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Design

These Wiggly ‘Nervous Chairs’ by Wilkinson & Rivera Channel Our Collective Anxiety

January 12, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images by Zelie Lockhart, courtesy of Wilkinson & Rivera, shared with permission

If home is a feeling, then the wriggling furniture collection by husband-and-wife Grant Wilkinson and Teresa Rivera are apt representatives of our collective anxieties. The design duo opts for squiggles rather than clean, straight lines in their collection of wooden pieces— the internet dubbed them “nervous chairs” —that appear to quake with uneasiness. Curved legs and arms offer base structure and coiled rungs back support in the ever-growing line of products by their eponymous brand, which is known for putting updated spins on classic pieces. Rivera shares:

Our tastes can be pretty contemporary but we’re fascinated by traditional techniques. We try to incorporate them in each piece: for the Windsor, it’s steam-bending the backrest. For La Silla, we weave the caned seats by hand. For our latest piece, the Welsh Stick Chairs, we included hand-carved barley twists.

Wilkinson and Rivera, who are based in Walthamstow, East London, will launch a few new designs in the next few months, which you can watch for on Instagram, and shop their current collection through The Future Perfect.

 

 

 



Art

A Serpentine Rattlesnake Wraps Around a Metaphorical Wood and Book Sculpture by Maskull Lasserre

January 7, 2022

Grace Ebert

All images © Maskull Lasserre

In a towering, totem-style sculpture titled “The Garden,” Canadian artist Maskull Lasserre (previously) compresses a collection of 18th-century botanical texts between two parallel planks of Douglas Fir. Metal vices bore through the wooden beams, securing the first four volumes of William Withering’s An Arrangement of British Plants, although both the natural and manufactured components are eroded with Lasserre’s intricately carved snake that winds around the perimeter and appears to bind the individual components together. “The Garden” is one of the artist’s most recent works that metaphorically and physically considers the concept of tension, and you can see more in his portfolio.

 

 

 



Art

Hyperrealistic Ceramic Sculptures by Christopher David White Mimic the Splintered Texture of Decaying Wood

December 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Carbon Footprint.” All images © Christopher David White, shared with permission

In his Richmond studio, artist Christopher David White (previously) practices an alchemy of materials as he transforms slabs of clay into deceptive sculptures and functional objects that appear carved from hunks of decaying wood. His trompe l’oeil ceramics are fragile depictions of the hardy material, complete with its gnarled knots and splintered edges in various states of decomposition.

To achieve such a hyperrealistic finish, each piece undergoes multiple rounds of detailing—head to Instagram for a glimpse behind-the-scenes—which White starts by shaping the initial form with knots and branches and imprinting large grooves for the grain. After the work dries slightly, dental instruments, wire brushes, and Xacto knives aid in crafting the more intricate components, and the slightly dehydrated material lends itself to natural cracks and divots that enhance the woody texture. Once fired, the artist paints each sculpture with a largely neutral palette of acrylics.

White continues to explore humans’ relationship to the environment in both his figures and smaller works, although he’s recently shifted to more overt considerations of the topic. “I seek to highlight humanity’s abuse and disregard for nature along with the contradictions in our actions,” he says. “Humans have a tendency to acknowledge the beauty, fragility, and uniqueness of nature while simultaneously viewing it as a resource to be endlessly exploited, controlled, and discarded.”

Shop prints in White’s shop, and keep an eye on his Instagram and site for updates on new batches of mugs, planters, and other works.

 

“Paint It Red”

“Pushing Up Daisies”

“Weathered Heart”

“Not 2B”

“Coral mug”

“Small planters”

“Teapot set”

 

 



Art

In 'Boogey Men,' Monumental New Works by Hugh Hayden Reflect on American Culture and Politics

December 9, 2021

Grace Ebert

Al images courtesy of ICA Miami, by Zachary Balber, shared with permission

An exhibition now on view at ICA Miami samples the recurring themes and motifs that are central to artist Hugh Hayden’s body of work: twisting flames spout from a wooden Adirondack chair and spindly twigs envelop a massive skeleton carved from bald cypress trees, two works that evoke the Dallas native’s barbed furniture and embedded branch designs. In a suspended installation comprised of metallic instruments and pots, faces mimicking traditional African masks emerge from copper cookware similar to the cast iron skillets he presented last year.

The metaphorical new pieces comprise Boogey Men, Hayden’s solo show that responds to myriad social dynamics, cultural issues, and an increasingly tense political environment through imposing, anthropomorphic forms and more subtle works. At the center of the exhibition space is a hammered stainless steel car disguised by a sheet painted in white. Both cartoonish and sinister in its reference to hooded Klansmen, the titular sculpture is an effective indictment of police brutality. Hayden gives attention to the origins of facets of American culture in the pieces that surround that central work, alluding to jazz and culinary traditions.

Boogey Men is on view in Miami through April 17, 2022, before it travels to the Blaffer Art Museum for a stay from June 11 to August 21. You can find more of Hayden’s work and view the process behind many of the pieces shown here on his Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Carved Organic Patterns Highlight the Natural Wood Grain of Carbonized Mahogany

November 22, 2021

Grace Ebert

By any other name” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 27 x 2 inches. All images courtesy of TERN Gallery, shared with permission

In Splinters and Shards, artist John Beadle enriches the beauty of wood’s natural grain with a series of gouged dots, line carvings, and smooth, supple curves. His small, circular sculptures and vertical towers accentuate the texture and subtle gradients of carbonized mahogany through etched patterns that reveal the pristine reddish hue peeking through the charred surface. Always highlighting the potential of the raw material, Beadle, whose background is in painting and printmaking, evokes these mediums through layering dimension and motif in a single work and drawing on the subtraction inherent in carving into a blank woodblock.

Splinters and Shards is on view at the new TERN Gallery in Beadle’s hometown of Nassau, The Bahamas, from December 11, 2021, to January 22, 2022. Until then, check out the artist’s Instagram for a look at his process.

 

“Fruit & Texture one” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 28.5 x 2 inches

“Artifact II” (2020), carbonized mahogany and metal, 52.25 x 11.875 x 2 inches

“Fruit & Texture” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 27 x 2 inches

“Eclipse” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 52.75 x 2 inches

“Well Rooted” (2020), carbonized mahogany and metal, 69.5 x 7 x 2 inches

“What’s left behind” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 27 x 2 inches

“Before the chaos” (2021), carbonized mahogany, 27 x 2 inches

 

 



Art

This Is Not a Gun: An Interview with Cara Levine Explores Collective Trauma, Grief, and the Power of Ritual

November 16, 2021

Paulette Beete

All images © Cara Levine, shared with permission

In December 2016, Harper’s Magazine published a list of more than 20 objects that had been “mistaken for guns during shootings of civilians by police in the United States since 2001.” Artist Cara Levine found herself stunned then grief-stricken by the items, prompting her to launch the multi-faceted This Is Not a Gun project, which she discusses in the latest interview supported by Colossal Members.

I needed to slow down and understand what I was looking at because I don’t want to live in a world where someone can be killed eating a sandwich. We are getting this information so fast. I decided first to carve. I thought, “If I can carve a sandwich, somewhere in the process, from block of wood to sandwich I can understand how someone might think this is a gun. If I just spend all the time understanding its form, maybe I’ll understand how it was mistaken as a gun.”

As Levine explains in her conversation with Colossal contributor Paulette Beete, she wasn’t naïve about gun violence or how often it occurred in Black communities at the hands of police. What she found unfathomable, however, was how these everyday objects could be interpreted as threats. So she turned to her art as a way to understand the seemingly understandable. In this interview,  Levine speaks about how This Is Not A Gun has informed and evolved her practice, her understanding of both individual and collective grief and trauma, and the importance of ritual.

 

A This Is Not A Gun workshop