Walter de Maria’s Earth Room, permanently installed at 141 Wooster Street in New York since 1980, is nothing but 250 cubic yards of black soil filling 3,600 square feet. As Jerry Saltz describes it, it is a “majestic work that gives us bodily confirmations of the power of scale, material, natural phenomena, and art.” Indeed, Mother Nature’s material can provide a profound art experience that other artists have also experimented with. Gabriel Kuri uses familiar, everyday materials like newspapers and slabs of grass to focus attention on contemporary consumer culture and the circulation of things like money, information and energy in our global economy. Ruben Ochoa’s works, specifically his “Overturned Foundations” currently installed at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, alter our relationship to the ground and the wall by shifting our perception of space. At The Carriage House at The Islip Arts Museum in 2011 Olivia Kaufman-Rovira installed a watering system that grew giant grass chandeliers over a six week period. The grass chandeliers were interspersed with others made of discarded plastic bottles. The sculptures were meant to comment on resources needed to keep up lawns, how non-biodegradable materials pollute our environment and how important our water supply is. Phoebe Washburn is a New York artist who incorporates organic matter such as sod or plants into her installations, which act as attempts to exert control over the chaotic. Mathilde Roussel’s works, often suspended in mid-air, are grass sculptures that represent the growth and decay of life. Representations of gravity, time and the fragility of existence the works are poetic and beautiful. Sean Martindale replaced cracked city tree planters in Toronto with grass, making it appear as though it had spilled out over the planter. A kind of street art, the planters brought beauty and attention to an otherwise damaged part of the city. Mylyn Nguyen is an Australian artist who gives form to imaginary figures by sculpting natural materials such as moss, pebbles dirt, twigs etc.
A young photographer named Rachel Baran is taking surrealist pictures to a new level. Mostly self portraits in strange settings, her manipulation in photoshop allows fantastical things to happen. Displaying nuances usually found only in painting, it’s no wonder people are taking notice. According to her Facebook page, she lives in Ohio, just graduated from college and seems like a regular gal except for her highly creative eye. Some significant work shows appendages (fingers) in different stages of duress. In one, two hands are fused together by skinwebs and another shows a cutoff finger revealing not blood but concrete. One does reveal blood and a montage of her cutup portrait on a clothes line to dry turns a bit, well, emotional. Whether there is any real logic to her work is another question. However, an understanding might not matter, because the pictures hold your attention. Some may dismiss them as pretentious gobbledygook, others will embrace and try to find hidden meaning. The surrealists played with subconscious. Ideas were thought about but not necessarily thought out. Comprehension was a feeling. Dali believed in Jungian and Freudian behavior. For part of his daily practice, the artist would fall asleep with a big sketchbook on his lap and be awoken by it crashing onto the floor and immediately jot down whatever was in his mind. Baran’s photographs follow a similar plan. They exist to explore a subconscious path. Through a series of latent acts, interesting moments occur and the camera is there to capture them. (via Artfucksme)
The images of photographer Álvaro Sánchez-Montañés‘ series Indoor Desert seem like elaborate installations. However, he actually found them this way. These buildings were once part of a town named Kolmanskop in southern Namibia. It had been situated near a gold mine. When the mine ran dry it was abandoned as was the town. The strong winds quickly overtook the town filling its buildings with the sand of the nearby Namib desert. The homes now filled with desert instead of families only emphasizes each photographs loneliness and underscores the immense power of nature.
For his latest project, titled the Abyss Table, designer Christopher Duff of Duffy London constructs a detailed cross section of the sea bed from sheets of glass and wood. Inspired by mythology, he designed the piece of furniture to look like one belonging to an ancient deity, capable of pulling up chunks of the earth for his own decorative use. From above, the table resembles a topographical map laid flat, but when viewed from the side, it becomes a multilayered and multidimensional model of a three-dimensional mass forged over millennia.
The brilliance of the Abyss Table lies in part in the conflicting nature of its form and function. By its very definition, the table is not an abyss but the exact opposite: a protruding surface capable of supporting objects. Here, the liquid surface of the ocean is transmuted into an imperturbable solid, and fluid space becomes sturdy and unbroken.
On the website of Duffy London, the preliminary image of the table, which will be released this fall, is accompanied with a line from Friedrich Nietzche’s “Beyond Food and Evil:” “And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you.” This oft-quoted passage, almost always meant metaphorically, finds a very literal manifestation here. Contained in this table, the dark, unknowable emptiness that consumes the human mind moves poetically into the home, merging its mysteries with the normal routines of domesticity. Each image shown here is a digital model from which the actual table will be built. Take a look. (via Colossal)
Los Angeles based artist Julia Holter recently released her third full length album, Loud City Song on Domino Records to great reviews as well as a feature about her in The New Yorker. I was lucky enough to catch the first show of her North American tour last week at the First Unitarian Church in Los Angeles as part of their Church Sessions concert series. Playing to a very respectful and quiet audience, she performed songs from her new album accompanied by members of Los Angeles’ wIld Up orchestra who also performed earlier in the evening. You could hear a pin drop during her entire performance making me happy the show wasn’t at your average club/venue.
Her cinematic new video, “This is a True Heart” is a perfect introduction to her beautiful voice and rather unique sound. Julia Holter is definitely worth your time and her live performance will resonate with you long after the lights come on. Upcoming shows include Chicago’s Schubas on September 21st as well Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on September 24th. You can also catch her in Europe this coming October and November. Check out the video and hopefully you can catch one of her upcoming performances.
Interim Camp by London creative agency FIELD is an experimental film entirely made from computer generated landscapes. Poor visibility; weather again unsettled today. Surreal rocks and riven lowlands, valleys fog-shrouded. Frightening depths, and emptiness. Rarity of air is noticeable. It is a meditation about the pursuit of an idea; about obstacles, struggle and failure along the way.
Founder of Los Angeles-based architecture and design studio Urbana, Rob Ley has yet made another venture into the world of interactive architectural installations. This time large-scale. His project “May-September” features a field of 7,000 angled multi-color metal panels constructed onto the facade of Eskenazi Hospital in Indianapolis.
According to Ley, the project began when he started wondering about the typical notion of the parking structure. Often these huge concrete constructions are unappreciated and ignored by public. Ley posed himself a challenge to turn it into a dynamic system that would interact with the viewers as they pass it by.
Together with Indianapolis Fabrications, they’ve built a huge angular aluminum and stainless steel installation (12,500 square feet) that also features an east/west color strategy (yellow and blue). The visual experience of changing colors and patterns depends on observers’ perspective and speed when they move across the hospital grounds or drive along the street. The piece also interacts with nature as every sun beam or cloud can shape the hues and saturation of colors.
As in nature, the volume and shade offered by the piece shies away from harsh, geometric patterning – instead tending towards a gentle, dappled variability in form <…> [parts of installation] work together as brush strokes to create a dynamic façade <…>.