out of discarded cardboard.

“Hallelujah” (2016), found cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 30 x 46 x 10 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano   

An abstract sculpture with yellow stripes made out of discarded cardboard.

“Pedro Boogie Woogie” (2019), cardboard, staples, and polyurethane, 104 x 48 x 28 inches. Photo by Ray Carofano

An installation view in a gallery space of abstract sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

Installation view at Dolby Chadwick Gallery, San Francisco (2012). Photo by Sibila Savage

Ann Weber, artist, standing with a series of abstract, white sculptures made out of discarded cardboard.

 

 

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Art Design

Elaborate Towers Emerge from Basic Building Blocks in Raffaele Salvoldi’s Architectonic Installations

January 10, 2023

Kate Mothes

A photograph of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks in a large room with a man looking up at it.

All images © Raffaele Salvoldi, shared with permission

In January 2021 in the middle of Italy’s second Covid-19 lockdown, photographer and director Raffaele Salvoldi’s work took a different turn. “That was a tough time since I wasn’t working and had a lot of free time. So, I started to build small forms to keep my hands and mind busy,” he tells Colossal, sharing that he tapped into the nostalgic, childhood activity of tinkering and stacking simple wood blocks.

At the base of Salvoldi’s towering, temporary installations is a single component: KAPLA planks. Devised by a Dutch antique dealer in the late 1960s, KAPLA are an alternative to chunkier blocks that make it easier to build long or horizontal features like lintels and roofs. Initially, Salvoldi started with a set of 1,000 of the wooden construction bricks, and as he amassed thousands more, his constructions became increasingly voluminous. Spiraling columns, delicate towers, and airy apertures emerge gradually from a foundation on the floor, and the structures are often illuminated from inside and reveal dramatic effects in cavernous spaces. Each piece responds to its environment, drawing the eye upward to unique settings like the historic, neoclassical Casa Bossi. “The only limit is your imagination and, of course, gravity,” he says.

One of Salvoldi’s installations can take between three weeks and four months to complete, and rather than opening a show with a completed work, viewers are invited to observe as he adds piece after piece over time. “I believe it isn’t just a performance, rather a kind of a window on an artistic process,” he says. “That’s why I like to define it as a living, mobile room or atelier that people can visit and see the installation growing day after day, week after week.” When a show closes and the work must be disassembled, visitors are invited to deconstruct the installation by throwing additional planks at it until it crumbles, or the artist will devise a domino-like path of KAPLA that strikes at the foundations.

In May 2022, Salvoldi founded the project Wood Arc through which he continues his research into architectural and structural forms. Between February 12 and April 2, he will exhibit a new work at the 16th-century Villa Bono, just north of Novara, Italy. Find videos and more of his work on Instagram, and learn more about the project on his website.

 

A photograph of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks.

A GIF of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks.

Left: A photograph of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks. Right: The interior of a tower made from KAPLA blocks.

A photograph of the inside of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks

Two photographs of towers made out of KAPLA blocks

A photograph of two towers made out of KAPLA blocks and an ornate ceiling.

A photograph of an installation made out of KAPLA blocks comprised of an arch and towers.

Two photographs of a tall tower made out of KAPLA blocks, illuminated in the dark.   A photograph of two towers made out of KAPLA blocks in a large, ornate room with a decorated ceiling. The artist stands between the two towers for scale.

A photograph of a tower made out of KAPLA blocks with an ornate ceiling in the background.

 

 



Art Design

In ‘Lost Tablets,’ Jan van Schaik Constructs Deteriorating Architectural Sculptures with LEGO

January 5, 2023

Grace Ebert

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Henry Edye.” Images © Jan van Schaik, shared with permission, all photography by Peter Bennetts.

“The first one I made, I made by accident, like a three-dimensional doodle,” says Melbourne-based architect and artist Jan van Schaik about the sculpture that founded his Lost Tablets series. Now encompassing 89 works, the ongoing project continues to reflect this intuitive, imaginative impulse as it scales principles of monumental design into dozens of models that stand about ten inches tall.

Built with secondhand LEGO, each monochromatic construction encapsulates questions of legacy and decay. Remnants like writing, dirt, and divots imprinted in the plastic bricks from rough play are visible in van Schaik’s sculptures, which recreate aspects of “the city caves of Matera, the churches of Borromini, the arches of the Doge’s palace in Venice, the buttresses of Gothic cathedrals, and the blue ceilings of the Shah Mosque of Isfahan” as deteriorating structures. Varied in style and aesthetic, the walls contain gaping, window-like arcs, exposed mechanical gadgets, and uneven bricks that appear on the verge of collapse. Each is named after a ghost ship, or a vessel found at sea with no crew members on board, imbuing the pieces with a sense of mystery about their origins and existence.

A third-generation architect, van Schaik has long been interested in “the ways that cities recombine themselves” and how new constructions often reuse materials, objects, and foundations and embed local history within the contemporary landscape. “Cities are always building themselves on top of themselves,” he tells Colossal, referencing the ancient walls of the acropolis of Athens as an early example. His use of LEGO mimics this tradition and captures the universality of the material and subject matter. “Architecture is for everybody, and everybody is aware of it, whether they intend to be or not, whether they’re conscious of it or not,” the artist shares. “That’s why (the works) have a strange familiarity.”

This year, van Schaik plans to complete the Lost Tablets series, which will total 100 constructions, and publish another book to explore the latter half of the collection. You can see the pieces on view at two spaces in the state of Victoria, Boom Gallery in Newtown and NAP in Mildura, this spring and at The Other Art Fair in Melbourne in March. Until then, find more on the Lost Tablets site and Instagram. (via Yatzer)

 

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Jian Seng”

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Alouete I” (installation view)

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Blenheim”

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Amelia”

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Demeter”

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Runner”

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Vrouw Maria”

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Ismailia”

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Epervier”

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Jenny”

An abstract, architectural tablet-like sculpture made from LEGO.

“Baychimo”

 

 



Art

Meticulous Wall Reliefs by Hayoon Jay Lee Undulate with Thousands of Grains of Rice

December 23, 2022

Kate Mothes

A painting with an abstract swirling pattern made from grains of rice.

“Eternal Mother II” (2019), rice, modeling paste, and acrylic, 28 x 35 x 4 inches. All images © Hayoon Jay Lee, shared with permission courtesy of Hollis Taggart

First documented in China in 2,500 B.C., the earliest evidence of the cultivation of rice has been found in archaeological sites dating back more than 5,000 years earlier. A versatile crop that can grow in numerous climates, the plentiful grain plays an integral role in cuisine and folkloric traditions and underpins artist Hayoon Jay Lee’s intricate wall reliefs.

Born in Daegu, South Korea, and currently based in New York City, Lee is interested in what she describes in a statement as the “fundamental tension between indulgence and abnegation”—the act of renouncing or rejecting something—in individual, social, and political dynamics. Contrasting ideas of attraction and repulsion, conflict and harmony, privilege and poverty, or East and West provide the groundwork for abstract compositions made by precisely placing thousands of grains into rippling patterns. The surfaces reference topographical overviews, shifting landmasses, swirling motion, and ruptures.

Across Asia, rice is grown primarily by small-scale producers. However, food-chain inequalities and critical impacts from climate change place farming systems, jobs, and food security on increasingly precarious footing. For Lee, rice is utilized “as object, motif, and metaphor: as the building block for civilizations and also as the basis for social inequities,” she explains.

Lee’s solo exhibition Fields of Vision will be on view at Hollis Taggart in New York City from January 5 to February 4, 2023. Find more of the artist’s work on her website.

 

A painting with an abstract swirling pattern made from grains of rice.

“Dream Land IV” (2019), rice, modeling paste, and acrylic, 35.75 x 35.9 x 6.5 inches

A painting with an abstract swirling pattern made from grains of rice.

“Unfamiliar Place I” (2022), rice, modeling paste, and mica, 12 inches diameter

Two paintings with abstract swirling patterns made from grains of rice.

Left: “Echo III” (2020), rice, modeling paste, and acrylic, 9.75 x 9.75 x 3 inches. Right: “Echo I” (2022), rice, modeling paste, and acrylic, 8.5 x 8.5 x 2.5 in.

A painting with an abstract swirling pattern made from grains of rice.

“My Mother’s Land” (2015), rice, modeling paste, and acrylic, 18 x 24 x 1.5 inches

A painting with an abstract swirling pattern made from grains of rice.

“Emotive Movement” (2022), rice, modeling paste, and acrylic, 48 x 36 x 3 inches

A painting with an abstract swirling pattern made from grains of rice.

“Echo II” (2022), rice, modeling paste, and acrylic, 8.5 x 8.5 x 2.25 inches

Four paintings with abstract swirling patterns made from grains of rice.

“Four Dimensions” (2017), rice, modeling paste, and acrylic, 17.6 x 17.75 inches

A painting with an abstract swirling pattern made from grains of rice.

“Echo III” (2020), rice, modeling paste, and acrylic, 9.75 x 9.75 x 3 inches

 

 

 



Art

Mossy Figures Wander Through Woodlands and City Streets in Kim Simonsson’s Flocked Ceramic Sculptures

December 22, 2022

Kate Mothes

A profile view of a ceramic sculpture of a young girl with feathers in her hair, flocked in green to appear like moss.

“Mossgirl with Feathers” (2016), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, feathers, and rope. All images © Kim Simonsson, shared with permission. Photos by Jefunne Gimpel

Some of the most exciting artistic discoveries are the results of accidents or the surprising outcomes of experiments, and artist Kim Simonsson’s series Moss People is the result of one such unexpected twist. Coated with soft flocking—a process of applying very fine fiber to the surface of an object—the large-scale ceramic sculptures were initially layered only with velvety black until a few years ago, when one day, the Finnish sculptor decided to flock one of those pieces with yellow, too. Once the crushed nylon fiber was applied over the black, it turned green, and the verdant figures have since grown into a cornerstone of his practice.

Simonsson draws inspiration from pop culture and Nordic fairytales and folklore, creating expressive, youthful characters who tote rucksacks, wear feathers in their hair, or carry important items like books, radios, or plush toys. For the 2022 Utopia Festival in Lille, France, he created monumental versions from fiberglass that lined a thoroughfare and appeared to wander amongst the passersby, emphasizing tender facial expressions, theatrical scale, and the sense that each individual is on a mission. The artist taps into a playful tension between the spritely energy of youth and the fact that moss naturally grows on hard, unmoving surfaces.

Atmospheric images taken outdoors capture the self-assured figures as they wander through woodland, equipped for an expedition. The most recent characters feature edible greenery and cabbage that grows from their limbs, torsos, and feet, providing both protection and sustenance. By producing and carrying their own food, they are completely autonomous, self-sustaining beings.

Simonsson’s solo exhibition Moss Cabbage People is on view at Galerie NeC in Paris through December 24. Find more of the artist’s work on his website, and follow updates on Instagram.

 

A photograph of ceramic figures that look like they are coated in moss, standing in a dense woodland.

“Moss People in Pine Forest”

A ceramic sculpture of a young girl leaning on a flower, coated in flocking to look like she is covered in moss. She is seated on a pedestal.

“Cabbage Mossgirl Resting” (2022), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, and artificial plant

Two sculptures of young figures made from ceramic that are coated in green flocking to make them look like they are coated in moss.

Left: “Mossgirl With Broken Stereo” (2022), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, cassette stereo, rope, and artificial flowers. Right: “Cabbage Mossboy Reading” (2022), ceramics, nylon fiber, and epoxy resin

A ceramic sculpture coated in green flocking of a young girl seated inside of a vessel that appears to be covered in the texture of cabbage leaves. The flocking makes the entire sculpture appear to be coated in moss.

“Hiding Place” (2022), ceramics, nylon fiber, and epoxy resin

A photograph of a ceramic sculpture coated in green flocking to appear like it is coated in moss. The figure stands in a deforested woodland at sunset.

“Mossboy” (2016), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, feathers, and rope

Two ceramid sculptures of young figures that are coated in green flocking so that they appear to be coated in moss. One has feathers and a long beard obscuring his face; the other is wearing a bonnet and a plush toy on her back.

Left: “Bearded Mossman with Feathers” (2019), ceramics, epoxy resin, nylon fiber, feathers, and rope. Right: “Mossboy With Idol” (2022), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, and soft toy

A photograph in a snowy woodland of a ceramic sculpture that has been coated in green flocking to make it look like it is coated in moss. The sculpture is of a young figure in profile who appears to be walking through the snow.

“Mossboy With Rock” (2017), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, and textile

A profile view of a figurative ceramic sculpture depicting a young girl sitting on top of a muscled bulldog, with a leash made of chains. The sculpture is coated in green flocking to make it appear as though it is coated in moss.

“Moss Princess” (2019), ceramics, nylon fiber, epoxy resin, and chain

Large-scale fiberglass figurines in a street in Lille, France, depicting figures that are coated in green flocking to make them appear as though they are coated in moss. Pedestrians walk down the street and the sculptures are exhibited on large pedestals.

“Remember,” “Friendship,” “Giant Gatherer,” and “Light,” (2022), fiberglass, polyester resin, and nylon fiber. Installed in Lille, France, for Utopia Festival

 

 



Art

Vibrant Coral Expresses the Power of Nature in Courtney Mattison’s Whirling Ceramic Wall Relief

December 15, 2022

Kate Mothes

A large-scale, ceramic wall sculpture of coral in a spiraling shape.

“Gyre I” (2022), glazed stoneware and porcelain, 75 x 75 x 11 inches. Photography by Daniel Jackson for Brandywine Museum of Art. All images © Courtney Mattison, shared with permission

In Courtney Mattison’s elaborate ceramic wall reliefs, the rich textures and hues of coral sweep elegantly across vast surfaces. Made of numerous individual pieces that she forms by hand, each composition references the fragility, diversity, and resilience of marine ecosystems, which she describes as an effort to “visualize climate change.” Currently on display at the Brandywine Museum of Art, “Gyre I” draws inspiration from forces of nature exemplified in the immense power of hurricanes and the delicate spirals of seashells or flower petals.

See “Gyre I” in Fragile Earth through January 8, 2023, and find more of Mattison’s work on her website and Instagram.

 

A detail of a colorful ceramic wall sculpture in many colors of coral.

A detail of a colorful ceramic wall sculpture in many colors of coral.

A detail of a colorful ceramic wall sculpture in many colors of coral.

A detail of a colorful ceramic wall sculpture in many colors of coral.

A detail of a colorful ceramic wall sculpture in many colors of coral.

A detail of a colorful ceramic wall sculpture in many colors of coral.