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Art

Lavishly Dressed Women Equipped with Shovels and Chainsaws Consider the Tools Used for Change

April 14, 2022

Grace Ebert

“Power Move.” All images © Kelly Reemtsen, shared with permission

“My work has always been a tribute to all the hard-working women in my life,” says Kelly Reemtsen. The artist (previously), who lives and works between Los Angeles and London, has spent the last decade producing a subversive body of work devoted to exploring gender, its constructs, and real-world impacts, from wage gaps to the continual rollback of reproductive rights. Her practice spans printmaking, sculpture, and painting and juxtaposes visual markings of femininity with objects associated with masculinity. Each piece portrays an anonymous woman dressed in a tulle skirt, patent pumps, and glitzy jewelry grasping a chainsaw or shovel in an easy, nonchalant manner.

In recent years, Reemtsen has gravitated toward oval canvases evocative of traditional portraiture, in addition to pedestals and ladders that elevate her subjects. “Are the women in my paintings trying to break through the glass ceilings or just escaping the current situation? I think most women are doing one or both at all times, consciously or not,” she shares. A series of chainsaw sculptures painted with vibrant, playful colors augments the artist’s broader questions concerning how “the tools available to us shape who we are and who we want to be. I find using tools– whether a printmaking press, a chainsaw, makeup, or anything else– to be incredibly empowering as a vehicle for initiating change.”

A 10-year survey of Reemtsen’s work will be on view at albertz benda’s Los Angeles gallery this May, and she also has pieces in a group exhibition opening on April 21 in London and in August at Galeri Oxholm in Copenhagen. Explore a larger collection of her paintings and sculptures on her site and Instagram.

 

“Buzz Kill”

“Pattern Behavior”

“Taking Shape Yellow”

“Snip”

“Scoop”

“Step It Up”

“Taking Shape Aqua”

 

 



Art

Inscribed Lace Patterns Defy Expectations in Cal Lane's Plasma-Cut Steel Tools and Industrial Objects

January 18, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Cal Lane and C24 Gallery, shared with permission

Using car hoods, shovels, and oil drums as her base, Canadian artist Cal Lane cuts generic lace motifs found on the shelves of mass-market retailers. Her quotidian designs adorn tools and commodities typically associated with masculinity, warping both assumptions about gender and the limits of construction and craft. “I am more interested in the dialog between the object and the image, not so much the lace pattern specifically. I didn’t want the work to necessarily be decorative but to be about decoration and the relationship we have with it,” she shares.

A former welder, Lane is broadly interested in the possibilities of materials, and it’s “the industrial, man-made structure, masculine, modernist quality of steel that I am attracted to. I see steel as a metaphor for confrontation, a thing that represents the walls put up by the society I was born into,” she shares. Her body of work, which includes a series of Industrial Doilies, is steeped in contradiction and an ability to defy expectations, which manifest as delicate filigree inscribed in sturdy hunks of metal. “Steel feels like the perfect material to carve into to create the contrasts and conflicts that I myself struggle with,” the artist says.

Many of the plasma-cut sculptures shown here are part of In Her Space, which is on view through March 3 at C24 Gallery in New York. The exhibition includes some of Lane’s more recent pieces, including the collection of shovels and “Astute Class.” A miniature marine vessel, the submarine features a pattern Lane designed that’s comprised of thale cress flowers, a species that “had been bioengineered by Canada and The Netherlands as a bomb-sniffing flower…the flowers grow, but if there is a landmine beneath, the color of the flower changes,” she says. “I thought it was so beautiful, brilliant, and poetic.”

In addition to In Her Space, Lane will show a new series of paintings on queen mattresses this fall at Art Mûr in Montreal. Until then, head to Instagram to see more of her process.

 

“Astute Class” (2021), plasma cut steel, 27 x 138 x 38 inches

“Hood” (2015), plasma cut steel, 37 x 63 x 3.5 inches

“Untitled (Shovel)” (2022), plasma cut steel and wood, 54 x 8 x 5.5 inches

“Untitled (Shovel)” (2016), plasma cut steel and wood, 56 x 8.25 x 5 inches

“Hood” (2015), plasma cut steel, 37 x 63 x 3.5 inches

“Sweet Spill” (2010), plasma cut steel, 22.5 x 69 x 23 inches

“Doily Dumbbells” (2020), plasma cut steel, large dumbbells 14.5 x 48 x 14.5 inches, small dumbbells 10 x 14 x 10 inches

 

 



Art

Plants and Knotted Branches Sprout from Camille Kachani's Impractical Household Objects

August 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Guilherme Gomes, shared with permission

Human progress and the insurmountable force of nature converge in Camille Kachani’s overgrown sculptures. The Lebanese-Brazilian artist (previously) is known for his furniture, tools, and other practical objects that are overrun with new plant growths and gnarly roots, rendering the seemingly functional items like stools, hammers, and books humorously impractical.

Whether a text bursting with vegetation or dresser drawers housing young sprigs, Kachani’s works highlight the futile attempts humans undertake to control the environment. This relationship has been central to his practice in recent years, and his goal is to showcase the conflicts that arise from their intersections especially in relation to life in Brazil—the South American country is more frequently experiencing the effects of the climate crisis like the worst drought its seen in decades and rampant deforestation that’s only intensifying the ongoing devastation—which he explains:

When we speak human and nature, we mean culture and nature, an (un)stable and unpredictable relation. We depend on nature but also see it as a major obstacle to our complete mastery of the planet. But in fact, it is impossible to talk about nature and culture as two distinct subjects, as they are so intertwined and contaminated from each other that I come to believe that everything is nature and culture at the same time.

Kachani is based in São Paulo and is preparing for a forthcoming book chronicling 20 years of his practice, which will be published in 2022. You can follow his work on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Vintage Cross-Stitch Motifs Conceal Common Household Objects in Sculptures by Ulla-Stina Wikander

July 27, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Ulla-Stina Wikander, shared with permission

Pastoral landscapes and quiet domestic scenes stitched into vintage textiles envelop Ulla-Stina Wikander’s needlepoint sculptures. Using rotary phones, kitchen appliances, or an antique gramophone as her foundation, Wikander (previously) molds the cross-stitch works around her chosen object, cloaking it in a blanket of color and texture while preserving its original shape. Multiple facets of domestic life intersect in the revitalized pieces, which bring the age-old craft traditionally associated with home decoration and items commonly found in kitchens and garages together into reinterpreted forms.

Splitting her time between Stockholm and Kullavik, Wikander shares that she’s started to work with sports equipment and more elaborate tools, which you can see on Instagram. You can browse her available works at Philadelphia’s Paradigm Gallery, and see her pieces in person through August 6 at Jane Lombard Gallery in New York and at M Contemporary Gallery in Sydney in the coming months.

 

 

 



Design

A Morphing Fractal Vise Pivots to Grasp Irregular Shapes for Engraving

July 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

Nebraska-based artist Steve Lindsay is equally interested in engraving metals and other surfaces as he is in the tools needed to etch with exacting precision. He’s spent the last six years toying with this vise design, which in its latest iteration, has jaws that pivot to hug whatever object is placed between them. Based on a 1900s milling machine, the fractal components create a tight grip on irregular shapes like wrenches and scissors.

Lindsay currently is taking pre-orders for the 16- and 8-finger versions on his site, and check out his YouTube for a deeper dive into his engraving processes. (via Core77)

 

 

 



Art

Sledgehammers and High Heels Find a Modern Pairing in Kelly Reemtsen's New Paintings

November 15, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

Painter Kelly Reemtsen (previously) paints images of anonymous women in thick impasto. The pieces juxtapose high fashion with tools and other construction equipment, placing sequenced high heels alongside sledgehammers and hefty axes. The colorfully painted works are Reemtsen’s comment on modern femininity. By placing tools in each of her subjects’ hands, the LA-based artist showcases that having feminine identification doesn’t mean fitting into a predetermined role.

Reemtsen is represented by Detroit-based David Klein Gallery and Lyndsey Ingram in London. You can view more of her fashionably dressed subjects on her website.