Dutch designer Jolan van der Wiel creates unusual ceramic sculptures using the conflicting properties of metallic clay and magnets. His latest project “Magnetism Meets Architecture” features a number of fantastic gravity-defying architectural models and explores the possibility of using magnetism in architecture.
The process of making such sculptures starts by mixing clay with water to create a slip, a mixture with the consistency of cream. Then he adds metallic powder like iron with the ratio typically being 90% clay, 10% metal. The whole blend is then transferred to a nozzle similar to the one confectioners use for cake icing. Carefully building layer after layer, van der Wiel allows surrounding magnets to pull them into various shapes resembling a drip sand castle (passing a magnetic field through the material provides an opposing force to gravity, thus the clay is pulled upwards and suspends in its place).
Van der Wiel is fascinated with the idea of using magnetism in architecture.
“I’m drawn to the idea that the force would make the final design of the building – architects would only have to think about the rough shape and a natural force would do the rest. This would create a totally different architectural field.”
According to the artist, he got the inspiration from Catalan architect Gaudi who used gravity to calculate the final shape of his famous building La Sagrada Familia: “I thought, what if he had the power to turn off the gravitation field for a while? Then he could have made the building straight up.” (via Wired)
Camilo José Vergara’s 40-year project, “Tracking Time,” chronicles urban transformation in some of the poorest and most segregated communities in the Northeastern United States. In Camden, New Jersey, one of the poorest cities he regularly visits during his documentation, he captures what he calls “Paired Houses”: two dwellings that share a wall, one of them occupied, the other empty. Because each dwelling is part of the same building, Vergara is able to capture the stark contrast between deteriorated and maintained habitats, reflecting the declining state of Camden’s housing market. For some of the photographs, Vergara returns to a building he’s previously documented in order to chronicle the absence of formerly dilapidated buildings.
In his photo essay for Slate, Vergara writes,”If a resident of a middle-class neighborhood dies or moves to a nursing home, or if a dwelling burns, the empty house is usually guarded or secured by the owner’s family. The police keep an eye out for it. Neighbors, well-aware of the impact of a deteriorating eyesore on property values, alert city officials whenever they see a house falling into disrepair. The situation is quickly brought under control.
It’s different in a crumbling inner city like Camden. Even Walt Whitman’s old house at 328 Mickle St.—the only home he ever owned—was by the 1980s adjacent to a vacant three-story dwelling and just two houses away from a ruin. House values in Camden are low and likely to remain so since the population of the city is declining, unemployment is high, and there is little new demand for houses. The number of vacant houses is likely to increase; many will eventually be acquired by the city, which is too poor either to board them up or to demolish them.”
Just in time for the holidays, self-proclaimed “painter, illustrator, writer, jeweler, and up-to-no-gooder,” Hannah Rothstein has cooked up a Turkey-day treat. Straightforwardly titled, “How Famous Artists Would Plate Thanksgiving Meals,” this series of photographs portrays plates of tried-and-true Thanksgiving staples reimagined as if they were created by celebrated figures in modern art history.
Based in San Francisco, Hannah “focuses on finding clever and humorous ways to look at ordinary objects and ideas.” Whether simply rearranging the food or drastically fracturing the plates, the works comprising her “Thanksgiving Special” represent her playful, experimental approach.
In true Piet Mondrian fashion, Hannah has divided her rations into a geometric grid. To evoke the work of Pablo Picasso, her meal is fragmented and rearranged into an unrecognizable form. In homage to Georges Seurat, she has turned her peas and potatoes into a pointillist picture, while plopped morsels and splattered cranberry sauce mimic Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings.
With aesthetic allusions to myriad other artists, including Vincent Van Gogh, René Magritte, Mark Rothko, Julian Schnabel, Andy Warhol, and Cindy Sherman, there will certainly be no scarcity of art at the table this year.
Brooklyn based artist Scott Albrecht has a new show opening this coming Friday July 3rd at Andenken Gallery in Amsterdam. Called Here And Now, it is an exploration of themes central to his work: time, inter-connectivity, perception, and consciousness. Albrecht has a holistic approach to his practice – working out different techniques and approaches to the same subjects. He uses a multitude of materials, but they are all definitely from the same collection, and have the same optimistic message: to appreciate life as it is and to live in the moment. He wants us perhaps, to sharpen our awareness of the moment.
The exhibition includes spiritual mottos inscribed on paper: “That brief moment when we forget where we are” “A moment in time”, “All things change”; psychedelic multi-textured star bursts assembled and collaged from paper, and carefully constructed wooden displays filled with philosophical musings.
Nostalgic and romantic, his work has titles that will pull at your heart strings: The Spark, The Visionary, Leaf Life Span, Adventurer, Easy Goer. They seem like personal tarot cards or affirmations for Albrecht. He explains the symbolism behind the leaves, hands and eyes in his work:
The hands are meant to be representative of personalities or character traits. I like using the hand as a canvas with the idea that you can be defined by your actions, and the hands are symbolic to helping facilitate those actions. The eyes are similar but represent observing individual situations. Here the focus is on the idea of those pivotal moments that we’ve all encountered. It’s also about being slightly more aware in your day to day. (Source)
Israeli artist Chaim Machlev is a Berlin-based tattoo artist, otherwise known as Dots to Lines. Working primarily with black ink (“I believe that black is the nicest color for tattoos; it is closer to our source than any other color,” he said in a recent interview), Machlev’s designs are complex line-based works that weave across skin with fluid, stunning precision. Incorporating mandalas, insects, and other images into his geometric tattoos, Machlev’s work go beyond simple designs into minimal, extraordinarily detailed works of permanent art. It makes sense, then, that Machlev bristles at the idea of grouping his work into any kind of predetermined genre. “I actually started to make those designs because it was weird for me that people try to categorize tattoos and other art forms. I could say that I have that split in my designs, just like in my personality; I make those art-minimalistic lines — the computer kid inside me — and very detailed mandalas, the spiritual man inside me.”
That spiritual motif makes way for some of Machlev’s most beautiful designs, such as symmetrical forearm mandalas and Joy Division-riffing chest designs of warped seismic waves. Machlev draws from his experiences traveling in India for the spiritual imagery in his designs, but for the more symmetrical designs, there is a prominent mathematical sense to the work. His line and dot work flows seamlessly over flesh in a way that looks similar to vectors on a computer, sprawling across chests and ribs with stunning exactitude.
Floyd Grey is a fashion illustrator from Kuala Lumpur who is able to draw both from the realms of the real as well as the fantastic. His light lines of proportion sometimes give way for big-eyed girls holding daggers and dressed for adventure. However, his traditional pen and ink renderings [which I assume are done digitally] of beautiful women in designer clothes are his real expertise. The truth is in the eyes of each one of his figures, since they are illustrated in such a gorgeous way that I’m sure it makes the actual models blush every time they see them.