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Art Design

Sinuous Branches Envelop Human-Sized Nests and Large Geometric Sculptures by Charlie Baker

September 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Charlie Baker, shared with permission

Brooklyn-based designer Charlie Baker wrangles unruly branches and twigs into large-scale sculptures and installations that highlight the natural curvature of his foraged materials. Whether cloaking a perfectly round sphere in wood or constructing a treetop nest built for people, he envisions discrete spaces, which are sometimes marked with hidden passageways and windows, that tame the gnarly, knotted wood and present it anew. “I like the sense of motion the curvy pieces create because, to me, it gives a sense that the artwork is living, growing,” he says.

Baker has a background in landscape design, a parallel practice that continues to influence his work. “I am constantly considering how my creations interact with their surroundings, how they tie in with nature. With my artwork, it’s no different,” he tells Colossal.

The designer was recently interviewed by Wired, which travels with him from his studio to the forests of Long Island where he gathers materials. Currently, he’s working on a few projects, including an elaborate kitchen garden, a children’s tree platform, and smaller sculptures, which you can follow on his site and Instagram.

 

 

 



Art

Nondescript Human Heads Appear Burned into Large-Scale Matches by Wolfgang Stiller

September 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

Group of five Matchstickmen (2019), wood, polyurethane, paint, each 155 centimeters. All images © Wolfgang Stiller, shared with permission

Often propped up in a row or symbolically arranged, the ongoing series of charred matches by Wolfgang Stiller are oversized and surreal renditions of the book-bound lookalikes. The German artist sculpts human heads in bright red or gradient-lined black signaling previous use that sit atop the square posts standing about five feet tall. Aptly titled Matchstickmen, the nondescript figures span the gamut of human emotion, ranging from pained expressions and distress to joy and calm.

Stiller began the series more than a decade ago when he was living in China, and the earliest wooden iterations reflected his surrounding community. Today, they encompass a broader swath of identities and are sometimes cast in bronze for larger outdoor installations. Whether tucked in a large-scale box resembling a coffin or arranged as emblems like the Star of David to memorialize historic atrocities, the Matchstickmen series can be somber and even morbid, although Stiller tells Colossal they’re also speaking to the unpredictability and impermanence of life. He explains:

It is an undeniable fact, which we like to forget, that our present existence, (our) body is going to fall apart. We all have a certain lifespan. The Matchstickmen serve as a friendly reminder of this fact. That might scare a lot of people, especially those with a very materialistic worldview who think everything ends with the death of our physical body, but it could be also seen as an encouragement to live a more meaningful life.

Stiller’s solo show at Miart Gallery in London is up through September 21, and you can find more of his metaphorical works on his site and  Instagram.

 

Group of three Matchstickmen (2019), wood, polyurethane, paint, each 155 centimeters

Detail of “Matchbox” (2018), wood, polyurethane, and paint, 160 x 71 x 20 centimeters when opened

Detail of “Matchbox” (2018), wood, polyurethane, and paint, 160 x 71 x 20 centimeters when opened

Group of five Matchstickmen (2020), wood, polyurethane, paint, each 155 centimeters

Matchstickmen (2011), wood, polyurethane, acrylic, and gouache, 155 to 158 centimeters

Bronze installation of Matchstickmen at the Changwon Sculpture Biennale Korea (2018)

Matchstickmen installation (2010). Photo by Achim Kukulies

 

 



Art Craft Design

Imaginative Cartoon Characters by Yen Jui-Lin Express Playful Moods in Carved Wood

September 8, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images ©Yen Jui-Lin

Sporting waggish smiles or wide grimaces, Yen Jui-Lin’s wooden carvings are expressive characters that appear straight from a storybook. The Taiwanese craftsman (previously) stretches quirky figures, slices their bodies in half, and sprouts plant-like growths from their heads, exaggerating their cartoonish qualities in a playful and whimsical manner. Whether a character or plant, each work is evidence of his imaginative style and skillful process, which starts with a pencil sketch and gnarly hunk of wood—he shares more about his technique on Instagram—before becoming fully realized form. Although Yen originally began carving the smooth designs for his children, they’ve become collaborators on some of his pieces, like this wide-eyed monster.

 

 

 



Art

Plants and Knotted Branches Sprout from Camille Kachani's Impractical Household Objects

August 3, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images © Guilherme Gomes, shared with permission

Human progress and the insurmountable force of nature converge in Camille Kachani’s overgrown sculptures. The Lebanese-Brazilian artist (previously) is known for his furniture, tools, and other practical objects that are overrun with new plant growths and gnarly roots, rendering the seemingly functional items like stools, hammers, and books humorously impractical.

Whether a text bursting with vegetation or dresser drawers housing young sprigs, Kachani’s works highlight the futile attempts humans undertake to control the environment. This relationship has been central to his practice in recent years, and his goal is to showcase the conflicts that arise from their intersections especially in relation to life in Brazil—the South American country is more frequently experiencing the effects of the climate crisis like the worst drought its seen in decades and rampant deforestation that’s only intensifying the ongoing devastation—which he explains:

When we speak human and nature, we mean culture and nature, an (un)stable and unpredictable relation. We depend on nature but also see it as a major obstacle to our complete mastery of the planet. But in fact, it is impossible to talk about nature and culture as two distinct subjects, as they are so intertwined and contaminated from each other that I come to believe that everything is nature and culture at the same time.

Kachani is based in São Paulo and is preparing for a forthcoming book chronicling 20 years of his practice, which will be published in 2022. You can follow his work on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

An Undulating Roof Made of Cedar and Steel Flows Out from a Pool House in Ontario

June 17, 2021

Grace Ebert

All images courtesy of Partisans

A steel slatted roof ripples across a property in southwestern Ontario, providing a meditative enclave under its gently sloping cover. Contrasting the stark black metal with softer strips of cedar, “Fold House” by Partisans features a two-story living quarter with a lengthy undulating structure that branches out from one side. It’s bisected by a staircase leading to an upper walkway and covers a luxe in-ground pool.

Partisans is an architecture studio based in Toronto that frequently works with organic shapes and textures, which you can see on its site and Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 

 



Design

Sleek Wooden Ribbons Spiral in an Infinitely Looping Installation in Hong Kong

June 16, 2021

Grace Ebert

“Time Loop” (2021), 9.2 x 3.6 meters. All images © Paul Cocksedge, shared with permission

A new installation by Paul Cocksedge (previously) creates an endless circuit of coiling wood in Hong Kong’s Yue Man Square. Made of sustainably sourced timber, “Time Loop” evokes the infinity symbol and represents the city’s history of continual growth and change. A poem written in two languages is engraved in the spiraling structure, which stretches more than nine meters across and three meters tall to allow passersby to stop and rest amidst the bustling environment. “When people sit on ‘Time Loop,’ they become part of the movement of the city, as well as its transformation,” Cocksedge says. “It reflects a place that’s endured for many years, but remains constantly moving and evolving. And that’s the symbolism of the form.”

“Time Loop” was a gift from the property development company Sino Group to Hong Kong, and you can explore more of Cocksedge’s architectural projects on his studio’s site. (via designboom)