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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.

 

 

 



Art

Objects and Figures Trapped Within Carved Wood Sculptures by Tung Ming-Chin

May 31, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Inner Turmoil” (2009), 85 x 85 x 30cm

Sculptor Tung Ming-Chin carves wood into figurative shapes that seem to press against the surface of the finished work. In “Inner Turmoil” a face and hands are trapped inside a hunk of wood that has the smooth, stretched appearance of fabric, and in “Breath”, the rounded spine and feet of a crouched figure expand outside the confines of a stiff white box. Tung was born in Changhua, Taiwan, and received both his BFA and MFA from Taipei National University of the Arts. You can view additional sculptures by the artist on the Taiwan Contemporary Art Archive website.

“Between Round and Square: Past, Present, and Future” (2013), 37 x 37 x 140cm

“The Birth of a New Hero” (2008), 35 x 30 x 45 cm

“The Birth of a New Hero,” detail (2008), 35 x 30 x 45 cm

“Leather Concept – Character” (2015), 43 x 28 x 164 cm

“A Stack of Heads” (2009), 35 x 35 x 160cm

“Breath” (2013), 60 x 40 x 30cm

“Changes Inside the Forest” (2011), 100 x 40 x 120cm

 

 



Art

Mercurial Emotions Carved into New Glitched Sculptures by Yoshitoshi Kanemaki

May 22, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Japanese sculptor Yoshitoshi Kanemaki (previously) captures the emotional complexities of youth in his glitched 3-dimensional portraits. Kanemaki carves tree trunks into figures—often young women—whose faces are multiplied in expressions that range from distressed to joyful in a single sculpture. The figures’ casual, natural poses seem to capture them in real time: some of the artist’s characters perch on chairs mid-conversation, and others gesture with their arms to express confidence or bashfulness. In his finished works, Kanemaki usually uses lifelike coloring, but for one recent sculpture shown in detail below, the artist experimented with creating the sensation of an out-of-focus image by using soft, blurred shapes and colors to complete the expression. See more of the sculptor’s finished and in-progress works on Instagram and Facebook. (via Hi-Fructose)

 

 



Art Craft

New Small-Scale Scenes Created in Colored Lace by Ágnes Herczeg

May 2, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

Peaceful scenes of of domestic chores and bucolic landscapes take shape in the needle and lace work of Ágnes Herczeg. The Hungarian artist (previously) uses blue, green, orange, and brown threads to form fruit trees and figures, which are attached to small twigs and branches. Herczeg balances narrative elements with decorative motifs to create each moment in time. The artist’s compositional finesse is even more impressive at the scale she works at: Herczeg’s pieces are just a few inches tall, ranging from 2.3 inches (6cm) to 7 inches (18cm) on her more vertically-oriented works. You can see more of her delicate artwork on Instagram, and see pieces that are available for purchase on Herczeg’s website.

 

 



Art

Long-Limbed Mythical Characters Carved from Hawthorn Wood by Tach Pollard

April 18, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

“Owlman Rising”

Sculptor Tach Pollard (previously) works with sustainably sourced hawthorn wood to form lustrous sculptures of mythological figures. After carving the wood, the UK-based artist finishes it with blow torches to form the dark bodies that contrast with the pale, peaceful faces on each sculptural figure. Pollard draws inspiration from myths and spiritual traditions from around the world, including Inuit and Celtic traditions, and is particularly drawn to the notions of shapeshifting and sea creatures. You can see more of his mystical sculptures on Instagram and peruse works available for purchase on Etsy.

“Mellisae Returns”

“Wind Walker”

“Sea Wolven”

“Fire Antler”

“Freya”

“Face Like The Sun II”

“Wolven Walking”

 

 



Art

Over 10,000 Tree Samples Compose a Modular Cave-Like Installation at the Royal Fort Gardens

March 21, 2019

Anna Marks

Credits: Katie Paterson & James Cohan, New York. Photos by Max McClure

Credits: Katie Paterson & James Cohan, New York. Photos by Max McClure

Situated within the Royal Fort Gardens at The University of Bristol, British designer Katie Paterson and architects Zeller & Moye collaborated on Hollow, a wooden installation that illustrates the diversity of tree species found across the globe. From the outside the sculptural work appears as a series of rectangles made from a similar, light colored sample of wood, yet when one enters the modular elements break into wooden blocks of all shapes, sizes, and hues. Clustered rectangular structures emerge from the ceiling and floor of the cave-like public art piece like stalactites and stalagmites. The structures are composed of a range of wood samples, including ones that evolved millions of years ago to far more recent examples. 

During three years of research and sourcing Paterson collected over 10,000 tree samples from various sources, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University and Yakushima, known as one of the wettest, forest-filled islands surrounding Japan. The collection also features a piece of wood from the Indian Banyan Tree, a fig tree where Buddha achieved enlightenment, the Japanese Ginkgo tree, and the Metuselah tree, found in the White Mountains in eastern California, which at 4,850 years old, is believed to be one of the oldest trees in the world.

Hollow is an ethereal environment for both play and meditation, and resembles a forest canopy with patches of light dappling in from the ceiling. The construction illustrates the detailed beauty of the natural world, and is poignant reminder of the importance of appreciating and maintaining our fragile natural environment. To step virtually into the permanent installation, visit Hollow‘s website

 

 



Art

Chairs, Stools, and Coat Racks Carved into Raw Pieces of Wood by Alicja Kwade

March 8, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

"Achairisatreeisachair" (2017), image by Roman März

“Achairisatreeisachair” (2017), image by Roman März

Polish artist Alicja Kwade carves into tree trunks to create 3/4-formed stools and chairs that balance with the support of the unfinished segments of wood. The carved furniture would be simple in its construction if taken out of context, but in conjunction with the tree trunks the pieces exist in a liminal space between design object and source material. Kwade’s carved furniture is currently exhibited with Berlin-based König Galerie at the The Armory Show in New York through March 10, 2019. You can see more of her work, like these sculptural installations that create illusions with tree trunks and mirrors, on her website and Instagram.

Detail of "Achairisatreeisachair" (2017), image by Roman März

Detail of “Achairisatreeisachair” (2017), image by Roman März

"Ein Barhocker ist ein Barhocker ist ein Barhocker" (2017), photo by Roman März

“Ein Barhocker ist ein Barhocker ist ein Barhocker” (2017), photo by Roman März

"Astoolisastoolisastool" (2017), photo by Roman März

“Astoolisastoolisastool” (2017), photo by Roman März

"Astoolisastoolisastool" (2017), photo by Roman März

“Astoolisastoolisastool” (2017), photo by Roman März

Images via @koeniggalerie

Images via @koeniggalerie

"Ein Barhocker ist ein Barhocker ist ein Barhocker" (2017), photo by Roman März

“Ein Barhocker ist ein Barhocker ist ein Barhocker” (2017), photo by Roman März

Current installation of Alicja Kwade's work at König Galerie's booth at the Armory Show in New York

Current installation of Alicja Kwade’s work at König Galerie’s booth at the Armory Show in New York

 

 

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