Nicholas Nyland is a Washington-based artist who creates paintings, sculptures and installations. Stating that his work is “driven by a fascination with the life of form, the nature of creation and the will to decorate,” Nyland makes works that are abstract, but contain references to history and traditional craft sources. Embracing abstraction because as he says, “it is generous and capacious, able to absorb and then release a multitude of references,” Nyland does in fact draw from a myriad of sources. For his most recent solo show in Seattle, Physical Speculations on a Future State, Nyland incorporated inspiration from Chinese scholar’s stones, Japanese gardens, Early American decorative traditions and 1970s design. Despite such wide-ranging influences, Nyland manages to create works that are at once formally engaging and conceptually inquisitive. Nyland leaves room for a viewer to consider material, gesture and form, but enigmatic historical references also provide inquiry into the way we define and identify objects.
There is lightheartedness to Nyland’s work that borders on humorous. A viewer can tell that Nyland enjoyed making whatever object she is observing. The lack of seriousness involved in Nyland’s works further promotes active questioning about material, influence and formal choice. Moreover, the tactile quality of Nyland’s work makes it all the more engaging. Bordering on craft with some of his works, Nyland’s pieces are all distinctly handmade. There is a purposeful clumsiness to them that is charming and endearing.
What happens when molten aluminium is poured into an anthill, allowed to dry, then excavated and cleaned off? Anthill Art – an anonymous American artist – creates intricate metallic sculptures by doing just that. These forms reveal the depth and styles of various ant species’ hills, mainly from the beds of pesky fire ants. The complex and beautiful systems of these ant beds are revealed through this process, but has created a bit of controversy. People concerned with this method of sculpture work have commented on Anthill Art’s Facebook page, where the artist has responded generally to these concerns.
“I regret every day calling it anthillart. To be honest it was a short memorable name and I went with it. I’m not really a fan of art and would never refer to myself as an artist, I guess I considered the ants to be the artists (and architects). If someone created these themselves and called it art I would call it modern art crap. That the ants created it makes me love it.
I first started doing this just out of pure interest (always having been interested in biology and science). A few of my teacher friends took them to school and camp, the kids loved it and it really seemed to get them interested in science. So, I decided to start the site and try to sell a few.
The fire ant colonies are not abandoned. The justification being that there are so many of them and I need to kill them anyway, with kids and pets around. Plus they’re an invasive species in this area and wreak havoc. Some states have eradication programs. The other ants (usually carpenter ants), I try to find abandoned nests but it doesn’t always work out. Either way, I do it sparingly and the property is still over run with them.”
Taking inspiration from a variety of sources including, but not limited to fairy tales, Renaissance portraiture, and botanical illustration, Susan Jamison paints women adorned with vibrant pink embroidery patterns. In Jamison’s words, the animals and plants are carefully chosen for their symbolic meanings and lend the female figures a “contemporary, feminist inspired Snow White character.”
Chinese artist Ann Hoi creates beautifully bizarre paper figurative sculptures. Usually depicting images of children and fantastical animal creatures within an air of melancholia, her work simultaneously achieves an essence of preciousness and unsettlement. Since graduating from Ontario College of Art and Design University in 2010, Hoi has only crafted around a dozen pieces; each work is made through a long meticulous process. Her sculptures are created with a method that begins with the extremely clever use of a 3D animation software that allows her to develop, edit, and manipulate her characters digitally. She then prints her designs onto paper and has to build her works essentially through a version of intense puzzle piecing. Their monochromatic and literal xerox copied aesthetic allows them to almost exist as a physical representation of a digital hologram. They create a real virtual reality. They seem to exist on a strange border of futuristic and nostalgic — their “digital” quality allows them to be referential of that of a technological manifestation and therefore science fiction, however, the graphics, again, the monochrome palette, as well as the sort of “glitch” like feel, makes them seem like they are that of an old technology, a reminiscent one. Hoi’s work is undoubtedly unique. Each piece has the true ability to draw the viewer into a world that they have yet to experience. However, despite how removed from reality these works are, they some how do not feel out of place. It almost feels voyeuristic, as if the viewer is the one that doesn’t belong. (via Hi-Frustose)
Jake and Dinos Chapman, ‘In Our Dreams We Have Seen Another World’ , 2013 -White Cube Gallery.
Yesterday was Miami Art Basel 2013’s preview, and B/D was there to get the scoop on Basel’s most innovative and interesting works. Here we’ve picked out a few pieces that caught our eye. Hope you enjoy these as much as we did!
Jakes and Dinos Chapman’s diorama fuses sensitive religious themes with mass branding and symbols of the global fast food chain, McDonald’s. The rather crude, and disturbing maquette juxtaposes, or rather, finds parallels between what seems to be violent scenes of apocalypse and crucifixions, and the globalization of American fast food chains. The artwork exudes great hostility; it truly makes for an uncomfortable yet very entertaining, and satisfying viewing. The piece pinpoints and creates controversy, as it look at a global economy superpower through the eyes of uncensored, critical, and dry humor.
Evan Penny’s sculpture was probably one of my top personal highlights from Basel. ‘Female Stretch’ is strange and confusing to look at. The artist accomplishes a flat look out of a three-dimensional sculpture. Besides the bizarre proportions, which I hope you can appreciate through the photos, I can say that Penny’s craftsmanship shines quite brightly through the sculpture’s accuracy when it came to small details. Hair, eyelashes and skin textures are almost impressively realistic looking.
I recently got two great books in the mail and thought i’d share them with you as these are mandatory for any legitimate art book collection. Get a sneak peak and read about the new Skinner Monograph and Adios #4 after the jump.
Alberto Sevesos creates turbulent digital images of nude female figures. Colours swirl inside the elusive bodies that appear and disappear with a hint of nipple or goose bumps running down a torso. The movements within the nudes are so compelling it becomes difficult to bring yourself out to view the images as a whole. The viewer’s eye becomes lost in the gestures, especially as you try to make sense of the forms. In parts the figures seem as though they are glass, filled with swirling paints, but then they fade into nothingness where just beside is a definitive form.
The positions of the bodies themselves also create movement in the work. They bend, extend and caress in a dancerly manner. Sometimes the bodies are surprising, as they seem only to be deconstructed and not reassembled. A hand appears without sense, transforming the texture of the swirls that are like liquid in one moment, and smoke in the next. The hot and cold oranges, blues, and whites add an elemental aspect to the work, complemented by the natural skin tones and clean bright lighting of the original photograph. The work is airy and also haunting as the tantalizing figures ghost in and out of existence in plain sight. (Via Illusion Scene 360)
Artist Sam Songailo uses bright colors, straight lines, and bold, graphic shapes in his outdoor and indoor installations. Geometric repeating patterns span span floors, ceilings, and walls. Lighting plays a role in his work as it enhances color and gives the work a sense of space and a depth of field. Once the viewer is immersed in the space, all of the elements of Songailo’s work transports them to another place.
Outdoor installations, like the ones on a city street, work with the existing landscape. Songailo’s patterns fill and conform to every inch of the given space like a mutating organism. The high-contrast colors and intricate trellis-like shapes create a disorienting effect. Not so much when viewing it as a whole from above, but walking through it leaves little indication of direction.
Before he started large-scale installations, Songailo was a graphic designer. This is evident in the execution of his work, especially in one of his few indoor installations, Zen Garden (directly above). The piece mimics the lines of sand, with a few “rocks” that are spread throughout the gallery floor. Songailo is able to have full control over the space, and uses principles of design to make it not only attractive, but to effectively transport the viewer to a minimalist, geometric zen garden.