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Art

Thick Clusters of Wooden Birdhouses by London Fieldworks Sprawl Across Tree Trunks

August 20, 2020

Anna Marks

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven.” All images © London Fieldworks

In London Fieldworks’ delicate creations, architecture meets nature. Its installations feature pine-colored clusters of minuscule wooden forms that appear to grow upon vast tree trunks. Founded by artists Bruce Gilchrist and Jo Joelson, London Fieldworks is a collaborative and multidisciplinary arts practice with projects at the intersection of architecture, sculpture, installation, and film. 

Each of the homes has rounded windows and doors, while those on large evergreen trees resemble natural objects, such as wasp and hornet nests or even fungi and mushrooms. From reflecting Clerkenwell’s urban renewal to offering new habitats for animals, the sprawling birdhouses fuse architectural ideas with nature and art, resulting in sculptures that integrate effortlessly in both natural and urban spaces. Through its installations, the practice explores its concern with the climate crisis through the lens of history, the environment, and culture.

One work, “Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven,” references opposite sides of London: Duncan Terrace Gardens in the east and Cremorne Gardens in the west. The installation is constructed from hundreds of bespoke bird boxes reflecting the forms of the local architecture—a combination of Modernist 60’s social housing and Georgian townhouses

Explore more of London Fieldworks’ projects on its site. You also might enjoy this similarly dense complex for avian neighbors.

 

“Spontaneous City: Clerkenwell”

Right: “Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven”

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven”

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven”

“Spontaneous City in the Tree of Lebanon”

 

 



Art

Lush Florals and Ripe Fruit Sprout from Lustrous Glass Trees by Artist Debora Moore

July 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Debora Moore, shared with permission

Combining traditional glassblowing techniques and sculpting methods, Debora Moore forms lustrous glass sculptures that resemble mossy branches, fleshy petals, and entire trees. The St. Louis-born artist began by creating orchids with bulbous centers before expanding her practice to larger, organic forms. In her recent collection, Arboria, Moore sculpted delicate magnolias, plump plums, and the lavender tendrils of the wisteria.

The fragile artworks create a tension between the delicate material, the fleeting lives of flowers, and the strength and durability of nature. Moore likens her process to that of painting, where glass is used similarly to produce depth. “The material’s inherent ability to transmit and reflect light, as well as its variations from transparency to opacity, lends itself perfectly to achieve desired textures and surfaces,” she says in a statement.

To dive further into Moore’s process and see her studio, check out this interview and her site.

 

Left: “Purple Lady Slipper,” blown and sculpted glass, 35 x 21 x 8 inches. Right: “Paphiopedilum Epiphyte,” blown and sculpted glass, 35 x 9 x 9 inches

“Magnolia” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 104 x 112 x 30 inches

“Winter Plum” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 72 x 101 x 23 inches

“Winter Plum” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 72 x 101 x 23 inches

“Blue Lady Slippers” from Gigantica, blown and sculpted glass, 19 x 20 x 11 inches

“Wisteria” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 93 x 86 x 36 inches

“Wisteria” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 93 x 86 x 36 inches

Left: “Blue Orchid Tree,” blown and sculpted glass, 42 x 35 x 10 inches. Right: “Pink Lady Slipper,” blown and sculpted glass, 62 x 43 x 8 inches

“Blue Epiphyte,” blown and sculpted glass, 22 x 9.5 x 7.5 inches

“Magnolia” from Arboria (2018), blown and sculpted glass, 104 x 112 x 30 inches

“Blush Epidendrum,” blown and sculpted glass, 23 x 17 x 9 inches

 

 



Art Craft

Multi-Layered Ceramics by Artist Heesoo Lee Express the Movements of Land and Sea

July 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Heesoo Lee, shared with permission

Heesoo Lee has spent years carefully layering blades of grass, pine trees, and cherry blossoms to construct botanic entanglements that crawl across ceramic mugs and bowls. Inspired by seasonal woodlands and aspen forests, the Montana-based artist recreates bright pockets of landscapes that capture small motions, like falling fronds or rustling branches. “There is movement in trees, but it is slow and subtle, a leaf in wind, the slow growth of new leaves in spring,” she says.

While Lee has continued this tradition with many of her recent pieces, she’s expanded her source material to the ocean. For seven years, the artist lived in Maui, where she often surveyed the water. “I could sit on a beach all day and watch the waves, observe them, and feel calmed by them but also respectful of their energy and force,” she says. The memory has inspired a textured piece that swells upward to form a cavernous bowl. “Even in a small object, the waves are powerful and convey so much. For me, the waves connote freedom, the freedom to express myself and take risks,” the artist writes.

Diverging from land posed new challenges in Lee’s process. For landscapes, the artist repeats elements in layers to create a fully formed piece, but the same technique didn’t translate to water. “The first time I tried to make waves I failed. I failed over and over and over after that. There were cracks, pieces broke off,” she says. “I realized the feeling of making a wave is so much different from making a landscape.” Instead, Lee retrained her hands to follow the movement of the water, using slip casting, carving, and a series of manual techniques to capture its energy and force. Her color palette changed from amalgamations that evoked seasons to a precise set of blues.

Despite her forays into aquatic forms, Lee maintains an affinity for grassy fields and windswept boughs, which she explains:

My seasonal work, landscapes that focus on all four seasons, are still a mainstay of my practice. The memories that fuel the images are so powerful for me, and it gives me great pleasure to share my interpretation of those memories with people… I have heard from people that drinking from a cup I made helped them channel their own memories of the outdoors and the seasons, even during a time when they are stuck inside.

To purchase one of the artist’s organic works, follow her on Instagram, where she often shares shop updates, in addition to early looks into her process.

 

 

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Art Craft

Precise Angular Stitches Encase Found Twigs in Natalie Ciccoricco’s New Embroideries

May 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Natalie Ciccoricco

Stitching lengthy, varicolored rows around found twigs, Natalie Ciccoricco juxtaposes the organic forms of nature with her meticulous embroideries. The California-based artist has been crafting her Nesting series on white, handmade paper with unfinished edges. The stark backdrop complements the precisely laid thread that seems to suspend each twig, while the natural borders offer an additional organic element.

An extension of her stitches on vintage photographs, Ciccoricco’s lastest series was born out of her time quarantined at home. “While being under quarantine at home, I started creating embroidery artworks using materials found in our yard, on our deck or nature walks,” she writes on her site. “Exploring the juxtaposition between geometric shapes and organic elements, this series is an ongoing exercise to find beauty and hope in challenging times.”

Although each piece from Nesting is sold out in her shop, some prints of her other embroideries are available on Society6. Follow Ciccoricco’s progress and see her latest works on Instagram. (via Jealous Curator)

 

 

 



Art

A Three-Story Tree Acts as a Scaffold for a Growing Community in a Mural by Ethan Murrow

May 20, 2020

Grace Ebert

“The Garden” in Seattle. All images © Ethan Murrow, by Julia Featheringill and Stewart Clements

In a 53-foot mural of exposed roots and tangled branches, Boston-based artist Ethan Murrow (previously) situates an energetic construction site manned by human workers, who heave their materials and balance across taught ropes. “The Garden” is replete with scaffolding, small tool sheds, and suspended orbs of sod and lumber among the sturdy boughs. With flags staked on its top, the tree serves as an organic backdrop for the humans’ manufactured expansion. Evidenced by the figure raising a tree branch to the sky in the top left corner, though, the workers’ actions often appear peculiar and inconsequential.

In a statement, Murrow explains that his scenic works are rooted in United States history and culture. Whereas traditional narratives are founded on the idea that progress and human superiority are natural, the artist works to subvert those assumptions.

As our world leaks and creaks forward, landscape can act as the ultimate term and representation of the joys and foibles of our actions. Landscape is an aesthetic ideal, an edited view of reality that suits the maker—in essence, a fiction. For me, the word has come to define our use of images and stories to convince ourselves of who we are, what we know to be true, and what we wish was fact.

Rendered in high flow acrylic and paint pens, “The Garden” is installed at Expedia Group headquarters in Seattle. Many of Murrow’s projects that are concerned with historical narratives and human progress can be found on Instagram.

 

 

 



Photography

Tangled Roots and Mossy Branches Loom through Heavy Fog in Mystical Photographs by Neil Burnell

April 24, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Neil Burnell, shared with permission

Devon-based photographer Neil Burnell captures a mossy labyrinth of gnarled roots and twisted branches in a new series that manifests nature’s most fantastical qualities. Mystical exposes the otherworldly elements of Wistman’s Wood, an ancient oak woodland on Dartmoor, Devon, England, while it’s enveloped by a dense fog. The overgrown forest is thought to be the remnants of a similarly wooded area dating back to 7,000 B.C.

Burnell tells Colossal that when he visited the spot as a kid, he was reminded of “the film set of Empire Strikes back in the forest of Dagobah.” The photographer has spent much of his career in graphic design, but after delving into photography more seriously, he returned to the forest to try to capture the mysticism in his cinematic style.

It’s taken four long years of visiting and learning to capture a series I’m truly happy with as compositions can be tricky in such a claustrophobic wood. 90% of the successful images are either shot in the first hour of light or the last hour when the light is really soft. The other key element for a successful session is thick fog…I can count the successful trips over the four years on one hand. Many times I’ve been the conditions just don’t suit for the style I want to achieve.

As climates change around the world, areas like Wistman’s Wood will feel the effects. The photographer says the area requires a balance between being protected from destruction while also being available for human interaction and enjoyment. “Over the four to five years I’ve been photographing, it’s clear to me that the woodland is (at) its most vulnerable in the winter months and particularly after heavy rainfall,” he says. “The harsher weather climate throughout the year really can be damaging…During the past five years, I’m thankful to say I’ve not seen one person who hasn’t been respectful to the woodland.”

To follow the latest from Burnell’s ongoing series, head Instagram and Behance. You can also acquire a print of these untamed scenes on his site.

 

 

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