Gary Ward uses charcoal, graphite, oil pastels, and an overall sharp wit to examine humanity’s mess of emotion over the confusion of body and identity.
His Archeology Series, collected here, is a playful response to the quandary of life after death: how, despite fame, class, or notoriety at the end of it all, we are basically just a slew of skulls with slight form variations.
Regarding process, Ward, a self-taught artist based in Los Angeles, says he is “interested in how the mind and hand talk to each other in one uninterrupted sitting.” He likes to see the authorship of a flawed line and honors how each mistake can spontaneously charge the work in a new direction.
Polish painter Jarek Puczel‘s works are arrestingly simple, yet compelling takes on the everyday. Sketching out fragments, and in-between moments pulled from everyday experiences, these pieces possess an air of the cinematic—key lighting, dramatic angles, arrested motion—all elements that tie into his overall concept of the world being one giant set for quiet, dramatic moments of ennui.
With his compositions, he explores the tension of seemingly empty moments, calling out their bare, bored elements like props on a stage. His color selections tiptoe between the real and the vivid, with punches of color tucked away in the very best places of each piece. By attempting to capture some sort of potential energy or agency within the frames of each scene, he has created a series of charged, silent stills, pulled right from the edges of someone’s daily experience. The result is a pleasing archive of slightly faded half-memories, sketched out in richly-hued oil on canvas.
These beautiful hand crafted ceramic bowls are the handiwork of artist Hella Jongerius. A designer who specializes in fusing traditional practices with contemporary ones; industrial techniques with craft skills, Jongerius is no stranger to trying out new things. Commissioned by German porcelain company Nymphenburg, the animal bowls are a homage to the different animals found in the companies archives. Since the 18th century, Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg (based in Bavaria) have produced high quality, fine, artisanal ceramics. Over the last 266 years, that has included countless tea sets, vases, decorative and utilitarian plates, and now limited edition bowls. Jongerius now joins the long list of artists and craftsmen who have collaborated with Nymphenburg.
From the treasure of historic shapes containing around 700 animal figures at the manufactory, Jongerius selected eight designs and placed them in simple bowls. She then supplemented the naturalistic painting of the snail, bird, rhinoceros, deer, hare, frog, fox and dog with a different pattern from Nymphenburg’s painting archives – from designs originally intended for a soup tureen right up to a drawing of the plumage of a guinea fowl. (Source)
Her playful style and eye for color and design, all work beautifully with the cleanliness of the bowls. Jongerius has her own design company which has produced many products for clients in New York, Basel, Sweden, and the Netherlands. Her work has also been shown in galleries around the world, including the Copper Hewitt National Design Museum, MoMA, and the Galerie KREO in Paris. (Via This Is Colossal)
A mesmerizing, surreal experience awaits anyone entering the Japan Pavilion at this year’s Venice Art Biennale. In a stunning installation called “The Key in the Hand,” artist Chiharu Shiota has filled a room with webs of red yarn. Suspended from the ceiling, the yarn is tied together so densely that it filters out the lights above. Hanging from the mass are over 50,000 keys collected from people all over the world. Like dark, frozen drops of rain, they appear to spill from the stringy red “clouds” into two weathered boats below, creating a dual sense of breathtaking movement and suspended time.
Despite their seemingly simple utility, keys are intimate objects that we all carry to keep ourselves—and the things we love—safe. Invested with our deep trust and passed between hands over time, keys symbolically bind us together. The Curator’s Statement for “The Key in the Hand” eloquently describes this further:
In our daily lives, keys protect valuable things like our houses, assets, and personal safety, and we use them while embracing them in the warmth of our hands. By coming into contact with people’s warmth on a daily basis, the keys accumulate countless, multilayered memories that dwell within us. Then at a certain point we entrust the keys, packed with memories, to others who we trust to look after the things that are important to us. (Source)
The keys represent a collection of human feelings, while the yarn visualizes their immaterial connections across time and space. Furthermore, while far removed from their international owners and original purposes, the keys also embody emotions and memories on a transcultural, transnational scale, as they are webbed together without perceptible distinctions of race, class, gender, or nation. As all the keys fall perpetually into the same ancient boats (which are described as “two hands catching a rain of memories”), Shiota’s installation beautifully visualizes a global form of connection spanning borders and generations. (Source). As the Curator’s Statement movingly concludes:
I look forward to watching as The Key in the Hand, an installation that forges a link between a space made up of keys, yarn, and two boats, and photographs and videos of children, transcends national, cultural, linguistic, and political contexts, and emotionally arouses countless visitors from all over the world. (Source)
Born in Japan, Shiota has been based in Berlin for the last two decades. Visit her website to see more fascinating large-scale installations. (Via Colossal)