Sculptor Lauren Fensterstock crafts dark, supernatural worlds of monochromatic nature scenes, often fashioned in all black, that contain a deep sense of tranquility and serenity. Completed with paper and Plexiglass, these intricate scenes show flowers, grass and ponds. With thousands of flowers and blades of grass, all carefully placed, the work is dense and lush, taking over the room it inhabits. Fensterstock’s work breathes life into the space. Showing a landscape that is distilled into a single color illuminates the beauty and the texture of each individual component. Fensterstock’s work was recently published in a beautiful, hardcover book titled Radical Sentimentalism, with analytical essays and an in-depth catalogue of her installation work.
The details of her work as written on a representative gallery’s site:
“Fensterstock’s. site-specific installation work and wall pieces depict nature by incorporating meticulously cut and curled paper, charcoal, and Plexiglass to create floral and garden scenes. Fensterstock’s work and practice references French and English garden design of the 1500s to 1700s, the 18th century practice of ‘quilling’—sculpting paper by wrapping around a quill—along with a nod to, and reflection upon, 20th century American earth art and the work of Robert Smithson.”(Excerpt from Source)
Multidisciplinary artist Georgios Cherouvim’s installation titled Debate looks like your average conversation between two political candidates. But, there are some big differences: the figures’ heads are replaced with flashing geometric forms and they talk using unintelligible robot noises (think a series of beep boops). And of course, these aren’t people – they are realistic-looking plastic mannequins that are animated by an Arduino micro-controller with a custom “conversation” – stimulating program.
Cherouvim says that he entered the world of visual arts through computer animation, which explains the complex nature of Debate. The triangular and rectangular “heads” are controlled by an algorithm that changes lights and sounds based on parameters like how long one of them has been talking, if there was any silence, and the last time one was ignored by the other.
In his artist statement, Cherouvim writes:
My work is a visual representation based upon my perspective of social and political issues. I question established ideas of the modern lifestyle and how common social behaviors and ideologies have turned us against our environment and our selves. I want my work to invite the viewer to step back, observe our actions from a different perspective and associate them to the consequences.
“The act never reaches a conclusion and it is performed in a non-deterministic way,” Cherouvim told The Creators Project. “Their language is incomprehensible, causing the viewer to lose interest in the conversation and politics all together.” (Via The Creators Project)
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.
Artist Chris Wood likes to exploit the magic of light, and more particularly, the light that passes through glass. Working specifically with Dichroic glass (meaning two color), she installs pieces or shards of the material on walls at different angles, allowing the different color and reflections to play off each other. Arranging the glass in usually geometric, or circular forms, they take on the appearance of futuristic mandalas, or some complex physics experiment. The installations are wildly varied in color, at times the glass is completely transparent and subtle, or can be densely rainbow colored, or even entirely opaque and metallic.
Dichroic glass was actually developed by NASA in the late fifties to protect against harmful effects of direct sunlight and cosmic radiation, and is a very unique material. Due to it’s unique nature, it is a captivating material to work with with unlimited potential. Wood says of her interest in it:
Glass is a material which allows me to exploit the aesthetic potential of light. Minimal structures, support simple arrangements of glass, which interact with light to create complex patterns of light and shade, which change depending upon the position of the viewer and the angle of the light source. (Source)
Wood also works with the Dichroic glass outdoors, setting up quiet installations that play off the reflections and colors of the environment. Favoring water and greenery, she is able to make us look twice at the nature we take for granted around us.
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)
Designer Matt Shlian, self described as a “paper engineer,” utilizes geometry, origami, and design to formulate and build beautiful 3D paper sculptures. His work combines a love for science and design to open a whole new realm of creating. Working with the US National Science Foundation, Shlian is researching how Japanese origami shapes can be used to benefit nanotechnology. In the past he has worked with clients such as Apple, Levi’s, and Facebook. Finding the harmony within these facets has produced a body of work that is breathtaking and enigmatic.
Shlian describes the process of working with the sciences and the steps they take,
“My team and I work closely together and although we donâ€™t always speak the same language, our work – the transformation of two-dimensional materials into three-dimensional forms – unites us.Â It is typically the case that we are not entirely certain about what it is we are looking for at the outset. On a recent occasion, one of the scientists told me that when we first met it was as though I had this big box of solutions and it was their job to figure out which questions were best solved with my work [three-dimensional origami]. I thought this was both an amiable compliment and a good way to describe the process.”
In many respects, the scientific community explores their mediums with a similar interest and intensity as artists explore theirs. As Shlian says,
“Real scientists are like real artists. They are always asking questions, always curious and always indiscriminate when seeking both solutions and good questions.” (Excerpt from Source)
As part of Milan Design Week 2014, Citizen teamed up with Paris-based architect Tsuyoshi Tane (DGT) to create “LIGHT is TIME,” an immersive installation of 80,000 watch base plates. The result is a shimmering space, golden and ethereal, delicate and glowing.
“We envision a space-orchestration where light will fill the space, composing, through sound and vision, a sense of light and time never experienced by humanity before. In this exhibition, we have created a space of light and excavated within it three primary volumes to exhibit everything from CITIZEN’s first pocket watch as the company’s origin, through to the latest satellite watches.”Suspended from the ceiling, the golden watch base plates, the basic component of watches, are reminiscent of droplets of suspended rain. The sense of suspended animation conveys the idea of time and timelessness. It’s when time stops that you become most conscious of it.
“LIGHT is TIME” won “Best Entertaining” and “Best Sound” in the Milano Design Award Competition, and was so successful that a reconfigured version was brought to Japan and shown at The Aoyama Spiral in Tokyo.
“Time is light. If there were no light, then there would be no time. In the 20th century mankind digitized time, measured it and continued to economize our time, until eventually we forgot about its relationship with essence of light. Without light we never would have had the wonders of the universe, the richness of our planet or the joy and pleasure of our life.” (Via demilked)
Ra Paulette has a very intimate relationship with the New Mexican mesas into which he carves intricately embellished caves. He does the work entirely on his own, and walks a mile just to reach the destination. The caves are overwhelmingly beautiful, especially when you imagine the process used to make them.
“My final and most ambitious project is both an environmental and social art project that uses solitude and the beauty of the natural world to create an experience that fosters spiritual renewal and personal well being. It is a culmination of everything I have learned and dreamed of in creating caves.”
Paulette is concerned with social change. He tries to stir deep emotions to instigate that change instead of forcing it through direct confrontation.
“How can we change what we do before we change how we feel?” Its underlying premise is that when through wonder and the sense of beauty we move from the emotional realm of our desires and fears to the more expansive and deeper feelings of thanksgiving and appreciation of life with a sense of its sacredness, our actions will automatically be modified, creating a better world – ‘like magic’.
This is the magic of art, music, theatre, and of the beauty of the natural world. We need for that magic to play a more direct role in our lives.”
He also speaks about his relationship to his process.
“Manual labour is the foundation of my self-expression. To do it well, to do it beautifully… engaging mental and emotional strengths as well as physical strength… Like a dancer, I ‘feel’ the body and it’s movements in a conscious way. I’m fond of calling it ‘the dance of digging’, and it’s the secret of how this old man can get so much done.”
Although the caves are not open to the public at the moment, there is a documentary called Cave Digger. (Via Juxtapoz)