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Art

In 'Boogey Men,' Monumental New Works by Hugh Hayden Reflect on American Culture and Politics

December 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

Al images courtesy of ICA Miami, by Zachary Balber, shared with permission

An exhibition now on view at ICA Miami samples the recurring themes and motifs that are central to artist Hugh Hayden’s body of work: twisting flames spout from a wooden Adirondack chair and spindly twigs envelop a massive skeleton carved from bald cypress trees, two works that evoke the Dallas native’s barbed furniture and embedded branch designs. In a suspended installation comprised of metallic instruments and pots, faces mimicking traditional African masks emerge from copper cookware similar to the cast iron skillets he presented last year.

The metaphorical new pieces comprise Boogey Men, Hayden’s solo show that responds to myriad social dynamics, cultural issues, and an increasingly tense political environment through imposing, anthropomorphic forms and more subtle works. At the center of the exhibition space is a hammered stainless steel car disguised by a sheet painted in white. Both cartoonish and sinister in its reference to hooded Klansmen, the titular sculpture is an effective indictment of police brutality. Hayden gives attention to the origins of facets of American culture in the pieces that surround that central work, alluding to jazz and culinary traditions.

Boogey Men is on view in Miami through April 17, 2022, before it travels to the Blaffer Art Museum for a stay from June 11 to August 21. You can find more of Hayden’s work and view the process behind many of the pieces shown here on his Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Reality and Imagined Meditative States Converge in Tomás Sánchez's Tranquil Landscapes

November 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Light: Outside, Inside” (2021), acrylic on linen, 100 x 80 centimeters. All images © Tomás Sánchez, shared with permission

Through serene, idyllic landscapes, Tomás Sánchez visualizes his long-harbored fascination with meditation. The practice, the Cuban painter says, is “where I find many of the answers to questions that transcend from the personal to the universal. Meditation is not always a fleeting time. Meditation is not a punctual exercise; it is a constant practice.”

Rather than conceptualize the exercise as a temporary state, Sánchez views mediation as a lens to interpret the world, a recurring theme that has foregrounded much of his work during the last few decades. His acrylic paintings and hazy graphite drawings, which take months if not years to complete, highlight the immensity and awe-inspiring qualities of a forest thick with vegetation or a nearby waterfall and offer perspective through a lone, nondescript figure often found amongst the trees. Distinct and heavily detailed, the realistic landscapes aren’t based on a specific place but rather are imagined spaces available only through a ruminative state.

If you’re in New York, stop by Marlborough Gallery to see Sánchez’s solo show, which is on view from November 18 to January 22. Titled Inner Landscape, the exhibition encompasses multiple pieces never shown before, including the pristine scenes shown here. Until then, explore more of his works on Instagram.

 

“Inner Lagoon…Thought-Cloud” (2016), acrylic on canvas, 200 x 199.3 centimeters

“La batalla” (2015), acrylic on linen, 200 x 250 centimeters

“El río va” (2020), acrylic on linen, 121.3 x 99.1 centimeters

“Aislado” (2015), acrylic on canvas, 199.7 x 249.9 centimeters

“Diagonales” (2018), conté crayon on paper, 30.5 x 40.6 centimeters

 

 



Art

Between Wounds and Folds: Suspended Cow Carcasses and Tree Stumps Reveal Layers of Discarded Fabric by Tamara Kostianovsky

October 11, 2021

Christopher Jobson

Photo © Etienne Frossard. All images courtesy the artist, shared with permission.

Working with the tattered remnants of consumer culture, artist Tamara Kostianovsky (previously) asks us to question the origins, process, and disastrous results of our seemingly unquenchable desire to buy and waste. Four distinct bodies of the artist’s work spanning fifteen years have been gathered at Smack Mellon in DUMBO, Brooklyn to form Between Wounds and Folds. The textile ecosystem of cow carcasses harboring new life, vibrantly hued cross-sections of trees, and colorful birds of prey, are constructed from repurposed fabrics and discarded textiles. In this final state, the soft pieces function as an echo of their concealed beginnings. Smack Mellon shares in a statement:

Through alternating softness and aggression, her installations identify the nuances of violence that exist between a personal encounter and its normalization on a social and ecological level. Kostianovsky’s work asks for a re-imagination of human rights and environmental redemption models in order to consider the resultant violence as part of a larger, inseparable system.

Between Wounds and Folds is on view until October 31, and you can explore more of the Brooklyn-based artist’s work on Instagram.

 

Photo © J.C. Cancedda

Photo © Roni Mocan

Photo © Etienne Frossard

Photo © J.C. Cancedda

Photo © Etienne Frossard

Photo © J.C. Cancedda

Photo © J.C. Cancedda

Photo © J.C. Cancedda

The artist in her studio © J.C. Cancedda

 

 



Art Illustration

A Poetic Book Illustrated by Tiffany Bozic Explores the Vast Diversity of Trees with Childlike Curiosity

August 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Tiffany Bozic, shared with permission

In her first body of work geared toward children, artist Tiffany Bozic (previously) showcases the naturally occurring whimsy and wonder of the outdoors through saturated color, texture, and unusual perspectives: An upward glance frames towering redwoods with rugged bark, elusive flying squirrels cling to a branch, and dried leaves, fungi, and berries form a thick, colorful layer of groundcover. “I wanted to inspire children to notice how beautiful and important nature is and recognize that we are also animals, a part of nature. We only protect what we love. Trees are a great place to start because everyone has access to them, even in urban areas,” she tells Colossal.

In the last two decades, the Marin, California-based artist has created hundreds of paintings on maple panel, often leaving the wood grain fully exposed or peeking through a thin veil of acrylic.  Bozic’s detailed interpretations highlight the singularity of individual plants and animals as she adeptly applies a surreal twist to her otherwise faithful portrayals—her earlier books Drawn by Instinct and Unnatural Selections show the breadth of this style—while Trees relies on a more realistic approach. Paired with a lyrical story written by Tony Johnson, the illustrated book is a reminder to celebrate the earth’s diversity with a sense of childlike admiration and curiosity.

Trees is available for pre-order on Bookshop. You can follow Bozic’s new works, some of which will be informed by her research into the ways fire affects biodiversity in Tahoe earlier this summer, on Instagram. Find limited-edition prints and originals on her site.

 

 

 



Animation

A Kind Pine Cone Helps an Elderly Man Survive a Cold Winter in a Heartwarming Stop-Motion Animation

July 28, 2021

Grace Ebert

Sometimes help comes from unexpected sources, especially when you need it most. That’s the central message behind a heartfelt stop-motion short written, directed, and animated by Dunedin, New Zealand-based Claire Campbell. “Winter’s Blight” follows an elderly man named Bill, who struggles to heat his home during a harsh cold spell. After he runs out of wood entirely, he’s forced to chop down the lone evergreen still standing in his yard, only to encounter an enthusiastic pine cone that begs him to stop.

Produced by Jon Wilson of Shine on Films with music by Hanan Townshend, the animation took more than five years to complete and is replete with meticulously crafted details, like Bill’s hand-knit sweaters and an elaborate set built true to scale. Watch this making-of video and check out Campbell’s Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at how it came together.

 

 

 



Photography

Sunlight Filters through Misty Spruce Forests in Enchanting Photos by Kilian Schönberger

July 21, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Kilian Schönberger, shared with permission

In 2020 alone, a combination of droughts and a raging bark beetle infestation spurred by the climate crisis diminished Germany’s spruce tree population by record numbers. The European nation lost an estimated 4.3 percent of the evergreen species, which tend to grow in both commercial and naturally established forests in the Bavarian Alps and along the southeastern border. Photographer Kilian Schönberger (previously) visited these regions in the early part of 2021 to shed light on the enchanting beauty of the wooded areas that are undergoing substantial transformations.

Endorsement for Spruce Forests captures the species’ ethereal nature as sunlight filters through fog and morning mist, casting a warm candy-colored glow on the landscape. Pink light illuminates the barren branches that splay outward alongside trees covered in needles, while other shots show the rough, labyrinth-like paths that wind through the hilly terrain. Despite their durable material, the spruce take on a delicate, gentle quality in Schönberger’s photos, which are informed by his understanding of the trees’ natural rhythms:

Huge woods were destroyed by the bark beetle within a few weeks. Since the lowlands are not the natural habitat of the spruce the bark beetles just restored the balance of nature… In the Eastern Bavarian mountain ranges with higher precipitation, I was looking for natural spruce forests and found a wood wonderland. That’s the area where almost homogeneous spruce forests will also grow in the next decades.

Schönberger frequently travels from his home in the Bavarian Alps across Europe, and you can follow his adventures on Instagram. Prints of Endorsement for Spruce Forests are also available on his site.