About Nathaniel Smith

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Caroline Attan’s Paper-Collaged Poetry

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The work of artist Caroline Attan examines how objects form a part of our memory and personal history and identity. By combining hand-written text with delicately folded, colored paper installations, Attan plays with separate ideas of poetry, text and form, each “that function as loaded repositories of the past.”

Installed with text written directly onto the wall and the origami-like paper notes arranged in circular patterns, the results are visually reminiscent of mandalas (which represent wholeness, inter-connectivity and an organized cosmic diagram) or the sacred geometry found in Islamic art, Attan illustrates poetic language, and at the same time, brings attention back to the beauty of the words.

Says the artist, “Tantalizing snatches of memories and desire revolve endlessly over collaged backgrounds, encouraging the viewer along multiple strands of thought. The technique allows for ingenuity and flexibility. Some compositions disrupt or loudly announce their text or subtexts, while others absorb them into a calm coherent whole.” (via myampgoesto11)

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Aerial Photographs Show How Humans Alter Natural Landscapes

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“Canals and homes in Charlotte Park, south of Port Charlotte, Florida. MapStreet View.(© Google)s01_00000022“A section of a partially built residential project with only two houses in place, near Fort Myers, Florida. Map. (© Google)”s07_00000027“A densely built gated community in Bonita Springs, Florida. MapStreet View. (© Google)”

In reaction to a story by NPR’s Planet Money team about the financial collapse and its effect on Southwest Florida housing market, the The Big Picture photography column at Boston.com spent some time scouring Google Earth to document exactly how man-made structures and development planning has altered the land, coast and the way we cover that natural beauty we desire so much.

The resulting pictures show, in stunning simplicity, just how alien the natural landscape of Florida (or most of the Earth for that matter) has become. Ranging from densely-packed communities to barely finishing plotting, the photographs show the natural beauty of the land being lost, and mostly replaced by poorly-planned, short-term solution living situations. They also simultaneously insinuate humanity conquering nature like a plague of locusts, as well as demonstrate our efforts being over-run by nature, like every civilization of the past. (via boston.com)

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Gowri Savoor’s Compelling Sculptures Created Out Of Seeds

Gowri Savoor
  Gowri Savoor

Gowri Savoor

Gowri Savoor

Although Gowri Savoor experiments with dozens of different mediums, ranging from drawing and painting to mixed media sculptures made from fabrics, woods, her Seedscapes series might be the most immediately powerful. Taking various plant and fruit seeds which are pinned against boards like butterflies, in more geometrically-challenging patterns and formations, the sculptures resemble other natural forms, such as waves, sound-waves and snow or sand dunes.

The Leicester, England-born artist currently lives and works in Vermont, USA, where she gathers the various seeds used as materials in her metaphorically ephemeral works (including pumpkin, apple and sunflower). Says Savoor of her loaded-material choice, “In themselves they’re very fragile. No matter what I do, the pieces will continue to decay. There’s a human sadness as well, that everything will eventually die.” (via junk-culture)

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Early Record Covers By The Prince Of Pop Art, Andy Warhol

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Before he was the Prince of Pop Art and arguably the biggest art star on the planet, Andy Warhol was one of the most sought-after graphic illustrators in Manhattan. Years before he designed two of Rock and Roll’s most iconic album covers, Warhol was responsible for a series of recently recovered Jazz record covers for Count Bassie, Thelonious Monk and Moondog.

Rendered in his then-trademark ‘blotted line’ style (a technique Warhol mastered before screenprinting, where a single line of heavy, beaded ink was drawn on one sheet of paper, and then pressed against another which created a blotted monoprint), these whimsical and funky covers graced some of the best jazz albums of the 1950′s.  The quality of Warhol’s highly trained freehand drawings separated him from other commercial illustrators of the day, but one of his many secret weapons was his mother’s gorgeous script writing, seen heavily in the looping, colorful script featured on The Story of Moon Dog (above). Warhol employed his mother’s lovely writing to essentially double his work-load, a precursor to his loose-authorship creative policy that would become commonplace later in his Factory days. (via dangerous minds)

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Ollie Lucas’ Technicolor World Inspired By Graffiti, Glitch, And Design

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Melbourne-based artist Ollie Lucas creates works where colors swirl together with an almost preternatural smoothness, like oil diffusing in water, with more jagged and hard-line separation. Lucas says, My work has always had graphical and clean elements to it. A past life as a graphic designer is to blame there’. Creating works that span painting on enormous wooden spools, to digital works on print and more recent explorations in glitch animations, Lucas explains his influences, ‘Exposure to the graffiti scene in Melbourne has made me question harmony in my work, I have a love for filthy, dirty and weathered paint splattered surfaces, but at the same time I crave clean, modern, hardline geometrics…This is what drives my practice, combining two visual elements that are polar opposites in search for a harmony that i may never obtain.

Lucas work has often confronts two seemingly-opposing forces, graffiti and graphic design, painting and printmaking, natural landscapes with digital glitches, and blends them together. When asked how his work has changed leading up to his solo exhibition Digital Landscapes, at Pierre Peeters Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, Lucas explains his more recent explorations and realizations in printmaking and digital creation. “It’s the first show I’ve done that is 100% digitally created. I’ve always used digital processes as a starting point in my work, however I felt a finished work needed the element of ‘hand-made’ to make it unique, to separate it from the mass produced. Since creating hundreds of drafts and moving through the paper choice/proofing and printing process I’ve come to realize a print can be just as unique as a painting.”

Though many see printmaking and painting differing in both result and creative impulse, the artist explains the harmony and connection between the two, giving value to both,“Although I have worked with many mediums in the past I still consider myself a painter, mainly because I still think like one and approach my work like a painter would. I think my work reads like a painting also.”

Ollie Lucas’ current exhibition, Digital Landscapes is on view at Pierre Peeters Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, from now through March 5th, 2014.

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Ice Fishing Shanties Transformed Into Alternative Art Spaces In Minnesota

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When the cold and snow are as harsh as this winter, the idea of an outdoor art fair sounds less than ideal to most. But, when cabin fever kicks in, anyone stuck indoors for too long understands the need to take drastic action to make the Hibernation Months bearable. Taking inspiration from the omnipresent winter ice fishing communities that spontaneously gather upon frozen lakes and ponds across the Midwest, the Art Shanties Project groups together to various themed ice shanties into a small winter attraction to give warm-blooded (and hot chocolate drinking) Minnesotans something to get through the cold months.

Proposals for these art-minded ice house are selected by committee, and run by volunteers for a few weeks in the dead of winter, creating an outdoor happening which explores the potential of new ideas in community-driven art. As the Shanties’ mission statement explains, “Art Shanty Projects is an artist driven temporary community exploring the ways in which relatively unregulated public spaces can be used as new and challenging artistic environments to expand notions of what art can be.”

Taking place in Minnesota since 2006, and operating every other year to protect the water quality and natural wildlife after the ice’s thaw, this year’s was the first on the ice of the Twin Cities suburb of White Bear Lake (hence the 25 foot, Bear-shaped bicycle-powered Pedal Bear). Each shanties’ theme range from winter-related like Ice Ice Maybe (which encases boutique items in ice) and the history museum/training course Curling Clubhouse Ice Shanty, to more participatory (such as the boogie-down Dance Shanty and the kite-making Wind Shanty) to the more conceptual (the Lost Found and Wanting Shanty, which collects actual lost belongings as well as existential yearnings).  Citing artist-audience involvement to the spontaneous community which gathers on the ice as its main goal, the Art Shanties Project “…provides a unique opportunity for artists to interact with their audience, and vice versa, in an un-intimidating, non-gallery like environment.” (via l’étoile)

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Bruce Munro’s Creates Massive Outdoor Installations With Millions Of Compact Discs

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CDSea, installed at Long Knoll, Wiltshire, UK

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British artist Bruce Munro is perhaps best known for his creation of large-scale installations that offer a great amount of experiential weight to viewers. Choosing materials which reflect, and shine light, a metaphor for the artist’s interests in literature, music and science. Often made of humble materials, Munro has often come back to the use of compact discs, a decision that the artist explains, “Initially I used discarded materials to save on costs. Soon material choices also became the subject matter of the installations,” he says of Light. “For me, there has to be a reason—however idiosyncratic—for everything I do and these days I am drawn more and more to the idea of creating an experience that is gentle on the landscape.”

Various projects of Munro’s use repurposed and recycled compact discs in massive quantities, covering hills, estate lawns and fields. In works such as CDSea, enormous fields of the collected discs have a natural element, in this case a meandering path carved through them. The path, which echoes landscape architecture and fung shui design, allows viewers to experience not only vistas of the shimmering surfaces, but also the now-highlighted beauty of the existing grass itself. Speaking of the installation and its process, Munro says “You never know how something will work out, but now I could not be happier. I’m so grateful to everyone who turned out to help. We had a magical weekend and CDSea looks amazing, like a giant painting on the grass” (via hi-fructose, designboom, inhabitant)

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Fra.Biancoshock Insists His Street Interventions Are Not ‘Street Art’

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Fra.Biancoshock insists he is not a street artist, but rather the Milan-based experientialist noticed that his street-level installations and interventions spoke using the same language as Street Art. In regards to the movement of Street Art in regards to his work, the mysterious, identity-protecting Fra. says, “For me, that phrase is a provocation: I have not studied art, I do not frequent artistic circles, or amicidell’amicodelcuginodelfratellodelsuoamico … And I have no particular technical and artistic skills. I just have ideas and I like to strain my mind in trying to propose to the common people through what I call “Unconventional Experiences.” I think mine are “experiences” rather than works of art.”

With ties and intentions closer to Performance and Conceptual Art (for those paying off MFA degrees, think Guy Debord), the man who would become Fra.Biancoshock developed the performative avant-garde school of art he calls Effimerismo (“The Effimerismo is a movement that has the aim of producing works of art that exists in a limited way in the space, but that they persist in an infinite way in time…”) as a means of exploring and categorizing his specific means of street engagement (or as he is known to call them, “speeches”).

Operating in this very-intentionally public mode of communication, Fra.Biancoshock uses the streets as a forum, installing temporary interventions to call attention to themes of poverty, urban blight, modern stress and decay. Present in most works is how Fra deals with serious themes with a disarmingly light-hearted approach. His work has mostly been viewed (often quite temporarily) in Europe, though as Fra. says in his Manifesto-like statement, “Prior to founding the movement, [Fra.biancoshock] has made ​​more than 400 speeches on the streets of Italy , Spain , Portugal, Croatia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Malaysia and the State of Singapore, and has no intention of stopping.” (via hi-fructose)

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