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Art

Miniature Castles Emerge from Burled Wood in Carved Kinetic Sculptures by Uli Kirchler

September 6, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Woodworker Uli Kirchler’s “very hidden castles” are nestled within gnarled tree burls. The Portland, Oregon-based artist originally hails from Italy, and works with unique pieces of wood with textural surfaces and variegated colorations. He has developed a process of carving multi-story towers that telescope in and out of the wood with the flick of a wrist. The stacked, castle-like towers appear to be built on the rocky hillsides emulated by the knots, burls, and twists in the wood’s natural shape. Kirchler frequently shows his kinetic sculptures at the Portland Saturday Market You can see more of his designs in action on Instagram. (via Art Insider)

 

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Art Craft

Driftwood Animals and Beach Homes by Kirsty Elson Give New Life to Elements From the Sea

August 21, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Multi-media artist Kirsty Elson uses the bits of driftwood, shells, and other seaside scraps in her home in Cornwall, England to produce unique sculptures that imitate the surrounding seaside homes. Elson recreates the quaint cottages with minimal paint, utilizing bottle caps for lighthouse roofs, rusted nails for chimneys, and metal washers for decorative lifesavers. “The great thing about driftwood is that each piece is very different,” she explains in an interview with Studio Wallop on her website. “I tend to let the materials lead me, rather than having an idea in my head and trying to find a piece to fit my idea… I let the materials do the work really.” The artist studied illustration and printmaking at the Cambridge School of Art. You can see more of her reclaimed sculptures on Instagram. (via #WOMENSART)

 

 



Design

Sanded Down Versions of Mass-Produced Chairs Speak to an Economy in Crisis

July 18, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Dutch designer Frank Tjepkema of Studio Tjep created the Recession Chair in 2011 as a response to the world’s economic crisis. To produce the work, Studio Tjep sanded down a mass-produced IKEA chair to a ragged and skeletal structure. “The resulting object is barely functional as it most likely won’t withstand the weight of the person it is trying to support,” said Tjep in a statement about the chair, “much like a society plagued by recession.”

As an opposing gesture, Tjep cast the work in bronze, adding strength to the chair’s areas of fault. You can see various states of the chair in the images below, including a partially sanded version of the chair in white, and several examples of the piece fully cast in luminous bronze. To view more examples of Tjep’s work with architecture, objects, and interior design, visit their website. (via @designers_need)

 

 



Art

Sculptural Carvings of Mankind’s Best Friend by Gerard Mas

July 17, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

The likenesses of domestic dogs and cats are deftly carved into tree trunks and alabaster stone by Spanish sculptor Gerard Mas. Using very minimal materials, Mas creates the signature folds and frowns of French Bulldogs, the sleek muzzles of English Bull Terriers, and the inquisitive faces of Siamese cats. Mas forgoes additional pigmentation, restricting the coloration of each animal to dark “fur” achieved through charring the carved surface.

Mas is also known for his contemporary updates of Renaissance women blowing bubble gum bubbles and sporting bikini-outlined sunburns. The artist is represented by Barcelona gallery 3 Punts, and most recently exhibited at KunstRAI art fair in Amsterdam. He shares his in-progess and completed sculptures on Instagram. (via My Modern Met)

 

 



Art

Stumble Upon Seven New Reclaimed Wood Trolls by Thomas Dambo in the Forests of Boom, Belgium

July 9, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

In anticipation of Tomorrowland’s 15th anniversary, the Belgium-based festival commissioned Danish artist Thomas Dambo (previously) to build seven of his world-renowned trolls throughout the De Schoore area in Boom. Like his previous installations in Copenhagen, South Korea, and northern Illinois, the new cast of creatures are built from recycled and reclaimed wood from pallets, buildings, and fallen trees. Carved wood forms geometric noses and human-sized feet, while scraggly tree branches create untamed hair and beards.

“Trash is a material and it only depends on how you work with it,” Dambo explained in a press release about the project. “We can design an entire world out of trash. We need to look at it and then think about what to do with it. That’s why I’m building these bigger-than-life scale projects. By doing that and involving people, they will open their eyes and see the possibilities and opportunities that lay in our trash. I hope that my art will inspire people to recycle and encourage them to be kind to nature and our planet.”

Although the trolls were built for the festival, visitors to the De Schoore recreational area can also happen upon the 13 to 60-foot-tall sculptures, in addition to an observation tower built from found branches. Follow along with Dambo’s friendly beasts on his website and Facebook.

 

 



Art

Found Domestic Furniture Transformed Into Raw Architectural Models by Ted Lott

July 3, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Sculptor Ted Lott builds wooden artworks based on one of human beings’ most fundamental requirements, exploring the different ways in which we’ve devised shelter as a product of the industrial revolution. Lott examines modern architecture at its core by building tiny scale models without the decorative designs imposed by exterior siding and paint. He then combines these bare yet elegant structures with domestic furniture, fusing the basic necessities of home with the comforts provided from within.

To build his works, Lott uses a bandsaw as a scaled sawmill to generate miniature pieces of wood and other proportioned raw materials. Found and vintage furniture provide the base of his structures which are then lit from within as if someone is home.

“Like us, these structures are regular, nevertheless they strive to be unique, transforming their everyday bones into something beyond the banalities of basic needs,” Lott explains in his artist statement. “To me, this is the reason for making objects, to take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Through this process we point to the complex interaction of necessity, artistry, economy, function and beauty present in the original objects, while highlighting the possibilities of transformation and growth that are a requirement for the continuation and evolution of life.”

Lott received his BFA from the Maine College of Art and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. You can see more of the artist’s hybrid wooden works on his website and Instagram.

 

 

 

 

 



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.

 

 

 

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