Artist Bailey Henderson creates intricate sculptures depicting fantastic beasts that have been portrayed in medieval maps. Each creature is stylized and made to detail the original image accurately. The texture found in her sculptures mirror the lines in an illustration, like the mythological beings actually jumped right off the pages of a medieval map. These monstrous creatures are often hybrids of two real animals, such as a whale and an eagle, or a dragon and an iguana. Henderson is deeply interested in mythology as well as cartography, which influenced her to make her series Monstorum Marines. Each sculpture is named after its given mythological name, such as Ziphius, the creature that resembles an orca whale, and Porcus Marinus, who is a cross-breed of a boar and a fish. Henderson goes on to describe what the creatures were believed to be and even how they did to kill their victims. Her narrative of the sculpture titled Cockatrice, is both fascinating and entertaining.
A cockatrice is a mythical beast, originating in the 14th century. It the hind quarters of a serpent or dragon, and the front quarters of a chicken. It was believed to deliver a deathly stare, or kill by breathing on its victims.
Henderson’s incredible skill in sculpting is only matched in her painting talent. Cast bronze is the material used to form each claw, tail, and beak in this magnificent series. Acrylic paint and powdered pigments is used to transform the cast metal into majestic beasts full of color and life. Each layer of scales, feathery hair, and powerful wing is created with such attentive detail, that each of Henderson’s unimaginable creatures truly come to life.
If you had a sad childhood and wanted to make art about it look no further. Urusla Sokolowska has already done it for you. Taking child-sized mannequins and projecting images of her young face onto to them she explores the displacement and alienation she felt as a kid immigrating to the US from her native Poland. In her series The Constructed Family her messages are subtly and darkly humorous. By placing the figure in locations which do not hold cheerful memories for Sokolowska, we are reminded that art does indeed have cathartic powers and is a positive way to confront our demons. Her locations speak for themselves; a basement, a lonely street corner, a neighbor’s house, an alleyway, a bed. These domestic scenes which provoke unhappy memories are powerfully done from the perspective of an innocent child. Displacement is a serious feeling and perhaps even worse for a child who doesn’t have much control over their situation.
In moody dim lit photos, Sokolowska projects what she remembers from that time. Titles give hints but to the observer it’s clearly obvious what she’s thinking. We always hear about happy childhoods or outright abusive childhoods. Rarely do we hear about sad childhoods caused by normal occurrences that happen to families every day. Sokolowska brings this new dynamic to life with her powerful thought provoking images.
Artist Megan Straeder’s most recent work is a hanging installation, a display of brilliant light work in intricately woven nets placed descending a staircase. Appropriately on display at the Brisbane Powerhouse, her work breathes modernity and is reminiscent of 3D blueprints and 1980s computer technology. She cites Portal and the 2002 film Teknolust as visual inspirations for her work, she works with a lot of neon lights and futuristic elements. She plays with light and dark in this project, and makes use of a necessary darkness to be able to create such a stunning display of lights.
Straeder describes her piece as a “space age environment” inspired by “visions of the future”. Her work does reflect heavy inspiration from such decors and it might even remind you of Tron. Straeder describes this installation as a “vortex of light and color” and, the fact that the piece is hanging in a staircase reinforces its ethereal aspects. Enrichment Center constitutes the perfect décor for a houseparty featuring a futuristic techno soundtrack and probably lots of drugs.
The power of this pieces lies both within its sources of inspiration and the fact that, through these sources and her own creativity, Straeder has created a transmedia art piece and a reflection on what we perceive as futuristic imagery.
Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara, famous for his paintings of small children and animals, has a new solo exhibition in Hong Kong called Life is Only One. It recently opened at the Asia Society, and the title of the show comes from Nara’s artwork of the same name. This painting features a child holding a skull and contemplating existence. Conceptually, this isn’t foreign territory for Nara. In an interview with Asia Society, he explains, “When I was a child, the word “life” itself, of course, was a foreign concept. After turning 50, however, and with the deaths of people close to me and with the recent earthquake, I started to think about life more realistically — the limits of life, and the importance of what one can accomplish during that time.”
The children seen in Nara’s works represent what’s inside his head. He describes to Asia Society:
The children were not something I had sought or thought out, but in trying to capture what was in front of my eyes, they appeared as I tried to capture what was formless in my mind. I think, therefore, that my world expands upon my past experiences and memories, and the speaker for my own mind appears as a child. But really, if anything, those children appeared very naturally on the picture plane.
Life is Only One is on view until July 26 of this year. (Via Hi Fructose)
Taking every day industrial objects as his starting point artist Steven Montgomery turns nuts and bolts into huge sculptural forms. Not only are they built on a scale much larger than their original size but instead of metal he uses ceramic to achieve highly detailed forms. By taking these objects and turning them into art Montgomery is able to record the evolution of society through the physical structures which hold it all together. His forms range from relief painting to monumental sculpture and impact the viewer with both bright and muted hues. His use of an unconventional material such as ceramic to complete his process allows for illusory aspects to filter in. These highlight nuances which might be lost using other materials. The glazed aspects of ceramic give it a beautiful surface which lend an aesthetic which would probably be lost if another was used. His infinitely accurate attention to detail almost make it hard to believe these are made from the porous material and despite the subject matter have the same precious beauty as porcelain Chinese drums and figures.
In the purest sense, art should record the present time in which we live, Montgomery follows this path focusing on the internal infrastructure of society to achieve this goal. His work gives credence to the inanimate objects which helped shaped our culture recording the times in which we currently live.
Old discarded clothes guide Miami artists Alain Guerra and Neraldo de la Paz to create works that are fueled by their “silent histories.” After they began to discover their love for using found objects in their work, they became inspired by the trashed clothes they found at a secondhand store near their home. Out of these materials, they’ve constructed bodies, nests, fabulous mounded towers of garments, and whole families of cotton people, eerily alluding to those that wore the clothes when they were new.
Within his series Cowboys, Italian born artist Stefano Galli captures the essence of the rodeo. When encountering Galli’s blurred displays of fast paced moments, at first glance, the images almost take on a painterly aesthetic. The blended earth tones enriched by small marks of what could be cadmium red mimic the sort of guttural intensity found in Abstract Expressionism. Yet, with further inspection, it becomes clear that these moments are, in fact, not abstract at all. Galli’s series displays a hyper specific sensibility of the rodeo — they go beyond what is physically there and take on the challenge to document both the visual and psychological affect the rodeo has on these cowboys. With a crowds of faceless faces, bucking broncos whose warped bodies begin to take the formation of something out of a Francis Bacon painting, and long, lingering lights that possess a cinematic feel, Galli is able to represent the true element of movement. His photographs are a clever answer to create a discourse on a challenging topic for a motionless medium: speed. But, more importantly, his images provoke not only a discourse on gesture, but also on control. What does it feel like to have control when all sense of homeostasis is disrupted? How does one remain in control? And further, through the distortion of the image, is Galli provoking the viewer to lose his or her control? Are we asked to let go of our need to make sense of what we’re seeing? Perhaps, for a moment, we should act on instinct. Delicate yet powerful, Stefano Galli truly exposes a contemporary visual thought process on an age-old tradition.
Artist Nespoon, based in Warsaw, knows how to make people smile and forget, just for a second their worries. Random streets, abandoned spaces and tree trunks is where the artist chooses to install her intricate lace patterns, taking street art to another level. She stencils sidewalks, sprays signposts and hangs handmade crochet with no other intention than to create a surprise for the streetwalkers.
She calls her art “public jewelry”. Her devotion to making the streets look prettier is poignant. The lace patterns she uses are traditional, bold and extremely detailed for their sizes. She is inspired by textiles and makes sure to outsource local suppliers. The geometric and airy patterns generate harmony. Just what a busy jungle city needs: peace and beauty. By adding a touch of femininity to urban spaces, the city becomes lively and vibrant.
Lace has a special meaning for Nespoon. It has a history that speaks to the majority, mostly women. As for centuries, women were the only one crocheting, leaving a heavy heritage that can be now counterbalanced to their own benefits. They can recognize in the artist’s work a familiarity, a deja-vu and embrace the installations. (via Behance).