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Mary O’Malley’s Sea Creature Encrusted Pottery Mimics Our Daily Fight Against Nature

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Mary O’Malley is a New York based potter trained in traditional English and Japanese techniques. Her work is primarily an ode to her craft and an homage to her childhood spent by the sea. However, it is also structured around delicate binaries involving the human need to search for beauty. She states:

“The technical difficulties I began to encounter when enveloping the service ware with ferocious and unforgiving aquatic life got me thinking about a common need we all have to control our own representation of beauty. There is so much fastidious control involved in creating each one of the Bottom Feeder pieces, but with ceramics there is always a margin for error, and some degree of control must be sacrificed. The composition of barnacles and crustaceans populating each piece, the way the iron oxide discovers every nook of the creatures I’ve created, the way the tentacles warp in the firings, etc., is always a surprise. I’m never exactly sure how anything’s going to turn out.”

She fuses different modalities, both literally in her potting techniques as well as what each form represents. The more classic aspects of porcelain, the cream white tea pot, the gold rimmed vase, correlates with a more tamed, predictable side of life. These pure little moments of calm crafting are then overtaken by octopus tentacles, barnacles, and coral, representing the aspect of chaos the is inevitable in everyday life. She explains:

“This play between total control and inevitability has sustained my interest and attention because it mimics life in so many ways: we try our hardest to compose the aesthetics surrounding us—from the buildings and environments we live in to the way we dress and present ourselves. Our daily fight against nature is a fruitless pursuit, yet one we never seem willing to abandon. I find this play between forces endlessly challenging. The dance that results from trying to find a balance between what we can control and what we cannot is where I believe true beauty lies.” (Via Colossal)

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Chloe Ostmo 3D Installations Out of 2D Photographs Will Trick Your Eye

Chloe Ostmo - Installation Chloe Ostmo - Installation

Chloe Ostmo - Installation

Chloe Ostmo‘s photography installation “Falling” is art as an active verb. Ostmo re-inserts the three-dimension quality of falling into what could have been merely a flat series of photos of a woman tumbling down a flight of stairs. The effect is similar to that of glitch art, except wrought in realistic rendering.

“My work is broadly concerned with the negotiation between a three-dimensional original event or object and its two-dimensional copy,” Ostmo says in an artist’s statement. “I am interested in the transformations that occur and their impact upon our perception and understanding of space.”
Ostmo’s installation doesn’t seem to only evoke a different perspective regarding the three-dimensional and two-dimensional; it seems to call up the fact that our attention can only be held by one part of a whole at a time. By breaking up the act of falling into various pieces and smaller photographs, Ostmo’s installation almost mimics the way we parse reality, reducing it into manageable pixels that eventually form the entirety of an event.
Ostmo says:
“Working predominantly with photography and video, I am interested in the spatial possibilities and generative potential of the photographic print as a complex ‘material’ that has the ability to confront the viewer as an object in the present as much as an image of some past event.”

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Takeuchi Taijin for Olympus

A while back, we posted Takeuchi Taijin’s amazing Wolf & Pig stop motion animation. His latest clip for Olympus PEN Giant follows a young man navigating an urban city-scape in a similar stop-motion journey through 355 stunning photographs printed billboard size! No tricks or computer animation…just good old fashioned hard work. Check it out!

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Beth Campbell’s Artwork Is Toying With Your Perception

Blue Lamps, 2010

Blue Lamps, 2010

Stereo Table, 2012

Stereo Table, 2012

Bookshelf Loveseat, 2013

Bookshelf Loveseat, 2013

My parent’s bathroom at the house I first lived in had a full-length mirror behind the sink, which also had a mirror.  As soon as I was tall enough to see over the counter, I remember staring at an infinite number of my own reflections bouncing back and forth and I recall the frustration that I could never find where the reflections ended.  This is the memory invoked when I saw Beth Campbell’s work for the first time.

Working in a variety of mediums: drawings, sculpture and what she calls “architectural interventions,” Campbell’s body of work toys with perception.  Her Potential Future Based on Present Circumstances drawing series maps possible outcomes to present decisions.  These were the first works I saw by Campbell and I recall thinking how brilliant, but impossible they were.  Like me and my reflection in the mirror, Campbell was trying to make sense of the unrealistic and perhaps impractical idea that we can know what might have been.  Their humor and neurosis seemed so quintessentially human to me that I became an instant lover of her work.

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Nonotak’s Glitchy And Aggressive Audiovisual Installation

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The audiovisual installation titled Isotope v.2 was created Nonotak – an art duo made up of Noemi Schipfer and Takami Nakamoto.  Light projections are projected on and through a box approximately thirteen feet on each side.  Accompanied by sound the projection begins rather subdued.  Low drones match lights moving and changing slowly.  Soon, however, the light and sound seems to quicken its pace, become glitchy, even aggressive.  Watch the video after the jump to see the Isotope v.2 in action.  The installation is a reference and response to Fukushima and its now infamous power plant.  Following the tragic 2011 earthquake control over the Fukushima power plant quickly deteriorated.  Using this as a metaphor for the human relationship with nuclear energy, the installation creates a type of immaterial prison.  Walls of light surround the visitors becoming ever more imposing as the projection progresses.

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Jesse Balmer

Jesse was born in San Juan Capistrano, California in 1987. He has been drawing since before he can remember, which was really only the-blink-of-an-eye ago on the geologic time scale. He now resides in San Francisco, California. I love the colors and the fluidity of line work in his drawings- he did what I always wanted to do with those Gelly Roll pens… but could not.

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Laura Plageman’s Subtly Distorted Landscape Photographs Will Make You Do A Double Take

crumpled Photography

distorted  PhotographyLaura Plageman - PhotographyLaura Plageman - Photography

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.

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Alvaro Sanchez-Montañes

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Alvaro Sanchez-Montañes, a Barcelona based photographer, decided to explore the abandoned homes and ghost towns of the Namib desert after reading about the deserted diamond mines in Namibia. In this series, Desert Indoors, Alvaro documents inside these empty homes time etching itself into the paint-chipped walls, and observes the desert conquering over any bit of memory or clue of human habitation.

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