Kirk Cheng invites us to stop and smell the roses at his new solo exhibition “Circle of Life” at the Above Second gallery in Hong Kong. Cheng being a floral artist, he constructs fantastical floral sculptures that appear as if they derive from ecosystems from another planet. Flowers, which are often used as just a decoration, are now in full bloom as the main attraction. Cheng uses striking, vibrant colors with unique plants that are arranged in circles, taking over the gallery space in all their glory. Like every plant, these magnificent flora pieces will start to die, whither, and decay. Although this death is bittersweet, the artist intentionally shows this process, hence the title of the exhibition “Circle of Life.”
An organic beauty can be found in seeing different stages of the lifecycle of Cheng’s floral arrangements. Death is natural, but it always stems from life. The decaying plants have their own unique aesthetic, as their colors are now dark and their texture changed. Seeing the flowers transform into different colors and their pedals turn hard and crispy is both intriguing and interactive, as the exhibition becomes ever changing. No doubt if you saw Cheng’s work at the end of the exhibition, it would look like an entirely different show than at the beginning. Perhaps displaying the dead flowers next to the thriving ones makes the living flowers seem even more full and vivacious. Seeing such an honest example of the cycle of life holds its own tragic beauty, allowing us to experience the magnificence of life. (via Hi Fructose)
Talented French sculptor and restorer Alain Bellino creates extremely detailed, ornate bronze sculptures from metal leftovers. He transforms various old items such as cutlery or chandeliers by welding them into fascinating works of art.
Born in 1955, Bellino has been learning gold and silver plating and bronze restoration in his father’s workshop. Only in 2010, after years of practice and technical research, artist developed his personal style which was highly inspired by both Renaissance and steampunk. As described in his website:
“In his work of re-directing and re-assembling, which is both iconoclast and highly rigorous from a formal point of view, at the crossroads between past and future, Alain Bellino sublimates and rehabilitates the ornamentation.”
Various steampunk motifs and floral ornamented skulls are frequent objects in his work. Bellino’s vanitas are often infused with extra surrealism, for example castles and ships and mounting on top of skull sculptures. His latest work, the Darth Vader mask, demonstrates how delicately Bellino’s creations connect modern and antique worlds.
Pawel Bownik meticulously pulls each flower apart: disconnecting the leaf from the stem or the petal from the pistil, taking involved notes all the while, so he can, eventually, reassemble each piece back to its original state. His photography, collected here, documents such reconstructions. From far away, each image blooms and seethes with life. However, with a steadier eye, up close, we see pencil marks, bits of string, tape, and pins holding it all together. Like some strange sort of floral Frankenstein, the dead is regenerated.
After spending a few decades shooting high-concept high-fashion spreads for the likes of i-D, Vogue, W Magazine, Yves Saint Laurent, Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior, photographer Nick Knight has recently launched a body of work in London, nearly 10 years in the making. Inspired by paintings from the Baroque period, Knight’s altered large-format photographs of elegant floral arrangements take on a psychedelic, gorgeously twisted liquidity. By exposing the prints to various combinations of heat, chemical and water treatments during the printing process, he’s able to interject each piece with an intriguing, painterly flair.
Carol Carter is a contemporary watercolor artist based out of St Louis, MO. She is such a prolific painter that it proved nearly impossible to select just seventeen images to feature out of the hundreds documented throughout her website. Her subject matter is incredibly varied, ranging from swimmers, nudes, flora and fauna, to interiors and landscapes of the Everglades and Italy. In spite of painting such a vast range of subject matter, her work remains consistent with her personal style; painting with an electric color palette, she saturates values of light and dark with a brilliant range of unpredictable color that often takes on the effect of solarization. Her technique shifts between wet-in-wet application and controlled execution, producing work that is peppered with an incredible amount of detail and spontaneity. Carol’s mastery of watercolor and divergent way of seeing the world is apparent in her remarkable paintings.
Dane Lovett mixes retro and modern electronics with the tried and true classic, floral still life, to create a completely modern take on the idea of “still life”. His work looks into modern relationships with technology and pulls at the strings of technology of days past. Each piece is serene and intriguing, feeling both familiar and new all at once.