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Art

Ornate Picture Frames Sprout Twisted Roots in Organic Sculptures by Darryl Cox

February 2, 2023

Kate Mothes

A wooden sculpture that fuses tree roots with an ornate picture frame.

“Winter.” All images © Darryl Cox, shared with permission

In Darryl Cox’s organic sculptures, gnarled tree roots or branches merge with the ornate grooves, patterns, and gilding of picture frames. The Bend, Oregon-based sculptor (previously) continues to explore the material possibilities of wood and its relationship to domestic interiors and the natural environment in the series Fusion Frames.

Cox begins each work by connecting pieces of reclaimed wood to the found decorative objects. “Typically—but not always—I begin the sculpting process at the point of fusion, and move in either direction from there, depending on the piece,” he tells Colossal. “Carving and modeling is a protracted process, so once I have a rudimentary joint, I work on segments at will.” To make formerly disparate pieces of wood appear as though they extend organically from one another, he spends hours meticulously carving, sanding, painting, and staining each piece. The artist retains some of the mosses or lichens that grew on the roots in the wild, further emphasizing the contrast between the finely hewn surfaces of the frames and the rough textures of the raw timber.

This summer, Cox will exhibit his sculptures at Cherry Creek Arts Festival in Denver in July and Oregon’s Art in the High Desert fair in August. Find more of his work on his website.

 

A wooden sculpture that fuses tree roots with an ornate picture frame.

“Flynn”

A wooden sculpture that fuses tree roots with an ornate picture frame.

Detail and overview of “Lacey”

A wooden sculpture that fuses tree roots with an ornate picture frame.

“Bond”

A wooden sculpture that fuses tree roots with an ornate picture frame.

Detail of “Bond”

A wooden sculpture that fuses tree roots with an ornate picture frame.

Overview and detail of “Jasper”

A wooden sculpture that fuses tree roots with an ornate picture frame.

“Maestro”

A wooden sculpture that fuses tree roots with an ornate picture frame.

“Jacques”

A wooden sculpture that fuses tree roots with an ornate picture frame.

Left: “Titan.” Right: “Joplin”

A detail of a wooden sculpture that fuses tree roots with an ornate picture frame.

Detail of “Jacques”

 

 

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Art

Leafy Subjects Exemplify the Social Life of Trees of Shyama Golden’s Verdant Portraits

January 4, 2023

Kate Mothes

A painting of two figures or trees cloaked in vines.

“Intertwined” (2020), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches. All images © Shyama Golden, shared with permission

On the banks of the Martha Brae River in Jamaica, artist Shyama Golden noticed greenery that appeared like lovers embracing. She “started to see these anthropomorphic vine-covered trees everywhere, taking on the forms of various archetypes.” The scenes inspired a series of paintings titled With or Without Us that merges facets of landscape and portrait painting into verdant works expressing nature as a social entity.

The Los Angeles-based artist’s practice is influenced by myriad sources, especially literature and everyday experiences. “Sometimes the idea can come from reading, and sometimes I take inspiration directly from life, but I often do research to add more details as I go, even if the original idea didn’t come from anything I read,” she tells Colossal. With or Without Us takes cues from Richard Powers’ 2019 novel The Overstoryan evocation of the natural world comprised of interlocking narratives in which each character is deeply connected to trees.

For this series, Golden was fascinated by the invisible means in which trees communicate with each other using a network of soil fungi, an ecological survival mechanism that is under threat from deforestation and impacts of the climate crisis. By combining recognizable portrait imagery redolent of family photographs, headshots, or the art historical vogue for reclining female figures, Golden reimagines the leafy denizens of forests as individuals with distinctive personalities and relationships.

Find more of Golden’s work on her website and Instagram.

 

A painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

“Familiar Phantasm” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 x 60 inches

A painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

Detail of “Familiar Phantasm”

A painted portrait of a figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“The Hero” (2021), oil on panel, 48 x 48 inches

A painted portrait of a reclining figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“The Muse” (2021), oil on canvas, 60 x 40 inches

A painted portrait of a figure or tree cloaked in vines.

“Blue” (2021), acrylic on canvas, 48 x 48 inches

A detail of a painted portrait of figures or trees cloaked in vines.

Detail of “Intertwined”

 

 



Art

A Series of Meticulously Carved Panels Combine Layers of Color to Make Tugboat Printshop’s ‘River’ Woodcut

December 30, 2022

Kate Mothes

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

All images © Tugboat Printshop

Woodland creatures peek out from behind tree trunks, and a stream of water rushes through a dense, forested landscape in Valerie Lueth’s latest woodcut for Tugboat Printshop (previously). “River” uses four intricately carved panels layered into a composition of overlapping, vivid color. Currently a work in progress and nearing completion, the detailed scene features intricate foliage and a smattering of stars throughout the sky and landscape.

To create the nocturnal setting, Lueth began by meticulously carving the surface of a “key block” using knives and gouging tools to create an overview of the entire composition. She then transferred the full scene to three additional panels in gray ink and filled in sections with marker to delineate which areas should be carved and where different pigments would be applied. Printed in succession, each block will provide a puzzle-like piece of the final print.

“River” is available for pre-order on the Tugboat Printshop website, and you can follow more updates on Instagram.

 

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

Two process images of making an intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

 

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

An intricate woodblock carving of a river running through a forested landscape.

 

 



Photography

Trails of Light Illuminate Sculptural Bonsai Trees in Vitor Schietti’s Long-Exposure Photographs

December 8, 2022

Kate Mothes

A photograph of light illuminating a bonsai tree.

All images © Vitor Schietti, shared with permission

Cultivated for centuries in Japan, bonsai originated in China at least 4,000 years ago, treasured as symbols of balance and harmony and admired for their aesthetic beauty. Vitor Schietti’s ongoing project Impermanent Sculptures continues to tap into the strength of the trees in a photographic series of illuminated specimens.

Long-exposure shots capture bright streams from sparklers that contrast against deep, dark backgrounds and speak to the relationship between the immediacy of light, the ephemerality of the photograph, and the enduring nature of the lifeforms. “The small-scale representation of their grown, natural counterparts allow my strokes of sparkles to reach further through the trees’ shapes,” Schietti explains. Bonsai provide an opportunity to illuminate what he describes as the “soul, the source of life,” of these living forms, sharing that the process of creating and tending to one of the miniature botanical specimens reveals a unique human connection to nature.

You can find more of Schietti’s work on his website and Instagram.

 

A photograph of light illuminating a bonsai tree.

A photograph of light illuminating a bonsai tree.

A photograph of light illuminating a bonsai tree.

A photograph of light illuminating a bonsai tree.

A photograph of light illuminating a bonsai tree. A photograph of light illuminating a bonsai tree.

A photograph of light illuminating a bonsai tree.  A photograph of light illuminating a bonsai tree.

 

 



Art Craft

Metal Sculptor Shota Suzuki Crafts Exquisitely Detailed Blooms That Express the Passing of Time

November 25, 2022

Kate Mothes

All images © Shota Suzuki, shared with permission

Tender stems bear lush blooms and windswept leaves gather around new growth in artist Shota Suzuki’s delicate metal sculptures. Rendered in painstaking detail, the forms are inspired by flora around his home and studio in Kyoto, such as Japanese maple trees and dandelions that have gone to seed. “Recently, I have been adding rain and wind to my work,” he tells Colossal, sharing that he’s inspired by the way nature demonstrates the passing of time. He adds silvery water droplets to ginkgo leaves, ruffles the petals of flowers, or portrays a branch of cherry blossoms as if it has blown from a tree.

An early interest in jewelry led Suzuki to study metalworking, and the exquisite detail of florals and foliage suited his ability to work on a small scale. A wide range of patinas create a life-like appearance, achieved by combining an array of chemicals that produce specific hues and textures, including traditional Japanese copper coloration methods such as niiro. “I don’t want to create works in which time stands still,” he says. “I want to express a moment in time.”

Suzuki’s work is included in Natural Mastery: Lacquer and Silver Works from Japan at Stuart Lochhead Sculpture in London from December 1 to 9. You can find more work on his website and Instagram.

 

A realistic sculpture of a tree sapling growing from dead leaves, made from metal.

 A realistic sculpture of flowers made from metal, photographed on a table.

A realistic sculpture of flowers made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of ginkgo leaves made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of a stem of cherry blossoms made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of dried leaves made from metal.

A realistic sculpture of gold ginkgo leaves with silver droplets, made from metal.

 

 



Art Design

In a Remote Swedish Forest, A Nest of Branches and Hay Encircles a Tree with a Cozy Hideout

November 15, 2022

Grace Ebert

A photo of a branch structure around a tree

“Season II.” All images © Ulf Mejergren and Antti Laitinen, shared with permission

In April of this year, Swedish architect and artist Ulf Mejergren and Finnish artist Antti Laitinen gathered fallen branches from a forested area outside of Nykvarn, a small city southwest of Stockholm. The duo used those wooden scraps to weave a structure around a tree, building a cozy refuge among the thawing spring landscape.

That construction was the first part of an ongoing project titled One Tree Four Seasons, in which the artists gather natural materials from the surrounding area to create site-specific land art. Summer saw the inclusion of hay from a nearby field that insulated the walls and floor and created seating inside the enclosure, while the lush treetop served as roofing. In fall, those same leaves wrapped the facade in an upward swell and piled into a colorful path that led into the structure’s round opening.

Mejergren tells Colossal that the fourth and final iteration is slated for completion in December, although that, of course, depends on the weather. Keep an eye on his and Laitinen’s Instagrams for updates. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

A photo of people inside hay walls with a tree at the center

“Season II”

A photo looking upward at the tree's canopy

“Season II”

A photo of a branch structure around a tree with leaves pouring from the opening

“Season III”

A photo of a branch structure around a tree

“Season I”

A photo of a child approaching a branch structure around a tree

“Season I”

A photo of leavings pouring form a branch structure around a tree

“Season III”