The places where organic growth and human-made structure meet draws the eye of Los Angeles-based photographer Sinziana Velicescu. In her series A Tree Grows In…, Velicescu documents trees and shrubs growing alongside, or in spite of, pastel-hued buildings and fences in the Los Angeles area. Some, like the door-flanking cypresses above, dwarf the built landscape. In others, tightly trimmed topiaries mirror the industrial shapes of rooftop HVAC systems.
“Part of my process is walking or driving around neighborhoods in and around the greater Los Angeles area and coming across these scenes spontaneously,” Velicescu shares with Colossal. “The trees I seek out are ones that have a personality, so much so that they could almost replace human subjects. I’m drawn mostly to the trees that feel trapped by the urban landscape in which they find themselves or are trying to overcome their surroundings in some way.”
The photographer is currently working on Fabricating Desert, a project that explores the fabricated relationship between landscape and architecture in the desert Southwest. You can see more of Velicescu’s photographs on Instagram and Tumblr, and find prints of her images on Uprise Art. (via Ignant)
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Situated within the Royal Fort Gardens at The University of Bristol, British designer Katie Paterson and architects Zeller & Moye collaborated on Hollow, a wooden installation that illustrates the diversity of tree species found across the globe. From the outside the sculptural work appears as a series of rectangles made from a similar, light colored sample of wood, yet when one enters the modular elements break into wooden blocks of all shapes, sizes, and hues. Clustered rectangular structures emerge from the ceiling and floor of the cave-like public art piece like stalactites and stalagmites. The structures are composed of a range of wood samples, including ones that evolved millions of years ago to far more recent examples.
During three years of research and sourcing Paterson collected over 10,000 tree samples from various sources, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University and Yakushima, known as one of the wettest, forest-filled islands surrounding Japan. The collection also features a piece of wood from the Indian Banyan Tree, a fig tree where Buddha achieved enlightenment, the Japanese Ginkgo tree, and the Metuselah tree, found in the White Mountains in eastern California, which at 4,850 years old, is believed to be one of the oldest trees in the world.
Hollow is an ethereal environment for both play and meditation, and resembles a forest canopy with patches of light dappling in from the ceiling. The construction illustrates the detailed beauty of the natural world, and is poignant reminder of the importance of appreciating and maintaining our fragile natural environment. To step virtually into the permanent installation, visit Hollow‘s website.
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South Korean artist Sun-Hyuk Kim (previously) cuts, welds, melts, and curves pipes and wires into structures that are part human anatomy and part twisted plant root systems. The branch-like metal blood vessels create the outline of limbs, abdomens, and heads, as well as the trees that appear to have sprouted from them. Made entirely of stainless steel, the sculptures are meant to signify our imperfect and incomplete existence in relation to the natural world.
“My art is a tool to discover the truth and remind myself [and] viewers through various media,” Sun-Hyuk told Colossal. From large head-shaped root sculptures connected at the nose, to full body works with large trunks protruding from the head, back, and torso, the sculptures are often dramatic depictions of the human experience and what the artist considers truth.
New sculptures and drawings will be shown at Sun-Hyuk’s upcoming solo show at the Suhadam Art Space in South Korea from June 7 through August 5, 2019. To see more of his current and future works, you can also follow the artist on Instagram. (via Ignant)
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Light Installations by Javier Riera Project Concentric Circles and Geometric Cubes onto Mountains and Trees
Spanish artist Javier Riera designs and photographs light projections that fit perfectly onto specifically shaped trees and their branches. The geometric forms are inspired by the particular landscape, and are used to reveal what Riera perceives to be latent dimensions or energies embedded in the natural environment. “His hopes the photographs deepen the connection between nature and the audience, allowing the viewer to find a greater appreciation for the multitude of layers that compose the nature world.
“[I am interested in] those moments in which the outside (the landscape) begins to be perceived as something very intimate, while our internal world begins to be perceived with some distance,” says Riera to Colossal. “It is almost as if it becomes external to us, and for that reason it is clarified.”
Although the visual aspect of a location is important to Riera’s design, a large part of his process is researching the landscape’s history, including the people that inhabit or visit it. This information allows him to develop an original pattern or structure for the projection, while also remembering the place more holistically as the work develops. Riera will have work in the upcoming Umbria Light Festival in Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain from February 21-23, 2019. You can see more of his projected light works on his website and Instagram.
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British sculptor Laura Ellen Bacon twists, ties, and knots pieces of willow and other raw materials to create large-scale abstract sculptures which she installs both inside and outside of architectural structures. The pieces often involve several stages of sketching, and weeks of weaving using her hands and few other tools. Bacon’s twisting reddish-brown forms hug and scale buildings, walls, and other existing space and landscapes in interesting and intimate ways.
“My work often ‘grows’ from a host structure as I’m very interested in the tension between built, planned structures, and the ‘unplanned’ organic form that may grow upon it,” the artist tells Colossal. “I’m also very interested in the human scale of handmade structures and have created several woven spaces in recent years that people can enter inside—creating and entering the work can be a very sensory experience.”
Bacon finds interest and inspiration in nature and natural phenomena, like the swirling patterns or murmurations formed by some flocking birds. The visual poetry, scale, and juxtaposition of each piece to its setting can be seen from a distance, but it takes a closer approach to appreciate the seemingly chaotic web of expertly intermingled natural materials.
In addition to developing two very large pieces that will use several tons of stone and willow, the artist says that she will be exhibiting a new work with jaggedart at this year’s Collect: International Art Fair for Modern Craft and Design. The fair opens at London’s Saatchi Gallery on February 28 and runs through March 3, 2019. You can view more of her sculptures by visiting her website, Instagram, and Twitter.
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Little Tree Library: A Clever Twist on the Donation-Based Community Library Gives New Life to a Big Old Stump
Thanks to the nonprofit Little Free Library, chances are you have encountered a small house-like structure on a public thoroughfare, with a front door that opens to allow passersby to give or take a free book. The program exists in 88 countries, with over 75,000 registered Little Free Libraries. In addition to the goodwill-fueled, donation-based libraries, one of the charms is that each one is customized. Many sport unique paint jobs or even entirely off-the-wall architecture, like the Swedish flag-bedecked Library in the shape of a water tower, which pays homage to the real structure, a beloved fixture in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago.
One family in Idaho took their Library design to the next level with a “Little Tree Library,” carved out of a 110-year-old cottonwood tree stump on their property. Sharalee Armitage Howard, you’ll not be surprised to learn, works as a librarian and previously studied bookbinding, according to her Facebook profile. She spearheaded the complex installation on her front lawn, including dentils that, upon closer inspection, are actually miniature books complete with titles. The Library also features interior and exterior lighting, to give the space an extra-homey glow, as well as a “roof” over the top of the stump to help prevent its weathering away.
KREM, the local news station in Coeur d’Alene made a video (below) to give those outside the small town a closer look at the Howard’s new addition. You can find a Little Free Library near you on the organization’s website, which also offers premade kits if you don’t have any large stumps on hand.
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Black and White Photographs Capture the Striking Appearance of Bare Trees Against Snow-Filled Landscapes
Swiss photographer Pierre Pellegrini is drawn to remote landscapes dotted by tree groves, snow-topped piers, and structures that have fallen into a state of disarray. Long exposure photographs force Pellegrini to sit quietly with these scenes, meditatively taking in the high contrast landscape as his camera processes the deep blacks and brilliant whites that emerge in the dead of winter. “I simply photograph what I feel, and am always looking for moments and situations where everything is in its place,” he explains to Colossal. “I try to find a sort of harmony between what I see and what I feel.” You can see more of his square format black and white photographs on Instagram.
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Editor's Picks: Sculpture
Highlights below. For the full collection click here.