It may be hard to believe, but these colorful creations of Jason Hackenwerth‘s are made from hundreds of balloons. He twists and sculpts latex balloons around each other to resemble different kinds of organic and biological forms. Hackenwerth creates all sorts of creepy shapes and forms that look like you are seeing something in a scientist’s laboratory magnified. Super colorful amoeba, cells, or rhizopods hang from the ceiling. Bacteria-shaped sculptures are grouped together, sprouting weird sorts of growths in every direction.
The artist is not only inspired by science – last year, Hackenwerth unveiled a large piece in Scotland at the Edinburgh International Science Festival. Titled Pisces, it is an interpretation of the Greek myth about Aphrodite and Eros. Made from over 10,000 balloons, it was a massive twisting spiral of two fish and took three staff members almost 6 days to blow up. Hackenwerth says more about it:
I see this as a metaphor for the evolution for life and the unexpected ways we can transcend our greatest threats. My plan for Pisces is to create a complex spiral that will open into a huge seashell like form. This spiral will correspond with the dynamic with the motion of the universe – the double helix. It is the spiral from which all life is derived. (Source)
Hackenwerth starts his process with drawings and sketches to help visualize how his pieces will work on a large scale. He then inflates balloons and arranges them in various structures to see what will work for the final piece. He talks about the importance of his medium:
Using balloons as a medium for expression came from a desire to connect with a wider audience. Balloons are accessible and they seem to have a magic ability for people to feel joy. Perhaps it is a regression to childhood. (Source)
San Francisco based artist, Kevin E. Taylor, creates incredible and symbolic paintings that also have a certain sense of humor. I am pretty excited about some of his religiously themed paintings. There is a strong idea of creation vs. construction going on in some of his recent work.
Forgotten Boneyard is the 100% real animal bone work of artist Tim Prince. In addition to the one-of-a-kind handcrafted creatures in bone, Prince offers a growing selection of wet specimens through Etsy. To me the real standout of the entire collection is Audrii muscipula (pictured above), an homage to Audrey II, the carnivorous plant from 1986’s Little Shop of Horrors made of mink vertebrae/scapula, box turtle shells, a skunk skull, coyote teeth, and raccoon mandibles. A mouse skull and other bones decorate the soil.
The art of Turkish born artist Mehmet Ali Uysal is at once playful and contemplative. His work often makes use of common objects or images as its starting line. Uysal then alters its purpose or use in subtle but profound and often humorous ways. Not only Uysal’s objects, but the surrounding space can feel transformed in a way. Whether it’s a giant clothespin pinching the earth or slabs of dry wall peeled off the gallery walls, his work seems to reveal the playful potential in mundane places and things. Visitors are encouraged to revisit spaces that would otherwise be passed over forgotten.
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.
Photographer Emily Blincoe has created a bright, fun, and mouth-watering photo series using a candy color palette. Blincoe’s series features candy grouped by color and meticulously arranged using a background that matches the featured candy’s color. This series provokes a number of sensory experiences related to color and how we perceive the taste, smell, and texture of a candy because of its color. These photographs also bring us back to childhood’s first encounters with the arrangement of candy in sweet shops, and the allure found in shiny unwrapped packages. Some of Blincoe’s other photography also features various neatly-arranged groups of objects. She currently lives in Austin, Texas.