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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 Design

A Massive Wave Crashes in a Seoul Aquarium as Part of the World’s Largest Anamorphic Illusion

May 17, 2020

Grace Ebert

An enormous aquarium with perpetually crashing waves has popped up amidst an urban landscape in South Korea, but don’t expect to hear the water sloshing around if you walk by. Designed by District, the elevated tank is actually a massive anamorphic illusion. The digital media company created the public project utilizing an advertising screen that spans 80.1 x 20.1 meters. As shown in the video, the deceptive aquarium looms over the outdoor area and splashes repeatedly into the sides.

For more of District’s illusory works, check out Vimeo and Instagram. (via Design You Trust)

Update: This article has been updated to correct an error that stated that the advertising screen was the world’s largest.

 

 

 



Photography Science

Lake Waves Appear Frozen in Time Amidst the Rocky Mountains in Photographs by Eric Gross

March 9, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Eric Gross, shared with permission

Shot at an elevation nearing 10,000 feet in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, a series of images by Eric Gross capture a high-alpine lake covered in icy ridges and dips that mimic sleek waves. The Colorado-based photographer tells Colossal that local experts believe the phenomenon is caused by snowdrifts blowing onto the already frozen lake, melting there, and then refreezing. “Through multiple melt/freeze cycles and after periods of high winds, the mounds and divots are shaped into deep curves, sometimes with sharp ridges and lines that give the appearance of regular lake waves, frozen in time,” Gross says. “Composing images from ground level revealed that the dark ice waves exhibit psychedelic reflections of the surrounding mountainous landscape.” To see more of the photographer’s phenomenological works, head to Instagram.

 

 



Animation

A New Short Film Demonstrates the Difficulty of Escaping City Life

January 23, 2020

Grace Ebert

Breaking free from urban life is no easy feat for the main figure in “Le Silence de la rue,” or “The Silence of the street.” The monochromatic film produced by Miyu Productions, which is led by Emmanuel-Alain Raynal and Pierre Baussaron, details the stark dichotomy of spending time in unaltered natural spaces and in a dirty, bustling neighborhood. Opening with a blooming flower, the gloomy film turns to a black being who struggles to stay afoot in the dense streets as a horde of anonymous figures push by. Wave-like elements envelop him until he’s transported to a tiny boat at sea, where he momentarily finds peace. But soon enough, he’s hurled back into the crowd before finally losing his dark hue and joining others as they pile onto the public bus, proving his inability to escape city life.

The 2D digital animation was directed by Marie Opron in 2019 and is set to music by composer Francois Poitou. Find more of the company’s illustrated projects on Vimeo.

 

 



Animation

A Bustling Coastline is Disguised as a Peaceful Bedroom in Short Film by Charlotte Arene

January 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

Paris-based director and animator Charlotte Arene has created an uncanny stop-motion film centered on sleep that wavers between a nightmare and a peaceful slumber. Released in December 2019, “La mer à boire,” or “Unrealizable,” is shot in a typical bedroom, although the sheets, closet doors, and slippers move similarly to an energetic coastline. The animated work is set to sounds of waves and birds calling to each other, and it features a young woman who glides up and down her bed, seemingly retreating back into the water, and under the blankets, with the ripples. Canonical sea literature, like Jules Verne’s Voyages Extraordinaires and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, occupies the bookshelf that resembles lapping waves, as well. Find more of Arene’s short animated projects on Vimeo.

 

 



Photography

Powerful Portraits of Enormous Ocean Waves by Luke Shadbolt

October 30, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Maelstrom 9” (2016)

Luke Shadbolt captures the roiling majesty of ocean waves in his large-scale aquatic photographs. Printed at 150 x 100 cm (nearly 6 feet by 3.3 feet), the color and black-and-white images show the dramatic shapes and dynamic textures of open water when agitated by major weather events.

In a statement on the artist’s website, the Maelstrom series is described as “a cursory glimpse of the exchange, cycle and balance of power fundamental to the functioning of our planet and its oceans… Maelstrom encourages the viewer to reflect upon our own naivety and place as a species within the greater natural balance of power.”

The Acquiesce the Front series similarly seeks to draw connections between the human experience and our natural environment. “The physical manifestations portrayed are a deft reflection of those storms that are implicit to the human condition,” and our individual frailty in the face of big events. Yet Shadbolt finds hope in the potential “to learn and grow from these events. While we may be powerless to stop the storm from approaching, we can work to redirect the flood.”

Shadbolt is represented by Michael Reid Gallery in Sydney and Berlin. The Sydney-based photographer and creative director tells Colossal that he is currently in the process of opening a studio in New York City. You can explore more of his dramatic photographs on Instagram and Facebook.

“Acquiesce 5” (2017)

“Acquiesce 2” (2017)

“Maelstrom 1” (2016)

“Maelstrom 3” (2016)

“Maelstrom 5” (2016)

“North Avoca 1” (2016)

“Maelstrom 4” (2016)

“Maelstrom 8” (2016)

 

 



Art

A Massive Wooden Wave Surges From a Gallery Floor in an Installation by Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen

July 1, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

In a gallery at the Center for Maine Contemporary Art (CMCA) this spring, an all-encompassing wave of wood surrounded visitors as they walk across gangplanks that bisect the space. The installation, Hubris Atë Nemesis, was by Maine-based artist duo Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen B. Nguyen. Kavanaugh and Nguyen have been collaborating since 2005 and working exclusively with paper. “One of the foundations of our collaborative art practice is the act of shared seeing, the artists shared. “We find common ground by actively investigating our own visual reference points, memories and assumptions.”

For this installation, the artists pushed their practice to include new media and techniques: Hubris Atë Nemesis is their first piece in wood, and the first in which the pathway through the piece is an actual part of the installation. The artists explained in a statement that the title and concept of the work is derived from a three-part narrative arc common in Greek tragic plays:

Hubris, characterized as an arrogant confidence, transforms to Atë, a ruinous folly or madness, then ultimately to Nemesis, a force of retribution that resets the natural order. Like many paintings of the Maine coast, we hope this work captures a moment of suspense in a dynamic system—a snapshot with an uncertain future—and that it appears to be unwritten what the restored natural order should or might become.

Hubris Atë Nemesis was created with the support of the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation: Kavanaugh and Nguyen were selected from a blind jury of over two hundred applicants. The installation was on view through June 16, 2019 at the CMCA. If you did not get a chance to experience the work in person, an impressive 360° virtual tour by Dave Clough is available. You can explore more of Kavanaugh and Nguyen’s archive of monochromatic installations, like White Stag and The Experience of Green, on the duo’s website.