Carl D’Alvia’s furry and fuzzy sculptures made out of resin, ceramic, and bronze draw inspiration from megalithic monuments, toy design and the Baroque, to create work that is minimal in form but has a tongue and cheek humor to them that I find refreshing.
This winter, frozen castles made from innumerable icicles are available for your full exploration. It all started with Brent Christensen, a devoted dad. He moved to Utah with his family, where he built an elaborate winter playground for his daughter, complete with an ice slide, cave, and castle. From there, the concept of Ice Castles was born—a beautiful, crystalline landscape for families to enjoy. There are four locations this season: Midway, Utah; Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Lincoln, New Hampshire; and, for the first time ever, Edmonton, Alberta.
Each awe-striking structure is built by hand. The architects “grow” 10,000 icicles every day, which are then placed throughout the castles for the water to freeze to. As time passes, each individual piece becomes a part of the icy walls and caverns, creating a megalithic labyrinth of tunnels and caves. The structure appears blue, due to the deep thickness of the ice, and the quality of water to absorb all colors of the spectrum. At night, the castles are illuminated with different hues, making it resemble a fairy-tale landscape. Watch the video above for a tour of the Eden Prairie location.
Visit Ice Castles’ website and Facebook to learn more. The sites are open until March, 2016. (Via Fubiz)
The artist Sarah Best creates astounding replicas of the female body, using it as a symbol that tracks the human desire for connection and intimacy; severed from the rest of the body, her sculpted hands and a cut-out collaged breasts take on a life of their own, worming their way up walls and pages and sometimes tracking blood in the process. The work, though sometimes gruesome, maintains a pulsating beauty; as if with clear intentions, her vital sculptures navigate space, dangling from hooks and exploring piles of cloth.
From both a feminist and an aesthetic standpoint, Best’s work operates in a miraculous, subversive manner; the feminist philosopher Susan Bordo, for example, writes that the body, coded female, is often seen as passive and lacking in intellect, explaining that therefore the body alone has the power to challenge those sexist ideas. Positioning parts of the body within cubistic collages and arresting installations, Best allows it to transcend societal definitions. Rather than figuring as part of a whole to be admired and objectified, limbs actively seek out understanding of the outside world, touching and feeling everything in their paths.
Wonderfully vulnerable yet undeniably powerful, female arm bears Christ-like stigmata, and the physical body searches for spiritual meaning. The oppressive boundaries between the corporeal self— too often considered to be unintelligent, immoral, and “feminine—” and the elevated metaphysical self are effectively shattered, and a new kind of humanity begins to emerge, one to which we can all relate, one that is beautifully desirous, yearning, and sometimes lonesome.
I got the amazing chance to speak with Best, and when I asked what advice she’d give to aspiring artists, she simply said, “Keep your integrity. You will only count, for yourself and in your art, to the extend that you keep your integrity.” Take a look.
Casey Jex Smith makes work which draws images sacred to high-geekdom, art, and religion together until they are inseparable. I have been into his work since seeing it in person at the Drawing Center a couple of years ago. Some of Smith’s influences are: Dungeons & Dragons manuals, Agnes Martin paintings, Mormon architecture, and Sunday School flannel-board cut-outs. Casey and his wife – who is also an artist, Amanda Michelle Smith, both teach high school art in CA.
The Billbored series of artist Dan Bergeron (also known as fauxreel) undermines the all to common visual language of advertising. His hijacked billboards, particularly his series featuring Carl the Plastic Baby, challenges passers-by to consider what they see more deeply. Like much of his work, Billbored investigates identity, consumerism, and the places they intersect. Carl the Plastic Baby, for example, playfully offers an an easy alternative to actual children. A website accompanying the billboard offers visitors the opportunity to buy a “child” of their own – their very own Carl delivered to their home.
I’m heading back to Reykjavik, Iceland at the end of the month for my fourth trip to the Iceland Airwaves Music Festival! While I’m super excited to see Sigur Rós and Of Monsters and Men on their home turf, I’m just as excited to see Útidúr (pronounced: ooh – detour). There are so many amazing bands in Iceland and the Airwaves festival really gives you the opportunity to see most of them in various small venues around Reykjavik. Útidúr has this magical quality about them, kind of like the country itself – I’m talking to you Blue Lagoon. If you like Beirut, you’ll definitely want to check these guys out. You can stream and buy their debut album at Bandcamp and watch the live performance video for their song, Fisherman’s Friend below.