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Art

Bodies Breach Water’s Surface in Ethereal Paintings by Artist Calida Garcia Rawles

June 8, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Lost in the Shuffle” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 36 X 24 inches. All images © Calida Garcia Rawles, shared with permission

Five years ago, Calida Garcia Rawles learned to swim by joining a team dedicated to the exercise. The sessions were “therapeutic and spiritually uplifting,” the Los Angeles-based artist shares with Colossal. “I found that I felt emotionally lighter after leaving the pool, no matter what issues I was working out before I jumped into the water. This led me to begin using water as a visual language… a way to heal and address difficult and divisive issues.”

Through a serene body of work, Rawles renders figures floating through bright blue waters. Generally outfitted in white or pastel, the subjects are surrounded by glinting ripples and bubbles. “When I am in the water and I see the light glistening off of it in certain ways… it just looks so magical. The way the body appears to break, splinter, and flow in moving water appears other-worldly to me,” she says.

Beginning with research, reading, and the occasional interview, the artist searches for subjects, who then are submerged in water and captured through hundreds of photographs. “It’s kind of like quilting… with the images. I use this as a springboard to start the paintings,” she says. Rawles gleans concepts of the supernatural from writers like Octavia Butler and Ta-Nehisi Coates—who in 2019, released his first novel, The Water Dancer, which features Rawles’s work on the cover—that inform the ethereal qualities of her paintings.

Some of the artist’s work is on view through July 4 as part of a group exhibition at Various Small Fires Seoul. For a deeper look into her restorative paintings, head to Instagram. (via Juxtapoz)

 

“Transcend” (2018), acrylic on canvas, 48 X 60 inches

“Pulse” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 24 X 18 inches

“Radiating my Sovereignty” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 84 X 72 inches

“New Day Coming” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 120 inches

“Reflecting my Grace” (2019), acrylic on canvas, 84 X 72 inches

“Echo my Moonlight” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 30 X 24 inches

“Soar” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 24 X 18 inches

 

 



Photography

Historic Geometric Pools Interrupt Australia’s Rocky Coastline in Aerial Shots by Nicole Larkin

January 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Nicole Larkin, shared with permission

For years, Nicole Larkin has been capturing the ocean pools along the coasts of New South Wales in a project titled The Wild Edge. Mostly constructed as public works endeavors more than 80 years ago, the geometric spaces often are nestled in Australia’s rocky shorelines, surrounded by crashing waves and filled with jewel-toned waters. In a statement about the project, Larkin described the swimming sanctuaries as offering visitors “intimate encounters with the landscape.”

They are largely opportunistic interventions that exploit the natural topography of the rock platform to make a protected and convenient swimming area. They often exhibit the “bare minimum,” dematerializing into the rock platform yet providing amenity and facilitating easy access to the ocean.

The Sydney-based architect, artist, and designer tells Colossal that she’s concerned with how the ocean landscapes are being altered by climate change. Larkin says designing additional pools could be used “to facilitate community amenity and access to the ocean, but also to act as protective structures which buffer against storms,” as the area deals with the global crisis.

For a geographical look at coast-side retreats, check out Larkin’s interactive collaboration with Guardian Australia. More aerial shots of the 60 remaining ocean oases are on the artist’s Instagram and Behance. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Illustration

Deep Ocean Waters Amplify Emotions in Sonia Alins’ Evocative Mixed Media Illustrations

July 25, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“The swimmers III. The gathering”

Illustrator Sonia Alins (previously) creates evocative aquatic scenes using a combination of two and three dimensional elements. Smooth, translucent vellum creates the visual effect of water, and Alins sometimes inserts tufts of colored thread or small sheets of tulle to invoke the ocean floor’s textural topography. Alins then creates carefully placed slits in the vellum to allow her figurative illustrations to peek through the water. Swimming women and the occasional whale move through the murky water, with expressions ranging from peacefulness to mild distress. In an interview with Sara Barnes, Alins explained her deep connection to the water:

I was born near the Mediterranean sea and the influence of it and water in my culture is something defining. I guess it’s part of my DNA. The truth is that the sea has always been present in my life and has transmitted a special and positive energy to me. When taking the first steps of my Dones d’aigua series, water came to me as the perfect medium to communicate and expand emotion. The protagonists of my works interact with this mass of water where they are immersed and, there, their feelings are amplified, their shouts are heard louder, their desperation is felt more profoundly… But also, when they are calm, it feels like a more rewarding emotion too.

The Spain-based artist’s minimal yet impactful style lends itself to literary and editorial illustrations, and Alins has received several advertising and book awards for her work. You can explore more of Alins’ aquatic worlds on Instagram and Behance, and shop prints and products in her Society6 store.

“What I learnt from whales” series

“Dones d’aigua III” series

“The Swimmers”

“The Swimmers” (detail)

“What I learnt from whales” series

“Dones d’aigua III” series

 

 



Photography

Tennis Balls and Swim Caps Crowd the Frame in New Time-Lapse Compositions by Pelle Cass

May 21, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Pelle Cass (previously) captures how humans interact with a location or an environment over time, presenting a visual history of the coincidences that occur. Over the last year and a half the Brookline, Massachusetts-based photographer has turned his lens to sports, framing sporting events from fencing to college football in order to create densely packed scenes that combine players from multiple images. During the course of one game or match he might take upwards of 1,000 photographs to provide the content for endless combinations of movements and poses. The final result is a still time-lapse photograph which condenses an hour or so of play into one dynamic image. Cass has a solo exhibition at Camerawork Gallery in Portland, Oregon that runs through May 31, 2019. You can see more of his dynamic series on his website and Instagram. (via Booooooom)

 

 



Amazing

Freediving Champion Guillaume Néry Swims Across Several of the World’s Oceans with One Breath

February 18, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

In the newest film by Guillaume Néry (previously), the world champion free diver swims across the world in one breath, or at least creative editing and camera tricks present the illusion of this great feat. One Breath Around the World follows Néry to the spectacular scenes he explores without a snorkel or air tank, like a variety of underwater caves or a pod of clustered whales. The film is shot by his wife Julie Gautier (previously) who was also free diving as she filmed Néry throughout France, Finland, Mexico, Japan, the Philippines, and other oceanic destinations. The film was created through the pair’s production company Les Films Engloutis. You can see more of their spectacular underwater films on Vimeo. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Photography

New Synchronized Photographs of Swimmers by Mária Švarbová

August 14, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

New photographs from Slovakian artist Mária Švarbová (previously) continue her exploration of strangely melancholy poolside scenes. Coolly detached young swimmers in matching outfits are frozen in synchronized positions, a surprising diversion from the usual youthful exuberance of kids in pools. A statement on her website describes Švarbová’s unconventional work: “Maria’s postmodern vision boldly articulates a dialog that compels the viewer to respond to the mystery, loneliness, and isolation of the human experience.” The photographer has published a book of this series, titled Swimming Pool. You can see more of her work, including non-aquatic subjects, on Instagram.

 

 



Photography

Synchronistic Images Captured in Soviet Era Swimming Pools by Photographer Maria Svarbova

September 18, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Photographer Maria Svarbova is fascinated by the sterile, geometric aesthetic of old swimming pools, especially those built during the Socialist Era in her native country of Slovakia. Each scene she photographs is highly controlled, from the subjects of her works to the bright colors and dramatic shadows that compose each shot.

“The figures are mid-movement, but there is no joyful playfulness to them,” says Sarbova’s artist statement about the project. “Frozen in the composition, the swimmers are as smooth and cold as the pools tiles…Despite the retro setting, the pictures somehow evoke a futuristic feeling as well, as if they were taken somewhere completely alien.”

The series, In the Swimming Pool, began in 2014 and is her largest to date. Recently she published a book on the project through The New Heroes and Pioneers aptly titled The Swimming Pool Book which you can order on Bookshop. To see more of her photographs centered around Eastern European pools, head to her Instagram or Behance. (via Visual Fodder)