Miami-born but aptly based in both New York City and Venice, artist Judi Harvest creates intricate and fanciful glass sculptures. Ranging from gnarled bears to purple martians, her work varies in both subject matter and style. However, since 2013, Harvest has paid special attention to the natural realm, creating delicate and wispy glass beehives.
Comprised of Murano glass and wire, each hive sculpture is naturalistic in color and realistically rendered. Like the pieces themselves, the process behind the work is extremely intricate and requires a great deal of skill:
Each vessel begins with a hand-rolled cylinder of chicken wire, wire found in Venice and characterized by a finer module than that of the hive sculptures made in New York. Glass is blown into the cylinder, protrudes between the wires, and balloons delicately above the top. Some vessels retain wire embedded in their surfaces. Amber glass is the base color in which Harvest mixes gold or silver leaf and other additives that affect opacity, reflectivity, and hue. Sprinkling the hot surface with powdered glass pigment and reinserting the vessel into the furnace creates a rough yet dainty texture that resembles a dusting of pollen. (Denatured: Honeybees + Murano catalogue, Venice, 2013)
In addition to the exquisite aesthetic of the sculptures, a personal interest in honeybees also contributed to the creation of this series. On top of her artistic career, Harvest is a beekeeper, finding inspiration “in the form and behavior of the honeybee, the hexagonal wax cells of the honeycomb, and the rounded volume of hives in nature”—influences that are undeniably present in the ornate detail and beautiful composition present in her Bee Series. (Via Sweet Station)
Born in Paris and trained in London, visual artist Charlotte Cornaton combines two unlikely platforms—the ancient craft of ceramics and the modern medium of video art—to create multi-faceted, socially-charged pieces. For Insomnio, her latest series, Cornaton focuses heavily on the ceramic side of her practice, creating 21 delicately crafted and hauntingly illuminated porcelain books.
Stunningly handmade and intrinsically dreamy, Insomnio presents and explores the paradoxal nature of clay’s transformation from a heavy, solid medium to a fragile, paper-thin representation of the contents of a book. Created during the artist’s residency in Jingdezhen, China, the pieces—comprised of porcelain and illuminated by hidden LEDS—are directly influenced by ancient techniques and rooted heavily in Chinese culture:
Insomnio is a complication of porcelain sculptural books which explain the symbolism of my nightmares using Jung dream interpretation. The oneiric world is true cerebral storm and the fear of the unconscious is here materialized through the cracks and imperfections of the porcelain . . . I used the three main ancestral Chinese techniques of incised porcelain: carving celadon, cobalt painting and cloisonné glaze. Insomnio thus uses oriental know-how to express western form of thought, incarnating the exchange and symbiosis of cultures.
Adorned with designs and inscribed with text, each book presents the artist’s acquired sense of a culture’s aesthetic and, through both a literal use of light and enlightening symbolism, results in an exhibit based prominently in illumination—literally.
Specializing in state-of-the-art projects and renowned for their sleek aesthetic, digital artists Ewelina Aleksandrowicz, known as Tikul, and Andrzej Wojtas, or mi$ Gogo, collectively comprise Pussykrew, a partnership focused on inventive new media projects.
Experimental in nature and out-of-this-world in design, the work that makes up Pussykrew’s exciting oeuvre evokes a futuristic sensibility. Through video installations, methods of 3D-printing, performance art, and electronic works, the duo seeks to construct “gender-bending visual journeys, filtered through carnal data mesh, liquid apocalyptic dysphoria and 3D fantasy shuffle.”
While the methods used and the materials explored by the twosome vary, perhaps their most celebrated projects are their 3D-printed pieces, for which they were christened the “Artist of the Year” at London’s 3D Print Show earlier this year. Spanning lustrous blobs of ambiguous, organic shapes slathered in car paint and androgynous busts with seemingly liquefied skin, Pussykrew’s 3D-printed pieces capture both the duo’s innovative process and their inclination toward a streamlined aesthetic. Noting that “the boundaries between the virtual and the physical has been obliterated, [and] carnal matter exists with a technological component as a hybrid,” the pair gravitates toward this method of sculpture, combining their experience in the digital realm with their inherent artistic abilities.
Enchanting and provocative, the dreamy work of Los Angeles-based sculptor and photographer Amanda Charchian leads a life of duplicity. Simultaneously spiritual and political, her art finds a balance between a transcendent admiration of nature and an intrinsic fascination with the female body.
Ranging from hypnotic crystal installations that give window planes life to sensual and beautiful photographs of female nudes interacting with wild nature, Charchian’s work hosts a wide variety of inspiration: Louise Bourgeois’ feminist sculptures, ancient Greek and Egyptian mythology, spiritual meditation, and the mysterious occult all play a part in the artist’s oeuvre, comprised of tremendously unique and stunningly cohesive works.
While, with her cast of all-female photography subjects and her emulation of Ms. Bourgeois, feminist undertones are highly evident in her projects, it is her interest in alchemy and enchantment that most aptly summarizes her body of work. She explains:
“Employing 2D and 3D mediums to transmit mystical experience into matter, my art practice is a means of communicating the subconscious sphere into objects; creating possible portals to ascend beyond known reality.” (Facebook)
Whether photographic or sculptural, her captivating pieces evoke a sense of otherworldliness, uniting the natural with the supernatural and, ultimately, bringing the transcendent down to earth. (Via Ssense)
Based in the Netherlands, artist Stefan Bleekrode creates astonishingly intricate drawings and paintings of landscapes, architecture, and urban environments. For his Cityscapes series, the artist has rendered unbelievably detailed drawings depicting metropolises both existing and imagined.
Using ink, Bleekrode composes dense and realistic images of buildings, streets, lights, and bridges. With stark tonal contrasts, precise perspective, and a stunning amount of detail, the scenes portrayed in each drawing look almost photographic, as if each one were taken from a bird’s-eye view.
While some of his pieces are set in very distinctive and familiar locations, like London Bridge& the Shard or Broadway and 5th, most possess ambiguous—albeit conceivable—titles, such as Italian City, City in Holland, or City at the Foot of the Mountains. This is because Bleekrode works entirely from memory, describing his completed works “as snapshots of things I’ve seen when traveling or just going through my everyday routine, small bits of beauty in familiar settings.”
Whether representing actual settings or conveying scenes rooted purely in fantasy, the cities depicted in Bleckrode’s elaborate drawings are surprisingly realistic and undeniably impressive.
While the professional portfolio of photographer Claudia Gonzalez is comprised of portraiture spanning classic high-fashion shots and intimate boudoir photos, her personal work presents a much more touching focus. In her series, Reassign, Gonzalez teamed up with CENESEX, Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education, to offer a glimpse into the country’s transgender community through before-and-after portraits of individuals undergoing gender reassignment surgery.
Comprised of two photos—one depicting the individual as they appear pre-procedure, and the other presenting the “after”—each piece in Reassign speaks to the complexities and astonishing results of this life-changing resolution. Since the differences between the photos that comprise the pairs are remarkable, it may surprise you that each was taken on the same day; most of the before-and-after sets are merely representative of these individuals’ journeys, and do not document the literal, typically years-long process.
Clearly, the changes in clothing, addition of make up, and styling of hair indicate an obvious change in gender identity. However, it is the individuals’ expressions—often somber and aloof in the “before” shots and self-assured and radiant in those that follow—that truly demonstrate an undeniable shift in confidence, elevated happiness, and, poignantly, an uplifted sense of self. (Via Feature Shoot)
Dually based in both Los Angeles and New York, photographer Dan Eckstein is no stranger to the inescapable traffic of a bustling metropolis. While travelling across Rajasthan’s highways and byways during a trip in 2011, however, he noticed a striking addition to the thoroughfare: highly adorned, technicolor trucks. Inspired by these shimmering “goods carriers,” Eckstein opted to create his series and book, Horn Please: The Decorated Trucks of India.
In addition to vivid paint and ornately-inscribed text—including the phrase “Horn Please,” found ubiquitously on India’s trucks and designated “the mantra of the Indian highway” by Eckstein—the trucks’ exteriors are encrusted with gleaming lights, images of deities, intricate patterns, and even portraits of pop culture staples. While the trucks boast impressive façades, their interiors are just as embellished; given the exhaustive hours and long journeys innate to this line of work, the drivers seek to be comfortable and, thus, decorate their cabins according to their unique tastes.
While highly individual, the trucks also speak to a specific culture and its highly distinctive aesthetic:
What Eckstein produced is a singular portrait of the subcontinent–distinctly Indian, and a vividly colored reflection of this country in flux between tradition and modernity. Horn Please serves as a psychedelic guide to design in India, from the hand-painted lettering covering the trucks, to the mindboggling use of color, to the specifically Indian patterns and motifs, and a showcase of the visual vernacular of the subcontinent.
Beautiful and jubilant, the decorated trucks of India are truly a feast for the eyes. (Via Slate)
Be sure to pick up your own colorful copy of Horn Please from Powerhouse or Amazon!
Interested in transformation and inspired by his local landscape, Portuguese photographer Tito Mouraz captures the manmade metamorphosis of his surroundings in his book and photographic series, Open Space Office.
Over the course of three years, Mouraz documented an increasing number of human-driven changes to a landscape once familiar to him. Railroad tracks bisecting boulders, tires sitting in murky runoff, and electric cords lining rock formations are just a few examples of the interrupted environments chronicled in Open Space Office, which the photographer describes as “completely and irreversibly transformed.” He explains:
. . . The work presented aims to portray a reality that suffers an ongoing daily process of rapid transformation. Therefore, the pictures show a temporary reality inserted in a natural landscape undergoing progressive transmutation. They are unique and imposing spaces with an undeniable visual impact which bestows on the images a strong formal and plastic content.
Unique and revealing, the 24 images presented in Mouraz’s Open Space Office offer a striking glimpse into a transformed landscape and, ultimately, convey the enduring—albeit complicated— relationship between man and nature.