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Matt Wedel’s Larger Than Life Ceramics Reunite Us With Our Own Innermost Children

Matt Wedel - Ceramics

Matt Wedel - Ceramics
Matt Wedel - Ceramics

Ceramicist Matt Wedel continues to make strong headway in the gallery world while maintaining an impressive creative autonomy in Athens, Ohio, where he builds, glazes, and fires each larger than life sculpture on his own terms . . . by himself . . . without assistants.

“Sheep’s Head,” his most recent exhibit at LA Louver, proves to be a wonderful example of what a little focus, patience, and isolation can create. Each cumbersome piece collects to convey a vibrantly glossy world: renderings of a twisted contemporary animal kingdom and its surrounding vegetation.

Of this particular series, David Pagel notes, “Cookie jars come to mind, as do centerpieces for fancy dinners, elaborate candle holders, ships’ figureheads and decorative figurines. So do works by Picasso, Botero and Baselitz, as well as ancient Greek, Roman and Etruscan statuary, Cylcadic sculpture, Olmec totems and carved saints from medieval churches.”

From everyday objects to art history and human artifacts, Wedel’s healthy dose of contemporary dreaming bends the familiar into something imaginatively powerful. On view, we encounter angelic mutants who have been hardened over time, perhaps altered by a sorcerer’s wand or depicted to honor one final futuristic freeze. Likewise, while roaming the floor, we meet flora and fauna which structurally blooms in a childlike manner, but not without a bitter taste of science gone awry with color dripping and drooping.

Piece after piece, a creative storybook of bright possibility or dark youthful mystery unravels, and this is exactly why we strive to look deeper- it’s a hoping to engage not only with the work, but with our own innermost children.

Check out the video after the jump to see the artist at work and meet his 3-year-old inspiration.

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Roger Hiorns Uses Chemical Transformations To Create Art

HiornsInstallation HiornsInstallation5 HiornsInstallation4

Roger Hiorns‘ sculptures and installations are concerned with chemical processes and how these processes affect his materials and forms. I first encountered Hiorns’ work a few years ago when his installation, Seizure, was nominated for a Turner prize in 2009. For this installation, Hiorns filled an entire vacant & demolition-ready ex-London council estate flat with a copper sulphate solution. This created an abundance of bright blue crystals that filled every inch of the space. Visitors to the space had no choice but to crush some of the crystals as they walked through the transformed flat, further altering the construction of the space and his work.  Hiorns uses the same copper sulphate solution to transform other objects, but also combines other seemingly disparate materials like ceramic pots with moving foam, metal with fire, steel with perfume, and even glass fiber with brain matter. A crucial component of Hiorns’ work stems from his compulsion to initiate the reaction, but then step back and become an objective viewer of his work as it transforms. Hiorns: “The works are successful if they are self-contained and need nothing else. They exist by their own language.”

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Artist Raphael Hefti Turns Gallery Into A 19th Century Metal Factory

Raphael Herti- Sculpture/Performance

Raphael Hefti- Sculpture/Performance

Raphael Hefti- Sculpture/Performance

Raphael Hefti, an artist interested in the factory-like production and performative qualities of art making, puts a twist on ‘land/earth art’ by using sand, iron oxide, aluminum and a 19th century welding process on an enclosed gallery space in London.

His works blur the boundaries between natural/industrial, as he shows new ways of considering the artwork outside of already established narratives, in this case, setting up a foundry (a factory that produces metal castings) in a gallery space, and/or creating a natural process in an industrialized way/setting.

‘Quick Fix Remix’, a performance and exhibition, demonstrates the artist working with the process of ‘thermic welding’, a 19th century industrial process originally devised to weld steel train tracks together. The sand underneath the artist’s feet is composed of iron oxide and aluminum. With the help of both the portable casting vessel (located towards the back of the gallery space) and the artist’s physical labor, the sandy landscape is transformed into an improvised metal casting factory. (via mousse magazine)

“For me the idea of performance is related intimately to the idea of production. Often the situation I work in has its own sense of choreography – from the dunes of a beach to the machinery of a factory floor.”

 

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Michael Coffey’s Furniture Is Fundamentally Functional Sculpture

Michael Coffey - DesignMichael Coffey - DesignMichael Coffey - Design

“I started as a furniture-maker, but eventually felt limited by conventional notions about what furniture was supposed to look like and how it should be built. I now approach my work fundamentally as sculpture, but likewise have resisted passing over the line into pure or nonfunctional form.” – Michael Coffey

According to Michael Coffey, design is not just about art. It’s also a form of “problem solving.” He sees commissions as creative collaboration– loving most when patrons desire something entirely new, more different than his previous work.

As far as process is concerned, Coffey begins with a small wooden model, then develops a design on paper with set dimensions. First cuts generally begin with the buzz of a chainsaw, followed by the use of smaller, more refined, cutters and discs. Part of the fun is figuring out which tools will service the work best.  Click on the video after the jump to see more of his work and philosophy.

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Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween everyone! Let’s all take a few minutes to celebrate the funniest holiday of the year. Hope your day is filled with lots of ghouls, goblins, ghosts, spooky monsters and maybe some David Letterman??? More crazy pumpkin carving pictures after the jump!

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Scott Move’s Art, Illustration, & Doom

Scott Move’s illustrations fit somewhere between tatoo flash, religious manuscript illustrations, and deathmetal t-shirt graphics.

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Haunting Photographs Of Abandoned Toy Factories

Abandoned Toy Factories

Via Bosure

Abandoned Toy Factory

Isla de las Munecas, or the Island of the Dolls

Photographs of abandoned toy factories are haunting. Taken by various photographers around the world, we see what’s happened after production has stopped and employees stop showing up to work. Some places are left in mid-production, while others have been ransacked by graffiti. In other places, they were defeated by nature.

Illustrating a range of factory conditions, the most unnerving photos are ones that depict these places as ghost towns. They feature cracked doll heads, broken doll arms, and soiled teddy bears. There is an air of mystery about them, and beg the question of, “what happened?” Why did they suddenly pick and leave?

What makes these photographs unnerving is the juxtaposition of toys and abandonment. We think of things like dolls and bears as being innocent. They signify childhood, a time in our lives that shouldn’t be so dark. Instead, we see toys having to face harsh realities of time, wind, snow, and more. Nothing depicts this better than the Isla de las Munecas, or the Island of the Dolls (above). While actually a floating garden, this space of land is occupied by several hundred dolls that have severed heads, limbless bodies and with empty eye-sockets. It was originally conceived as a memorial for a girl that was drowned in a canal, but has since fallen in disrepair. (Via io9)

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Maxwell Paternoster

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Maxwell Paternoster is frequently asked to design characters for magazines (recently, Business Week and Dry UK). However, he has also slapped his graphics on shirts, skateboards, BMX bikes, and customized tennis shoes. Paternoster’s elaborate doodles are playful, but he often hides darker themes in his illustrations. (Check out the processed chicken graphic at the end of this post and see if you still want some chicken nuggets!)

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