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Art

In ‘Gothic Futurism,’ Hundreds of Rammellzee’s Works Populate a Mythic, Intergalactic Universe

December 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

A detail photo of an elaborate warrior costume of found objects

All images installation view, Rammellzee: Gothic Futurism, Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, (2022-2023), by Josh White, courtesy of the gallery

At Jeffrey Deitch in Los Angeles, dozens of spacecraft constructed from skateboards, salvaged plastics, and scrap materials descend from the ceiling in a seeming rescue mission. Awash in blue light, the vehicles hover above the galleries filled with assemblages in a similar vein, from small otherworldly troopers to life-sized characters elaborately outfitted with headdresses of fur and spray-painted crowns.

The immersive, post-apocalyptic collection unveils the idiosyncratic workings of the late artist Rammellzee, whose fantastic creations rose to cult status in the 1980s alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat (previously) and Keith Haring (previously). Rammellzee started tagging along the route of New York City’s A train and continually espoused the subversive powers of graffiti and writing as his career ventured into fine art, music, performance, and philosophy. “The letter is armed to stop all the phony formations, lies, and tricknowlegies placed upon its structure,” the artist once wrote. “You think war is always shooting and beating everybody, but no, we had the letters fight for us.”

 

A photo of spacecraft descending from the gallery ceiling

These ideas found Rammellzee’s philosophy of Gothic Futurismauthor David Tompkins describes this as a manifesto “in which the alphabet revolts against being institutionalized, locked into the system that is magnetized to our fridge doors”—and the exhibition draws its title from this ideology. Spanning decades of the artist’s work, the show is broad and enveloping, transporting viewers into an esoteric, linguistically grounded world with references to metaphysics, medieval history, and philology.

Surrounded by dozens of paintings, Rammellzee’s hefty, extravagant suits, which he often wore when in public and termed Garbage Gods, loom over the space. Some of the intergalactic costumes weigh upwards of 100 pounds, and all reflect the artist’s impulse for armor and fighting against convention. The racers appear to culminate at the elaborate “Gasholeer” piece, for example, which is even complete with a flamethrower.

If you’re in Los Angeles, you can see Gothic Futurism at Jeffrey Deitch through January 14.

 

A photo of four small figurative assemblages in front of a painting

A photo of an elaborate warrior costume of found objects

A photo of an elaborate warrior costume of found objects, with a group of figurative assemblages in the foreground

A photo of multiple elaborate warrior costumes of found objects

A photo of an elaborate warrior costume of found objects with paintings in the background

A photo of an elaborate warrior costume in the background with spacecraft descending in the gallery

A photo of elaborate warrior costumes of found objects with spacecraft overhead and paintings on the back wall

 

 

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Art

Textile Sculptures by Lauren Pruen Preserve Elegant Botanical Specimens Under Glass

December 9, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a botanical sculpture in a cloche

All images © Lauren Pruen

Protected under tall glass cloches, Lauren Pruen’s botanical specimens sprout from root to bloom. The artist shapes thin strips of wire into tubers and stems that hold fabric florals, which she sometimes paints for variation in leaf color and added detail. Each delicate sculpture is an ode to natural life forms and the biological studies of centuries past, recreated as precious three-dimensional specimens worth preserving. Find more of Pruen’s ferns, lilies, and other works on her site and Instagram.

 

A detail photo of a botanical sculpture with roots connecting to an embroidery hoop

A photo of a botanical sculpture in a cloche

A photo of a botanical sculpture in a cloche

A photo of a floral botanical sculpture

A photo of a botanical sculpture in a cloche

A photo of a botanical sculpture in a cloche

A photo of a botanical fern sculpture

A photo of a clover sculpture

A photo of a botanical sculpture with lilies

 

 



Colossal

Join Us for A Colossal Workshop on Embroidered Botanical Sculptures with Amanda McCavour

December 7, 2022

Colossal

A photo of a hand holding an embroidered botanical

All images © Amanda McCavour

We’re thrilled to welcome Canadian artist Amanda McCavour (previously) for our next Colossal Workshop. During our live two-hour session, McCavour will teach students her process for creating delicately embroidered sculptures using one of her own botanical drawings. Attendees will work with water-soluble stabilizers and learn to hand-embroider texture, pattern, and line with running stitches, chain stitches, couching stitches, french knots, and seed stitches to create a vibrant textile work with collaged threads.

Register here and gather your supplies for the January 14, 2023, session, and if you’re a Colossal Member, be sure to use the code in your account for $5 off. Ten percent of the proceeds for this workshop will benefit Plant Chicago.

 

A photo of a hand holding an embroidered botanical

 

 



Art Design History

Industrial Materials Reconstruct Local History on a Monumental Scale in Public Sculptures by David Mach

November 30, 2022

Kate Mothes

A sculpture of a train made out of bricks.

“Brick Train” (1997) in Darlington. All images © David Mach

Known for sculptures and assemblages that utilize everyday objects like bricks, coat hangers, and matches, Scottish artist David Mach has embarked on numerous large-scale, public projects that draw inspiration from local history. In his monumental “Brick Train” in Darlington, he taps into regional heritage through the use of red brick and the depiction of a life-size steam locomotive. The industrial revolution of the 19th century spurred a need to move materials like coal and steel around the country, and the first railway to use steam engines to transport passengers also originated in the area. In the U.K., red bricks have prevailed as the most popular building material, constructing long rows of terraced homes that characterize the urban landscape.

Further north in Edinburgh, the architectonic “Temple at Tyre” was constructed from dozens of shipping containers and over 8,000 tires (or tyres) in the port of Leith, a critical international shipping hub. It was installed for a month and illuminated at night to rival the city’s major landmarks, like the neoclassical National Monument on Calton Hill. The containers, which are also the focus of a proposed building in an Edinburgh business park, are immense reminders of the trade and commerce that the city is built upon.

Mach currently has additional projects in the works in London, Mauritius, and Syria. Heavy Metal, a solo exhibition opening at Pangolin London in January will highlight ongoing work in a showcase of maquettes and prints. You can find more of the artist’s work on his website.

 

A public sculpture of a row of telephone boxes tipping over like dominoes.

“Out of Order” (1989) in Kingston-upon-Thames. Photograph by Mike Longhurst

A neoclassical facade made out of brick.

“Temple of Bricks,” maquette, 93.5 x 111 x18 centimeters

A photograph of a sculpture of a train made from bricks, covered in snow.

“Brick Train”

A digital rendering of a contemporary building made out of a pile of shipping containers.

Render for Mach1, Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh

An installation in a port of dozens of shipping containers with a neoclassical monument on top made out of tires.

“The Temple at Tyre” (1994) installed at Leith, Edinburgh

A sculpture of a row of telephone boxes that are falling onto one another like dominoes.

“Out of Order.” Photograph by Mike Longhurst

An installation in a port of dozens of shipping containers with a neoclassical monument on top made out of tires.

“The Temple at Tyre”

 

 



Art Craft

Vivid Hues and Intricate Embroidery Bring Yumi Okita’s Remarkably Tactile Moths to Life

November 30, 2022

Kate Mothes

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

All images © Yumi Okita

In vividly colored thread and textiles, Yumi Okita imbues remarkably tactile moths and butterflies with lifelike features. The North Carolina-based artist designs each specimen to perch on its own delicate wire legs, and some of the larger creatures boast wing spans nearly 10 inches wide. Long fascinated by the natural world, she portrays the insects’ intricate detail, innate fragility, and sublime patterns in embroidery thread, faux fur, feathers, and layers of dyed fabric.

Okita often sells her sculptures in her Etsy shop and is currently exploring the theme of nature further in a series of botanical designs, which she has begun sharing on Instagram.

 

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth held in a hand.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

A photograph of an embroidered, life-like moth.

 

 



Art

Haphazard Safe Havens Rise into the Sky in Simon Laveuve’s Miniature Post-Apocalyptic Islands

November 29, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a miniature post-apocalyptic structure

Detail of “La Bouée” (2022), 47 x 19 x 19 centimeters. All images © Simon Laveuve, shared with permission

Paris-based artist Simon Laveuve (previously) continues to build out his dystopian universe with rickety structures that tower above land and sea. Heavy with dirt and the occasional graffiti tag, the miniature constructions are eerie, disquieting safe havens in what appears to be a post-apocalyptic landscape. Salvaged objects like tires, wooden panels, and lengths of chain support the shelters, which tend to contain tiny outlooks with seating and remnants of provisions. In his most recent mixed-media sculptures like “Le 122,” Laveuve considers lawlessness and what it means to live in an organized society without rule.

The artist has an upcoming show in New York, and you can follow news about that exhibition on Instagram.

 

Two detail photos of a miniature post-apocalyptic structure

Detail of “La Bouée” (2022), 47 x 19 x 19 centimeters

A detail photo of a miniature post-apocalyptic structure

Detail of “La Bouée” (2022), 47 x 19 x 19 centimeters

Two detail photos of a miniature post-apocalyptic structure

Detail of “Le 122” (2022), 70 x 40 x 25 centimeters

A photo of a miniature post-apocalyptic structure

“Le 122” (2022), 70 x 40 x 25 centimeters

Two photos of a miniature post-apocalyptic structure

“Dans la soucoupe” (2018), 20 x 20 x 55 centimeters

A detail photo of a miniature post-apocalyptic structure

Detail of “Le 122” (2022), 70 x 40 x 25 centimeters