Shuttered Windows and Placid Canals Show Venice’s Sleepier Side in Night Photographs by Thibaud Poirier
Scenes of contemporary Venice often inevitably include throngs of tourists amongst the centuries-old architecture. But French photographer Thibaud Poirier (previously) took his camera out during the city’s quieter hours. During a weekend trip this past winter, Poirier sought to capture the timelessness of Venice, a task easier done there than in other cities like Paris, Poirier tells Colossal, because of Venice’s lack of cars. Vehicles on city streets tend to simultaneously distract from, and date, photographs of buildings.
In his series Sleeping Venice, the still waters of the canals reflect illuminated docks and the warm-toned weathered facades of the city’s brick and stucco buildings. Poirier explains that he used Google Maps to locate bridge and canal intersections, and then explored the pinpointed areas on foot. Despite the aquatic elements in his image, the photographer shares that he actually took all the shots on land, from bridges, ledges, and dead-end streets. You can see more of Poirier’s work and travels on Instagram and Behance, and find information on purchasing fine art prints on his website.
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Boston-based conceptual artist Nathalie Miebach (previously) weaves colorful, complex sculptures using rope, wood, paper, fibers, and data from weather events. Two of the artist’s recent series explore the impact of storm waters on our lives and on marine ecosystems, with variables like wind and temperature (and the harmony of the composition) often informing the rainbow of colors used to translate the data into a three-dimensional structure.
The “Changing Waters” series uses data from The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System (GoMOOS) buoys as well as from coastal weather stations to show relationships between weather patterns and changes in marine life. Similarly, the artist uses meteorological data from recent storms including Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Maria, and Hurricane Katrina to inform her “Floods” series, which looks at the events both from scientific and human experience narratives. Cut and woven elements are connected to form geometric shapes and patterns that are as layered and in flux as our understanding of the storms themselves.
Miebach tells Colossal that her exploration of the intersection of science and art began while taking continuing education astronomy courses at Harvard University and basket weaving courses at a nearby school. As a tactile learner, she found it easier to understand the abstract concepts and ideas of the former by using the latter. “I was lucky to have a very open-minded professor who accepted it without any questions. I’m not sure if it hadn’t been for his openness to this somewhat unconventional way of learning astronomy, if I would have continued.”
See Miebach’s work in two solo shows opening this fall, at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in Texas and the Cedarhurst Center for the Arts in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. Her work will also be exhibited as a part of group shows at Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts at Florida Institute of Technology, at New Media Gallery in Vancouver, and at Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, Massachusetts. Follow the artist on Instagram to see more of her sculptural work and for more details on upcoming exhibitions.
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In Lupanar, an installation by French artist Nicolas Tourte, water flows on a never-ending path over the floor, walls, and ceiling of an art gallery. Displayed in a darkened room, the slithering 130-foot route shows a continuous video loop, which includes the rushing sound of the white-capped waves as they surge across the room. A statement about Lupanar on the artist’s website explains that the installation is meant to provoke thoughts about time and its persistent push through our individual and collective human experience.
The piece was originally shown in 2015 as part of the festival Interstice #10 in Caen, France, and was most recently exhibited at Base Sous-Marine, a former submarine base built during World War II, in Bordeaux. You can see more work from Tourte on his website and Instagram. (via Trendland)
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Situated in a clearing within an Italian forest, John Grade’s latest installation, Reservoir, appears like a chandelier glistening among the pine trees. Reservoir is featured in the Arte Sella Sculpture Park in Borgo Valsugana and is made up of five thousand clear droplets each of which is delicately attached to translucent nets, supported by tree trunks.
On designing Reservoir, Grade (previously) studied the Park’s ecosystem, carefully planning the installation in harmony with the surrounding landscape. “I became most interested in the way rain falls through this grove of trees, the canopy delaying the droplet’s journey to the ground as well as how quiet and sheltered the forest was during a heavy rain,” Grade tells Colossal. “I wanted to make a sculpture that responded to the rain directly as well as a sculpture that responded to people.”
Reservoir is constructed from heat-formed plastic parts framed with steam-bent strips of Alaskan yellow cedar. Each droplet is attached to marine nets with fishing line which are then incorporated with stainless steel rings to maintain tensions and support the tree trunks above the structure. The shape of the translucent droplets are formed from casts of human hands cupped together. “We cast ten different people’s hands for variations in scale,” Grade explains.
When rain falls or snow lands the water accumulates within Reservoir’s clear pouches, giving them their droplet-like shape. In doing slow, the installation gets heavier and lowers, while in sunny, warm weather, it rises back into its original structure as the liquid evaporates. “The sculpture rises and falls with precipitation differently each time it rains or snows,” says Grade. Springs below the installation limit the vertical range of movement, so Reservoir always remains 10 feet above the forest floor.
The dry sculpture in its original configuration weighs 70 pounds, but when filled with rainwater, it can exceed 800 pounds. Reservoir serves as a water resource for the surrounding landscape: when the water it holds evaporates, it creates a humid environment for the surrounding vegetation to flourish.
Movement also manipulates the structure of Reservoir, and, as part of the project, Arte Sella connected Grade with Andrea Rampazzo, a dance artist based in Italy. Rampazzo choreographed a performance, where four dancers would interact with the sculpture, making the installation rise and fall depending on their movements. “Each tree has a cable connecting the net to the ground running down its length via pulleys which can either engage the spring limiting its downward trajectory to 12 feet of movement or bypass the spring to a second pulley near the base of the tree at waist height,” Grade explains. “This way the dancers can pull or release any of the nine lines to create varied movement in the sculpture.”
Occurring during one day of festivities, the dance lasted 45 minutes and was performed three times during the day. “The four dancers also had the assistance of four members of my studio team to help work the lines during the performance,” says Grade. Due to more control over Reservoir, the dancers brought the sculpture down to two feet from the ground, so their bodies were fully immersed in the thousands of droplet-like forms. “Because we were lucky to have rainfall, the dancers were able to abruptly jerk the movements and shower themselves with water,” Grade explains. “Now we can watch the sculpture collect and release and move over the seasons and build upon those nuances to create a second installation. Wind may become a significant inspiration the next time.”
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Mr. Trash Wheel, a floating mechanism with large round eyes affixed to its hood, was installed on a tributary leading to the Baltimore Harbor in 2014. Since then, the trash-scooping object has intercepted 638,594 plastic bags, 1,000,000 styrofoam containers, 150 miles of cigarette butts, and one ball python. Using the power of the sun, the semi-autonomous machine rakes litter out of the water and up a slow but sturdy conveyer belt. The belt is strong enough to hoist mattresses, trees, and kegs from the water and into a dumpster located on a separate barge for recycling and disposal.
The device was created by sailor and engineer John Kellett who watched debris build up around Baltimore’s waterfront for over twenty years. Mr. Trash Wheel has helped lead to Maryland’s statewide ban on Styrofoam food containers (a first in the country), partly because of a loyal Twitter following by local fans who are witness to the devastating amount of trash intercepted each day.
Although Kellett plans on installing trash wheels in other cities across the US including California, New York, and Hawaii, and internationally, he had also focused on adding more trash-eating power to his local harbor. Mr. Trash Wheel now has two cousin interceptors named Professor Trash Wheel and Captain Trash Wheel who have equally cartoonish eyes attached to the front of their wide-mouthed exteriors. You can watch Mr. Trash Wheel digest its millionth pound of trash in the video below, and view a live stream of real time waste consumption on its website. (via WBUR)
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COMPANION, a 121-foot-long inflatable sculpture by street artist KAWS, launched today at Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. The reclined, monochrome figure is the largest to date for the American artist, with recent previous iterations of the project installed at the Chiang Kai Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan, and on Seokchon Lake in Seoul, South Korea. The figure was purposefully designed to be in a peaceful repose, its crossed-out eyes gazing at the sky above.
“I was thinking of all the tension in the world, and I wanted to create work that would make people think about relaxing,” KAWS recently told TIME. “And there’s nothing more relaxing than lying on your back in water and looking up at the sky.”
To get the monumental work far enough into the water, tugboats pulled the sculpture from Wanchai to the waterfront off Tamar Park until it reached the Central Harbourfront. The event was celebrated with a water spray performance by the Hong Kong Fireboat 1 Elite. The work was launched by Hong Kong-based creative studio AllRightsReserved for the annual Hong Kong Arts Month, and will continue to occupy the harbor until March 31, 2019. (via Artsy)
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For his “Swimmers” print series, artist Brendan Lee Satish Tang transformed traditional blue and white ceramic dishware patterns into a symbol for culture: the complex, learned, and shared pool that surrounds us all. Each intricately drawn work features two swimmers (parental figures and children, siblings, and peers) who are seemingly unaffected as they attempt to navigate the rippling waters together.
Born in Ireland to Trinidadian parents, Tang received a formal art education in the United States and in Canada, where he is a naturalized citizen. He has lectured at conferences and academic institutions across North America, and his work has been exhibited and collected at museums and galleries across both nations. Currently based in Vancouver, Tang works primarily in clay to explore themes of tradition and culture with a particular interest in cultural appropriation and hybridity, which he says reflects his own “ambiguous cultural identity.”
The crosshatching and subdued blue tone give Tang’s drawings a sketch-like quality, while the morphing of the ceramic waves show a deeper level of planning and precision. A play on the idiom “a fish out of water,” Tang writes on his website that “we are the fish,” adding that humankind is “always finding our way through our greater culture.” Brendan Lee Satish Tang is represented by Gallery Jones in Vancouver and Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland. Check out his website to see where he will be showing next, and follow him on Instagram for closer looks at his latest work.
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