Artist Hilary Fayle uses embroidery techniques to create delicate suspended designs in dried leaves. She first cuts shapes like circles and mimics the contour of the actual leaf, and then stitches thread into a variety of intricate patterns. The complex designs mimic the veins of the plant in their twists and weaves.
Fayle first began stitching on unconventional materials while she was studying embroidery at the Manchester Metropolitan University in Manchester, England. She started with found materials and fabric and later moved onto leaves once she returned to America. The choice to use them was a logical extension of Fayle’s desire to use renewable, sustainable, and environmentally friendly materials for her artwork. Photos by Natalie Hofert Photography. (Via Colossal)
Until recently I was unfamiliar with the artist Alex Ebstein, but I am glad to have rectified my lack of awareness. There is an honesty to Ebstein’s work that I find readily engaging. The use of yarn or string in an artist’s practice can often shift the aesthetic towards a decidedly crafty end result, but Ebstein manages to use the material with such purpose that it might as well be a drawn line in an architectural blue print. The effectiveness of the work hinges on her ability to merge direct compositional tactics with a more playful approach to the selected materials. Ebstein’s use of string also elevates the intentionality of her mark marking, and then quickly reasserts itself as a method of creating illusory depth in what would otherwise be relatively flat pieces. Taught angular moments combined with purposefully relaxed textures start a visual conversation that I am more than happy to participate in.
I could have just included the ‘eye chart’ pieces because I found them extremely aesthetically pleasing, but the back-story provides a bit of insight that I think most would enjoy. Think of it as a ‘Director’s Commentary’ for the work. Courtesy of Miss Ebstein, “…then for the eye chart pieces. They are more of a weird reflection on (and obsession with) eyesight and my existing eye problems that force me to visit the doctor every month. I’ve had four eye surgeries in three years… I am always nervously checking my vision against things, one eye at a time, so these drawings were kind of my own dark humored joke about being an artist and constantly worrying about my vision.” I am of the belief that ‘going blind’ is one of (if not) the most terrifying things any artist could imagine, and I appreciate the candor with which she addresses what could be an immobilizing reality to those with a more pessimistic outlook on life. Ebstein will be starting grad school this fall, and I am eager to see how this focused environment will affect her work. I also encourage anyone interested in contemporary art to check out the consistently interesting programming at Nudashank – a gallery she co-runs with Seth Adelsberger in the Baltimore area.
Photographer Laura Plageman carefully distorts her photographs in a way that is so subtle that it makes you do a double take. Using photographs that she has shot, she folds, tears, and crumples idyllic-looking landscapes. This is done in such a way that at first glance, these Plageman’s slight alterations make perfect sense. You wouldn’t necessarily question the melting tree line until you begin to study the photographs. Once you do, you can see that the mood of these images has changed. And, that’s exactly what Plageman wants. From her artist statement:
Her images explore the relationships between the process of image making, photographic truth and distortion, and the representation of landscape. She is interested in making pictures that examine the natural world as a scene of mystery, beauty, and constant change transformed by both human presence and by its own design.
Plageman titles of all her pieces as “Response to…” I see the the way she manipulates her photographs as a way of responding to the environment that she’s captured. These aren’t negative interpretations or an ill-will towards these landscapes. Instead, they add another layer of story-telling to what already exists. The creased paper adds depth, and tearing adds a new horizon line. What exists beyond what we now can’t see. Rather than showing us a landscape we’ve seen many times before, Plageman creates a totally new narrative by just a few considered folds.
UFEX is a digital design collective comprised of Mikkel Møller Andersen and Kasper Fjederholt, based out of London and Copenhagen respectively. They recently opened an exhibition/collaborative show with Bora Tanay at Artary Off Space February 14th–dealing with “extemporaneous human sculptures” that subsequently explore the different aspects of “modern social constructions.” UFEX often create “analog” sculptures that are photographed and constructed in a way to make them appear inexplicably digital. Their series, “Eyes, Ears, Mouth,” is a fascinating example of sculpture that straddles the liminal and collapsable worlds of real/digital, handmade/photoshopped, showing that perhaps the boundaries are not as concrete as we thought. The result are hilarious meditations that push the boundaries of “reality,” authenticity and the absurd.
Sawatari’s vision of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland” is truly one of the strangest, most out-there interpretations of the well-known story. Risqué in terms of its frank, nude depiction of a youthful Alice, the book’s unintentionally psychedelic tone brings to mind Monty Python, Peter Greenaway, and Vogue Bambini.
I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be all “nay, that’s wrong, you’re ruining works of art! you’re unappreciative!” or if I’m supposed to join in on the fun. It makes me question if people are bored, or if security guards should still make you put away cameras in museums (cough cough tate modern!), but, in my younger days, I used to try on prom dresses, dance, and take photos of it in the dressing rooms. Me and my friend called it Prom-dress moshing… So I ain’t judgin’! But yes, this blog is dedicated to those of you who must dance and jump in front of works of art. My parents would probably tell me to be quiet and give me a 20 minute history of the piece instead, and that’s why I’m a nerd…
Russian native, Vania Zouravliov‘s whimsical and highly detailed illustrations are exquisitely gothic and layered with symbolism. Given the high quality of both craftsmanship and detail, as well as the rigorous layers surrounding the morbid characters in the illustration, I think the more often the viewer looks at the work, we’re able to discover a different aspect in the piece. In itself the process of uncovering the many hidden symbolic details brings out an even richer experience while looking at the work.
The Infinity Burial Project founded by Jae Rhim Lee, proposes alternatives for the postmortem body that promote and facilitate an individual engagement with the process of decomposition. The Project features the development of a unique strain of mushroom that decomposes and remediates toxins in human tissue, the development of a decomposition ‘kit’, burial suits embedded with decomposition activators, and a membership society devoted to the promotion of death awareness and acceptance and the practice of decompiculture (the cultivation of decomposing organisms).