For the last forty years, Stan Herd has been transforming open plots of land into stunning works of art. His medium, which he refers to as landscape or earthworks art, involves sculpting the terrain by mowing outlines, trimming grass for depth, and using various plants to create shade and texture. His large-scale projects have cropped up across Kansas, reinterpreting famous art pieces and even delving into important social issues, earning him coverage and accolades from publications around the world.
In a recent piece commissioned by the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia), Herd reimagined Vincent van Gogh’s 1889 “Olive Trees” using an acre of land outside the airport. With expressive accuracy, Herd has transformed an otherwise flat, empty field into the likeness of van Gogh’s vision of nature and divinity, capturing the iconic, wistful trees and dancing sun. In the video above, Herd describes his inspiration and enduring admiration for the long-dead artist:
“The amazing thing about van Gogh’s painting is that there’s not a single straight line in the whole canvas; everything is organic and curved and flowing and it’s like a pulse. I’m just amazed that after months of looking at one painting that I continue to discover things in it. […] I think this is what van Gogh saw. Everything was moving for him, and everything was moving together.” (Source)
If you’re flying into Minneapolis this fall, be sure to keep an eye out for this masterpiece. You can learn more about Herd on his website and Facebook page. More images of “Olive Trees” and other works after the jump.
Michael Murphy is a Brooklyn-based artist known for his perception-challenging sculptural installations. Featured here is a new work titled “Branded,” commissioned by the Manhattan creative consultancy Lippincott. In an exploration of the term “brand identity,” Murphy used 100 laser-cut images of graphic logos to create a human face—more specifically, the face of his daughter, Iris Isadora. Portions of her photo where printed across each logo. From a distance, the image appears complete; move closer, however, and the portions break apart into distinct logos—Starbucks, Instagram, and KFC among them. Watch the video above and see how the installation changes form depending on one’s vantage point.
Lippincott believes that a company’s brand represents not only an identity, but a possibility; “it is who you are and who you aspire to be” (Source). By constructing a human face out of logos, Murphy’s work intends to represent how brands themselves can function similar to living entities, changing and growing along with the cultural trends. The fact that perspective changes the form and cohesion of the installation suggests that one’s own experience of a brand can function within a subjective framework.
In addition to Lippincott, Murphy’s other clientele have included TIME Magazine, Washington Life, and Art for Obama. For the past two years he has been collaborating with Michael Jordan and Nike in the creation of retail centerpieces for the Jordan Brand. View Murphy’s website to learn more. Isadora is a musician whose work can be heard here.
Martin Roth’s installation (untitled), debris, re-creates a site of war-torn Syria. Through scattered debris and rescued animals, he allows the viewer to experience a sense of destruction on a more personal note. He aims to materialize a war that, despite its large spanning presence in the news, is still quite intangible for those in the Western world. The physicality of the installation, absent of the gory images often presented in the media, explore a means to understanding the conflict on a more tangible, yet subtle manner.
When entering the gallery, the viewer is confronted by a visually familiar, but perhaps physically unknown territory. The space has been covered in dirt and rubble directly taken from the border areas of Syria and Turkey. The experience of discomfort is furthered by a reverberating ambient noise; the sound of a siren blaring in the distance. The downstairs room has been flooded in three inches of water, smelling of mold.
However, there is more to this work than just a presentation of the wreckage. Roth has also allowed his installation to become a platform for the living. Within the main installation site, the viewer is greeted with the flight and chirps of small green parakeets that have been rescued from abandoned pet shelters. The downstairs is inhabited by toads that were to be sold in Chinatown to be consumed.
The presence of animals take us out of the realm of the polarized, politicalized war, and bring us into a softer, yet more complicated truth. Here, we see a quieter realm, without images of death. The removal of human reality, somehow, speaks even more frankly about the true human condition; without the complications of ideology, scenes as these would not exist. What do sites of war really mean, free from philosophy, ethics and misunderstanding? (via: The Creators Project)
Tokyo-based designer Yusuke Seki has constructed a stunning, walkable platform made from 25,000 pieces of scrapped pottery and porcelain. The structure is part of the Maruhiro Ceramics gallery, located in Hasami, Nagasaki prefecture, a region known for its production and distribution of tableware dating back to the 17th century. Each fragment was collected from local factories that had disposed the ceramics prior to the glazing process, deeming them defective. After restoring the pieces and assembling them like bricks mixed with poured concrete, Seki infuses them with a renewed creative purpose. A statement from Seki’s website further explains the history and the design approach that drives the platform:
“A renovation of the pre-existing flagship shop, Yusuke Seki’s design marries an architectural knowledge to the artisanal know-how of the region, and in so doing, creates an entirely location- and situation-specific experience. Seki’s vision is to posit the designer as interpreter. His methods seek to amplify Hasami’s heritage by drawing out and translating the potential of the complete local environment, unifying its people. A minimal design interference, a modification in the level of the floor, not only utilizes the pre-existing space to alter the perspective and experiences held by the users until the present, but also gives birth to an entirely new sense of flow within.” (Source)
In a fascinating exploration of space, Seki has designed the stacked ceramics so that they enhance the customer’s interaction with the displayed tableware. Low shelves placed on the surface allow visitors to peruse from below, and if they so wish, they can climb up the stairs to the top of the platform for a closer look. The very act of walking on the ceramics creates an embodied experience of tradition and history; delicate materials, once discarded, are made strong, creative, and participatory, signifying the endurance of and respect for a time-honored cultural art form.
Artist Erika Lizée re-imagines reality in twisted, magnificent forms that bend through our world and into the next. In her incredibly installations, she uses acrylic on Duralar, a translucent kind of film that allows light to pierce through some of the work. They are paintings that have sprung into the third dimension. Lizée’s sculptures are like otherworldly beings, shifting in and out of our world’s outer boundaries. By using Trompe l’oeil painting technique, she creates an illusion that you can see this other being behind the wall of the gallery. It is as if there is a magical world that we now have the chance to peer in to.
The mysterious and ominous mood that is created from Lizée’s large, flowing installations reflects her intent to express the beauty and mysteries of life. Her work seems to be in a state of flux, shifting back and forth, expanding and contracting. The artist explains that this shift is like the collective consciousness that is continuously altered by scientific discovers and new experiences. The way in which we think of the world and understand our environments are constantly being redefined
All of this combines with the complex ways in which we internally create our own notions of reality based on perceptions, beliefs, and filter.
Erika Lizée’s breathtaking installations pull us in to a foreign space of flux and transformation.
The installations serve as a metaphor for the journey of our personal and shared life experiences.
The incredibly innovative, tech-infused work of artist Sprios Hadjidjanos is created from an impressive variety of methods using modern technology. He combines the amazing world of 3D printing and other modern devices with the natural, tranquil world of plants. When you first glance at his series titled “Displacement/Height Maps,” it is almost impossiple to tell how the work was made. Using UV prints on carbon fiber, Hadjidjanos miraculously births an amazing hybrid representation of a part of our natural environment and made-man substances. Large-format, Technicolor images of different flora are created, colored brilliantly in all different hues of the spectrum.
Sprios Hadjidjanos beautifully captures the balance of the natural world in juxtapose to artificial elements in his other series, which transforms the photography in the historical book Uniform der Kunst from 1928. The artist’s unbelievable techniques have rendered these blooming flowers three dimensional, allowing you to see every line and detail. He did by scanning the original photographs, then using intricate algorithms, printed the images onto hundred of points. The artist’s version of the photography looks similar to the original, but look much more mechanical in an almost science fictional way. He not only uses modern technology in his processes, but also displays them in his art, like his larger than life iphone. His installations, like Network Gradient, use a combination of wireless routers, optic lights, and electronic circuits to forms beams of light like that of another world. His artwork ingeniously lays our world of technology out in a strange, futuristic way that is both strange and beautiful. (via Hi-Fructose)
Felice Varini’s site-specific paintings will have you dizzy as they distort your reality by altering your perception. Depending on where you stand or how you look her work, it looks completely different. One moment you are standing in front of a spiral of bright oranges, if you move to a different angle, skewed and broken. Her public works are painted on beams of buildings, walls of galleries, windows, and much more. The artist incorporates the entire space that her work inhabits into clever optical illusions, manipulating your eye into seeing something amazing.
Her eye-popping, bold shapes and vivid colors that she uses in her works make it impossible to ignore if you are lucky enough to spot one. Each shape the artist creates is like a piece to a puzzle that only fits together at the right moment, forcing you to pay attention to your surroundings. Varini’s optic art demands that you slow down and take a second to enjoy all that is around you, including her incredible artwork. If you don’t, you may just walk right pass it, only catching hints of blues and reds where there should have been squares and triangles. Felice Varini, originally hailing from Switzerland, now lives and works in Paris where she installs many of her brilliant works. (via Ignant)
Li Hongbo is a Beijing-based artist who builds elaborate and flexible paper sculptures that ripple and shift before our eyes. Featured here is “Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day,” a large-scale installation currently on display at the SCAD Museum of Art. The work—which spans the entirety of a gallery—involves thousands of small paper objects bound together by honeycomb layers of glue. Close up, the bright shapes align themselves like an undulating, flowery rainbow; step back, however, and you’ll see that together the shapes amass into the greater form of guns and artillery. In a surprising clash of innocent colors and delicate paper with the brutality of war, Hongbo produces a curious (and potentially deceitful) optimism for deadly weapons.
Hongbo’s work draws upon the ancient, cultural tradition of paper-making in China, which dates back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC–220 AD). Inspired by this art form, Hongbo has reinvented it on a grand scale. Other projects include malleable bodies and busts, such as a version of Michelangelo’s David that unfolds spectacularly. The ability to metamorphose is integral to Hongbo’s works; with the politics left aside (or at least ambiguous), his sculptures challenge our perceptions by unsettling solid forms with their built-in fluidity. Whether it’s guns or classical statues, we can’t help but to reconsider the materiality and purpose of objects as they transform before our eyes.
“Irons for the Ages, Flowers for the Day” will be showing until January 24th, 2016. Check out SCAD’s website to learn more. (Via designboom)