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Art

Future Returns: A Plasma-Cut Forest Reclaims an Oil Tanker in a New Sculpture by Dan Rawlings

June 21, 2021

Christopher Jobson

“Future Returns” by Dan Rawlins. All photos by Mark Bickerdike, shared with permission

In perhaps the not-so-distant future, sculptor Dan Rawlings (previously) imagines a world where machinery from the unsustainable energy industry is now a relic of the past, slowly overtaken by nature in a state of decomposition. In his latest sculpture titled “Future Returns,” the artist uses his trademark plasma-cutting style to etch a sizeable canopy of foliage that emerges from the steel shell of a reclaimed oil tanker. The work is currently housed inside a 19th-Century church in Scunthorpe in Lincolnshire, England. From a statement about the project:

“Future Returns” invites us to examine our own part in commercialization and the resulting changes to our natural environment. Rawlings believes it is easy to demonize industry but we must acknowledge that it has allowed life as we know it to bloom. It is our ability to design, create and produce that has put towns like Scunthorpe on the global map. He also believes oil companies have much to answer for, from the state of our environment to mistrust of science.

“Future Returns” will be on view at 20-21 Visual Arts Centre through September 25, 2021, and you can book free viewing times on the center’s site. (via Creative Boom)

 

 

 



Photography

A Magical Series Captures the Gnarled Branches of Socotra's Dragon Blood Trees

June 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Daniel Kordan, shared with permission

Russian photographer Daniel Kordan (previously) is adept at locating extraordinary environments around the world—he captured this dazzling series of Japan’s firefly mating season a few months ago—and his recent excursion to the Socotra archipelago is similarly enchanting. Situated between the Guardafui Channel and the Arabian Sea, the remote island is populated by dragon blood trees, an evergreen species with upturned branches that splay outward and produce a bristling canopy.

Kordan’s photographs, which are shot at dawn, golden hour, and under a star-illuminated sky, frame this unique growth pattern that leaves the trees’ gnarled wood underbelly exposed. Combined with the deep red sap that seeps from its trunk, this otherworldly feature ties the species to local lore. “According to legend, the first dragon blood tree was created from the blood of a dragon who was wounded in a battle with an elephant,” the photographer says.

Kordan details the techniques and equipment he used in Socotra in a post about his travels, which you can follow on Instagram. He also has dozens of photographs of the white-sand deserts and life on the Yemeni island available as prints in his shop.

 

 

 



Art

Enchanting Scenes Combine Multiple Precisely Carved Woodblocks into Full-Color Prints by Tugboat Printshop

June 1, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Blue Bridge” (2020), woodcut on ivory somerset paper, 18 x 22.5 inches. All images © Tugboat Printshop, shared with permission

Valerie Lueth, who’s behind the Pittsburgh-based Tugboat Printshop (previously), continues to cultivate dreamy scenarios painstakingly printed with intricately carved woodblocks. Her recent creations include a distant truss bridge peeking through vegetation, a whimsically intertwined pair of trees—now in full color, this piece began as a black-line woodcut commissioned for an edition of Jean-Claude Grumberg’s The Most Precious of Cargoes—and a web of vines dripping with rain and jewels evoking a dreamcatcher.

After sketching with pencil on plywood blocks, Lueth hand-carves the meticulous designs with knives and gouging tools and often cuts multiple panels with slight variances for each print. In addition to building depth of color, Lueth’s sequential process yields greater highlights, shadows, and overall detail to the completed work. The lush, leafy scene comprising “Blue Bridge,” for example, is the product of four blocks coated in black, blue, green, and purple oil-based inks, which are pressed in succession to create the richly layered landscape.

Prints are available on Esty or from Tugboat’s site, and you can see more of Lueth’s process and a larger collection of her works, including a glimpse at a new floral relief in black-and-white, on Instagram.

 

Detail of “Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

“Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

“Blue Bridge” (2020), woodcut on ivory somerset paper, 18 x 22.5 inches

Detail of “Web” woodcuts

“Together Trees” (2020), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 12.5 x 9 inches

Detail of “Together Trees” (2020), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 12.5 x 9 inches

Detail of “Web” (2019), woodcut on natural Kitakata paper, 20 x 16 inches

Detail of “Blue Bridge” woodcut, 18 x 22.5 inches

 

 



Art

Color-Changing Canopies Glow with LED Lights in a Fantastical Meadow in San Francisco

May 24, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Entwined Meadow” at Golden Gate Park. All images © Charles Gadeken, shared with permission. Photo by Allen Mort

Charles Gadeken’s “Entwined Meadow” converted an outdoor greenspace at Golden Gate Park into an enchanted grove of color-changing light. Branching 30 feet across in thick canopies, three metal trees and scattered shrubbery populated the whimsical garden that merged nature and technology to create an otherworldly environment. Thousands of flickering LED cubes topped the plant forms, which stood as high as 20 feet, casting Park Meadow in a kaleidoscopic glow.

“Entwined Meadow” recently closed at the San Francisco space, although Gadeken says the installation might make another appearance at the location in the future. See more views of the illuminated project, in addition to an archive of the Bay Area artist’s light-based works, on Instagram.

 

Photo by Jason Chinn

Photo by Jonathan Condit

Photo by Jason Chinn

 

 



Art Craft

Hundreds of Minuscule Paper Cranes Perch in Bonsai Trees in Naoki Onogawa's Sculptures

April 5, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Naoki Onogawa, shared with permission

Using just his hands, Tokyo-based artist Naoki Onogawa folds scores of origami cranes with wingspans that never top a single centimeter. He then fastens the minuscule birds to asymmetric tree forms, creating bonsai-like sculptures engulfed by hundreds of the monochromatic paper creatures.

Onogawa tells Colossal that he began crafting the tiny birds following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake that devastated parts of southern Hokkaido and Tohoku, which the artist visited the next year. As he walked around the city of Rikuzen Takata, he spotted 1,000 paper cranes at the site of a school demolished by the tsunami. “I found myself in terror of how powerless we humans are in the face of nature’s wonder; yet at the same time, I felt empowered by the power of life, vitality, that shined so brightly in the aftermath of its wrath,” Onogawa says. He explains further:

It was like witnessing the result of a desolate ritual where people channeled their unsettled feelings into these cranes. And here they exist, spirited with prayers that they would go back and forward to and from a world beyond here. I struggle to find the words to describe it, but I think that maybe the cranes that I fold now come from that place of solemn prayer.

Onogawa’s cranes are on view at the Setouchi City Museum of Art alongside Motoi Yamamoto’s sprawling salt installation through May 5. Browse available artworks on Picaresque, and explore a larger collection of his pieces on Instagram. (via designboom)

 

 

 



Art Photography

Illuminated Streaks Appear to Fall from Trees in Light Paintings by Photographer Vitor Schietti

March 25, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Vitor Schietti, shared with permission

In Vitor Schietti’s Impermanent Sculptures, thick treetops and branches are swollen with light that appears to drip down in incandescent rays. Each photograph frames the nighttime scenes in a dreamy, energetic manner as the glowing beams both outline and obscure the existing landscapes. Schietti shot the pieces shown here in February and March of 2021 around his hometown, Brasília, but the ongoing series first was developed in 2015.

Although some of the long-exposure photographs are taken in a single shot, many are composites created from various light paintings. He explains:

Apart from this process and color and contrast adjustments, the result is conceived entirely from real action with fireworks, a performance that shifts between spontaneity and control… To paint with light in a three-dimensional space is to bring one’s thoughts from unconscious realms into existence, only visible as presented through long-exposure photography.

Schietti sees the luminous series as a celebration of the Brazilian city, which he describes as a tree-filled oasis of birds and cicadas that’s “often integrated with the genius architecture of Oscar Niemeyer…Appreciating their hidden expressions, or imagining the life force that pulsates and emanates from them maybe a little less ordinary, so here (the) images play an important role: inspire and foster imagination.”

Check out the catalog of available prints on Schietti’s site, and head to Instagram for more of his photographs featuring Brazil’s lush landscapes and natural life.