Artist Heesoo Lee (previously) uses multi-layered techniques to form intricate trees, complete with leaves and branches, that seem to grow out of her functional ceramic vessels. Lee’s careful use of color establishes a seasonal mood in each of her works, some evoking the warm tones and fallen leaves of autumn, while others capture the barren beauty of winter. Each woodland scene is drawn from Lee’s imagination. The artist shares that she happened upon her current style of work by chance: her background is as a painter, and she used clay more as a smooth canvas until one day she was working on a tight deadline and was attempting to repair a broken pot, which inspired her to build three-dimensionally.
Lee explains that she uses translucent porcelain because its “beautiful clarity and color and is the perfect canvas for the bright underglaze and glazes I use.” The artist begins by forming each tree individually, starting with the closest and largest trees as she builds perspective by filling in the background with progressively smaller trunks, each of which is individually formed with a clay coil. Next, for her non-wintry pieces, each leaf is individually formed and applied to create the dense foliage that further increases the sense of depth on the surface of her ceramics. After an initial firing, Lee applies colored details using painted underglaze, which must be applied without overlapping different glazes to prevent discoloration after firing. Lastly, she chooses from a range of finishing glazes, selected depending on the desired effect, like an icy blue vernal pool or clearly defined leaves.
Lee shares that she first came to the United States, looking for freedom and adventure and with little knowledge of English, first living in Berkeley, California. She started re-exploring ceramics outside of the strictures of traditional Korean ceramics, rediscovering her love of the tactile medium after studying painting in college. Lee has been a working artist alongside her partner, a fellow ceramic artist for many years, and cites her time in residence at the Archie Bray Foundation as a seminal experience:
My work, mostly in medium-range porcelain, expanded beyond painted surfaces, my mainstay for many years. I pushed my work beyond the motifs I had been using for many years–flowers, mostly–and built larger than I had before. I was inspired by my children, the landscape of the places where I lived, and my own childhood in Korea, and reflected these themes in my work. I found that working in a place like the Bray, surrounded by other artists who created a supportive, inviting, and welcoming community, gave me the freedom to grow as an artist.
Lee lives and works in Helena, Montana, where she has a home studio and kiln. You can see more of Lee’s in-progress and finished work on Instagram, and she also keeps her Etsy shop updated with new pieces available for purchase.
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Root Bench is a multi-height bench system installed in Hangang Park in Seoul, South Korea. The design is a winning proposal by Yong Ju Lee, which creates a circular protrusion of roots that provides space for rest and relaxation. The nearly 100-foot diameter installation is formed from conjoined slats of wood attached to a metal frame, and sprawls from a centralized point in the park. Three different heights accommodate children’s seating, adult chairs, and tables for picnicking. This provides space for all sizes, and allows gatherings that vary from intimate to community-wide celebrations. (via Designboom)
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In French photographer Pierre-Louis Ferrer’s vibrant photographs, Dordogne, France is transformed into an enchanted land bathed in canary yellow. Ferrer’s colorful photographs illustrate the country’s idyllic topography, where the leaves upon the trees, fresh grass, and sculpted shrubbery are captured in the same vivid color.
While photographing, Ferrer takes time to observe his environment and decide on the best photographic technique to use. For his Dordogne photographs, Ferrer used an infrared photography technique which allowed him to capture the landscape in brilliant yellows. “My artistic approach is based on the invisible and imperceptible,” Ferrer tells Colossal. “I work with invisible parts of light (infrared and ultraviolet) and with techniques like long exposure to offer alternative views of our world.”
This yellow effect in Ferrer’s Dordogne photographs is due to a mix of visible and infrared light, and each plant species appears different depending on how it reacts to the light. “I use a selective filter that let’s pass a large part of infrared light and a small part of visible light,” Ferrer explains. “The main subjects of this technique are trees and foliage because they react a lot under infrared light.”
Although yellow is prevalent in nature; found in bananas, autumnal leaves, egg yolks, and the irises of some animal’s eyes, in Ferrer’s photographs he standardizes all natural elements, highlighting the color’s prevalence in natural forms.
As human eyes are not used to infrared light (due to its longer wavelengths), Ferrer’s photographs invite viewers to see Dordogne as through they are in a different dimension. The extravagant Jardins Suspendus at Marqueyssac and its ivy-covered châteaux are transformed into an ethereal world that might otherwise only appear in paintings.
Although fantastical, Ferrer’s photographs encourage mindfulness and allow us to reflect upon the importance of nature. “My goals are to invite contemplation, to realize the place of nature in urban places, to make aware of the impact of our environment on us, and our impact on the environment.”
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Photographer Sebastian Magnani carefully positions round mirrors in outdoor settings to capture two landscapes at once: the ground below and the sky above. In the ongoing series Reflections, some compositions reflect connected imagery, like blossom-covered grass and a flowering tree. Others juxtapose man-made surfaces like asphalt with organic branches. By removing the usual context of landscape images, Magnani allows the viewer to focus on the textural qualities of the environment, and some images even veer into illusions, as with the cloudy night sky that appears like a full moon. You can see more from the Swiss photographer, including portraits, on Instagram and Facebook. Magnani has also recently started offering prints of the Reflections series on Society6. (via Bored Panda)
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Textile artist Tamara Kostianovsky creates realistic elements from nature out of strips of fabric and discarded clothing. In her latest series, the artist forms severed tree stumps from pieces of her late father’s clothing, integrating his belongings into a landscape of layered, multi-colored logs. The works address the passing of time and allude to the body returning to the environment after death.
The project is inspired by the South American people of the Andes who believe that Mother Earth is embodied by the surrounding mountains. Kostianovsky translates this idea to placing clothing items into sculptures that represent the earth and its environment. She explains in an artist statement: “Fusing the shapes of severed tree stumps of different forms and sizes to a palette indicative of the insides of the body, [the series Tree Stumps] pays homage to the cultural heritage of the people of Latin America, while presenting an alternative way of thinking about our post-industrial relationship to nature.”
Kostianovsky became entranced with the body while working at a surgeon’s office during her adolescence. She continues to make work that examines muscle and bone, often in other species such as livestock or whales. You can take a look inside the artist’s studio by visiting her Instagram. (via Colossal Submissions)
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Hugh Hayden builds furniture not intended for human use, crafting benches and chairs from pieces of wood without removing the original branches or twigs. In these sculptural works the stray forms make it nearly impossible to use the object as a piece of furniture. The shape an Adirondack chair is present, like in his piece The Jones and Other Borrowed Ideas, yet its impediments make sitting an uncomfortable challenge.
Hayden’s imbedded branches serve as a camouflage system that explores how his designed objects might blend into a natural landscape. His piece “Brier Patch,” which features six carved school desks, “juxtaposes the organic, unpredictability of the natural world (e.g. undergrowth,
a thicket etc.) with the ordered and disciplined pursuit of education and greater civilization,” he explains. “The branches extending from the desks are entangled and materialize this integration into the landscape or environment, creating a visible, unifying space, that is at once protective and impenetrable.”
His solo exhibition at White Columns runs through June 2, 2018, and is his first in New York City. Hayden recently received is MFA in Sculpture from Columbia University, and his Bachelor of Architecture from Cornell University in 2007. You can see more of his sculptures on his website and Instagram.
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A record-breaking LEGO tree has taken shape at LEGOLAND Japan, a theme park in Nagoya dedicated to the beloved plastic bricks. The cherry tree’s construction marks the theme park’s first anniversary, and has been registered as the “largest LEGO brick cherry blossom tree” in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was made with 881,470 bricks which took over 6,500 hours to assemble. Superlatives aside, the hand-built tree is a spectacular sight to behold. The tree sculpture includes a grassy green base and illuminated lanterns, all made with LEGO bricks. You can watch a video of the tree’s creation below. (via My Modern Met)
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Editor's Picks: Street Art
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