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Art

From Play to Politics, Artist S.C. Mero Transforms Los Angeles’s Streets into Sites of Satire

October 4, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Vote-by-Mail” (2020). All images © S.C. Mero, shared with permission

An explosive mushroom cloud, an absurdly large bike lock, and a lobster served up from a pothole are a few of the installations from artist S.C. Mero that relay both the irony and irreverence of modern life. Working across Downtown Los Angeles for the last decade, the artist transforms infrastructure into temporary sites of critique and play. “Both of those realities are equally true not only of my environment but life itself,” she says. “Given the nature of this neighborhood, the subject matter can seem quite political because the disparity of wealth and its consequences are more apparent here.”

Many pieces utilize crumbling streets or areas the city has yet to fix as the base. In creating a miniature streetside swimming pool, for example, Mero left the soy sauce packet, cigarette butts, needle caps, leaves, and other debris found in the exposed manhole before she covered the cavern with plexiglass. Those objects are now frozen under the clear material and surrounded by lounge chairs and a diving board fit for Barbies and Kens.

Other works like “Vote-by-Mail,” which is included in a group exhibition on view through December 10 at Torrance Art Museum, are more explicit in their commentary on contemporary issues. Directly speaking to the rampant voter suppression of the 2020 elections, the blue post office box stands atop legs that are unreasonably tall, making it impossible to drop a ballot.

Currently, Mero is working on a sculpture that will be included in the next show at Shit Art Club opening later this month. She’s also planning a series of works with the Fashion District’s business improvement organization and plans to transform the battered concrete spheres lining a traffic median into a new piece each month. “It’s the first time I’ve worked in collaboration with the city or property owners. I think it’s a cool story considering they were the ones who removed most my artwork when I first started,” she says.

Find more of Mero’s satirically minded works on Instagram.

 

 

 

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Art Illustration

Quaint and Deceptive Hand-Drawn Installations Question the Concept of Home and Belonging

September 19, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Anastasia Parmson, shared with permission

Our understandings of home are fundamentally personal, determined by an evolving mélange of factors like location, culture, and the people in our lives. Born in Estonia to a Siberian family and later educated in France, artist Anastasia Parmson has long considered this idea and what it means to feel at ease within a space. “I feel like my concept of home is always evolving alongside my practice and my personal experiences,” she tells Colossal. “I do still see drawing as a form of home that I create for myself—a little space where I feel like I truly belong.”

Now living and working in Sydney, Parmson continues to question what creates that sense of comfort and connection by envisioning living areas and bedrooms as a sort of blank canvas. She paints walls, furniture sourced from resale shops or trash bins, and domestic objects like coffee mugs and potted monsteras in white and then draws details in black. Custom vinyl flooring with hand-rendered wood grain and wall panels line the perimeters, and the life-sized works often feature quaint, cozy details like patterned rugs and billowing drapes, in addition to pop culture references through books and framed artworks.

 

Falling at the intersection of two and three dimensions, the immersive installations are minimal in execution—based on the humble line drawn in a monochromatic palette—in an effort to define the contours of the concept while leaving the specifics open for interpretation and evolution. She explains:

What if home is not defined by an address, a space, or a geographical location? What if, instead, it is defined by the people in our lives? Maybe home is not a place, but a person. That feeling of being truly seen and understood by someone. That feeling of timelessness and ease when you reconnect with an old friend after many long years and realise that you can pick up the conversation as if no time has gone by at all. Maybe home is inter-personal connections and a sense of togetherness.

Parmson’s works are on view in several group exhibitions this fall, including through October 30 at Bendigo Art Gallery, through December 11 at Grafton Regional Gallery, and from October 12 to November 20 at Woollahra Gallery. She will also host a studio sale of smaller pieces in the coming months, so keep an eye on her Instagram for updates.

 

Anastasia Parmson. Photo by Maja Baska

 

 



Art Design

A Nearly 500-Page Monograph Chronicles Three Decades of Olafur Eliasson’s Practice

August 25, 2022

Grace Ebert

“The weather project” (2003), monofrequency lamps, projection screen, haze machines, foil mirror, aluminum, scaffolding, 26.7 x 22.3 x 155.44 meters, installation view at Tate Modern, London. Photo by Tate photography, Andrew Dunkley & Marcus Leith

A forthcoming monograph published by Phaidon packs the inimitable career of artist Olafur Eliasson (previously) into nearly 500 pages. Spanning from the 1990s to today, the expanded edition comprises a breadth of works, including “The Weather Project,” the widely acclaimed installation that took over Tate Modern in 2003, and the more recent “Life,” which flooded Fondation Beyeler in Basel last year with murky green waters. This new volume contains hundreds of photos and illustrations paired with writing by Michelle Kuo, Anna Engberg-Pedersen, and the artist himself and reflects on both the monumental public installations and smaller works that define his practice. Olafur Eliasson, Experience is currently available for pre-order on Bookshop.

 

“Waterfall” (2016), crane tower, water, stainless steel, pump system, hoses, ballast, 42.5 x 6 x 5 meters, installation views at Palace of Versailles. Photo by Anders Sune Berg

“Beauty” (1993), spotlight, water, nozzles, wood, hose, pump, dimensions variable, edition of 3, installation view at Long Museum, Shanghai. Photo by Anders Sune Berg

“Ice Watch” (2014), with Minik Rosing, 12 blocks of glacial ice, dimensions variable, installation views at Place du Panthéon, Paris. Photo by Martin Argyroglo

“Fjordenhus (Fjord House)” designed with Sebastian Behmann (2009–18), Vejle Fjord, Denmark. Photo by Anders Sune Berg

“Seeing Spheres” (2019), stainless steel, glass, silver, fiberglass, LEDs, 4.8 x 22 x 22 meters, each sphere, diameter 480 centimeters, installation view at Chase Center, San Francisco. Photo by Matthew Millman

 

 



Art Design

Olafur Eliasson Designs a Conical Structure with 832 Vibrant Glass Panels That Reflect Sonoma’s Weather

August 2, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Vertical Panorama Pavilion at the Donum Estate (2022), Studio Other Spaces, Olafur Eliasson and Sebastian Behmann, by Adam Potts, shared with permission

A bold, conical structure stands on The Donum Estate in Sonoma Valley, casting a vibrant kaleidoscope of 24 colors underneath its canopy. The work of Studio Other Spaces—artist Olafur Eliasson (previously) and architect Sebastian Behmann co-founded the Berlin-based project in 2014— “Vertical Panorama Pavilion” is “inspired by the history of circular calendars,” containing 832 glass pieces arranged around an oculus opening to the north.

Drawing on the microclimate of the vineyard, the studio constructed the mosaic of translucent and transparent panels using meteorological measurements of solar radiance, wind intensity, temperature, and humidity. A winding gravel path leads to the outdoor seating area, and as the sun passes over the area, it drenches the brick construction in a full spectrum of color, a contrast to the Northern California landscape.

Find production photos of the pavilion and explore more projects from Studio Other Spaces on its site and Instagram. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Art Design

A Bold, Architectural Installation Recreates an Ancient Roman Gatehouse with Messages of Belonging

July 28, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of English Heritage, shared with permission

Temporarily occupying the site of the ancient Housesteads Roman Gatehouse at Hadrian’s Wall, a vibrant installation by British artist Morag Myerscough recreates the structure that once stood on the bucolic landscape in northern England. “The Future Belongs To What Was As Much As What Is” is a bright, architectural reinterpretation of the 2nd-century building, reaching the same 8.5 meters high and 12.5 meters wide as the original construction.  A staircase tucked inside the scaffolding allows visitors to climb to an upper outpost and look over the landscape, offering a view that’s been unavailable for the last 1,600 years.

To create the patchwork, typographic facade, Myerscough collaborated with community members and poet Ellen Moran. Each panel is bright and geometric, and while some reference artifacts found on the site, many contain messages relating to borders, connecting the historic landmark that once defined the edge of the Roman empire to contemporary immigration issues. “We hope that placing such a bold contemporary art installation in this ancient landscape will not only capture people’s imagination but maybe also challenge their ideas of what the wall was for. Not just a means to keep people out, but a frontier that people could— and did—cross,” says Kate Mavor, the chief executive of English Heritage.

The installation opens on July 30 to coincide with the wall’s 1,900th anniversary and will be up through October 30. (via Dezeen)

 

 

 



Art Design

For the Birds: 33 Artists and Designers Reimagine Avian Architecture at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

June 27, 2022

Grace Ebert

Olalekan Jeyifous’s “Birdega,” wool and metal, 16 x 16 x 16 inches. All images by Liz Ligon, © Brooklyn Botanic Garden, shared with permission

A bright blue bodega, clustered wooden complexes, and a classic design emblazoned with a Swiss flag occupy the lush landscape of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden this summer. Eclectic in style, concept, and technique, the collection establishes dozens of tiny homes for avians across the 52-acre site as part of For the Birds, a group exhibition exploring the disastrous effects of the climate crisis on the feathered creatures—researchers estimate that North American populations have been reduced by 29 percent, or 3 billion birds, since 1970.

Balancing practical needs with aesthetics, the show tasked 33 artists, designers, and collectives with creating site-specific dwellings for specific species. “Woven” by Sourabh Gupta, for example, features spherical, apartment-style spaces for wildly social sparrows, while Studio Barnes evoked the art deco architecture found throughout southern Florida with “Fly South.” The color palette for that work is derived from the vibrant, red feathers of cardinals.

For the Birds is on view through October 23, and you can see all of the designs on the garden’s site. (via Dezeen)

 

Sourabh Gupta, “Woven,” burlap, husk, plaster, and water-based sealer, 30 × 24 × 18 inches

Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors: Stephen Alesch & Robin Standefer, “100 Martin Inn,” natural untreated red cedar, 3 feet × 3 feet × 3 feet 8 inches

Shun Kinoshita and Charlap Hyman & Herrero, “Birdhouse,” silver nitrate, resin, plaster, paper, 15 x 15 x 18 inches

SO-IL, Dalma Földesi, Jung In Seo, Eventscape, “A Palace for Eastern Bluebird,” ceramic and 3D-printed clay, 20 x 20 x 55 inches

Steven Holl & Raphael Mostel, “Four Birds,” maple hardwood, 30 x 14 inches

Studio Barnes, “Fly South,” wood and paint, 24 x 24 x 24 inches

Bureau Spectacular and Kyle May, Architect, “A Flock Without a Murder,” timber and hardwood, 30 x 30 x 12 feet