It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, this artist takes the written word and uses it to carve rolling hills and steep mountains. Artist Guy Laramee transforms the pages of a book into a breathtaking a landscape by carving and shaping its pages into different geography. He uses books like encyclopedias and dictionaries to create mostly cliffs and steep rock formations. These tiny environments are incredibly detailed, as you can see each small tree, bush, and layer of earth. It is as if the pages have been corroded away, producing new form in the books. Erosion is a heavy theme in Guy Laramee’s body of work. Interested in ethnography, he explains that parts of cultures are often eroded away, lost to the hands of time. As technology advances, in print materials, such as encyclopedias, are on their way to being obsolete. The artist uses these “archaic” tools and utilizes them in a new way. Once a source for knowledge, now questions what is at risk of being lost culturally if these physical books do indeed disappear.
Guy Laramee is not just a talented paper sculpture, as you can see from the covers of the books he uses. He beautifully paints birds and sky on the covers and displays them upright so that you can see both sides. Both the inside and outside of these books are transformed into something amazing, showing different forms of nature. His miniature environments and ecosystems now live in the pages of books, reminding us of what stories and knowledge could possibly lay between the pages.
Parallel worlds are familiar to Noemie Goudal. She actually recreates them for us on monochrome photographs, using all sorts of artifice to convey our minds to her land of imagination. She connects pure subjects and abandoned sets, to recreate her vision.
In her “Observatories” series she builds models in paper and cardstock and unifies it in an empty landscape of water. Evoking history and civilization, the stark monuments float like undisturbable icebergs, powerful and dominating the picture. The motionless water reinforces the concept of stability, making one with the buildings.By juxtaposing two pure existing elements in a same location, the artist duplicates reality and enables the viewer to question the limitation of reality and fantasy. “I don’t think that my pictures invite anyone into a fantasy world but rather a place made from the real that questions the fantasies, desires and fragility of the viewer.”
There is a feeling of nostalgia in Noemie Goudal’s pictures. As if we were to enter an abandoned site, a deserted battlefield. Time has stopped and here we are stuck in a two dimensional world, between an iceberg and its immobile water. The silence is palpable, anguish is nearby yet the situation is bearable. The notion of communication failure between landscape and human beings is another emphasis of the artist’s photographs. Despite the conception of familiar surroundings, a gap of misunderstanding can occur wherever we are. In order to travel into Noemie Goudal’s work, one has to first understand the creation process to move on to reflections of another type.
When Philadelphia-based artist Drew Leshko cycles around his neighborhood, he can’t help but look at the buildings, windows, doors, posters, trash cans and signs around him in a very different way than most people do. For him, they are the beginning of his next project – shrinking them into miniature replicas of themselves on a scale of 1:12. He cuts, glues, builds, layers, and sculpts 3D versions of different store fronts from wood and paper. Leshko says his art form is a way of preserving and archiving the condition of the buildings on his street, the rate and speed of gentrification and also comments on what people consider worth preserving, and what is worth destroying.
His paper sculptures are nostalgic of a time past; a look at his local life when he was younger; a recreation of what was. He has created versions of his grandfather’s camper from the 80s, a local church, a strip bar, a cigarette outlet, a deli, dumpsters, even vending machines. The accuracy of his miniatures and the attention to detail are what make his sculptures as impressive as they are. He even paints rust on over the old gutters or windows and puts acid rain deposits on the footpaths.
Leshko has not only been busy making building facades and details, he has also turned his attention to replicating campervans.
The buildings are huge undertakings and take a lot of time and patience. So I began to think about some smaller sculptures I could make, but most importantly, what type of objects can be constructed of paper? I started to think about tractor-trailers, vans, food trucks, and similar vehicles when I landed on camper trailers. My work has always included commentary on the temporal nature of things, so the transient nature of “RV culture” fits right in to that idea. (Source)
Leshko’s celebration of a particular moment in time is a good reminder to appreciate the way things are in our own neighborhoods – because they will certainly be changing, for better or worse.
Lithuanian artist Ray Bartkus has recently painted an intricate mural on the sides of a building near water in the Lithuanian town of Marijampolé, depicting swimmers, dolphins, and other aquatic scenes. Upon first glance, it merely looks like upside down street art. However, this mural has one very particular characteristic: it is painted upside down, in such a way that it must be reflected into the water in order to be complete.
The reflected version of the mural makes it seem like the water is full of swans, boats and people swimming. He has managed to create a clever combination of art and nature, by painting his art upside down; he has made it dependent on the reflection of the water in order for it to reach its full potential. Once the mural is projected into the water, it becomes a whole new work of art.
On top of the originality of this idea is the execution itself. The precision with which Bartkus has painted his landscape is amazing. He gets up close to the wall to paint all the lines, dots, and shapes necessary to achieve perfect symmetry in his mural’s reflection. He has managed to paint everything upside down and by doing so, he has a created a mural that goes both towards the sky and into the water.
What is more fascination than the moving image? How about a technique that creates moving images without any film? Artist Elliot Schultz has refined his own version of zoetropes, which is a method of filmless animation. This magic is created by taking a series of images and rotating them in a fast pace. Combined with the use of a strobe light, the sequence appears seamless as if it is the same image moving over and over. Schultz has taken this traditional technique and made it his own. He stitches wiggling worms, dripping water, and old men walking onto fabric in the shape of a circle. These ten-inch discs are the perfect size to be placed onto any turntable, and what is a turntable best for if not to spin! The embroidered images are rotated so fast that it appears just as if they are moving. Since strobe lights often go along with clubs, djs, and turntables, using this unique method almost seems a natural fit for a zoetrope.
Early inventions of the pin screen along with other alternative animation methods have deeply influenced Schultz’s work. He finds inspiration in engineers and animators involved with early cinema such as Claire Parker and Alexandre Alexeieff. Schultz is always experimenting with new mediums and techniques to further develop his interesting series. This incredibly innovative artist is somewhat of an engineer himself, bringing a bit of the history of animation into the contemporary world of electronic music and turntables. (via This is Colossal)
Jacek Yerka is a Polish painter whose work melts pastoral beauty into worlds of fantasy and psychedelic dreams. Featured here is the series 4siders, wherein the four “walls” of each scene have been staged and fused together to create multidimensional spaces; rotate the images, and a different room (or landscape) appears. In “Budoir,” for example, the furnishings of an entire house loop dizzyingly around each other; in “Four Seasons,” a lonely bungalow slides from winter’s chill to spring’s awakening while the eye is drawn to the uniting, empty sky beyond. Both logical and disorienting, the 4siders paintings demonstrate how slight shifts in perspective can alter our notions of the rational world.
Blending the classically creative styles of Bosch and Bruegel with reality-bending contemporary art, it is no surprise that Yerka has achieved much recognition in the world of fantasy art — fantasy, after all, derives from a melding of history with the outer edges of the imagination. Some of Yerka’s genre-related accomplishments include collaborating with fantasy author Harlan Ellison in the compositions of Mind Fields (a collection thirty short stories accompanied by Yerka’s surrealistic paintings), as well as the notable reception of the World Fantasy Award for best artist in 1995.
Yerka currently lives in rural Poland with his family, where he paints his immersive dreamscapes in the shade of an “old and mysterious” apple tree (Source). You can learn more about his work on his website, Facebook, and Twitter. (Via Fubiz)
For Susanna Bauer, a casual fall stroll can lead into a creative process. She transforms nature’s most fragile corpses into mini art sculptures. The leaves she delicately sews and crochets are brought back to life and hung off walls next to their fellow forest companions: pieces of woods and stones. With an astonishing dexterity she is able to roll, curve and assemble elements that were found dried and shriveled. She uses all of her concentration to operate on her findings. The artist takes the raw, emotionless leaves and patiently nurtures them, stitching back their wounds, unifying two different kinds of leaves together and taking care of the smallest details. Comparing the tenderness and tension of her work to the vulnerability and resilience of a human relationship.
She says she doesn’t work with nature but she collaborates with it. She respects flora, and her main will is to embellish the organic beauty that has fallen instinctively on her path. She closely examines how the fragile leaf, with no brutality, can be manipulated; and yet with a firm hand she pierces the dead element, making sure she leaves her imprint. Metaphorically, the work of Susanna Bauer is beyond interesting. To the eyes, it is a simple and precious vision, set in the immensity of a pumpkin toned abundant forest.
Susanna Bauer’s work will be exhibited at Salon Vert in Switzerland as part of a group show until August 2015 and at Lemon Street Gallery in Cornwall UK until September 2015.
Proving that snow globes aren’t just kitschy souvenirs, artist duo Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz create mini worlds covered by glass domes that are dark, gloomy, and slightly sinister. The scenarios they build are usually set in a stark wintery landscape and feature characters carrying out strange, ill-disposed acts on each other.
Working together since 1994, Martin and Muñoz source different figurines or model making elements, cut them up and re-assemble them as victims or criminals at a crime scene. They use plumber’s epoxy to build the base of the scenes, and cover it in a water resistant resin. Then, they fill up the globes with a water and alcohol solution, to create the authenticity of the object.
Taking inspiration from dreams, movies, and literature, the pair is happy to build on a bizarre or surreal narrative. Their scenes are very dark indeed: A man is caught in the act of dropping a boulder onto another man’s face, or we watch a woman suspiciously planting a dead tree in the snow, or two men vindictively dangling children over a deep dark well, all surrounded by the stillness of snow and winter. They see their snow globes as a celebration of that uneasy feeling you get when you are lost in a crowd, or left alone somewhere uncomfortable. Martin reflects on the environment that he grew up in and those feelings he experienced within them:
I always liked a good snowstorm, and so many of my best memories revolve around those occasions. The water is the thing in Norfolk and Virginia Beach. Everything that comes out of it, everything that you can do on it, or in it, is special. (Source)
Their globes and a number of other artist’s impressions of winter were also featured previously in a post on B/D. Click here to check out the different ideas of just what that wintery spirit is all about.