When French Sculptor Marc Sparfel comes across a stack of old furniture on the street he gets excited. Not because someone has just updated their home decor but because he has now gained a pile of materials for his charming animal sculptures. Sparfel’s process is intuitive allowing curved chair rails to be come horns on a bull, a chair back to become elephant ears, and gilded couch legs to turn into a torso. The results are a poetic take on the mysterious animals that we live amongst using discarded materials that most of us wouldn’t think twice about using again. (via)
I may be a day or two late but here’s an animated video to celebrate the year of the rabbit, courtesy of Frater Films. Watch the full video after the jump.
From 2010 to the present, Lauri Lynnxe Murphy has been collaborating with bees in the creation of her artwork. Despite a bee allergy, Murphy remains committed to her practice, which she describes as being “research-based.” Seeking to understand the nature of bees, Murphy depends on them to make works such as Listen, symbolizing the need to pay attention to the signals bees use for communication. Or We’re Sorry, Murphy’s apology and simultaneously the bees’ apology for any disruption either collaborator may have caused the other. Similarly, her honeycomb sculptures are co-created with the bees. Murphy chooses to work with bees, or other materials that she feels allow her to appropriately explore issues surrounding ecological and political concerns.
Other than the current threat to the bee population Murphy has recently been concerned about nuclear power, particularly following the tsunami-induced collapse of Fukushima. Murphy produced a series titled, Doilies of Imminent Destruction. That’s an amazing title for some pretty delicate work. The series began as a “meditation on the banality of our dialogue surrounding our fearsome power to irreparably alter an environment, and an investigation into the corporately chosen, idealized representations of these disaster sites prior to the disaster.” Each doily depicts the site of a nuclear disaster: Chernobyl, Deepwater Horizon, Fukushima and Three Mile Island. Why doilies? Murphy recognizes the doily’s function as beautifying, or covering up the ugly or tarnished. They also reference an old-fashioned nostalgia of domesticity and desired perfection.
I am drawn to Murphy’s work not for the beauty of it, although it is quite captivating, but rather for the delicate, yet powerful call to arms it requests of the viewer. Whether it is her work about nuclear disasters subtly imploring us to concern ourselves with the danger of this technology, or her work about bees suggesting we need to be aware of the beauty and vulnerability of the bee’s ecosystem, Murphy’s work merits our contemplation.
If you squint real hard you’ll see your your spirit ghost.
via Spirit Surfers
Many contemporary artists incorporate materials traditionally associated with craft into their art practice. Craft, often segregated from the high art world, is used to describe a pastime or profession that requires skill and concentration. Fine artists involve styles such as knitting, crocheting, beading, ceramics and many others practices to create their works. The effects of using these generally intricate and time-consuming techniques are impressive as works by these five artists demonstrate.
Shane Waltener was trained as a sculptor and now makes beautiful and haunting installations using yarn. Many of his works are engaging and beg a viewer’s participation. Over Here, which mimics a giant spider web, references a technique called Shetland lace and is made of fishing line. Sherry Markovitz is a Seattle-based artist who incorporates buttons, feathers, fake pearls, shells, sequins, seed beads and other items to animal heads or dolls. Markovitz says that she “was never influenced by the contemporary art world,” and indeed, her works created from hours of labor and scouring flea markets for material feel as though they walked out of another place and time. Elaine Bradford uses crochet to create otherworldly sculptures. Her installation at the Vinson Branch of the Houston Public Library, for instance, consists of an elephant and a gaggle of Canadian geese, all sheathed in crochet skins. The work is fun and playful, but also sophisticated and clever. Orly Genger, most recently known for covering Madison Square Park in New York with a massive installation consisting of 1.4 million feet of layered, painted and hand-knotted rope last summer, is an artist who employs traditionally “feminine” activities to works that reference artists like Barnett Newman. She titled her Madison Square Park installation after his Who’s Afraid of the Red, Yellow and Blue? series from the 1960s. Edith Meusnier is a French textile and environmental artist who transforms nature into installation spaces. She uses craft installations to raise questions about sustainability and the vulnerability of nature.
Paul Bourke is interested in discovering fractals- similar visual patterns that exist throughout the universe. To that end, he’s scoured Google Earth to bring you these amazing geographic patterns shot via telescope from above. The end result is this series of images that celebrates the planet and its natural form. Stringy river deltas, clumpy desertscapes- beautiful stuff. (via)